Big girls do it pregnant, p.15
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       Big Girls Do It Pregnant, p.15

         Part #10 of Big Girls Do It series by Jasinda Wilder
 
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  When I opened my eyes, Jeff was awake, watching me with love shining in his eyes. I smiled at him over the top of Niall's head. I set Niall down in her crib in our room, covered her with a blanket, and stood over her, watching to see if she stirred. When I was content that she wasn't going to wake up, I went back into the living room and lay down to slide into Jeff's waiting embrace on the couch. He curled his arms around me and pillowed my head on the crook of his arm. Neither of us spoke for long minutes, content to bask in the glow of being home together.

  "I'm finally home," I whispered.

  "You're finally home," Jeff murmured in my ear, then nuzzled the hollow of my neck with kisses until I giggled.

  His lips trailed kisses around to the base of my throat and upward, planting a blaze of heat deep inside me. My doctor had told me I should wait six to eight weeks before resuming sexual activity, but followed that up by saying that as long as I'd stopped bleeding it should be fine, but that he should be gentle. I hadn't told Jeff this, though.

  He slid kisses further along my throat to my jaw, then across to my lips, and then we were lost in each other. Of all the kisses I'd ever shared with Jeff, I think that one, lying on our couch with our newborn babies nearby, was the sweetest, most desperate. I'd barely seen Jeff in the previous two and half weeks of Caleb's stay in the NICU, and kisses had been the last thing on our mind in the days leading up to and immediately after giving birth. I kissed him like I'd lost him and then found him again. I kissed him as if I'd been starved of his breath, as if I was drowning and he was my air. I delved into the kiss, lost myself in it. I caressed his face, ran my fingers through his messy hair, rubbed my palms on his jaw, and relished the feel of his stubble under my skin. I breathed a sigh of joyful relief at the wondrous feel of his hands arcing down my spine, at the power of his arms as they cradled me close, at the heady intoxication of his tongue against mine.

  He pulled away, leaving us both breathless. "I'm gonna get carried away," he whispered.

  "What if that's what I wanted?"

  He gave me a puzzled look. "I thought we couldn't for, like, two more months?"

  I grinned at him. "I had a C-section. Different rules." I slid against him, insinuating my body into his, pressing my curves into his hardness.

  "Oh?" He let his hands wander down my sides to grip my hips and pull me harder against him. "What are the rules, then?"

  "As long as I've stopped bleeding, it's fine. You just have to be gentle." I pushed my hands up under his T-shirt to roam his firm stomach and the hard slabs of muscle on his chest. "I stopped bleeding three days ago."

  Jeff stared at me, as if assessing my words. "You're sure? I couldn't stand it if I hurt you."

  "Just...go slow and gentle, okay?" I angled my body away to push his gym shorts down, freeing his still-swelling erection.

  I took his shaft in my hands and caressed him into diamond hardness, and I didn't stop there. I slid my fist around him, toying with him, enjoying the slide of silk around steel, the familiar beauty of his manhood and the way it fit perfectly in my hands. I felt heat welling up inside me, burgeoning into roiling pressure as Jeff's hands found bare skin, pushed away my yoga pants--carefully avoiding my belly and the healing stitches. He delved downward, achingly slow, delicate and tender. The slowness was delicious, building the need inside me to an inferno. He didn't stroke and circle my folds with his customary sureness. No, this time, he explored me with an almost virginal hesitancy, and I delighted in each exploratory touch, each slow swipe.

  He knew me too well, though. He still knew how to read my reactions, gauging each gasp and each sigh.

  As he worked me gradually into a feverish pitch of need, I did the same to him, caressing his length with my fingers, stroking him with both fists, rubbing his turgid tip with my thumb, tracing the swollen veins and rimming the hollow groove beneath his head with an index finger. Touching him, relearning him, loving him with my hands.

  "We have to put one on," I whispered.

  He didn't answer; he just reached out to the coffee table a few feet away, slid open the narrow drawer, and withdrew a string of condoms, ripping one free with dextrous fingers. We'd kept some there forever, from when we were merely enjoying each other and not "not trying" to get pregnant. We didn't use them often, but we kept them on hand. Now I was glad we had.

