Breathless, Austin closed her eyes, snuggling closer to Kevin. His hand moved to smooth her damp hair from her face, his lips brushing her forehead gently as she laid her head on his chest. Cracking one eye, she gave him a slight smile, willing her heartbeat to return to normal before speaking. "Glad to see you didn't forget how to shout my name," she murmured, pressing a soft kiss to his chest. His lips curved upwards in a satisfied smirk, his fingers trailing through her hair as he gazed at her, pulling her even closer to him. She could not imagine her trip to New York getting any better.
“So much for my modeling show,” Kevin sighed dramatically, running his hand loosely through her sweaty locks, moving down the contour of her neck, sneaking underneath their blazing covers to feel the soft ripples of her spine down to the small of her back. Then, like always, he brought his hand back up to grasp her locks, craning to kiss her forehead. His entire body was weak with the passion that had exploded over their reunion, knowing she had drained him completely of his life force. But, she was always wild like that. Insatiable at points. But he wouldn’t have it any other way. He’d dedicate his life to her if she asked. And she had. Just not in so many words.
"Modeling show?" Austin repeated, leaning her head back to look at him. Propping her elbow on his muscular chest, she gazed at him intently. "Did you have some hot date with a Victoria's Secret model and didn't tell me?" she asked softly.
“Not unless you got another job that you didn’t tell me about,” he returned easily, leaning to kiss her gently. “They’d have to change it to Austin’s Secret, though, I don’t think there’s many secrets left about you with me.”
Austin furrowed her brow, silent for a moment, smiling secretively when she saw his worried expression. "Well… There was that venture into soft porn I did my freshman year of college to cover expenses," she said with a wave of her hand, snickering when his eyes widened. "Of course, I'm sure you've already seen my spread in Hustler…"
“I’ve seen your spread, but definitely not in Hustler,” Kevin chuckled, leaning over her nude body to capture her lips. Teasing her physically like she teased verbally, he nibbled on her bottom lip, flicking his tongue inside her mouth as she moaned. “But, I did see Little Angel’s venture into Playboy… Tasteful… Even though you sold her innocence for a pretty penny.”
"Brian seems to be the type who watches porn, you should ask if he has my collection," she murmured, wrapping her arms around his neck, her body responding to his touches immediately. "But… What was this about modeling? Seriously, were you supposed to go out tonight?" she questioned, hands smoothing over the marks she'd left on his shoulders earlier.
“No, I cleared my entire schedule just to wait for you,” Kevin stated seriously leaving no room for her to argue the point. “You’re the only woman I care about, even if you abuse me. And, I pretty much bought out every lingerie store for you in New York. I figured I’d get a show tonight from you, but… You always have a way of changing my plans…” Kevin clicked his tongue as he leaned over to the nightstand at her side, reaching in the drawer to pull out a small box. “But you couldn’t change my plans to give you this. No matter what.”
Arching one brow, Austin scooted into a seating position, looking down at the box. "Tiffany's?" Jerking her head to look at him, she moistened her lips. "You bought me something from Tiffany's? That fancy-schmancy store?" she questioned, a hint of excitement causing her southern accent to become more pronounced. "Pretty Boy…"
“Every beautiful lady deserves one piece of completely expensive, utterly frivolous, piece of gorgeousness that can barely compare to what she exudes every day,” Kevin explained, moving to sit as well, rubbing her bare back with a tremor of excitement. The way her accent thickened sent chills down his spine. She seemed to fight so hard to hide that, except when he was there.
"Kevin," she practically whined, shivering at his words. He always knew just what to say to her. Leaning against him, she stared at the small box, her insides fluttering nervously as she thought of what could be inside. Worrying her bottom lip with her teeth, she slowly untied the cream bow, draping the satin ribbon over his bare leg. "No man has ever bought me jewelry before," she murmured, resting her fingers on the lid.
“Well, I’m glad to be your very first and your very last… I just hope you really like it, Princess,” Kevin whispered, rubbing the back of her neck, attempting to wait patiently.
