Unwished for Gift Ch. 03bybleuangele©
Chapter 3 – At Last
"Pappy Pappy Pappy!!!" shouted the twins as Caitlyn's dad reached down to tickle his grandbabies. Squeals of laughter filled the room along with her dad's growling and empty threats as he chased them around the living room. A small smile a lighted her face as she basked in the love that filled the air around her. She could hear her mom and sister in law Angie cooking and talking in the kitchen. Sam was propped up in dad's recliner reading. Her feet kept up the beat singing through her earphones connected to the MP3 player tucked next to her. Kyle and Brandon were bickering and clamoring for remote dominance when the twins jumped on them and grabbing the remote ran out of the room. Caitlyn laughed out loud as her two brothers grimaced and chased after them.
"Hi sweet pea," whispered her dad. Turning to him, Caitlyn cried out happily and threw her arms around him. Hugging each other tightly, they both felt emotions running through them that brought tears to each others eyes. "Oh how I've missed my little princess," her dad said pulling back to look down at her.
"I've missed you too dad... a lot. I'm sorry I haven't been home and ..." Caitlyn exclaimed but stopped as her dad shushed her with a look.
"You're here now and that's all that matters," stated her dad. "Now go help your mom while I get the decorations out of the shed," her dad commanded as he leaned down to kiss her forehead. Tears threatened to flow again as she remembered how her dad used to kiss her on the forehead all the time growing up. It was his way of comforting her as much as her mom's hugs did. Sighing to herself, Caitlyn took a step towards the kitchen when a voice stopped her.
"I'm sorry about earlier," Gabriel said softly to her. "I'm Gabriel Matthews. I work with your brother," he said as he held his hand out to her. Finally, a face to go with a name, she thought to herself as she hesitantly reached out to take his hand. Expecting a firm shake, Caitlyn was startled when Gabriel lifted her hand up and gently kissed the back of it. When he lifted his head and stared at her, she felt her heart beat faster and warmth fill her as she was mesmerized by his stare. She felt herself being pulled closer and let her feet move her to him.
The doorbell ringing brought the two of them out of their reverie. Blushing, Caitlyn moved quickly to open the door. A huge smile graced her face as she saw the final members of their family show up. Caitlyn jerked as she felt and then saw Gabriel move next to her and then onto to the porch to grab the suitcases that had been placed there. Her brother Joseph quickly thanked him and then ran back to his car to get the rest of his family. As she moved to put her shoes on to go help him, she saw her dad come out from the shed and yell at her to stay put. Then he yelled for his other two sons to get out of the house and come help. Caitlyn giggled as her brothers whined about the cold and snow while lacing up their boots and trudging outside. She froze when she turned and saw Gabriel lacing up his boots too. She honestly didn't expect him to help out but was touched that he wanted to. She blushed again when he suddenly looked up and smiled at her. Before she could say anything, a baby's cries erupted from the car where Joseph was standing.
"Shhh shhhh shhh," Joseph crooned at his 18 month old son. The cold coupled with the stop of the car had woken up Joseph James, or JJ as everyone called him. Joseph was trying to get him out of the car seat while buttoning up his coat but JJ was not cooperating. "Ouch damn it stop," he cried out as his son grabbed his hair and tugged harshly. "Daddy said a bad word, daddy said a bad word," his other son sang out to his dismay. Glaring at him, Joseph stuck his tongue out and then reached over to tickle his oldest son Cameron. Luckily, when Cameron started laughing and squealing, JJ turned off the waterworks and giggled happily along. Now Joseph had two sons to tickle which made him very, very happy. But once again, a shadow of sorrow crossed his face as he thought about the other member of their family that wouldn't be here this year. Sighing deeply, he stopped tickling and went back to unbuckling the kids. "I love you daddy," Cameron whispered reaching over to hug him around the neck. "I love you too, Cam," he replied knowing Cameron could feel his pain. Even though he missed his wife, he was thankful that she had given him two wonderful sons.
His melancholy thoughts stopped when the other door opened and his dad reached out to get Cameron. His joyous cries made Joseph smile and he looked up gratefully at his dad. Winking at him, he finally got JJ out and proceeded up to the house with the squirming bundle of joy. A huge smile lit his face as he saw his baby sis standing there with the door open. Hearing car doors slam, he knew that all the presents and bags that he stuffed in there was being unloaded by his brothers so he bounded quickly up the steps to embrace Caitlyn.
Caitlyn hugged her youngest brother fiercely. They were the closest of all the kids and he was always the first one she ran to when she needed something. When his wife passed away last year, Caitlyn was there helping with the funeral arrangements and comforting him as best she could. It helped that they lived in the same state and were only an hour away from each other. She missed him terribly when he withdrew from everyone to deal with his grief, but she gave him his space knowing he needed it. She let all her love for him pour out into that one hug and knew he felt it and was happy she was there. JJ finally broke up the moment tugging on Cate's hair and gurgling happily. Drawing away, she smiled as her brother rolled his eyes and put his son down to toddle into the house. Not saying anything, but knowing they would talk later, Joseph went to greet his mom and other family members.
Caitlyn kept the door open while her other brothers and Gabriel finished unloading the car. Her dad and Cameron finally came bustling in after brushing off as much snow as they could from their impromptu snowball fight. The twins immediately ambushed the two and stole Cameron away for much playing. They were the same age as him and the three of them were inseparable when they were together. Closing the door, Caitlyn leaned against it for a moment trying to get a grip on her emotions. She was filled with joy at being here with the whole family, yet at the same time, she was filled with sadness. She knew that deep down, she yearned for a family of her own ... for children of her own, but the pain of being hurt had put a wall around her heart. She didn't know if she could bring that wall down and let someone in. Too much of what had happened to her initially colored her views on men and romance. She knew that there were good guys like her dad and brothers out there, but in her heart she didn't think that she was good enough for someone like them.
Gabriel saw Caitlyn lean against the door. He got the feeling that she was trying to pull her emotions together. There was an air of melancholy and hurt about her. He wanted to pull her close and hold her in his arms forever. Kyle had mentioned that something had happened to her awhile ago and didn't think she had ever fully recovered emotionally from it. But looking at her, it was hard to picture anyone hurting her. He had been watching her since she woke up. Her physical beauty took his breath away. But what captivated him even more was her loving soul and gentle heart. Before he could go to her, loud cries and bawling could be heard upstairs which could only mean that one of the kids had gotten hurt.