I slip through the crowded living room, smiling at the many friends and family that have gathered for Felix’s Super Bowl party. And by Super Bowl party I don’t mean the typical party hosted to watch the final playoff game, I mean a party to celebrate my amazing husband winning the damn thing.
Three years he’s been grinding, working harder than anyone else I know, and he did it. He led his team to a championship.
Stella stops me with a gentle grasp around my wrist.
“Hey.” She rests her other hand on her bump. It’s more like a ledge at this point. She’s all belly. “I loooove this dress. Is it one of yours?”
“No.” I shake my head. “Violet sent this. You like?”
“I love. I’m totally borrowing it in a few months.” Her eyes widen in delight and then she grimaces and rubs her stomach.
“How are you holding up?” Stella is two weeks overdue with her and Beau’s first baby. It was an ongoing joke through the end of the season that she’d probably go into labor during the game last week. Thankfully that didn’t happen. But every day since then she’s gotten more miserable that this baby is not budging.
Before she can answer, Holly walks up and gives her sister a reprimanding look. “I told you to sit down. You shouldn’t be on your feet.”
“I’m tired of sitting,” Stella complains. “And this little one doesn’t seem to like it either because he won’t stop kicking me unless I stand.”
Holly’s expression softens and she places a hand on her sister’s stomach. “Maybe you have a punter in there.”
“Or a diver,” I add. “He’s swimming around in there practicing.”
That makes Stella smile. Over the years I’ve become really close with Felix’s sisters. Stella especially, since we live in the same town and our husbands are on the same team. But Teddy and Felix are still the best of friends, so we see him and Holly any chance we can.
“Have either of you seen your brother?” I ask. “I think it’s time to break out the cake.”
Holly shakes her head. “No, but I saw a bunch of the guys head out back to smoke cigars.”
Stella makes a gagging noise. “I hope Beau isn’t with them.”
I glance toward the back patio. It’s not that far away, but there are a lot of people between me and the door.
“I’ll round up the guys,” Holly says.
“Thank you. I’m going to check on Lily.” I make a hasty exit (or as hasty as I can weaving through the guests in my house) and head upstairs.
Every step brings me a little more peace. I’m so proud of Felix. I was even the one to suggest the party so he could celebrate this huge achievement with all the people who love him, but parties still take a lot out of me. A few minutes by myself and I’ll be recharged.
At the end of the hall, I pause inside the doorway leading to my daughter’s room.
Felix looks up from where he sits in the rocking chair, holding Lily against his chest. Seeing them together makes my heart swell in my chest.
“Hey,” he says softly.
“Hey, yourself.” I walk into the room to get a better look at our daughter. She’s six months old today. Dark hair like her dad’s and those same stormy blue eyes. “Is everything okay?”
“Yeah, I just missed her.” His grin is a little sheepish. “I hate that I’ve been gone so much the past few months. She’s grown so much already.”
She squirms against his broad chest. His dress shirt is wrinkled where her little body has been resting. I take her gently from him so I don’t wake her, and place her back in the crib. Then I come back to sit on Felix’s lap. His arms come up around me and hold me close.
“You’re here now. That’s all that matters.”
His lips sweep over mine. We both linger there a moment. His touch still does funny things to my insides.
“What are you doing up here?” he asks.
“Checking on Lily.”
He gives me a knowing smirk.
“And getting a few minutes of quiet.”
His smile widens. “Hiding out, huh?”
“There are a lot of big, burly dudes in our house. It’s a little intimidating.”
His soft chuckle shakes his upper body. “They’re all a bunch of softies.”
I rest my head against his shoulder and look up at him. He still looks like the boy I fell in love with, but his body is bigger and the cut of his jaw a little more pronounced. “I’m really proud of you.”
“Couldn’t have done it without you, hot stuff.”
I huff a laugh.
“I’m serious.” His grip around me tightens. “Knowing that you’ve got my back, that you’ll support me no matter what, that you and Lily will love me regardless of the outcome, it’s this surreal, amazing thing. All I do is go to work every day. My job is easy. You’re here taking care of everything else and still somehow finding time to design and keep your own goals afloat. It’s inspiring and it pushes me to work harder. I’m only my best on the field because of my teammates. And by teammates, I mean you and Lily. Team Walters for life.”
I smile up at this stunning, incredible man who owns my entire heart. “Team Walters for life.”