That primal urge hits me again, reminding me that now she is connected to me forever. I know she loves me. There is no denying that. But this child? This child connects us in a way that will never change.
Our baby continues to make its presence known, and I close my eyes and let the peace that washes over me settle my heart.
“I’m going to marry you, Dani-girl,” I vow to the silence around me.
“Okay, baby,” she mumbles.
I thought she was asleep, so when I hear her sleepy voice answer me back, my eyes shoot to hers, and when I see her beautiful smile and bright-green eyes swimming with tears, I shake my head and move to kiss her deep.
“Why the tears?”
“I love you,” she says, not answering me.
“Dani. The tears.”
“I love you. That’s why the tears. But if you plan on marrying me, you better ask me when you haven’t just fucked me raw.”
I laugh, kissing her again, “Noted.”
“I missed you,” she sighs.
“I know, Dani-girl. Never again. I won’t leave you again, baby.”
She shifts so that her eyes come to mine. “You can’t promise that, Cohen. You don’t know when they’ll call you back.” She doesn’t say it, but I hear the fear in her voice, and I hate that it’s there.
“Actually, I can promise that. I’m out, baby. I let them know that I was leaving the program two days ago. I still have some shit I need to tie up with them, but I won’t be leaving.”
Her eyes go wide, and she looks at me in shock before—much to my surprise—she lets out a pitiful noise and drops her head, wrapping her arms around my body and holding me as tight as she can while she loses her shit.
“Dani-girl, you need to calm yourself.”
She doesn’t stop, just sobs harder.
Helpless and unable to stop her from drowning us both with tears, I bring her body close and wait for her cries to end.
“You’re not going to leave us?” she questions after a few minutes.
Her and our child.
“My God,” she cries. She looks up at me in awe, those eyes I love so much taking in every inch of my face. “You have no idea how happy that makes me.”
“Yeah, the tears were a little questionable,” I joke.
“You’re going to be here . . . every day?”
“Every day from here on out.”
She smiles and cuddles her body close, relaxing instantly in my arms.
“We need to talk about what happened today, Dani.”
I probably could have timed it better, but the calm that was rolling down her body like a blanket evaporates the second I open my mouth.
“You don’t have to repeat that shit, baby. I know everything, but we do need to talk about what you think. What you think and what your gut is telling you about these things happening. I don’t fucking like it one bit, and until we figure out who’s behind these threats, I don’t want you leaving my sight.”
She opens her mouth to complain—I’m sure—but I stop her before she has a chance.
“I won’t waver on this, Dani. I just won’t. Not when it comes to you and our child’s safety. You can just think of it as us making up for lost time. Like it our not, I’m your new shadow, baby.”
Her face scrunches up, and I wait for her to speak, my fingers trailing over the soft skin of her back.
“I hate this. I hate feeling powerless and terrified to even look out the window, Cohen.”
“I know you do. But this shit will end. I won’t stop until I find out who has been making you feel like you aren’t safe. I won’t let anyone take you from me.”
We lie there in silence until she speaks again.
“Who do you think is doing this?” she whispers into the darkness.
“I’m not sure, but rest easy that I’ll find out.”
She nods her head against my shoulder and settles in deeper as if her body needs to get as close as possible to feel safe. I feel her stomach press against my side and smile into the darkness.
“A baby, huh?”
“Yeah,” she breathes. “I know we didn’t plan this, but I couldn’t be happier. Knowing that a part of us is cooking away in there gives me the biggest sense of completion I’ve ever felt. It helped me fill the void that your being gone had left, but it wasn’t until I had your arms around me again that I realized how right this feels.”
“My Dani-girl is having my baby.” I let that settle around us before another thought quickly takes its place. “Your father really is going to kick my ass.”