‘So? What do you think of your new house?’
‘It’s perfect,’ I said, cuddling close to Julian in an embrace. He put his strong arms around me, as to shield me permanently from the rest of the world. Being close to him felt so safe, so at ease.
‘You’re going to stay with me, aren’t you?’
‘As long as you want, Cathy.’
‘You know… we never did get to go on that date,’ he then smiled, grabbing my hand. I chuckled.
‘You’re right. Something kept getting in the way every time… but there’s nothing holding us back now.’
His eyes lit up like those of a puppy presented with a treat. It was adorable and made my heart melt.
‘What do you say we go on that date right now?’ he asked.
As a response, I leaned in and gently kissed his lips.
‘I would love to.’
‘Good,’ Julian muttered, kissing me back. We spent a few more moments with our eyes closed, before I finally stepped back.
‘Why do I get the feeling I won’t get rid of you anymore after this?’ I joked.
He put his arms around me again and lifted me up from the ground, carrying my full weight with his body.
‘Because you won’t. I’m going to stay with you always, Cathy.’
-Eight years later-
Julian turned off the stereo and interrupted his training to look at his oldest son. His raven black hair bounced in all directions as he came running from the front yard, to stop right in front of him.
‘What is it, Thomas?’
‘Daddy, look! Look! I taught Pooch a new trick!’
The tiny grey-white dog came strollig behind Thomas, much more at his own pace and immune for the state of excitement his little master was in.
‘Okay, Pooch, sit!’
Pooch looked at Thomas with a question mark on his face.
‘Aww, he could do it just a few minutes ago…’ Thomas sighed, disappointed. Julian grinned.
‘Just keep trying, Tommy. I’m sure you can teach him how to do it if you keep trying.’
The smile on my boy’s face returned right away.
‘Okay, daddy! He grinned. ‘I’m going to try again!’
‘That’s my boy.’
Thomas turned around and ran outside again, together with Pooch. Our second child, Natalia, giggled at him from the sidelines. She was still a toddler and couldn’t speak too well yet, but she adored her brother more than anything else in her still so tiny world.
I saw Julian head in my direction and got up from the chair I was sitting in.
‘They’re both growing so fast, aren’t they,’ Julian muttered.
‘Yes, they are.’
‘I remember Tommy being so small he fit into the palm of my hand…’
‘Yes, and because of that you were so scared to hurt him that you didn’t dare to hold him for the first three days,’ I joked.
‘I have big hands!’ he said, quasi-offended. ‘You were so fragile I thought you’d break too, the first time we-‘
‘Shh. Not in front of the children.’
He came closer to me, with a sly and inviting smile.
‘I’ve been a pretty decent partner up until now, though, yes? You have to admit that.’
‘Don’t flatter yourself,’ I laughed. A few meters away, Thomas came back in through the front door again and sat himself next to his little sister.
‘Honestly, though, Cathy…’ he said, all of a sudden becoming serious. ‘I want to be the best I can for you. I don’t ever want to see you hurt again. That’s what I promised when I married you, and I plan on keeping that promise until the day I die.
So… are you happy?’
I found out I was pregnant shortly after our honeymoon. Both Julian and me were very excited by it, although the pregnancy itself had been quite rough on me.
What came after almost nine months of waiting, was a tiny, perfect little boy we decided to name Thomas. He was so helpless, fragile and at the same time so demanding that, especially the first few months, we were shocked to find out how much work a tiny baby could be.
We also knew that we wanted another one.
Thomas inherited my skin colour, but his father’s big, dark eyes and raven hair. He found out about the effect his eyes had quickly, and from that moment on the little toddler enchanted every passer-by into giving him sweets. A dangerous habit we had to get rid of quickly.
Natalia came not long after that, and with that we decided that our little family was perfect. Well, almost. We can’t forget little Pooch, of course.
Now many years had passed, and many were still to come. Natalia was a happy toddler, still ignorant of the happenings around her but already with the promise to be a stunning beauty when she grows up.
Thomas had many of his father’s playful characteristics, together with his happy-go-lucky attitude. He was my pride and joy, and I knew he would grow up to be a heart-breaker someday.
The two got along famously, and even when we went to playgrounds our Tommy was always watching over Natalia as if to protect her.
‘Cathy…?’ Julian asked, nervous because I had been silent for so long. I took a long gaze into his eyes, who had gotten so familiar over the years. Then I looked at the children next to me. My darling, sweet, perfect two children.
I said the line slowly and filled with emotion, before kissing him passionately on his lips.
‘There is no scene that could make me happier than this.’