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Cora giggled.

“One day,” I said softly. “They’re going to break my heart like their big sister did today.”

Cora pinched me softly on the side. “Hush your mouth. We still have years for that to happen.”

“That’s what I thought, too,” I admitted. “I don’t even remember the last time I picked her up…it was like one day, she was a big girl and didn’t need me anymore.”

“And then she’s having babies of her own,” Gabe said from the doorway.

I looked at him, and something passed between us. Something profound—huge.

As father-in-laws went, Gabe was a good one. Like my first father-in-law, Gabe was around a lot. He was very present in our lives and came over once a week for a family dinner. We went to their place at least once a week as well.

“Saw some construction going on…” Gabe started.

“Mom! Come look at the new chicken that just hatched today!” Cora cried suddenly, remembering the ‘construction’ that Gabe was inferring to.

Ember snickered at the look on my face and then decided to leave before I started cursing.

When she and Cora had disappeared outside, Gabe came up to my side and leaned against the counter next to me.

“More chickens?” he asked.

I nodded, groaning. “More chickens.”

“You’re so screwed.”

I was.

I was also a sucker.

All Cora had to do was bat those eyes at me and I was a goner.

“I may not have approved of you in the beginning,” he said softly. “But seeing her this happy makes my heart happy. You’re good for her.”

Cora came back with a baby chick in her hands moments later and walked to her father and held it up for his inspection.

He held his hand out, and the little thing curled up and laid his head down right there in the palm of his hand.

Cora giggled, and then came to my side.

I looped my arm around her and dropped a kiss to her forehead. “I think your dad needs that one for his birthday next month.”

Gabe snorted. “You wish.”

I smiled. “Just wait, old man. It’s coming. I’ll buy you a coop and everything.”

“Negative,” he denied.

A month and three days later, Gabe got a chicken for his birthday.

And he actually liked it.


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