Note: This was previously featured on Shh Mom's Reading for Valentine's Day a couple years ago. It was essential that I include it in the story after that last chapter. ;)
This was the first Valentine’s in what felt like years that I’ve been with somebody, more specifically someone I planned to marry, but because of our different job obligations, I would be spending it alone. Today, in between working and running errands—a doctor’s appointment, lunch with my friend Ashley, and stopping by my gram’s place for an early dinner—I had constantly reminded myself how grateful I am to be doing what I love to do for a living. Still … coming home to an empty house with a handful of tearjerkers from the Walgreen’s Redbox does make me reevaluate the way I’ll schedule wardrobe assignments in the future.
Especially since I would be taking a lot of time off of work in several months.
I drag in a cleansing breath to flush down the sudden wave of anxiety that hits me. Even though my mom has continued to be scarce, I’ve been overwhelmed a lot here lately, and I’ve found that stopping to take a breath almost instantly makes me feel better.
“Everything will be fine,” I tell myself sternly as I shut off the engine to my sedan. I grab the DVDs, a vase of flowers, and my bag and get out of the car. “Everything will be okay.”
But the moment I unlock the front door and step inside the home Lucas had purchased last year, I’m met with the sound of rock music blasting through the giant house. The upstairs light is on, casting a muted glow over the foyer, and across from where I’m standing, I can tell that the alarm system has been deactivated. My heart flies into my throat, and I take a step backward onto the brick porch behind me.
Someone is here.
Despite my already full hands, I’m reaching for my phone, keys and pepper spray when a familiar voice yells out to me. “It’s just me! No calling the cops, okay? No time for that tonight, Red—I’m cutting it too close.”
Lucas. I start to let out a sigh of relief, but then, just to be sure, I poke my head through the doorway and call his name loudly.
“Relax, and get your beautiful ass back here.” His confirmation puts a complete halt to the fear spiraling through me, replacing it with curiosity. What the hell is he doing here? Your Toxic Sequel has a show in San Diego tonight. When I spoke to him earlier this morning, there had been absolutely no mention of him coming to Nashville. I’m definitely not complaining, but I can’t help but wonder what changed in the last several hours.
But again … I’m so not going to complain. Not when he’s here and only mere feet away from me instead of hours. I haven’t seen him in ten days.
Walking inside, I close the door behind me with the heel of my ankle boot. After I place my flowers, keys and bag on the foyer table, and hang the pea coat that refuses to button quite right in the front closet, I stop and sniff the air.
Flowers. And from the scent of it, lots of them.
“Don’t believe in Valentine’s Day, my ass,” I say breathlessly, repeating the words he had cockily stated to me a week ago when we chatted via Skype. So far, he’s sent me letters, flowers to my lunch date with Ashley, and now this. “You’ve clearly outdone yourself, Wolfe.”
As I walk through the foyer and down the hall toward the sound of a rock cover of “Love Song”, I try to identify each individual scent. Roses. Lilies. There’s another that I can’t put my finger on, but I know I’ll find out what it is any moment now. Fully prepared for the floralpocalypse, I turn the corner and go into the dining room.
The lights are dimmed to the lowest setting, but he’s lit candles of varying sizes, placing some on the floor and a few on the dining room table. In the center of the table is a small box from a Los Angeles-based chocolatier that I’ve always been addicted to and a colorful array of flowers—at least a few dozen.
It’s one of those sights that would make any sane person’s heart skip a beat or two.
“Holy shit, Lucas,” I whisper. I lean against the doorway, breathing in and out for a moment as I scan the room for the rock star himself.
He’s nowhere in sight, but now I can hear his singing—a low and amazingly delicious growl—coming from the pantry that connects the kitchen and dining room. “What happened to San Diego?” I ask loudly enough for him to hear me. His song ends abruptly, and I can almost picture the sexy, animalistic grin that follows.
“Time zones, remember? San Diego’s not happening for another six hours.” Something inside the pantry clangs to the floor, and I cringe and take a few tentative steps further inside the dining room. “This was our first Valentine’s Day together, Red. There was no fucking way I was going to spend it away from you.”
Ah. Well that makes sense. And it also makes him being here right now even that more incredible and romantic. He didn’t come to me because of a cancelled show, but because he needed to see me before the show.
“I was going to—” But I cut myself off. Somehow, I think telling him I planned on spending the night with Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams seems kind of lame. “I’m glad you came, Lucas. Really … you have no idea.”
Crossing my arms over my chest, I walk over to the table and slide onto one of the plush chairs. I lean forward, inhaling one of the bouquets sitting on top of the salvaged wood table and studying the beautiful, vivid arrangement of red, pinks and purple. Orchids. The smell I couldn’t place a few minutes ago was orchid.