  He rolled it on and we shifted on the couch, Jeff's spine against the back of the sofa, me facing him. I spread my leg over both of his and held my breath as he guided himself into me. He stopped when I gasped in surprise at the way he stretched me, holding still until I opened my eyes and resumed breathing. He waited, watching me. I let myself adjust to him, my hands clutching his shoulder and the nape of his neck, my forehead against his. Our eyes locked, and I slowly swiveled my hips to slide him into me, my gaze never wavering from his. It was almost like being a virgin again, tightly stretched, a slightly unpleasant pinch that quickly faded into the familiar ecstasy of his thickness filling me. When he was fully immersed in me, I held tight, not moving, just absorbing his heat and hardness.

  Then, with glacial slowness, we began moving, our bodies writhing together in synchronous perfection. He always knew exactly what I needed and was always able to give it to me perfectly. He kissed my neck, my throat, my lips, my shoulder, sliding slowly into me, withdrawing in an achingly tender caress, and then slipping back in again. I could only hold him and gasp, breathe with him, move with him.

  When I came, it wasn't an explosion; I slid slowly and inexorably into climax, like an inrushing tide slipping gradually up the beach, wetting the sand further, inch by inch. I clung to Jeff like a shipwreck survivor clutching a spar, holding on to him and gasping breathlessly, ignoring the twinge and ache of stitches pulling, moving my hips with his, hissing as the crest washed over me, whimpering his name as I was left limp and sated. I held tight still as he came with a soft gasp, his entire body shivering with the effort to keep still and slow rather than plunging into me as I knew he wanted to. He stroked deep, gently, stilled there and bit my shoulder, pulled away and gasped my name.

  And then Caleb began crying. We both laughed, my head falling forward onto Jeff's shoulder. At first, Caleb just whimpered a bit, a thin mew of just-woke-up displeasure. Then, in the time it took me to disentangle myself from Jeff and re-dress, he had launched into a full-fledged arm-flailing wail of anger.

  I unbuckled him from his car seat and lifted him out, cradling him against me, only to realize in a rather messy way why he was crying: He'd blown out his diaper, smearing my hands, arm, and shirt. Jeff laughed, but took Caleb from me and changed him while I cleaned myself off.

  In the process, Niall woke up and added to the cacophony with her own quavering infant cries. Having stripped my shirt off and tossed it into the laundry room, I was left in only my bra as I brought Niall out of her crib, discovering with a certain amount of hilarity that she had blown out, too. So I put her on the changing table vacated only moments ago and changed her as Jeff shook a bottle of Enfamil and screwed a nipple onto it.

  When Niall was changed and dressed again, I plopped down onto the couch next to Jeff, who watched in fascination as I freed one of my breasts from the confines of the bra and tickled Niall's lips with my nipple. She mewed and nuzzled, worked her mouth, cried in frustration, and then latched on with a vengeance, eliciting a gasp of surprise from me. I felt a tug inside my breast as my milk started.

  "That's amazing," Jeff said, watching Niall feed.

  "Yeah, it is," I agreed, then glanced at him with a smirk. "You know it means my breasts will be basically off limits for a while, though, right?"

  He frowned. "Yeah, that's crossed my mind. I'm not super thrilled with it, but it is what it is." He paused to set the bottle down and move Caleb to his shoulder, patting his back gently. "As long as I get them back at some point, I'll be fine."

  "You'll get them back, don't worry," I said, teasing him. "I might let you play with them sometimes. You'll just have to be careful, 'c
ause they're super sensitive."

  Jeff opened his mouth to reply, but Caleb chose that moment to belch so hard he lurched forward on Jeff's shoulder, sending us both into laughter. Jeff cradled Caleb on his back, supporting his neck with one hand. Caleb's eyes rolled around in his head, searching his surroundings, looking shocked by the massive burp that came out of him.

  We passed the day peacefully enough, feeding, changing, burping, and holding the babies, finding a pattern together. It was overwhelming at times, especially when both babies decided to get hungry at the same time, or when they both went apeshit in their diapers together. I also knew the time was coming when Jeff would have to work and I'd be here with them alone, but that was in the future. I held on to the present, clung to the joy of watching the love of my life hold his son, or bounce his daughter in his arms.

