They were outside in the garden, watching as their youngest son, Howard, was playing in the sandbox. Logan was eighteen, and he’d just graduated from high school, and was sitting with his girlfriend just before they went out to see a movie.
“I’m so proud of you, son,” Xavier said.
“Thanks, Dad. I couldn’t have done it without you, Mom.” He kissed Anya’s cheeks, and she smiled up at him.
“You could. This was all you, Logan.”
He’d been a dream child really. They’d had Logan from ten years old, and when he was fifteen they had given him the option of finding his birth mother. At first it had been a really hard decision for them both to make. They may have missed out on the first ten years of his life, but he was their son. They loved him. The last thing they wanted was for him to ever be hurt.
Logan hadn’t wanted to.
He had surprised them both by saying he remembered the woman that birthed him. The way she’d been with the guy she picked over him. He had no interest in seeing a woman who dumped him.
They had kept the option open to him, and throughout the years, not once did they ever let him feel less than what he was. They were all a family, and they told him it was up to him, if he wanted his brothers and sisters to know that he was adopted. He didn’t.
“Are you going to be late back tonight?” Anya asked.
“No. The movie finishes at eleven.”
“We’ll wait up,” Xavier said.
They watched as Logan left, and he nuzzled her neck, sucking on the pulse. Eight years of marriage. Their anniversary was next week, and he had a surprise in store. They would be alone, and he intended to make every single sexual fantasy come true. The kids were being taken care of by her parents, and they were having an extended vacation. No work, no kids, just the two of them, and lots of sex.
“Do you still love me?” she asked. “I have lots of stretch marks now, and my boobs are no longer firm.”
He laughed. “I don’t care. I love you, and your marks are proof of our babies.” He placed a hand on her stomach. The last pregnancy he’d almost lost her. Anya had had a real hard time of it, needing to be in bed for most of the pregnancy. She was in constant pain, and when he consulted the doctor, he knew he was worried. Weekly visits were not the norm for a pregnant woman, especially not for Anya.
When she did finally give birth to their son, there had been a lot of blood. In the labor room, Xavier remembered the smile on her face seconds before she collapsed. The monitor for her heart flat-lined, and for several seconds, his woman was dead.
Xavier had had to stand away as one set of doctors went to work on his son, and another went to work on his wife. It had been the most harrowing moment of his life. He wouldn’t leave her though.
The doctors had brought her back, and he’d sworn to no more children. He’d fixed it so he couldn’t have any more kids.
“Don’t worry. I’m still here,” she said.
“You don’t know what I went through that day.”
Anya looked up toward him. “I don’t know what you went through, but I can imagine.”
“I told you I was going to love you for a lifetime. Eight years is not a lifetime. I want fifty years. I want us to be old, gray, and tell our stories of our life together.”
Tears filled her eyes. “We will, Xavier. I wasn’t going to leave you.” She reached behind his head, and pulled him down, pressing a kiss to his lips.
He lived for her kisses, basked in her smile, and relished the love that she gave him.
“I heard a rumor that you’re no longer called a bastard boss,” she said.
“When the kids come to the office, I can’t be stern. I’ve tried. I’ll never raise my voice to them when they’re good,” he said.
“I know. That’s why you’re known as a big softie. They call you ‘teddy bear boss’.”
Xavier threw his head back, and laughed. It was the name he’d given to himself, a name he hoped would spread.
That was what Anya made him. She gave him love, hope, and a family.
Above everything else, she gave him herself, and he would treasure her for the rest of his life.