"If you picked it out, I know I'll love it…" Unable to wait any longer, Austin lifted the lid, an audible gasp jerking the air from her lungs. "Kevin… It's beautiful," she whispered, staring in awe at the shimmering diamond starburst dangling from a dainty platinum double chain. A small pearl hung beneath the starburst, and when it blurred before her she realized she was crying. "Kevin…"
Kevin chuckled softly as he freed the elegant necklace from its bed, moving to seat himself behind Austin. Brushing away her damp locks, he reached in front of her to bring the necklace around. In an easy fashion, he fastened it quite quickly, leaning over her shoulder to trace the dozens of diamonds on the sunburst with his index finger. “You were always brilliant since the very first time I met you. This passion and energy that exudes from your very core. My own little fire… Spitfire, but fire nonetheless. This suited you.”
Turning to face him, Austin brushed her tears away with shaky hands. "Please tell me this didn't cost you a fortune. I'm not worth thousands of dollars." Resting her hand against his cheek in a soft caress, she leaned close for a soft kiss. "But… Knowing that you thought about it and didn't just buy the gaudiest, most expensive thing you could find… That means a lot, Kevin. How can I ever repay you?" Blinking back more tears, she felt such overwhelming love for the man she almost sobbed. "I love you, Pretty Boy…"
“You’re worth every red cent in my bank account,” Kevin promised as he cupped her face in his hands, wiping away each tear with his thumbs. He smiled with appreciation, leaning to catch the tears that crossed her lips with his lips. “And, knowing that you love me is all the repayment I’m ever going to want. See your eyes light up like that… It’s worth a million, Princess.”
"Is that how much the necklace cost?" Austin asked with a giggle, sliding her legs around him. "I do know of one way I can repay you…" she trailed suggestively, teasing his mouth with hers. "…Unless you have more presents?"
“If I tell you that you have more presents, there’s no way that I’m possibly going to get my repayment,” Kevin groaned against her lips, reaching to firmly grasp her hips, making sure she stayed against him. Though, he had the tendency to pull her closer, kissing the underside of her chin before moving back to her mouth, loving the salty taste of her lightly perspired skin.
Whimpering against his lips, Austin wrapped herself around him. "Your repayment may be even better if there are more presents," she informed him, one hand grasping the headboard as she wriggled against him, her only desire now showing him how much she appreciated him. How much she appreciated his love.
“My repayment is going to be all over these sheets if you don’t slow down and let me get the other gifts,” he groaned hard.
"I thought you were kidding," Austin murmured with a giggle, sliding from his lap. "Holy Hell, Pretty Boy… Are you trying to spoil me or something?" she asked, propping herself against the headboard as he slid out of bed. Pulling the covers over her, she admired the view of his nude body. Reaching up with one hand to touch the necklace, she drew in a shaky breath. She didn't deserve such a wonderful, kind… Awesomely pain in the ass man, she thought with a weary sigh as he belched loudly.
“Son, do you think that you could learn to sleep just a little bit longer?” Brian yawned loudly as he let Baylee squirm from his arms, plopping onto the living room floor only to stand and begin a hasty search. His father didn’t seem too astute of his search, merely collapsing on the plush sofa, reaching for the remote to the plasma TV. It was a little later than seven in the morning and Leighanne had already sauntered off to spend her day at the spa, convinced that she would not force herself to look at nor meet Austin or Cheyanne. Brian welcomed her disappearance, thinking he would be able to get some much needed rest. Until he felt the tiny feet jumping on his back, insisting it was time to rise to the occasion. So, after getting Baylee breakfast, Brian hoped they could curl onto the couch for a quick nap. Though, Baylee seemed preoccupied as he searched every inch of the living room. His light brows furled in confusion as he even bent down to look under the sofa, sticking his tiny butt into the air. Brian stifled a yawn as he furled his own brows with confusion. “Scooper… What are you doing?”
"Lookin' for Chey," Baylee informed him, his voice muffled as he crawled to check under the other sofa. "Where her at?" he asked pitifully, turning to look at his father with a small pout. "I want my Angel, Daddy!"
“Your Angel?” Brian returned with obvious confusion as Baylee came to stand between his legs, patting his knees as if it would make Brian hurry with an answer. Only, he was stunned. Nick had mentioned offhandedly how attached Baylee was to Cheyanne, but Leighanne had dismissed that with a snort. Though, last night she did everything in her power to assure that Baylee forgot about the other women, taking him on a lavish shopping spree. But, it seemed all the toys in the world couldn’t compare to Cheyanne in Baylee’s heart, which astounded Brian. He still figured her to be a loose woman of the night looking for a supple meal ticket. But Baylee was an excellent judge of character and never warmed up to someone so quickly.
