When Lizzie felt the baby kick, she grabbed Trent’s hand and pressed it to her abdomen. He didn’t need an explanation as to why, even if he was in the middle of the cooking dinner.
They waited silently, but the baby decided it didn’t want to cooperate.
“She was just kicking me right in the ribs!” Lizzie sighed.
“Maybe he has performance anxiety,” Trent joked as he returned to sautéing the peppers and onions in the saucepan.
Trent had felt the baby kick once so far. For whatever reason, he or she always kicked when Trent was at work, or asleep, or in the shower. And the bigger Lizzie got, the slower she became. She could only waddle-walk so quickly to grab Trent’s hand.
At the moment, Lizzie was sure the baby was a girl, while Trent thought it was a boy. They didn’t know the gender after the gender-reveal ultrasound had resulted in Dr. Lennox smiling and saying that their baby refused to show “his or her bits” to the camera, and as a result, they’d decided to keep the gender a surprise.
“Our child? Performance anxiety? Unlikely.” Lizzie popped an olive into her mouth. She’d been craving all things salty lately, especially Kalamata olives. “I think she’s just being a brat like her father.”
“Me?” Trent raised an eyebrow. “Who’s the one who bought three different bedding sets for the crib because you couldn’t decide?”
Lizzie sniffed, then laughed. “Fine, fine. You can blame me.” Taking the jar of olives with her, she waddled into the living room to sit down, but not before Trent slapped her on the ass. That earned him a mock-glare and a vow of revenge.
It’d been three months since they’d gotten back together and gotten engaged. They’d decided not to move in together until they could find a house, so Lizzie currently still lived with Seth. But she stayed most nights with Trent anyway. She didn’t sleep well away from him.
They’d discussed getting married and having a wedding with all of the trimmings after the baby was born. But more and more, Lizzie didn’t care about the dress and the ceremony and the flowers. And how would she have time to plan for a wedding with a newborn? She wasn’t crazy enough to think she could manage that.
Mostly, she just wanted to be Trent’s wife. And if they wanted a real wedding later on, they could have one.
She and Trent ate dinner—Trent no longer commenting on her eating tacos and Kalamata olives together—before snuggling on the couch together. Lizzie played with his fingers as she thought.
She loved his hands: long, tapered fingers that could be so gentle with her, yet bring her so much pleasure. She shivered inwardly. Yes, she really, really loved his hands, and everything they could do.
She couldn’t wait to see those same hands holding their child.
Right then, the baby rolled. She grabbed Trent’s hand and placed it right above her belly button. And then: a kick. Then a second kick. Then a third.
With each successive kick, his smile widened. When it was over, he kissed her.
“God, I love you,” he said. “And I love this baby.”
She almost pinched him for being so sweet, because she had a tendency to cry at the drop of a hat. But she forced back the tears. She needed to say this.
Sniffling, she said, “Will you marry me, Trent?”
He smiled, a wrinkle forming between his eyebrows. “I thought I already asked you that? Don’t tell me you have amnesia.”
For that, she really pinched him. “I meant: will you marry me this weekend? At the courthouse?”
“What happened to planning a wedding?”
She shook her head. “I just want to be your wife. I don’t care about all of the other stuff. Besides, I’m already pregnant. We totally jumped the gun anyway.”
“True.” He kissed her belly.
“So how about it? Courthouse wedding? Make an honest woman of me?”
When he looked up at her with those blue eyes—the same eyes she’d loved as a teenager and loved even more as an adult—she melted inside. She adored this man. How had she ever gone without him?
“Yes, let’s do it.” He kissed her. “Let’s get married.”
Lizzie arrived at the courthouse with her “bridesmaids”—Sara, Megan, Abby and Jubilee—dressed in her favorite dress and a short-sleeved sweater. She didn’t care that it was cold and raining, or that her hair got wet on the walk inside.
“Aren’t you freezing?” Abby asked in concern when they’d picked up Lizzie. “It’s not even fifty degrees!”
“I’m always hot lately. I love this weather.”
“Good thing you aren’t pregnant during the summer. Good timing on that one," Sara had said.
Lizzie had grinned. “Thanks. Although I think I can blame you and Harrison on the timing. Good job on having a wedding in June.”
“You’re welcome. I think,” Sara had said with a laugh.
When Lizzie and her bridesmaids entered the judge’s office fifteen minutes later, Lizzie only had eyes for Trent. He wore his best suit, and he was so handsome she felt like a teenage girl again, all aflutter. She felt a blush crawl up her cheeks.
Everyone had been able to come to this impromptu ceremony despite the last notice: all of the Thorntons, including Dave and Lisa, and Trent’s siblings Ash and Thea, along with Sara’s son James.
Lizzie caught Seth’s gaze as she walked up the makeshift aisle. He smiled as she stopped in front of him, and he kissed her on the cheek.
“Happy for you, Lizard,” he murmured. “Although it sucks I’ll have to pay the entire rent soon.”
She elbowed him, and he laughed. Trent raised an eyebrow in question, but she only rolled her eyes in response.
“Brothers,” she said as she took Trent’s arm. “Why do we put up with our siblings again?”
“Because you love us,” Thea supplied.
“That’s one way to put it,” said Trent.
Right before the ceremony began, Trent said, “You look beautiful. Aren’t you cold, though?”
