Chapter 24: What Makes You Happy

Sooner than I ever thought possible, Isaac rang the doorbell to pick me up.

“Hi,” He grinned broadly as I pulled open the door.

“Does this look okay?” I demanded immediately.

“Of course, why?” He asked, his brow knitting in confusion.

“I… I don’t know… Maybe I should change.” I turned abruptly to march back up the stairs, but instead, Isaac caught my wrist and whirled me around immediately.

He planted a kiss on my lips that made me instantly forget my anxiety. “You look absolutely breath taking.” He breathed, planting another gentler kiss on my forehead.

I glanced down at my long white summer skirt and emerald green tank top.

His lips lowered to my ear, “You know I like that color on you anyway…” He breathed, sending shivers down my spine.

I knew precisely why he liked it when I wore white, and had chosen the skirt specifically for that. I smiled softly.

“I’m nervous.” I muttered.

“I know. You don’t need to be.” He bent and softly kissed my bare shoulder. “Are you almost ready to go?” His lips moved closer to my throat, and I lost all conscious thought.

“Uh-huh…” I muttered.

“Mommy!” Lily called. Isaac released me and I turned to find Lily climbing down the stairs backward, using her butt to guide her. This caused her to wrinkle the pretty pink dress I had put her in.

“Silly Lily!” Isaac cried, and scooped her up. “You look adorable! Almost as pretty as mommy.” He winked at me.

I laughed.

“Is your mom still going to meet us at my place?” Isaac asked, laughing as Lily shoved the end of his tie in her mouth to chew on.

“I think so. She’s working a couple of hours this morning, and said she would meet us after she has time to shower and change and stuff…. Lily, honey. You’ll wreck Isaac’s tie doing that…”

“She’s fine.” He laughed. “I’ve got plenty of ties.”

“Maybe I should feed her before we leave….”

“My parents have all kinds of food at the house. Why don’t you feed her there?” He asked, bouncing Lily lightly.

I nodded. “Alright. Lets get this over with then…” I sighed.

“That’s the spirit!” He laughed, carrying Lily out the door.

I picked up Lily’s diaper bag and followed him out the front door to his waiting SUV. He was already buckling Lily into the back seat.

“You got a car seat?” I asked in shock as I peered over his shoulder.

“Yeah,” He shrugged. “I figured I would need one sooner or later.” He stood straight and grinned at me briefly before removing the diaper bag from my shoulder and putting it in the back seat.

I smiled and stood on my toes to kiss him. “That’s sweet.” I smiled before walking around to the passenger side.

The ride out of town to his parent’s house was quiet. I was dreading the inevitable fuss everyone would be making, and couldn’t help but nervously twist the ring on my finger.

Isaac must have noticed this, and reached across the front seat to take my hand tightly in his.

“I asked them not to go overboard…” He soothed, gently stroking the back of my hand with his thumb.

“Will they listen?”

“No.” He laughed.

The second we pulled in through the massive iron gates, I wanted to turn around and go back out. Someone had decorated the house with hundreds of balloons blowing gently in the summer breeze. The two front columns on either side of the front door were wrapped in at least four different colors of crepe streamer.

I sighed heavily.

Isaac laughed, “Sorry. My sisters had a bit too much fun decorating…” He pulled his car to a stop behind a car I didn’t recognize.

“Lets just get this over with…”

“You don’t like parties?” He asked in confusion.

“I don’t like being the center of attention.” I sighed. “It makes me anxious.”

“It won’t be so bad.” He smiled. “Just relax and it’ll be over before you know it.”

“I doubt that.” I muttered as I climbed out of the car and leaned into the back seat to free Lily. I lifted her onto my hips, smoothing down her dress as I did so.

Before I could reach for her diaper bag, Isaac had it in his hands.

“Come on,” He smiled, placing an arm around me.

Lily giggled and reached for a pile of balloons as we passed on our way to the back yard.

I sighed. “It’s easy for you to be so relaxed, you look unbearably cute.” I muttered and kissed her hair softly.

Isaac laughed, overhearing this sentiment and pulled loose a bright pink balloon and placed it in Lily’s waiting hands.

The next forty five minutes were a complete blur. It seemed like the entire population of Tulsa was in the back yard. Isaac introduced me dutifully, and I tried to remember everyone’s names, but it quickly became an impossible feat. I clutched Lily tightly and focused on smiling and being polite.

