Not My Lover Ch. 18byJazzMatthews©
Eight months later...
"Oh, he's so beautiful!" Susanna cooed as she cradled her great-grandson for the first time. She sat down in a nearby chair with Conrad glancing over her shoulder with a proud expression. "He looks just like you, Gage."
Features wise, the one-day-old son of Gage did favor his father, except the child had a sienna-coloring to his skin and wavy jet-black hair. The hospital room's light was adjusted for the baby's comfort, staring up at his great-grandmother with dark bluish-gray eyes broad with wonder as he attentively watched Susanna coo over him.
Gage beamed with genuine male pride as he viewed his grandmother from his wife's side. "We imagined he would be."
Susanna glanced up. "I'm surprised you both haven't named this child yet. Have you decided on one?"
"Of course," Gage replied, grinning like an idiot. "We're namin' him Junior."
Summer immediately frowned at his audacity and she crossed her arms saucily. "I told you. I refuse to name my baby after your dic--"
Conrad cleared his throat to calm the lover's quarrel and Grant stifled a laugh. Alexa smiled fondly at her brother-in-law until ten-month-old Aurora began to squirm in her lap and she tenderly caressed her young daughter.
It was only seven months ago when Summer and Gage were remarried at the cabin in Georgia and spent the traditional honeymoon in Tennessee to make love to each other with zeal and love. Being married to Summer, although they still had their moments, was the best thing that had happened to him. At last he was happy, and with the birth of his boy, he couldn't be happier.
Susanna rose from her seat and delivered the baby over to his mother, who smiled gently down at her little bundle of joy. Even though he was destined to be his father's son, he was still her godsend.
Her little angel.
Her smile widened as Summer spoke his name for the first time. "Gabriel," she whispered. "Gabriel Joseph or Gabe for short."
"Gabriel," Susanna echoed. "I love that name. Actually, I wanted Gage named that."
Gage rolled his eyes heavenward. "Thank God that didn't happen," he breathed.
Summer smiled. "I agree. I believe your grandson is far from an angel, Susanna."
As if she didn't like the comment stated at her uncle's expense, Aurora started to get agitated. Susanna frowned. "Uh oh, the little one's getting fussy."
Grant carefully took his daughter and held her. Aurora's cries soothed slightly being in the protective arms of her daddy. "I think it's time for her to eat and settle down for a nap." Alexa stood beside her husband as she went with him toward the door. Grant glanced back at the new parents. "We'll check back with ya'll tomorrow. Hopefully Graham will get his ass here by then."
As they walked out, Conrad ambled slightly forward himself. "I think we oughta go too. Aurora ain't the only one hungry around here."
He urged a kind arm around his wife, but she walked out of his embrace, a worried expression upon her face as she glanced beseechingly to Gage. "Where's my baby boy? He was supposed to call us once he reached the Tennessee border."
Graham was driving from Philadelphia to Tennessee before coming to Washington because his grandmother wanted him to pick up Gage's baby blanket packed away at the Tennessee cabin to give to her new great-grandson when she couldn't find it at home.
Witnessing his grandmother's distress, Gage whipped out his cell phone just in time to hear it go off. He checked the number and realized that it was his brother, the topic of concern. He lifted the phone to his ear, relieved to find that his brother was still alive and certainly not caring for hospital rules concerning cell phones. Figuring out what was taking Graham so long was what mattered to him at the moment.
"Where the hell are you and why hadn't you called?" he barked severely. "Granny's beside herself with worry, not to mention my blood pressure's about to take off!"
"The weather around here ain't exactly the kind you're supposed to drive in," Graham replied gruffly in his defense. "I've had to keep the speed moderately safe all the way here. And from the look of thangs, it ain't gonna get any better. Before I left Philly, I checked the weather forecast and I don't believe it's gonna be perfect weather for a good couple of days. I think I'm gonna hafta crash at the cabin for tonight 'til thangs clear up a bit. But I'm just now pullin' up to it and I..."
Graham's voice had trailed off and Gage was fearing he had lost signal. He began shouting into the phone. "Graham! Are you there?"
"Yeah," came the calm answer. "But I got a problem."
Gage frowned. "What?"
"There's somebody on the porch. They ain't movin'."
Gage's face was expressionless. "Dead?"
"I ain't sure," Graham disclosed, only to have a brief silence to follow with a fierce thunder clap. "Damn, all hell's about to break loose out here. I better check it out and see if I might need to get some help out here. I'll call you later with an update."
