A Very Merry Hockey Holiday

Page 11


“Here you go, we can have it all ordered and ready before Christmas.”
Erik nodded, satisfied since he was worried he might be too late. “Awesome. Okay, guys, which one?”
Dimitri stood in his stroller and peered over the counter. He then exclaimed, “That one, Daddy!”
Erik was almost tempted to copy him since that’s what Piper did to make him stop, but they weren’t at home. Looking at the ring, he decided that was the one. The two stones would make a heart with three diamonds around it that would represent Erik and the kids. It was perfect and he knew she would love it.
“That’s it.”
Piper Titov’s head fell to the side as she took in the elaborate Dr. Seuss mural she was doing for her nephew Journey’s room. The little bugger loved Dr. Seuss, and while she had done his hockey mural only a couple years ago, she was happy to change it to make her little guy happy. She was sure her niece Ally was next, but for the time being, she was going to make the best Dr. Seuss mural in the world.
Not only was the famous cat causing havoc on the wall but he was joined by Thing One and Thing Two, along with Sam, the Lorax, and many other timeless characters from the wonderful books. This was probably her favorite mural yet. Smiling, she moved her brush along the wall, the color vibrant as she let out a contented sigh. She loved her life. She had the hottest husband imaginable, two superawesome kids, and family and friends people begged for.
And she hated that there was a but.
She was getting bored painting murals.
She knew it was crazy, and she knew that she was making a killing doing them, but she was getting bored! She had been doing this for almost four years and she was kinda done. She needed more of a challenge and found that in book cover design. She hadn’t told anyone yet, but for the last three months, she had been designing covers for her author friends. It was so exhilarating! Bringing a book to life was becoming something she had to do. Something she was born to do. She loved reading, and being able to sum up the book with a simple image gave her a crazy rush. The only problem was she had made a huge deal saying that painting murals was her life.
She knew people expected her to change her mind, but she wanted to stick with something. Unfortunately, she just wasn’t happy doing it anymore, and she wasn’t sure what she should do. It was Christmastime, not really the ideal time to tell her husband she wanted to change careers. Erik didn’t care about the money since he made enough for their family and then some, but she wanted to contribute. She didn’t make as much money doing covers as she did doing the murals. Would she feel like a contributing part of the family? And plus, what would everyone think?
They’d probably roll their eyes and think of her as flighty again. It was a depressing thought because she didn’t want to be flighty. She wanted to be strong, know what she wanted, but she just got bored with the same thing all the time.
Being a mother and wife was the only thing she didn’t get bored with. It was everything she had ever thought it would be, and sometimes she couldn’t believe she had been so scared to have Dimitri. He honestly brought out the best in her. He also helped his daddy get his head out of his ass and love her, so really, he was the biggest blessing in her life. As well as Katarina. She was so full of life and so perfect. She drove them all crazy since she was sort of a crybaby, but Piper loved her so damn much. They had the perfect little family, and she couldn’t wait for the future.
“Wow, looks amazing.”
Piper looked over her shoulder and smiled as her older sister Harper entered the room.
“Thanks,” she said with a grin as she dipped her brush in the paint. “Where did you go? I got here expecting some food, but only Jakob was here with the kids, and no food was provided. When I asked where you were, Jakob wouldn’t tell me.”
She laughed but it was more of a shocked laugh, not a ha-ha funny one. “Funny story, actually.”
Piper’s brows came up. “What’s up?”
“We are getting an extra special Christmas present this year.”
Still confused, Piper asked, “Huh? What?”
Shaking her head, Harper met Piper’s gaze and said, “I’m pregnant.”
Confused, Piper’s head tilted to the side. “But you couldn’t get pregnant.”
“I know.”
“And your tubes are tied.”
“I know. I’m ten weeks and had no clue.”
“Huh?” Piper asked, completely shocked. “Ten weeks!”
“Yeah, I’m as shocked as you are. Believe me. We both are. I haven’t had my period, but it been spotty since the tubal anyway. But I haven’t been sick or anything. The only reason I went in was because my tits have been hurting so bad, I thought I had cancer or something. Nope, a baby.”
Piper laughed. “Wow. That’s so awesome! Congrats!”
Wrapping her sister in a half hug, she found that her eyes were clouding with tears. Harper had wanted another baby so badly after Ally. She’d even asked Piper and her twin, Reese, to carry it for her, but then they found a surrogate and had Journey. Now though, she was going to carry her own child.
“Audrey’s pregnant too! This is so awesome.”
Harper laughed. “All us Assassins women are always pregnant together. Damn hockey players are fertile as hell.”
“No shit, right? That’s so cool! I am so excited for you,” Piper said, squeezing her again, and when she pulled back, her sister had big fat tears rolling down her face. She could see the excitement in Harper’s eyes and couldn’t be happier.