  I'd thought I was content before, with Jeff. That feeling of being full of love was blown away by the sheer power of my love for my babies. When I finally lay down that first night in my own bed with my husband next to me and my babies in their cribs a few feet away, I felt a peace and happiness wash over me that defied description or quantification. There was simply no holding it in, no way to express it. I was completely flooded by happiness, so overwhelmed by it that I had to turn my face into Jeff's shoulder and cry.

  He held me, seeming to understand, or maybe he just knew that sometimes women need to cry and there's just no explaining it. They were tears of joy and happiness, yes, but then, once they were loose and flooding down my face, I found myself also crying from the fear and stress and worry of Caleb's stay in the NICU, being so unsure when he'd get to go home. I'd held it all in while I was there, unable to let it out. Now that Caleb was home, I could cut loose and let myself be weak, let myself feel everything.

  Jeff just held me. His arms closed me in, clutched me against him and cradled me, comforted me, soothed me. The storm of tears rocked through me, and Jeff's lips whispered love to me as I wept.

  After an unmeasurable time, the flood stopped and I drifted to sleep, nestled in the nook of Jeff's arm, spent from crying, still filled with a happiness I couldn't even begin to describe.

  The happiness persisted, even when Caleb woke up two hours later, waking up his sister in the process.

  Lying in bed with Caleb suckling at my breast and Jeff feeding Niall a bottle on the other side of me, I thought back to that day so long ago when I'd stumbled out of the Ram's Horn, fleeing uncertain feelings I didn't know how to process for a man I'd just met. My journey had been a convoluted one, that was for sure. I couldn't help wondering where I'd be if I'd decided not to go to the Ram's Horn that day, or if I'd ignored the letter with the plane ticket to New York. Or if I'd stayed in New York and dealt with my fears rather than running from them. Every choice I'd made had led me here, to this moment.

  Did I regret anything?

  No.

  I regretted hurting both Jeff and Chase, in different ways, but that pain had also led us all to this point in time. Chase and Jamie had their own happiness, and I had mine.

  Jamie had texted me earlier in evening that the doctor had finally given her the okay to take Samantha home. She'd promised to come over some time in the next week so we could hold each other's babies and catch up some more before she and Chase drove back to New York.

  My thoughts fell into a jumble of disordered ideas and slow musings, and then Caleb was done and burped and asleep once more, and I cradled my son to my chest, listening to his breathing, to Jeff's and to Niall's, feeling my heart swell with an all-encompassing love for my family.

  My family.

  Once upon a time, I'd given up on ever having a family, on ever having a man love me the way Jeff did.

  Which just goes to show you, life is a strange place, a mirror-maze of twists and turns, an incomprehensible adventure in which heartbreak leads to love, in which mistakes lead to perfection, in which tears dry away and reveal the beauty beneath.

  Such is my experience, anyway.

  THE END.

  Continue reading for an excerpt from the spinoff series Big Love Abroad

  Featuring Ian from Rock Stars Do It Dirty

  I clutched the armrests of my seat, staring fixedly out the window to the wet tarmac below. I had my headphones on, Bjork playing loud enough to drown out everything else. My breathing was erratic, and I was sweating; we hadn't even finished boarding yet, and I was in the middle of a full-blown panic attack. My black hair was frizzing out from the side of my face and sticking to my forehead, sweat pulling it out of its normally tight ponytail. I hated flying. Hated. I'd been on a flight several years back that had gone through such violent turbulence more than half of the passengers had been vomiting by the time we'd made an emergency landing to get out of the storm. I'd never forgotten the helpless horror and nauseating drops in altitude, the way the gusts of wind had tossed us to and fro like a toy.

  I didn't have much choice but to take this flight, though. I'd been accepted to the University of Oxford, where I was going to study English literature. I'd recently received my B.A. in lit from the University of Michigan, and now I had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters in the country of their birth. My thesis focused primarily on Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice, and was concerned with how those two works influenced the birth of the romance genre. I had the whole thing mapped out, and had already exchanged emails with a few professors from Oxford over the summer, planning the first steps in solidifying my thesis. I was beyond excited to be moving to England, but first I had to survive the flight.

