Hitting the bottom of the stairs, I take a quick glimpse in the mirror and smile. I get better looking every day. I’ve still got it, and she still can’t resist me. Life is fucking good.
I spin around, and my hard muscles liquefy as I watch my baby boy running down the stairs, his dark blonde hair a tousled mess around his handsome little face. ‘Hey, birthday boy.’ His greens sparkle as he launches himself at me, the good looking little fucker. ‘Whoa!’ I laugh as he slams into me, crawling up my body.
‘Guess what?’ he asks me, eyes wide with excitement.
‘What?’ I’m not feigning interest. I really am curious.
‘Nana Lizabeth said we can sleep at her house tonight. She’s taking us to the zoo tomorrow!’
I try to conceal my scowl and match his excitement. ‘Nana Lizabeth lives too far away, and Daddy likes taking you to the zoo.’ I say, throwing him up onto my shoulders and turning back towards the mirror. ‘See how handsome we are?’
‘I know.’ he replies flippantly, making me smile. ‘Nana and pappy live ten minutes away. I timed it on mummy’s phone.’
I’m swiftly reminded that my dear mother-in-law does, in fact, live ten minutes away. The beauty of Newquay couldn’t keep Elizabeth and Joseph away from their grandchildren—or my babies, more to the point. ‘Hey, I was thinking,’ I go for subject change, or distraction tactics—whichever. ‘We should go skiing again.’ I’m speaking in a stupidly over enthusiastic voice, hoping to snare him.
‘We already are.’ His little hands rest on my forehead, covering the frown that’s just jumped into place.
‘Yes, mummy said so, and she said not to listen to you if you try to put us off our party.’
My shoulders sag, and I make a mental note to deliver on one retribution fuck, the conniving little temptress. ‘Mummy needs daddy’s money to do that.’ I’m shameless.
‘Why don’t you want us to have a party, daddy?’ His little forehead matches mine in the frown department, and I instantly feel like a bag of shit.
‘I do, mate. I just don’t like sharing you.’ I admit.
‘You can play, too.’ He reaches down and kisses my rough cheek. ‘Mummy will be pleased.’
‘Why will she?’ I know why she’ll be pleased. She’s intercepted me. Make that two retribution fucks—one for her interception and one for her smugness.
‘Because you’ve not shaved.’ He rubs his palm up and down a few times, and I smile at my handsome little man before striding towards the kitchen.
I halt at the doorway and spend a few moments drinking in the sight of my angel, frantically stirring a big mixing bowl of some brown shit, the curve of her perfect arse holding me rapt. Fucking perfect. My little man doesn’t pester me to push onwards. He just sits happily on my shoulders, waiting for his spellbound father to snap back into action. He’s used to me daydreaming, especially when his mother is around. I have no fucking clue what I’ve done to deserve this woman and these beautiful kids, but I won’t be arguing with the destiny Gods.
‘Shit!’ she curses as a blob of chocolate flies up and lands on her olive cheek.
‘Mummy! Watch your mouth!’
She swigs around, armed with a wooden spoon lathered in chocolate and scowls at my grinning face before turning her big brown orbs onto our son. ‘I’m sorry, Jacob.’
My grin widens and her scowl deepens. I’m so smug, and I’ll pay for it later. She can’t play the defiant little temptress with our babies around, and I love it. ‘What you making, baby?’ I ask, lifting Jacob from my shoulders and placing him on a stool. I hand him my phone to play with before heading to the fridge and collecting a jar of Sun-Pat.
‘Peanut butter cups.’ She’s all flustered, but I’m not offering my help. She knows I’m shit at cooking, and I’m not making this easier. Next year, I’m predicting skiing.
I’m behind her, looking down into the bowl, and I’m thinking that I might stick to jars. God bless her, she’s tried a million times, but she’ll never match my mum’s famous peanut butter cups. ‘How many jars of my peanut butter have you wasted on that?’ I ask, pushing myself into her back and not missing the opportunity to feel her neck out with my lips. She smells too good.
‘Two,’ She pushes the bowl away. ‘I want Cathy back.’
I laugh and spin her around, pushing her into the worktop, the wooden spoon waving in my face. I’m firming up, damn it. I can’t help it. I lean in, as I watch her watching me, and lick her cheek clean.
‘Don’t start something you can’t finish, Ward.’ she whispers on a husky, alluring voice. I’m solid now.
She pushes me away on a knowing grin. ‘I need to finish. Guests will be arriving.’ She’s smug again, earning herself a third retribution fuck. She knows what she’s doing—she knows there will be no countdowns or trampling with the babies around.
‘Where’s Maddie?’ I discreetly adjust my groin area before facing my baby boy, who’s oblivious to the goings on around him. It’s not unusual to see daddy loving mummy. I’ve had to seriously work on my control, though.
He doesn’t look up from my phone, but I can see his little face screw up in disgust. ‘She’s putting on her party dress. It’s all frilly. Nana bought it.’
My eyes roll, knowing that I’m going to find my baby girl looking like candyfloss has exploded all over her. ‘Why does your mother think my daughter needs to look like she’s been attacked with the pink stick?’ I sit myself next to Jacob and put the jar between us so he can help himself. And he does. His chubby little finger dives right in and scoops out the biggest dollop. My chest swells with pride, and I exhale around my own finger, looking back up to Ava for an answer.
Her eyebrows are high as she shakes her head at Jacob on a fond smile, but then her eyes are on me and she’s not smiling anymore. What did I do? ‘Don’t wind her up, Jesse.’
‘I won’t!’ I laugh. I bloody will, and I’ll enjoy every moment of it.