"My Angel, Daddy. Where her at?" Baylee insisted, turning at the sound of a door opening. "Uncle Howie!" he shrieked, bounding over to the groggy man as he came into the living room. "Where Chey?" he asked impatiently, peering past Howie's legs for a sign of the woman. "Her up?"
“Woah,” Howie whistled softly in surprise, jerking downward to grasp Baylee before he could burst into the still dark and quiet bedroom. He hadn’t expected such a sharp burst of fury so early in the morning, especially one wanting to attack Cheyanne. Of course, if that had happened, he expected it to be far taller and a darker bleach blonde. Fumbling slightly to maintain the wiggling mass, he hoisted Baylee into his arms. “Chey’s still sleeping right now, Bay. She and the baby need their sleep.”
"I be quiet," Baylee promised in a whisper, holding one pudgy finger to his lips. "I just wan' see her."
“Baylee, you are your father’s son, there is no way in the world that you’ll be quiet,” Howie chuckled softly, pressing his face to his shoulder to muffle a yawn. Though, Baylee continued to squirm in his arms, bound and determined to see Cheyanne. Howie didn’t really understand Baylee’s necessity, not having heard all the talk about Baylee’s romance with Cheyanne. But, wanting to appease the child so he didn’t scream, Howie popped into the bedroom, holding Baylee up to see Cheyanne curled amongst the soft blankets.
"My Angel," Baylee whispered, pursing his lips in frustration when Howie closed the door and carried him away. "Her baby sleep o'tay?" he asked once Howie set him down.
"The baby slept fine," Howie said, glancing at Brian. "She's his Angel now?" he questioned with a chuckle, dropping onto the other couch as Brian lifted his head.
"Huh? Yeah. He's been talking about her ever since he got back from the airport yesterday. Leigh wasn't too thrilled with it," Brian muttered, pausing in his channel surfing. "But, Hell, she'll get over it," he added with a tiny smirk.
"Good to know he likes her," Howie said, glancing at the TV. "Care Bears?" he asked with a laugh.
Backing from the living area, Baylee kept his eyes on the two men until he was safely into the hallway. Standing on his tiptoes, he grunted as he struggled with the doorknob, falling to his knees when the door swung open. Hopping up, he stared at Cheyanne as he approached the bed. "My Angel," he whispered, tugging gently on the blanket.
His tiny tugs at the blanket did nothing to rouse the sleeping woman from her dreams, but managed to rock Moth into alertness. Whining, the puppy stretched against Cheyanne’s chest before rolling off her while licking his chops. The tiny tugs from Baylee caught the puppy’s attention as Cheyanne shifted underneath the covers. Crawling over the large wrinkles to the opposite side of the bed, he struggled as somewhat jumped and somewhat fell from the large bed beside Baylee. He stumbled to his tiny feet with a firm shake of his head, yipping toward Baylee before hurrying to find his source of breakfast. “O’tay, Moth, I cuddle My Angel for us,” Baylee promised, grasping the blankets to climb atop the massive bed.
Pulling the blankets back, he wriggled underneath them, looking down at Cheyanne's stomach. "Mornin' My Angel's baby," he whispered, patting it lightly before snuggling closer. One small arm protectively laying over her, he rested his head on her chest, sighing happily. "My Angel," he whispered again.
Somehow, amongst the depth of her sweet dreams, Cheyanne felt the shift in the bed as well as the extra warm little body snuggled to her side. The embrace around her was far different from Howie’s protective hold. So, very slowly, she started to stir to the sweet smell of Baylee’s Johnson’s Baby Shampoo and the melodies of his tiny little voice. I never break your heart. I never make you cry. I rather die than live wit-out you. I give you all of me. ‘Oney dat’s no lie… Upon hearing the little boy’s singing, her sapphire eyes gently fluttered open and her arms curled around Baylee’s little body. “What a sweet thing to wake up with.”