“No. And not with you to keep me warm.”
The group quieted when the judge cleared his throat and began speaking. Lizzie said her vows in a voice trembling with unshed tears. It didn’t help that multiple people were wiping their eyes, including Seth, of all people. When Lizzie asked him about it later, he said he’d gotten something in his eye.
“Do you promise to love and cherish this man, until death do you part?” the judge intoned.
Lizzie squeezed Trent’s hands. “I do.”
“And Trent, do you promise to love and cherish this woman, until death do you part?”
Trent’s gaze never wavered from hers. “I do.”
They exchanged rings, and then Lizzie was hauled into Trent’s arms and kissed soundly as their mutual family clapped. Laughing and breathless, Lizzie laughed harder when the baby kicked her in what she thought was her kidney.
“I think she approves.” She winced. “Dang, she’s really kicking now.”
Trent rubbed her belly. “Behave yourself, baby. We have a reception to go to.”
The reception was more of a get-together at La Bonita, where everyone ate, drank (except for Lizzie, who definitely missed La Bonita’s amazing sangria) and had a great time. Lisa and Dave stayed for a bit before hugging Lizzie, congratulating her and Trent.
“I’m happy for you, Lizzie,” Dave said before shaking Trent’s hand. “You take care of her, young man.”
“Of course. And if I don’t, she’ll let me know.”
Lizzie stuck out her tongue, but then Trent kissed her. They were so obnoxiously happy that Seth made sure to tease them about it all evening, making gagging motions every so often.
When Lizzie and Trent returned to his apartment later that night, Lizzie was too energized to sleep. And seeing her new husband in that suit had only made her want him even more than usual.
She smiled as she began to undo his tie. “My husband is so handsome. When I saw you standing there, I could barely stop myself from jumping you right then.”
He grinned. “Have I mentioned how much I love the second trimester?”
“Maybe once or twice.”
Her hormones on overdrive, Lizzie had been more amorous than usual, wanting Trent with a desperation only matched by him. They sometimes made love twice or even three times a day, especially when Trent left work early. Lizzie only hoped she wouldn’t get so uncomfortable in the next three months that sex would lose its appeal.
Then again, Trent made her mouth water no matter what. Especially as she began to unbutton his dress shirt and reached under the waistband of his trousers to pull out his shirt and undershirt. She raked her nails down his abdomen, eliciting a shiver from him.
He nipped at her shoulder. “I thought you’d be too tired tonight.”
“I’m dying for you. And I want these pants off.”
Laughing, he helped her unbuckle his belt, but his laughter melted away when she reached inside and found her prize. Already half-hard, he lengthened in her grasp. She licked at his bottom lip as she gripped his cock with an expert touch.
“Goddamn, you drive me crazy. My wife.” He said the word wife with reverence.
Lizzie’s heart thrilled.
He let her touch him for a few moments longer before his patience snapped. Stripping out of the rest of their clothes, they tumbled onto the bed. Trent ran his hands down her body, luxuriating in her swollen breasts, her fertile curves. He kissed the apex of her bump before moving downward. Pressing her legs apart, he growled at finding her wet and soaking already.
It only took a few strokes of his tongue against her swollen core to send Lizzie into her orgasm. Her belly clenched, and then she unraveled, crying out into the darkness of the room. Trent hummed, swirling his tongue around her swollen clit; Lizzie’s legs trembled, and she bucked against him.
“You’re so damn beautiful,” he rumbled.
When he gently flipped her onto her side, she didn’t have to be told how he wanted her. Moving to her knees, she grabbed a pillow to rest on, her ass up in the air. She trembled as she felt Trent brush down her sides before spanking her ass.
She laughed. “What was that for?”
“Because I can’t stop wanting you.” He sounded both amused and chagrined; it only increased her arousal, knowing how much he wanted her.
When he pushed inside her, filling her in one thrust, she buried her face in the pillow. It only barely muffled her moans. Trent gripped her hips as he surged inside her swollen sex, his cock rubbing her in just the right spot as he thrust. She moved with him, her growing release making her clench the sheets until her knuckles were white.
“You feel amazing. And now you’re my wife.” Trent moved faster, their bodies slapping together with each push of his cock inside her. “My beautiful, talented wife.”
She gasped and moaned at the same time. When he began to rub her clit in relentless circles, she squealed. She came hard, collapsing forward, but he held her upright as he found his own release with a shout. His fingers dug into her hips, and the smell of sweat and sex made her dizzy.
After they cleaned up and lay together in bed, Lizzie yawned so widely that Trent laughed at her.
“Did I tire you out?” he teased, kissing her shoulder as they spooned.
“Don’t flatter yourself. I’m always tired lately.”
“Liar. Didn’t you just say that you were too buzzed to sleep?”
“Your memory is obnoxious, you know that, right?”
That just earned her a bite on her neck, and if she didn’t have a belly, she would’ve pinned him to the bed and had her revenge.
Now, though, she wanted to sleep. She snuggled down into his arms.
“I love you, Lizzie. My wife. Soon-to-be mother of our child.”
She smiled before yawning again. “I guess you’re okay,” she responded with a pat on his chest.
He muttered something about brats, which only made her giggle.
Before they both fell asleep, she whispered the words that, at one time, had terrified her. Now, she knew that they had set her free.