  I felt someone move into the seat next to me. I smelled him first, citrus overtones of some faint cologne, a touch of male sweat, not unpleasantly, and a whiff of copper, like blood, oddly. I turned my head and pulled my Beats by Dre headphones off to hang around my neck.

  My heart stopped, and my mouth went dry.

  Well, hello, Mr. Chunk o' Hunk...

  He wasn't sitting yet, but was facing me as he shoved his carry-on into the overhead compartment. His faded The Kooks T-shirt was riding high enough to reveal delectable washboard abs with just a hint of happy trail hair leading down to the Promised Land. I let my gaze slide upward to take in his toned arms flexing as they worked his bag into the compartment, and then his face...oh lordy-lord, he was beautiful. Clean, classically beautiful lines, a strong jaw but not too square or caveman-ish, striking cheekbones and piercing, vivid blue eyes that were somewhere between cornflower and periwinkle and completely hypnotizing as they flicked down to me.

  I was caught staring and flushed red, turning away to stare out the window. We were taxiing now, and he slid into the seat, a pair of iPhone earbuds trailing down his chest, one stuck into his left ear. He pulled the other bud out and tapped his phone, silencing the faint, tinny music thumping from the dangling earbud. I glanced at him from the corner of my eye, and was mortified to realize he was smirking at me.

  Smirking. SMIRKING.

  Bastard.

  I twisted in my seat to face him, my Latin temper flaring at the smug expression on his face. Of course, my temper might have been fueled by my fear and the panic attack I was currently fighting off.

  "I don't bite, you know," Mr. Smirky said, with a damnably sexy British accent lacing his words.

  "I do."

  His smirk widened into a grin. "Well, I might need to get to know you a bit before we start biting each other. You know, exchange names at least." He stuck his hand out. "Ian Stirling."

  I shook his hand, noting with an uncomfortable amount of pleasure that his hand was huge and hard and strong, and his nails were well-manicured. Dirty, chewed-up fingernails are a sign of mental laxity to me. An unfair judgment, I suppose, but I just cannot abide a man who cuts his nails to the quick, all squared off and hacked to pieces, or greasy and dirty. I like clean hands. Not dainty, effeminate hands--I like my men as manly as the next girl. Just...manly but clean.

  As I shook his hand, I noticed the source of the co
ppery scent I'd noticed when he first arrived: His thumb was bleeding a gash along the cuticle. "You're bleeding," I pointed out, releasing his hand.

  He frowned at me, then glanced at his thumb. "Oh, shite. I hadn't noticed. Not sure how that happened." He stuck his thumb in his mouth and sucked the blood off.

  I freaked. "That's so gross! Do you know how unsanitary your mouth is? Here, give me your thumb." I grabbed his hand, reaching down into my purse at my feet. I always kept a small first aid kit in my purse. My friends at U of M made fun of me for it, but I liked being prepared for all eventualities.

  I'm a type-A person, dominant, prepared, and bossy; or, as my best friend Alexa says, an anal-retentive bitch.

  I pulled out my first aid kit, dabbed a dot of Neosporin on the cut, unwrapped a Band-aid, and fixed it to his thumb. "There. All better."

  He was smirking again. "Thanks." He said it with a wry tone to his voice, staring at the Band-aid as if he'd never seen one before.

  "What?" I asked.

  He shook his head. "Nothing."

  I crossed my arms under my breasts, which only served to push them up and nearly out of my top. I'm a well-endowed sort of girl, sporting the kind of 36DDD breasts that can only fit in Lane Bryant and Cacique bras. Well, I'm sure there are other stores that sell bras I could fit in, but I like nice things, and the way I'm built, there's really only three stores worth shopping at: Torrid, Cacique, and Lane Bryant. The rest of me is fairly well-endowed as well, and for the most part, I own it and I rock it. I'm not afraid to show off what I've got, and I've got a lot to show off. The only time I feel insecure is when guys come around, especially guys like the one sitting next to me. He's the kind of hot who can snag any woman he wants. He could be on the cover of GQ. He could stand next to Ryan Gosling and not feel ugly. Sandy blond hair with hints of red brushed across his forehead, intentionally messy, a bit long in the back, curling in an adorable way. I wanted to tangle my fingers in the slight curls at the back of his neck.

 
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