“How’s my favorite nephew doing today?” Andrei London walked into Kieran’s dressing room with a huge grin on his face.
Kieran rolled his eyes but smiled back. “I’m your only nephew.”
“You don’t know that.” Dre plopped down on a sofa and clasped his hands on his stomach. He laughed at the look on Kieran’s face.
“You have some other sibling that no one knows about?” Kieran went back to fixing his tie. The damn thing would stay straight!
“Okay, fine. But you’re still my favorite.”
“Thanks Uncle Dre.” Dre came over and finished doing up the tie for him. “Thanks.”
“Don’t be so nervous. Getting married is a piece of cake!”
“Said no one ever.”
Dre laughed but his psyche screamed sadness to Kieran. “Well, we still run towards it when we find that perfect someone, don’t we?”
Kieran knew that his uncle was thinking of Maya. It had been two years since Siobhan promised that Maya would come back. The family knew that Dre would wait forever for her and Kieran hoped she’d show up soon, he didn’t like seeing his uncle like this. Hurting. “Yeah, we do.”
Dre seemed to shake himself free of the sadness and grinned at his nephew. “Are you ready? I was sent in here to get you.”
“I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.”
“Huh, that was…inspiring.”
They both laughed. Yeah, he was ready.
Kieran stood and smiled nervously at the guests. It was a small gathering, just close family. He’d wanted to invite Gracie and Emma but Lorde had had her heart set on this date and the girls couldn’t make it because of school. But his uncles, Tony and Riley, had made it.
He winked at Steph, who was watching him and fretting with the hem of her dress. His mother sat in the front row but he refused to look her way again. He consoled himself with the thought that at least she’d shown up. He probably owed Matt for that one.
Eden hadn’t; Belle was having a bad day and he’d stayed with her. Kieran wished Eden would get his head out his ass and accept help. That girl needed it. But today was not the day to try and fix the world.
His attention was diverted when the organ began to play the wedding march. It was funny to him that they were getting married in a church. They weren’t religious at all, but Lorde’s family was and this had been their one ask. He just wished that more of them had decided to come.
As it was, her father and grandmother were the only two people from her side of the family there. He made a mental note to check in on her before things got too crazy.
“I, Alistair Kieran Zenteri King, take you, Lorde Penelope Lawson, to be my wife. To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part.”
“I, Lorde Penelope Lawson, take you, Alistair Kieran Zenteri King, for my husband. To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part.”
Before he knew it, the ceremony was over and they were being introduced as Mr. and Mrs. King.
He was married.
Kieran smiled down at Lorde and squeezed her hand, searching for some comfort while his brain tried to process this new paradigm.
He was married.
Remembering his promise, he leaned down and whispered, “Are we good?”
Lorde smiled up and him and nodded. “Yes, we’re good.”
“I will always be there for you, Lorde. I promise.”
“And you always keep your promises.”
“We’re going to be late if we don’t hurry up,” Kieran shouted. He tapped out the notes to Beethoven’s Fidelio on the baby grand piano while he waited for Lorde to come down. Today was their sonogram appointment. He would get to see his daughter for the first time.
He heard his wife finally moving down the stairs and stood up. Moving to the foyer, a small smile tugged on his lips as he remembered Lorde’s reaction to seeing the house for the first time. It had been his wedding present to her. He figured a child should have a backyard and a house to call home, not some high-rise apartment. Maybe they’d get a dog or something.
She’d spent considerable time and money to furnish it, including having the piano shipped from his old place. He’d been ready to leave it but Lorde wouldn’t hear of that, she knew it was important to him. She was that good at reading him. He couldn’t say the same though and it was frustrating as hell.
She looked at him as she came down the stairs and his breath caught in his throat. She’d changed back to her natural hair color and she had a slight bump now. She looked beautiful and he said as much.
Smiling, Lorde came to stop next to him and kissed him lightly. “Thank you.”
He pulled her closer to him and kissed her again, deeper. He was married and was having a baby!
“What was that for?”
“Just because I could.”
Lorde smirked and stepped away. “Come on, silly man. We’re already late.”
Kieran smiled and headed to the garage to start the car.
They were in a well-appointed room waiting for the technician and he glanced down at Lorde before grabbing her hand. She looked so calm. He couldn’t keep his leg from shaking. He’d hear his child’s heartbeat for the first time; see her for the first time.
“Are you okay?”
He smiled at her. “Yeah, I’m good. Are you okay?”
“Are you sure? You seem nervous.”
“I’m fine, promise.”
The nurse walked in and they both looked up. “Hello. I’m Nurse Jackie. Is this your first time here?”
Kieran looked back at Lorde, startled. “What?”
She glanced at him before looking back at the nurse. “I’ve been here before.”
When she didn’t elaborate, he frowned. “When were you here?”
“When I found out about the baby. Can we get started please?”
“Oh.” His tense shoulders relaxed and he sat back in his chair. “Of course.”
He didn’t know what he’d thought she’d say. No wonder she was so calm. He was the only one who didn’t know what to expect here.
Nurse Jackie bustled around, setting everything up and Kieran pretended he needed to scratch his nose so he could let go of Lorde’s hand. She always seemed so calm, no matter the situation. He wondered, not for the first time, what she must be thinking.
“Alright mommy, I’m just going to put this gel on your belly – don’t worry, I heated it beforehand. And if baby is cooperating, we can find out the gender today. Is that something you want to know?”
“Alright.” Nurse Jackie squirted a bit of the gel, took a plastic stick she called a wand and placed it on Lorde’s stomach.
Within seconds, Kieran heard a loud woosh woosh woosh sound.
“And that’s the heartbeat. Good and strong.”
He looked at the monitor, mesmerized. The baby was tiny but he could clearly see the head and what looked like a body.
The nurse took measurements, all the while explaining what she was doing. A few clicks later and she said, “Alright and we’re just going to try and turn the little one around and – oh, there it is! Congratulations, it’s a boy!”
Kieran frowned. “Are you sure?”
The technician looked at him. “Yes. I’m sure.”
“I’m sorry, it’s just I thought…” He didn’t finish his sentence for fear of sounding like an crazy person.
He frowned, thinking back to the letter Siobhan had left him in her journal. She’d said daughter. That his daughter would be important. Had she made a mistake?
He looked down to find Lorde staring up at him. Concern evident in her gaze.
“Sorry, I’m good.”
She studied him a moment longer before turning her attention back to the screen.
The ride home was a quiet one. He could feel the tension. When he parked the car, Lorde was out and walking into the main house in a flash.
He stayed in the car, looking at the tools hanging from the wall. He needed to do better. Placing his head on the steering wheel, he took a few deep breaths. He would do better.
His thoughts turned to Eden and what his friend had said the last time they spoke. He was privileged and he’d never really tried at anything. Never really had to. With a wife and a child on the way, he couldn’t continue his criminal activity. He couldn’t help his friend even if he wanted to. What he needed was a job. Something that would keep him busy, maybe even give Eden an opportunity to earn an honest living as well.
He would find something, maybe open a gallery and make it a family business, something flexible so they could both take care of their families.
He glanced at the door Lorde had walked through a few minutes before. He had a family now and if Siobhan was right, there would be more in the future. He would be better.