‘Nana calls you a menace.’ Jacob looks up at me, his finger still hanging from his mouth. ‘She said you always have been and always will be. She accepts it now.’ His little shoulders shrug.
A burst of laughter escapes and now Ava is laughing with me, her dreamy chocolate eyes sparkling, her succulent lips begging me to take them. Then she ditches the apron, revealing her tight, tidy little figure. I’m not laughing now. I’m panting and reaching under the table to try and bash myself down. It’s a constant fucking battle. ‘I like your dress.’ My eyes take a lazy jaunt down the length of her black fitted dress as I plan on how I’ll remove it later. I might be kind and let her wear it again, she really does look amazing in it, but by later, I know I won’t be in any fit state to take my time.
‘You like all of mummy’s dresses.’ Jacob pipes up tiredly, snapping my eyes from that body—the one that sends me insane with want.
‘I do.’ I agree, giving his messy mop of blonde a ruffle. ‘Speaking of dresses, I’m going to find your sister.’
‘Okay,’ he agrees, turning his attention back to my phone and re-dipping his finger.
I jump up and go in search of Maddie, taking the stairs two at a time and bursting into her pink infested room. ‘Where’s my birthday girl?’
‘Here!’ she squeals, appearing from her wendy house.
I nearly choke on thin air. ‘You are not wearing that, little lady!’
‘Yes, I am!’ She runs across the room when I start marching towards her. ‘Maddie!’ What the fucking hell? She’s five! Five fucking years old, and I’m already ripping hot pants and cropped t-shirts from her tiny body. Where the fuck is that frilly pink thing?
‘Mummy!’ she screams, as I catch her ankle on the bed. She can scream the fucking house down. She is NOT wearing that. ‘Mummy!’
‘Maddie, come here!’
‘No!’ She kicks me—the little sod kicks me and dashes out the room, leaving me a pathetic heap of stressed out daddy on her pink, fluffy bed. I’ve been outdone by a five year old little girl. But that little girl is the daughter of my beautiful wife. I’m fucked.
I stand and straighten myself out before going in pursuit. ‘Don’t run down the stairs, Maddie!’ I yell, practically throwing myself down them after her. I watch her tiny little hot panted arse disappear into the kitchen as she searches for the back-up of her mother.
I skid to a halt and watch her scrambling up Ava’s body. ‘What’s going on?’ Ava asks, looking at me like I’ve lost my mind. I might have.
‘Look at her!’ I wave my hands at my baby girl like a deranged screwball. ‘Look!’
Ava places her on the floor and crouches down, pushing my baby’s chocolate waves over her little shoulders and pulling the hem of that ridiculous t-shirt down. She can pull it down all she fucking likes. It’s not staying on my baby’s body. ‘Maddie,’ Ava’s gone into pacifying mode, something, perhaps, I should have thought about before blurting the death words. I should have learnt by now; don’t tell Maddie no. It’s rule number fucking one. ‘Daddy thinks your t-shirt is a little small.’
‘I do.’ I cut in, just for clarification. ‘Way too small.’
My little lady flips me a scowl. ‘He’s being unreasonable.’
I gasp and point an accusing glare at Ava. She has the decency to look apologetic. ‘See what you’ve done?’
‘Daddy has the power!’ Jacob sings, halting any chance I had of scoring a win.
It’s Ava who’s gasping now. ‘You need to remember, Ward. These little ears hear everything.’
I do the sensible thing and shut the fuck up. My wife can’t hide her exasperation, and I don’t expect her to. I expect her to remove that pathetic excuse of a t-shirt from my baby girl’s tiny body.
‘He can’t dictate my wardrobe!’ Maddie fires across the kitchen, her chubby arms folding across her little chest. I look at my defiant temptress, noting she’s failing to hide that fucking beautiful grin.
Fucking hell! My hands fly to my hair and yank. I’ll have none of the fucking stuff left soon, especially when Ava gets her hands on it. I momentarily forget my turmoil and smile, mentally feeling her tugging at it while I slam into that beautiful body. But I’m soon back to reality with my little lady drilling displeased brown eyes into me.
I watch as Ava reasons with her before grasping her little shoulders and turning her towards me. ‘Maddie is ready to compromise.’ Ava tilts her head with a humour her look.
It doesn’t make me feel any better. I’ve humoured Maddie before, and it resulted in me carting her out of Waitrose over my shoulder while she screamed the place down and kicked me to death. I look back to Ava with pleading eyes, pouting like an idiot, but she just shakes her head and gently urges my wilful little lady towards me.
She’s smiling at me now, her arms reaching up for me to take her. She melts my fucking heart but Jesus Christ, what the hell am I facing in the years to come? I’ll be bald or maybe even dead. Or I could be in prison because if any little fucker lays his hands on her, I’ll rip their fucking heart out. I scoop her up and leave Ava to help my easy going boy put his converse on.
‘Dad, you need to calm down. You’ll give yourself a heart attack.’ She snuggles into my neck and my raging, crazy love for my defiant little lady is fully restored. But my wife gets her forth retribution fuck of the day.
‘It’s daddy. And you need to stop listening to your mother.’ I take the stairs fast and burst into her room, throwing her on the bed. My heart bursts, listening to her squeal in delight before she jumps straight up and starts bouncing up and down, her long, chocolate locks flying all over the place. ‘Right,’ I rub my hands together in an attempt to make what I’m about to suggest exciting. Where will I find her jeans and jumpers? I pull her pink wardrobe doors open and start skimming through the rails, immediately laying my hands on something full and frilly. I pull it out and hold the hideous thing up. She mirrors my look of disgust. ‘Your nana needs to stop buying you dresses.’