It finally appeared that there were no more people to meet, and I carried Lily into the house and plopped her down onto a chair at the kitchen table to give her something to eat. I was removing tuperware containers from her diaper bag and searching for a sippy cup full of juice when the back door opened and Taylor came in.

In the pandemonium of meeting new people, I hadn’t even noticed he was there.

“Hey,” He smiled and made his way to the fridge, where he helped himself to a bottle of water.

“Hi.” I answered politely. I could immediately feel the knots well into my stomach.

“No, Lily. You’ve got to sit still, honey.” I answered, trying to stop her from fidgeting on the chair. I was worried she might fall off and get hurt, but there didn’t appear to be a high-chair around. “Lily, honey!” I practically begged, trying to spoon some fruit salad into her mouth.

“Want some help?” Taylor was suddenly standing behind her chair.

“Yeah, that would be great… if… if you don’t mind.” I added awkwardly.

“I don’t mind.” He replied. He scooped Lily up and secured her on his lap as he took her place on the chair. “Wouldn’t want you to get anything on your pretty skirt, anyway.”

I felt myself blush a bright red.

“So, what do you think after meeting the entire family?”

“I don’t know…. Overwhelmed I guess.” I sighed and handed Lily a piece of cheese which she was reaching for. She took a small bite and offered some to Taylor.

“No thanks,” He laughed. “So I guess this is a big welcome to the family then…”

“I guess so…” I caught the flicker of emotion in his face. “I know, it makes me feel a little weird too.”

His brow knotted in confusion. “Weird?”

I drew in a deep breath and handed Lily the sippy cup she was reaching for. “Don’t get me wrong, I love your brother… its just awkward… with our history… and Lily…” I trailed off.

“I know what you mean.” He hugged Lily to him. “I have to admit that there’s still a part of me that still loves you…”

My eyes grew wide in shock.

“I love Natalie more than anything and with Ezra and another on the way… I love her dearly, but it doesn’t compare at all to what you and I had. Even if it isn’t there anymore…” He paused for a moment before continuing. “Right after I found out that Lily was… mine. I called a lawyer and looked into getting custody… if not full custody than at least partial custody.”

I started to hyperventilate in panic. For a moment I thought I might throw up.

“But I realized that that would be the worst thing to do.” He continued. “She may be mine, but she’s yours too. And I love you too much to take her away; I knew it would completely destroy you. And it would finish everything I ever had with Natalie… she would be crushed knowing that what I had with you was so much stronger than anything I ever had with her.” He sighed.

I stared at him with my mouth slightly agape. I had never known him to be so selfless.

Lily calling me to keep feeding her drew my attention back to the conversation.

I spooned more fruit into her mouth, watching carefully to be sure she was chewing properly. I couldn’t return my gaze to Taylor.

“Even though it makes me insanely jealous that you’re with my brother…” Taylor continued in a softer tone. “As long as he makes you happy, I’m glad. I want you to be happy, Andy…. You deserve a happy ending too.”

The back door opened and Isaac came in, breathing a soft sigh of relief, no doubt glad to be away from the flood of people in the back yard.

“Hey, Tay. Natalie is looking for you. She says Ezra needs a diaper change, and its your turn.”

Taylor groaned and responded in a whiney voice. “It’s always my turn!” He stood to put Lily in my arms, but Isaac was immediately there to take her.

“I’ll take over.” He urged. He took Lily and sat in the same chair Taylor had occupied a moment before. I watched Taylor leave the kitchen, not entirely prepared to digest what he had just said to me.

Isaac took the spoon from my hand and was spooning yogurt into Lily’s mouth before I could even clear my head.

“What did he have to say?” Isaac asked curiously.

“He… wishes us the best.” I forced a weak smile.

“Good. I thought he would.” Isaac grinned at Lily. “How can you eat this stuff?” He demanded as she held her mouth open for more.

“It’s her favorite.” I replied. “She loves blueberry yogurt.”

“Yuck.” He shuddered.

“Yuck!” Lily mimicked.

I couldn’t help but laugh.

“Did you know my mother invited a wedding planner?” Isaac asked.

“What?” I demanded.

“The same lady who did Taylor and Natalie’s wedding. She’s out there right now, talking about this seasons’ place settings.” He rolled his eyes. “I begged them not to go overboard.

I sighed. “Can’t we just go to Vegas? They have drive-through chapels. We wouldn’t even have to get out of the car.”

“That’s starting to look more and more reasonable.” He winked at me.

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