Introducing…Family by Choice…Book 10… “One Final Kiss”
Cover will be revealed in a few weeks with a trailer to follow:)
Okay everyone, this is a preview of a chapter in the middle of the book. It is a flash forward dream that a certain character has based on things that happen. The majority of the fast forwards are missing Brittany, and that is done for a reason. It isn’t necessarily an indication of anything happening to her. She figures very prominently in book 10. 🙂
I would love to hear your thoughts on this! Tell your friends to read as well. The more you read the more I write. And yes, there will be a book 11! (You won’t believe where this one ends.)
(8 years in the future)
“I don’t know what you’re worried about, you look beautiful,” Stephanie said as she finished brushing Sabrina’s long hair. Besides, your daddy won’t like it if you look too grown up.”
Sabrina beamed at her mom. “Mommy, I’m almost ten. I’m just about a grown up.”
Stephanie knew how true that was. Bee was smart and sensitive and she acted much older than her years.
“What is it?” Sabrina asked her.
“Nothing, baby, just thinking about how lucky I am to have you as my daughter.”
Bee hugged her. “Mommy, don’t be sad.”
“Nope, not sad at all. Now shall I tell daddy you’re ready?” she stood up.
“Wait. Can I wear lipstick?” she looked through Stephanie’s purse.
“How about some lip gloss?” Stephanie figured Jack would have a heart attack if Bee wore makeup.
“Okay,” Bee grinned and Stephanie put a touch of gloss on her daughter’s lips. They heard a knock on the door.
“Can I come in?” Jack asked from outside Bee’s room.
Stephanie looked at her daughter. “Your date is here.”
“Come in daddy,” she called out and Jack opened the door. He looked at his wife and daughter and it was like he was looking at the same person. He walked up to Bee and handed her a corsage.
“Thank you daddy,” she said and he put it on her wrist. “You look very handsome.”
Stephanie wiped her eyes as she watched the scene. “You do look very handsome, daddy.”
Jack raised his eyebrows as he looked at her. “I might have a surprise for you later.”
She looked into his eyes and smiled. “Is that right?”
“Gross. Daddy is my date tonight,” Bee said as she crossed her arms.
“Sorry.” Stephanie grinned. She handed Bee the boutonnière and motioned for her to put it on.
“Daddy you have to bend down,” Bee said and he knelt on the floor while she did her best to put it on. He stood up and quickly fixed it so it stayed.
“Let me get a picture before you guys leave.” Stephanie said and they walked into the family room.
“What time are we meeting everyone?” Jack asked again.
“Dad, I told you we are meeting at the restaurant at 5,” Bee rolled her eyes.
“Oh, right, sorry,” he said and put his arm around his daughter as Stephanie snapped a picture. “Daddy daughter dances make me nervous.”
Bee was surprised. “Why?”
“Because I have the most beautiful daughter,” he said and Bee hugged him.
“Here,” he handed her a tissue.
“What’s this for?” Bee looked at him.
“To wipe off your makeup before we go.”
Stephanie laughed and Bee looked at him before she whined. “Dadddddddd.”
“Jo? Let me in, please,” Julie asked as she knocked on the door to the bathroom.
“No. I’m not going,” the little girl said.
“I’m not going to have a yelling match with you through the door. Please let me in.”
Josie opened the door and Julie stifled a laugh at her daughter’s face. She looked like a clown. “What’s going on?” she closed the door behind her.
“David said I had to wear makeup to go on a date and I don’t know how to put it on. I just want to stay home,” Josie sat on the closed toilet seat and cried.
Julie took a washcloth and put it in water before she tilted her daughters face up and gently wiped the makeup off. “Baby your daddy loves you just as you are. He doesn’t want you to wear makeup and David was wrong to tell you that. Tonight is for you to spend with daddy and the only thing that should be on your mind is how special that is.”
“But Bee will be there and she’s so pretty, mommy. I don’t want to look ugly.”
Julie finished cleaning her daughter’s face and sighed. “Jo, where is this coming from? You never worry about what you look like and you never want to wear makeup. Did something happen to make you feel this way?”
Josie looked down and shrugged. “I don’t like girl things. I would rather play baseball than dress up and I don’t think I know what to do at a dance.”
She smiled at just how much alike they were. “Come out here with me for a minute,” she walked into Josie’s room and sat on the bed, patting her lap. Josie walked over and sat down.
“You’re almost eight. You should be worried about having fun and doing well in school, not about what you should or shouldn’t act like or things you should or shouldn’t do. You are the most perfect daughter and your daddy and I adore you. We don’t care if you play sports or play dress up or dress up and play sports. We only want you to be happy and feel okay with who you are on the inside. There is nothing we want more than that.”
