I dialed back my workload significantly and decided to work exclusively from home. Kylie decided to quit modeling and focus on Elijah and her foundation. She helped Avery with her fashion line, and the roommates were at our lake house more often than I wanted them there, but it was because I was still a little selfish; all I wanted was time with Kylie and our son.

Elijah was still tiny but getting stronger every single day. He was so remarkably beautiful. I found myself staring at him all the time, just marveling at the incredible person she and I made. We never did end up having a wedding or a honeymoon, and for a while, it didn’t bother me until it made me crazy.

“I don’t know if I feel comfortable with him having a babysitter. Can’t we just spend Valentine’s Day together at home? Neither of us cares much about the holiday.” Kylie was putting on makeup for the first time in forever

“I promised Greg I’d stop in. It was a year ago that we met at St. Marks, and he has this thing planned. I don’t want to let him down. It will be an hour, in and out.” I tried to get her to rally.

“But it’s like two hours there and back,” she continued to grumble.

“The girls want you to stop by the apartment and say hi, you promised. We’ll be back in time to give Elijah his last bottle, I promise. The babysitter is a registered nurse, we’ve got Dr. Alden on speed dial … and I want to go out and have a drink with you.”

“Why are you so hard to resist?” She stuck her tongue out at me.

“Do that again, and I’ll make more babies with you on the drive into Manhattan,” I playfully threatened.

“Oh, yes, please.” She slapped my ass, and we were off.

We put up the privacy screen and enjoyed the comfort of the U-shaped lounger. We weren’t ready for any more kids for a long time if ever since it would be hard on Kylie to carry another child, but we sure did like trying …



I was a little sore when we arrived at St. Marks after not being in the saddle for so long, but it was good to feel Alec in me again. Since coming home from the hospital, Alec was so afraid he was going to break me. We went really slow … painfully slow with nothing more than fingers and mouths in the limo on the way to Manhattan. I was both exhausted and rejuvenated when we arrived at the bar, but more than that, my love for Alec had bloomed to monumental heights.

We walked into the bar, and Greg greeted us warmly. It was a Thursday night, yet there weren’t many people. Just two tables were occupied, and it was Valentine’s Day; there should have been a few more, I’d think. Poor guy, it seemed that business wasn’t doing very well; maybe that’s why he wanted Alec and me to come out of hiding so that he could get some customers.

“Hey Greg,” Alec greeted him pleasantly, and we all had a nice chat until he and I sat down to order drinks.

Just having a craft beer and a nice conversation was a romantic way to spend Valentine’s. I didn’t want to talk about my foundation or my illness or his work. We could talk about the baby and other stuff, but work was off-limits.

I felt my neck for my necklace as I often did, one, to make sure the most expensive thing I’d ever owned was still on my neck, and two because I loved it. I had stopped wearing the engagement ring he’d bought me, not because I didn’t want to wear it, but rather, I couldn’t find it. I always put the ring on my bedside table with my necklace, and when I woke up one morning last week, it was gone.

“Stop touching it, honey. It’s not going anywhere.” Alec reminded me not to always call attention to the necklace, but I couldn’t help it.

“I just … I’m worried about the ring you gave me. I want to give it back. I swear I put it on the nightstand.” I bit my lip.

“I know you did,” Alec said casually as if losing an expensive diamond engagement ring that wasn’t really an engagement ring was no big thing.

“So why can’t I find it?” It was so frustrating, and then, Alec stood up and bent down on one knee.

I looked down at him and watched as he pulled a ring box out of his pocket. “Um …” I did everything I could not to cry.

“I know you put it on the nightstand because I stole it so I could have Tiffany and Company modify this.” He opened the little blue Tiffany box, “To match your necklace. Kylie, will you do me the honor of being my wife?”

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