"My Angel!" Baylee cooed excitedly. "I sang you 'wake. But shhh. I not s'posed to wake you up," he whispered, eyes wide.
From the living room came Brian's voice. "Baylee! Where'd you get to?"
"Uh oh. Save me?" Baylee asked hopefully, pulling the blanket over his head.
“Of course I’ll save you. Who could resist that little face?” Cheyanne groaned with a soft yawn, complying with Baylee’s wishes. Hurriedly, she pulled the blankets up to conceal them both, allowing Baylee to cuddle deep into her embrace, his head nestled against her chest. He cooed softly in the darkness, obviously charmed with her heartbeat. And, Cheyanne could barely hide her smile as she listened to the heavy foot falls, shifting slightly as she let her eyes drift closed. “Be quiet as a mouse, alright, Darlin’?”
"Honey?" Howie said softly from the open doorway, peeking inside at the bed. Seeing the blankets pulled up over her form, he smiled. "Do you have a little visitor?" he asked as Brian stepped up behind him.
"Maybe," Cheyanne cooed from the safety of her blanket cocoon.
“Baylee not wid My Angel!” Baylee announced loudly from beneath the blankets, revealing his whereabouts almost instantly. And he couldn’t have looked guiltier nor more pleased with himself when Howie peeled back the blankets. There he was, curled happily within Cheyanne’s embrace, his arms attempted to wrap around her petite form with protectiveness as his head lovingly nestled against her chest. And, like always, he was grinning madly, wriggling in attempts to get closer to Cheyanne. “Mornin’ Uncle Howie.”
Leaning in the door, Brian couldn't help but grin at the sight of his son snuggled so close to Cheyanne. As Howie stepped away from the bed, moving to the dresser, he cleared his throat. "Did he wake you up, Cheyanne?" he asked.
Cheyanne looked up, a flush hitting her cheeks. "He was singing to me," she said softly, glancing around for Howie. "Tea…"
"My Angel want eat? Daddy make waffles for My Angel," Baylee said with a giggle, tucking his head under Cheyanne's chin.
“I couldn’t ask your Daddy to make me waffles, Darlin’,” Cheyanne cooed softly to Baylee, running her fingers through his messy curls as he sighed with sheer delight. She attempted not to look at Brian, uncomfortable to say the very least. Shifting, she reached to bring the blankets up further on her and Baylee. She felt somewhat naked, though she was dressed in Howie’s t-shirt and boxers. Brian had been so cold and callous since the mountains and her interacting with his son couldn’t have possibly made him happy. If anything, he probably wanted to tear Baylee away. “But, I’m sure he’d be happy to make you a batch of warm waffles to feed that tummy of yours while I try to get back to sleep.”
"I a'ready eated," Baylee said. "I sleep with you?" he asked hopefully.
"Baylee… Why don't we go watch Nemo and let your Angel sleep? When she's ready to get up, we can ask Uncle Howie if she'll be up to your company," Brian said as Howie turned from the dresser, camera in hand. His friend was grinning at the sight, and suddenly, despite his assertion that the woman was a money grubbing wretch, he had to admit she must be pretty decent, if Baylee had taken such a shine to her in so short a time. And, as Howie snapped a quick picture, he smiled.
"Howie," Cheyanne groaned, shaking her head. "How can you take a picture now? I just--"
"Look so beautiful," Howie intervened.
Cheyanne blushed furiously, “Howie--”
“Our first’ed picture!” Baylee suddenly squealed with delight, clapping his tiny hands as he shifted in her arms, reaching to pull the covers higher over them. Once he was satisfied that he wasn’t getting out of bed, not even for his father, he snuggled back into Cheyanne’s arms. “I get picture, Uncle Howie? P’ease?”
"Sure thing, buddy," Howie assured him with a grin. "Honey… You want some juice and toast?" he asked, certain there would be no way in Hell he or Brian could pull Baylee away from her now.
"I want juice," Baylee announced, twirling a golden curl around his fingers.
“I’ll take what he’s having,” Cheyanne suggested with a rueful smile, causing Baylee to grin harder with triumph. She rubbed the youth’s back tenderly, pressing a kiss to the top of his head. “We’re taking Hawaiian punch with crushed ice, huh, Darlin’?”