“I want to wear a dress for daddy,” she said and sniffed.
“I want you to wear a dress because you want to, not because you think daddy wants you too.” Julie smoothed her hair.
“Is it wrong that I want it for both reasons?”
Julie laughed. “Not at all.”
The little girl jumped up and Julie watched her grab her dress and put it on. Julie helped her with the zipper and then she brushed her short hair before putting a small blue barrette on the side.
“Can I come in?” Bill asked from outside the door.
Julie looked at her daughter and Josie nodded.
Bill opened the door and stood in his military uniform. Josie squealed. “You said you didn’t want to wear it! Thank you daddy,” she ran up and hugged him.
Bill looked at his daughter and then his wife. “I decided that making you happy was more important. Besides, I think I look good.”
Both girls laughed and Josie took his hand. “Mommy said you shouldn’t do anything unless you want to. If you don’t want to wear your uniform then you shouldn’t.”
He nodded. “You’re right and so is mommy, but I think I was being silly and this uniform used to be very important to me. I am proud to wear it and I don’t want you to think otherwise. Besides, mommy likes when I dress up.”
Julie laughed. “Actually, I like what comes after, more,” she grinned and Bill blushed.
“What do you mean? What comes after?” Josie asked.
“They mean sex,” David said as he poked his head into the room.
“David!” Julie said and Bill turned to look at his son.
“Where did you hear that?” Bill asked.
“I’m ten and a half, dad, I know things.” He looked at Josie. “Hey, you don’t look ugly.”
Josie beamed. “Thanks.”
Julie and Bill looked at each other and both knew they had their hands full with these two.
Tommy made his way to Naomi’s room and smiled as he stood at the door. “Can I help you?”
The petite redhead turned around and smiled. “No daddy. I have to get ready and make an entrance,” she smiled.
“Oh, okay then,” he said and turned to leave.
“Wait. Maybe you can help me and then pretend you didn’t see me and I’ll make an entrance.”
He chuckled. “I think that would work.” He walked in and looked at the mess of her closet. He grinned as he watched Tramp snoring in the mess of clothes. “Why are there so many clothes on the floor?”
“I wasn’t sure what to wear,” she smiled at him.
“I think what you’re wearing is beautiful.” He looked at her little green sundress.
“I think it looks too simple. Bee will have a much prettier dress on and Jo will look beautiful. I always stand out because of my hair, but I want you to be proud to be with me and not them,” she looked at him and her big green eyes filled with tears.
He walked to the bed and sat down, motioning for her to join him. “You are my mini red and the best, most amazing daughter I could have ever hoped for. You make me proud every moment of every day.” He smoothed her hair. “Besides, maybe I should ask you if you would rather be with Uncle Jack or Uncle Bill.
Naomi shook her head. “No daddy, you’re squishy and you’re my daddy. Mommy always said that it took a special person to love a redhead. She said you were made to love us and we were made to love you.”
Tommy pulled her onto his lap and hugged her as his tears fell. “Your mommy was very smart.”
Naomi sat back and touched his cheek. “Don’t be sad, daddy.”
He smiled. “I’m not sad, baby. I’m so proud of you.”
“We should go. I don’t want to be late.” She jumped off his lap and he watched her.
“Naomi, come with me for a minute,” he said and walked her into his bedroom. He went to the dresser and pulled out a box. He opened it and took out a clip.
“This was your mom’s favorite hair clip. She wore it all the time, especially when she put her hair up in a twist. Would you like to wear it?”
“Really? Can you help me put my hair up?” she asked him with excitement.
He walked to Brittany’s things, which he had yet to box up and took her hairbrush. He swallowed the sadness and looked at his daughter. “I’ll try.”
He brushed her hair and did his best to put it in a twist like his wife used to do all the time. He had seen her do it a thousand times, so he figured he should be able to make it work. He put the clip in and grinned.
“How is that?” he watched as she looked in the mirror.
“I think it looks like mommy,” she said.
Tommy nodded. “You sure do.”
“Can I wear her perfume and makeup?”
He laughed. “Since you’re nine, I’m going with no makeup, but you can have a dab of her perfume.”
He watched as she took the bottle and put a small dab on her wrist and then her neck.
“Who showed you how to do that?” he smiled.
“Mommy did it like that,” Naomi said.
He took her hand and they walked out. “What else did mommy show you?”
“She let me drive,” Naomi said.
Tommy stopped and looked at her and she burst out laughing.
“That’s not funny,” Tommy said.
“Sorry. I just wanted you to be happy,” Naomi smiled.
“All I need is you and I’m happy,” he watched her fix Tramp a snack before they left. He looked up and in his head; he thanked his wife again for their precious gift.
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