And that was all that was said between them before Graham ended the call. With a vacant grimace, Gage lowered his phone from his ear, uncertainty and tension gripping his body. His wife stared at his rigid backside, her brow furrowing. "What is it?"
He glimpsed back to her, holding her gaze was much better than meeting the apprehensive bottle green eyes belonging to his grandmother. "Graham's found someone lying on the cabin porch in Tennessee," he revealed impassively. "He ain't sure if they're dead or not and it might be some time before I get an update with the hell that weather's unleashin' up there."
Gage faced forward to bore a hole into the wall as his fists balled at his side, severe strain taking hold of him evident as he hesitated slightly. Summer couldn't witness the varied emotions crossing his face, Gage closing his eyes momentarily as if to fight his demons. Then they snapped opened, and without a hitch, he moved deliberately for the door. "I gotta go to him."
Fortunately, Summer was able to grab hold of one of his wrists to stay him, careful of not dislodging Gabriel. Gage glanced at her grasp as if she had gone mad, but she refused to let him go. "Your brother knows how to handle a situation like this," she reminded him. "He's a homicide cop. He's dealt with stiffs before."
Gage's jaw clenched in indecision. "Yeah, but he ain't never slept by one before. That's always been his fear. He only became a homicide detective to confront it, but I know he ain't over it."
Susanna stepped closer, her slightly gnarled hands fidgeting with themselves due to uneasiness. "Graham...?"
He gave her a small, comforting smile. "He'll be all right, Granny. Ya'll got a key to the house. Ya'll go on and rest. If I get a call from him, I'll let ya'll know."
Reluctantly, Conrad ushered the worried Susanna out while Gage watched them but soon broke out of his disillusioned trance when he heard his son gurgle from behind him. He turned and saw how the beautiful picture of his wife and son together made his heart expand proudly. They were a family. Finally a family.
Summer smiled at him. "Would you like to hold your son again, Daddy?"
Another crooked smirk surfaced as his son was handed over into his care and he vigilantly held this perfect joy. As Gage studied this bundle of life smiling up at him, he knew that his son, Gabriel, recognized him as his daddy. He grinned amusingly to himself, real exquisite bliss flooding through him, enjoying the feeling of being a father.
His gaze shifted to his wife who dreamily watched the interaction between father and son. Gage's smile faded slightly, his gaze reflective. "I vaguely remember the day my parents brought Graham home," he began. "They basically handed him over to my grandmother before goin' out for the night. I remember my grandmother takin' Graham and rockin' him to sleep in her favorite rockin' chair, and I would watch her with him. I knew even then that my parents would eventually leave us and that it was my duty to protect my brothers."
His green eyes returned to his son. "I could never imagine why my parents would wanna abandon somethin' as precious as this. I ain't never felt such joy as bein' a father. My own son." He gave the baby a bright smile before shifting his gaze to Summer. "Gabriel's a damned good name for this boy."
Summer raised a dark brow. "Now you agree to it?"
Gage walked to sit upon the side of the bed, shifting Gabriel to a more comfortable position in his arms. "I suppose I should in order to go home with you and work on baby number two."
"So you want more than one?"
Gage leaned slightly forward. "Baby, if it was possible to populate the whole planet with our kids, I'd do it, but I supposed I must settle for ten."
"Ten?" Summer gasped.
"Not enough?" Gage teased. "Fine, I guess twelve will hafta do."
Summer shook her head. "There's no way I'm having that many kids, Gage Ryan."
"Damn," he swore. "Then I guess we gotta discuss it some other time."
"Yes, when this one is grown and in college."
Gage frowned in playful laughter. "I refuse to be an eunuch around you, darlin'. It just ain't possible."
Summer laughed at her husband's honesty. "Then what is possible?"
"It's possible that I will spend every damn day of my life provin' that you're the best thang that has ever happened to me," he replied, "even if at times I ain't convincin'."
Summer reached up to cup the cheek of her husband affectionately. "You've already convinced me, Gage," she asserted, her features bestowing to him a stimulating modest smile. "And I'm sure that with more convincing, I might consider having more than one child with you. I love you enough to grant you that."
Cautious of Gabriel, Gage shifted him again just enough to lean over and kiss his wife excitedly with all the love that consumed his heart and soul. He loved this woman and he most definitely loved her for the prized life she had given him. He had never been a man to humbly give thanks for what he was given, but now he got on his knees everyday to thank God for giving him a family of his own, filling the void that was missing.
He rested his forehead against hers, his brow caressing hers gently. "Thank you," he breathed with sincerity, "'cause that's all I need, baby. All I need."