“Z’actly!” Baylee agreed whole heartedly, seeming to know exactly what Cheyanne was thirsty for. “7-Up, too, Uncle Howie!” And, when Howie had disappeared, Baylee sat up slightly, having felt something cool and peculiar on Cheyanne’s delicate neck. Brushing away her curls, his brows furled as he located the beautiful necklace Howie had given her. “What dat?”
“Your Uncle Howie gave me that as a birthday present,” Cheyanne explained with a proud smile. “Isn’t it pretty?”
“S’cuse me,” Baylee suddenly announced, crawling over to the side of the bed to hop down. He looked none too pleased with the smile that had graced Cheyanne’s face with Howie’s gift, hurriedly running down the hallway to the bedroom he shared with his mother and father, disappearing inside.
“He’s really adorable,” Cheyanne told Brian softly as she attempted to sit up somewhat, tenderly rubbing her aching stomach.
"He takes after me." Brian stepped forward instinctively to help her, reaching to adjust the pillows behind her. At her startled expression, he shrugged lightly. "Leigh was on bed rest for a while," he explained. Stepping back, he cleared his throat, visibly uncomfortable with being alone with her. Inside he conflicted. His son adored her already, but he couldn't shake the nagging feeling that she was after his friend's money. "When are you due?" he asked suddenly, at a loss for anything else to say.
“September,” Cheyanne answered softly, smoothing the blankets on her lap so she could avoid eye contact with him. She could feel the tension continuing to rise between them, knowing how much he detested her relationship with Howie. It wasn’t exactly an intellectual find, because he openly displayed it. And that hurt the most, because he didn’t know her. “Y’know… Just... Thank you for not making a fuss that Kevin and Howie wanted to invite us up here. It really meant a lot to Austin. And I know you don’t consider me sincere by any means, but I love Howie with everything that’s in me. I tell him not to buy me things, you can ask him yourself. And, if you don’t want Baylee around me, I respect that. But, please, don’t scorn Howie for wanting to be loved. He deserves so much better.”
Startled at her words, Brian looked at her. Expelling his breath in a rush, he dropped onto the foot of the bed. "I don't think I could keep Scooper away from you for anything," he admitted. Twisting the expensive wedding band on his finger, he glanced at her. "He's probably digging in his toys for something to give you. Hope you like stuffed animals… And honestly, I'm glad you're here. Even though, I haven't seen Kevin since he got back from the airport. Howie seems happier around you," he said gently. "The man hasn't stopped grinning. Despite my initial feelings, I can tell you're good for D. And that means a lot to me."
Cheyanne shyly glanced toward Brian, offering a sweet smile. Though she knew Austin would call the man every name in the book, she had to come to an understanding with him. She knew how important it was to Howie that things went smoothly. Besides, she couldn’t believe that he was necessary ‘Satan Spawn’ like Austin so eagerly claimed beforehand. Every person had a golden spark to their heart or at least Cheyanne hoped. “Thanks, that means a lot to me--”
“My Angel!” Baylee suddenly grunted, interrupting the adult conversation as he attempted to hurry back in the room. His eyesight was blocked by the overstuffed panda bear clutched so very tightly in his arms. In fact, he bumped hard into his father’s legs after bumping into the bed. “Daddy! Up! To my Angel!”
"What's that you've got there?" Brian asked with a chuckle, lifting his son onto the bed. He watched in amusement as Baylee tiptoed up to Cheyanne, setting the panda bear in her lap.
"'Appy Birfday!" Baylee announced proudly. "Mommy boughted it last night, but I want you have it, 'kay?" Grinning from ear to ear, he sat next to her. "You keep 'im?" he asked hopefully, gazing up at her.
“Of course I’ll keep him,” Cheyanne promised, reaching to make an ‘x’ across Baylee’s heart, which made him giggle. She thought it was adorable that he wanted her to keep the expensive panda bear with the F.A.O. Swartz tag in his ear. She couldn’t even begin to imagine what the price was for the animal, but knew she couldn’t break Baylee’s heart. Though, she grinned as she set the bear on the other side of the bed, reaching to take Baylee in her arms. “But I want to keep you, too!”