“This is really—” My breath catches when he comes out of the pantry. He looks casual in a crew neck tee shirt that shows off his tattooed arms and jeans and boots. The corners of his hazel eyes crinkle as he smiles at me – a look that tells me he knows just how much he’s affecting me right now. The thing is, I don’t think there will ever be a moment when Lucas Wolfe doesn’t affect me. I’ve been attracted to him since the moment I first laid eyes on him, and even now, three years later, I’m still utterly stunned.
Only now, it makes me a lot more emotional than it had on the set of one of his music videos.
I press the tips of my fingers to the corners of my eyes so the waterworks won’t start. “What happened to not celebrating Valentine’s Day?” I tease, scooting my chair back to stand up. I meet him halfway, and he reaches around me expertly to place whatever it is he’s holding on the table right next to the box of chocolates.
“Did you really believe that shit?” His hand finds my hip. He gives me a gentle tug toward him, and I swallow hard as my body brushes up against his. “I’m not a big fan of Christmas either, but when you’re around …” He strokes his fingertips up my side until he’s cupping my breast. A jolt of electricity speeds through me and I shiver. Pleased with my reaction, he continues, “Let’s just say everything takes on a new meaning. You understand that, don’t you?”
Nodding, I release a strained noise from the back of my throat. “Keep saying things like that and you will not be going back to San Diego tonight.”
“You think that’s a bad thing, Si.” He slides his strong hands down the small of my back until he’s cupping my ass and bends his head forward until his shaggy dark hair falls over my face. “But they’re expecting me back.” He gives me a regretful smile.
“Hot,” I tease as he lets go of me and reaches onto the table. “Lucas-Fucking-Wolfe following rules.”
He buries his mouth into the crook of my neck, placing hot, urgent kisses along my skin. Dear god.
“I’ve got no control when it comes to you, Sienna,” he growls against my collarbone. “So don’t think I won’t break a rule and take you back with me.”
“Work,” I remind him.
“You can come dress me anytime, Red.” But with those words, he pulls himself away from me and takes a few steps back. Once there’s a reasonable amount of space between us, he holds out a small scarlet-colored box. “Happy Valentine’s Day.”
When I don’t immediately take it, twisting my lips to the side anxiously, he cocks an eyebrow. “You’re not doing this again, are you, Red?”
“I sent your gift to your hotel in San Diego,” I explain.
“I’ve already got it.” He grins self-assuredly, even though I know for a fact he probably didn’t receive it before he boarded the flight to come here. Closing some of the space between us, he wraps my fingers around the box, giving them a little squeeze. “You’ve already given me more than I ever imagined. Now, open the gift.”
I open it slowly, hesitantly, sliding my fingers beneath the tape and tugging it off the cardboard. When I take the lid off and pull the thin sheet of cotton aside, I find a sleek black key fob. I flip it over and gasp.
“A Land Rover?” I demand.
Nodding slowly, he says, “An LR4. They’re detailing it tonight, but it’ll be dropped off—”
I shake my head. When Lucas had tried to buy me a car at Christmas, I’d refused. I hadn’t expected him to try again so soon. “Lucas, I can’t— This is too—”
Now it’s his turn to cut me off. “Don’t ruin our first real Valentine’s Day, Sienna,” he orders. He pulls me close to him, silencing my protests with his full lips. Once I’m breathless and dizzy, he ends the kiss, tracing the tip of his tongue along my lips before leaning back to give me a serious look. “You’re going to be my wife. Get used to this.”
Releasing a long exhale, I tilt my head to the side, sending my long red hair tumbling over one of my shoulders. “Not to sound ungrateful, but this is a lot, Lucas.”
He shrugs my words off. “And not to sound like a fucking tool, but it’s got a good safety rating. With a kid it—”
The second he says the word kid—in a voice that’s full of awe and acceptance—I feel my face ignite. Before I can say a word, he jerks his head forward in acknowledgment. “I know this isn’t the way you wanted to do things, but this is the happiest I’ve ever fucking been.” His hands skim across the soft cotton of my shirt over my stomach. “I don’t know what kind of dad I’ll be, Sienna. I’ve been known to be selfish, and a lot of other things, but I do know I love you. That I love anything that comes from you, from us.”
“Okay … how do you know already?” I ask, trying to keep my voice level. I had realized I was pregnant three weeks ago, but my appointment today had confirmed that. I’m terrified—who wouldn’t be?—but I’m also … the happiest I’ve ever been.
He cups my face and smiles at me. This gentle side of Lucas is the one that always make my knees buckle, my pulse speed up, and I wrap my arms around his broad shoulders and hold on to him tight. “I know you, Red,” he explains but then his look turns sheepish. “And you mentioned it in your sleep.”
Sneaky asshole. But I can’t help but smile. “I was going to tell you on your birthday.” I’m having a baby. With the man I love. Wow. “Surprise,” I say in a small voice. “And happy Valentine’s Day.”
“I love surprises.” He slides his thumb over my lips and stares down at me like I’m the only woman he’s ever known. “Happy Valentine’s Day, Sienna. I love you, Red.”