I can’t believe in a few short days we’ll be welcoming our first child together. Who would’ve thought my little trip to a local London pub would’ve decided my future. Well, if we’re being honest here, you did, especially when you asked me to marry you after only knowing me for a few days. You, with all your British charm and disheveled, dirty-hot good looks, convinced this uptight girl to take a risk. It was and still is the greatest and best risk of my life.
People say passion fades over time, but that will never be true for us. I want you as much as I did the day we met, if not more.
Thank you for standing by me when things got tough and for encouraging me to be the badass you knew I could be. Without you, I’d never have turned out to be the strong woman I am today.
But more than my gratitude for all you’ve done to support me, I’m forever grateful to be starting our little family together. You are going to be an amazing dad. Whenever I think about it, my heart swells with joy. It takes my breath away to picture you holding our beautiful baby and knowing you will always be here to protect us.
Someday when we’re old and gray, we’ll look back on this day and remember how much it meant to us and how much it meant to me to have you by my side. There is no one else in the world I would want to be on this journey with than you. You were never just a checkmark on my bucket list, you are my bucket list. Everything in life I want to experience with you. You are the love of my life, my best friend and my soulmate. I’m so glad I walked into your empty bar and tossed my inhibitions to the side or we wouldn’t be here right now.
I love you!
Love your sweet girl,
PS…we might have to thank Julia since she’s the one who forced me to take the day off. 😉
I re-read the letter for what feels like the hundredth time. It’s the letter Ava gave me only a couple of days ago, right before her water broke and our daughter decided to surprise us with her slightly earlier than expected entrance into the world.
I hadn’t really taken in everything she’d written at the time, too excited and nervous about what was happening. But in the days since, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read it.
We’d come home from the hospital yesterday. I say we, because of course I haven’t left her side ever since this all started, not wanting to miss a single moment.
And as I sit here now, Ava sleeping beside me and our daughter in my arms, I can’t help but feel the same overwhelming surge of love and happiness and just complete and utter fucking amazement at everything I now have, every time I look at the two of them. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more in love or more content in my entire life.
“She sleeping?” Ava murmurs from beside me.
I brush a finger over our daughter’s jet black hair, grateful she did end up with Ava’s hair like I’d hoped. “She is. I thought you were too,” I whisper, glancing at my wife, who lays on the bed beside me.
“I was, but I’m awake now,” she says, blinking her eyes open as she sits up beside me, her head resting on my shoulder.
I lean over and brush a kiss against her hair as I ask, “Can I get you anything?”
“I’m good,” she replies, shaking her head. “You want me to take her for a bit?”
Smiling, I turn back to our baby. “I’m good.”
“Softy,” Ava teases, poking me in the side.
I chuckle. “I just can’t stop looking at her. She’s so fucking beautiful, just like you.”
“And she’s going to have a total potty mouth just like you if you keep talking like that in front of her.”
Laughing, I press another kiss to Ava’s head. “Yeah, probably. But I’m pretty sure she’ll get away with it.”
Ava lifts her hand, gently brushing a finger against our daughter’s cheek. She’s still so tiny, but I can already tell she’s strong and not just from the way she grips my finger as she sleeps.
“You know, we’re going to have to give her a name soon,” Ava says, lifting her head as her eyes meet mine.
“I know,” I tell her. “I just wanted to see what she looked like first, you know. See what suits her.”
Ava smiles, because this is a conversation we had almost weekly over the past nine months. Which is not to say we haven’t narrowed it down to some possibilities, I just always wanted to wait and see before we decided. I’ve already got Oliver lined up to give me the tattoo as soon as we do decide, but we’re still working it out.
“And? Are you any closer to knowing?”
“Well it’s definitely none of V’s suggestions. I’m blaming your and Julia’s Hollywood connection for her obsession with movie character names, by the way. And as much as I love the Alien movies, we are not calling our daughter Ripley.”
“Oh I don’t know, I think it’s kinda cool actually,” Ava says with a smile. “And I mean she is the original female action hero, so that’s not a bad person to be named after.”
I glance down at Ava, surprised at her reaction. “You like it?” I ask.
She shrugs. “Yeah, maybe,” she says, her eyes still on our daughter.
Laughing, I shake my head. “Fuck, all I think of when I consider Ripley is those face sucker things and then a fucking alien jumping out of someone’s stomach.”
“Lewis!” Ava says, slapping my thigh as she pretends to scold me.
I lean in and press a kiss to her lips. “Sorry, beautiful, but don’t worry, she’s sleeping, she can’t hear me.”
“Uh huh,” Ava murmurs. “And that’s why you spent all that time talking to her when I was pregnant, was it?”
I laugh, knowing she’s got me there. “Okay, okay, you win. I’ll try not to drop too many f bombs in front of her.”
Now it’s Ava laughing, shaking her head a little as she says, “Good luck with that.”
Smirking, I give her another kiss. “Okay, so names then. Do you really like Ripley?” As if on cue, our daughter stirs in my arms, her eyes slowly blinking awake as she looks up at us. I can’t resist smiling at her, my thumb brushing over the knuckles of her tiny little fist that is still wrapped around my finger.
“Seems like she might like it,” Ava says, sitting up a little more as she reaches for her.
“Pretty sure it’s boob she likes and wants right now, babe,” I say, settling her in Ava’s arms. “And I can’t say I blame her, either.”
Ava laughs as she settles our daughter against her chest. I wrap an arm around Ava’s shoulders, holding my two girls close.
“Well, we can’t do anything officially until tomorrow,” she says, her fingers brushing at the soft black hair. “So let’s sleep on it and see how we feel in the morning. In the meantime,” she says, glancing up at me. “What are we going to do about V?”
“What do you mean?” I ask.
Ava rolls her eyes, hitting me with a smirk. “Oh my god, Lewis, really?”
“V and Ed.”
“Ed as in Ed who works in the bar?”
“Yes, that Ed,” Ava says with a nod.
“What about them?” I ask, still confused.
Ava laughs, shaking a head as she says, “Um V and Ed and the huge crush they have on each other. Seriously, how have you not noticed this?”
“V fancies Ed?” I clarify.
“Yes,” she says, still laughing. “And he really fancies her too.”
“Fuck,” I breathe out, chuckling as Ava slaps my thigh again. “Okay, so I had no idea about this, but shit, we gotta do something.”
“Something subtle,” Ava says, hitting me with a look. “None of the sledgehammer approach you normally employ.”
Chuckling, I pull her close for a kiss. “It worked with you, didn’t it?” I whisper against her lips.
“Yes, it did,” she replies, kissing me back. “But V, she’s a little more stubborn, so the second she knows we’re trying to do something, she’s going to resist.”
“Ahhh,” I say, my eyes widening as a huge grin stretches across my face. “The whole reverse psychology thing, right. Shit, this is gonna be fun.”
Ava rolls her eyes again, biting her bottom lip as she tries to stop the laugh. “I have a feeling I might regret this,” she says.
Smirking, I pick up the letter from the nightstand, waving it at her as I say, “Ah pretty sure I have written evidence to the contrary, babe.”
Ava waves a hand in dismissal. “Fine, fine, but listen, how about we try this my way first.”
I raise a brow. “I see and what do I get in return?”
Ava’s glance flicks down to our daughter before returning to mine. “How about naming rights?” she suggests with a smile.
Smiling, I lean in to kiss her lips. “Okay, you’ve got yourself a deal, babe.” I kiss her again, before whispering, “I love you so fucking much. Thank you, Ava. For everything.”