Baylee squealed with delight, glancing up when his father stood. "My Angel keep me, Daddy?" he questioned softly.
"For a little while, Scooper. Cheyanne, if he gets to be too much, don't hesitate to send his little butt to me, okay? I'll be in the living room." Stooping, Brian swept a kiss over Baylee's forehead. "Be a good boy."
"I pwomise," Baylee intoned, leaning against Cheyanne.
“You’re always a good boy, Darlin’,” Cheyanne promised, running her fingers through his light blonde locks, shifting so she could lie back down. Baylee seemed quite pleased with her decision, wiggling to get comfortable with her as he rested against her chest. Like before, he draped his little arm over her, making sure the bear was comfortably tucked in, too. “When Uncle Howie comes in here, we’ll make him put on a movie and take a nap.”
"O'tay," Baylee agreed. Gazing at her stomach for a long moment, he sat up, placing his small hand very gently over it. "This Uncle Howie's baby too?" he asked seriously.
Cheyanne was somewhat shocked with Baylee’s blunt question, not really prepared to answer something so personal. Though, she couldn’t blame the child’s curiosity, especially as he tenderly rubbed her stomach. She watched for the longest moment, not realizing Howie was lingering just outside the doorway with their drinks. “Yeah, she’s Uncle Howie’s baby, too. He’s taking really good care of her and me. He’s going to be a great Daddy for her. Don’t you think?”
Baylee nodded. "Uncle Howie nice," he told her, as though that were all it took to be a good Daddy. "You marry Uncle Howie?" he asked, eyes wide with childish innocence.
"7-Up and Hawaiian Punch," Howie announced, stepping inside, bearing a tray of drinks. Upon seeing Baylee rubbing Cheyanne's stomach, he shook his head. "Are you moving in on my girl, Bay?"
“Uncle Howie have my Angel’s baby an’ me have my Angel?” Baylee decided as if that were an even split, wrapping his arms around Cheyanne so Howie couldn’t take his spot. Though, the child seemed oblivious that Cheyanne fell into a tight silence, obviously wondering what Howie had overheard.
"I don't think I could give up Honey that easily," Howie mused softly, setting the tray on the nightstand. "I'd be willing to share her when she gets cranky, though."
Baylee looked bewildered that Cheyanne could ever be anything less than a sweetheart, instantly blaming Howie for the change. “My Angel not cranky for me. You no love her ‘nuff, Uncle Howie.”
"Your Uncle Howie loves her plenty," Austin said softly from the doorway. Yawning loudly, she shuffled into the room, going around to the other side of the bed to get in next to Cheyanne. Picking up the panda bear, she smiled slightly, handing it to Cheyanne before she snuggled close. "Can I doze in here while Kevin talks to you-know-who on the phone?" she murmured, already half asleep.
“Sure, Darlin’ and I were just going to watch a movie,” Cheyanne stated easily as Baylee instantly lay back down to snuggle against her other side, not wanting it to be stolen. He instantly thrust his tiny arm across her, making sure Austin knew who was more important. She smiled ruefully at her best friend, who leaned to tickle Baylee, though her gaze came to fall on Howie.
Leaning over Baylee, Howie kissed her lips softly. "I'll go shower and dress… And call Momma, okay? Maybe by then, at least one side of you will be free," he murmured against her lips. "Love you, Honey…"
“I love you, too,” Cheyanne promised, unable to help the flutter in her stomach that always accompanied any of Howie’s kisses. For a moment, she thought about trying to weasel away to join Howie in the shower, but knew it wasn’t possible. And, if it was, what made her think he wanted her with him? She truly doubted herself when it came to the relationship, but attempted to brush those feelings aside, smiling at him. “Tell your mother I said hi?”
"I will… Sure you don't want to join me in the shower?" he asked with a suggestive grin, giving her a wink when her cheeks turned red.
“That’s exactly what I was thinking,” she confessed softly as Howie still lingered near, obviously hiding Baylee from the conversation as best he could. “But I can’t get out of this…”
With a rueful sigh, Howie nodded, leaning close for another quick kiss, letting his hand linger on her neck for a moment. Getting a feel of her soft skin to last him through his fantasies in a lonely shower. "I'll have to make it a cold shower," he whispered against her lips before pulling away.