The complete series should be available at all retailers within the next week, so I will keep you updated. Please enjoy the series epilogue though:
One and a half years later…
“Was that the last box?” Sabrina asked as her brother set the large box marked ‘bedding’ on the floor in the master bedroom.
“Yes, but I still don’t understand why you didn’t hire movers for this,” he growled. “It’s not like you don’t have the money.”
“We prefer our privacy,” Damien answered for her as he entered the bedroom carrying a box of his own. “Not to mention, we wanted everything to arrive unbroken and unrifled through.”
“I’ll remember that when we get to Philly,” Joseph Jr. said, his voice snarky. “You’re just lucky you are as big as a house, so I couldn’t say no.”
“You still could’ve said no, JJ,” Lotty said from the door with an exasperated sigh. “They have enough friends to help with this stuff, and I had to cancel my weekly lunch date at the club with the girls. I mean, we’re only in town for another week before we head to the Main Line. I can’t believe I’m spending it helping your sister move,” she complained as if Damien and Sabrina weren’t in the room.
“Well, we’re done now, honey. Why don’t we head over and see if you can’t catch Miffy?” he suggested, trying to placate his wife. After a barely perceptible shrug in response, J.J. took Lotty’s hand and bid Damien and Sabrina good bye for the afternoon.
“Thank you again for your help!” Sabrina called after them as she shut the heavy oak door behind them. After a year of proving her education by running the Hayward stores in Arizona and with the retirement of the Hayward East President, her father decided to shift around the responsibilities of company management so that he could enjoy his own retirement. J.J. was now in charge of the east coast and Sabrina had stepped into his position on the west. This meant a change of scenery, including a brand new faculty position for Damien at UCLA in their department of Sociology.
As much as they both loved Arizona, they were excited to start this new chapter in their lives, too. The house they’d purchased in Malibu had the perfect ocean view and was big enough to accommodate their growing family. Although the cost of the home had been exorbitant to both of them, they knew it was the perfect place to start the next chapter in their lives.
“I can’t believe we live here now,” Damien laughed looking out the floor to ceiling windows of their living room. “I’m not sure you can continue to only wear panties in this house, otherwise the people on the beach will get a free show.”
“The windows are one way and tinted, so I’ll be fine if that’s what you desire,” she reminded him. “Although, with Tristan coming soon…” she trailed off.
“Well, babies do change things,” he smiled, slipping his arms around her waist and pulling her against his chest, his hand resting on her swollen belly.
“I’ve only got three weeks left, so we need to get started on the unpacking. I wish we’d been able to close last month, because I feel like I could pop any day now,” she groaned, lifting the flap on a box in the middle of the room marked ‘books.’ When she looked inside she started to laugh. “Books? Really? Is that what we are calling our paddles these days?” she raised an eyebrow at her husband and Dom.
“You question my labeling, pet?” he said with false bravado, looking equally as amused as she did.
“Absolutely not,” she pouted. “I mean, they can be just as educational…I suppose.”
“I’m happy to teach you a lesson with them right now,” he said, quirking an eyebrow in her direction.
“I mean, if the baby would stop matching my swats with kicks of his own.”
“I know what you mean,” Sabrina agreed with a whine. “I haven’t been able to get to subspace in the last few months because your son seems to be battling you for power over me already.”
“I’ll put this in the new playroom,” Damien announced, grabbing the box from the floor and taking it into the master bedroom. Luckily the house had been built with two over-large walk-in closets, one of which they’d converted into their new playroom, complete with an industrial lock to keep the children out.
Children. The word still gave Sabrina chills, but in a good way. After her graduation, although Damien had expressed his desire to try right away, he decided that they would spend their summer traveling together instead. So when they returned to prepare for her new job and his new semester, she made the appointment to have her IUD removed.
And here it was, a year later, two years after they’d first laid eyes on each other, and they were about to become parents. The feeling was overwhelmingly amazing. Sitting in the lecture hall, Hayward 130 that Monday morning in mid-August, she never would have expected her life to look like this, for her life to be so full of love. She wouldn’t have wanted her life to turn out any differently, though.
The weeks following the move seemed to fly by as they readied the house and themselves for their impending arrival. The painters had finished Tristan’s room the day after they’d moved in. Damien wanted the painting to have been completed, at least, a week prior because the fumes weren’t safe for Sabrina, but the scheduling of fall planning meetings at his new University had made it impossible.
When Sabrina’s father came to him at the end of his spring semester with the management changes he had in mind for Hayward’s, he’d been reluctant to leave the University. Joe Hayward had respected his daughter’s marriage enough to discuss his vision with Damien before putting the plans into motion. He’d offered to move Sabrina’s position to the east coast, which would have put him in closer proximity to his family, but UCLA had been courting Damien for the last couple of years. He was happy that everything seemed to fall into place after that.
He was sad to leave behind such a significant part of his history with his wife and sub, but he was looking forward to their future even more. Every day, he wondered if his marriage was some sort of elaborate dream that he would wake from at any moment. However, morning never seemed to come, much to his delight.
“Sabrina?” he called out when he made it home after his late Tuesday night class.
“In. the. Bedroom,” he heard her pant out from across the house. He didn’t race to the room, hearing her labored breathing though, because she’d been experiencing Braxton-Hicks contractions for the last couple of weeks. He crossed the threshold to see his wife in nothing but a pair of hot pink lace panties, trying to grab her hospital bag from the floor.
“Need some help?” he asked, humor evident in his question.
“My water just broke,” she blurted out.
“And you couldn’t have lead with that when I walked in the house?” Damien roared, his usual calm and in control demeanor slipping as his wife succumbed to another contraction. Grabbing the bag from the floor, he got himself in motion. “Why aren’t you dressed?”
“I’m never dressed,” she snapped between breaths, her brown eyes alight with fire as she gazed at her husband. “I just changed my underwear because I’m not going to the hospital in wet panties,” she explained as the pain seemed to pass.
With a growl, Damien walked to their closet and pulled out a simple black wrap dress that he could get her into quickly so they could get out the door.
“Thank you,” she smiled, tears brimmed in her eyes. “I’m sorry I’m such a mess,” she whispered.
“It’s okay, pet, let’s just get you to the hospital now,” he allowed, grabbing the bag with one arm and bracing his wife with the other.
As they reached the door to the garage, Sabrina stopped and looked around their new house. Damien couldn’t help taking a last glance, too. “Enjoy the silence, Sir,” she said, moving her eyes to his and holding his gaze, “because it’s the last peaceful moment you and I will have together for the next eighteen years.”
With a light chuckle, he took a moment to savor their connection in the quiet of their house. The slightly ajar garage door allowed the sounds of the surf in the distance to soothe them both as they started walking again. Just like that warm Saturday in February not so long ago, they both knew that the next time they walked into this house, their lives would be changed again.