A Very Merry Hockey Holiday

Page 6


“Yeah, she is,” he confirmed, letting out a long breath. “I don’t know what to do, honestly.”
“How’s the surrogate thingy going?” he asked, but Tate was already shaking his head.
“It isn’t. She can’t find someone she trusts. It’s insane; I mean, surely they’ll take care of the baby.”
“Yeah, I mean, it worked for Harper.”
“I told her this but she just doesn’t want to pick someone. So I said, let’s do the in vitro. I mean, we’ve already done the drugs and they’ve taken my sperm and her eggs. All they need is to go through with the procedure, but she is scared that it will be a waste of time because they say her uterus is weak. I’m telling you, she wants a baby so fucking bad. And sure, I would love another one, but I don’t want this stress. I just want us to be happy. We have a beautiful daughter. What else do we need?”
Lucas slowly nodded and Tate felt desperate. Lucas didn’t understand any of this. He was blessed with four gorgeous kids and a wife who wasn’t driving him crazy now that she wasn’t pregnant. Audrey was great pregnant, horny as hell and drove him mad with her need for him, so he wouldn’t mind doing nine months of that again. But above all, he just wanted her to have everything she wanted. “I just want her to be happy, and I’ll do anything to get her there.”
“I know, buddy. You’re really good to her.”
Lucas cupped his shoulder as Tate said, “Because I love her. More than anything, and no matter how many times I tell her that, she doesn’t listen.”
“She is hardheaded like her sister. It will work out.”
Tate didn’t think it would, but he nodded and agreed, “I hope so.”
After getting to the hotel later that night, he set his computer up and Skyped Audrey. Waiting for her to answer, he leaned back in his bed and grinned when his beautiful daughter’s face filled the screen. Her dusty brown hair was in curls down her shoulders, her eyes bright as she waved wildly at him.
He sat up, waving back at her. “Hello, my sweetheart. How’s Daddy’s girl?”
Her grin was unstoppable as she said, “Good! I made cupcakes today at the shop, and I’m bringing them to class tomorrow.”
“Wonderful, where is Mommy?”
“Right here,” Audrey said, coming into view. Her hair was in a messy bun, her eyes not as bright as he liked, and she wasn’t really smiling. It wasn’t the kind of smile he loved; it was a forced one.
“Hey, baby. I miss you two.”
“We miss you!” Penelope yelled, throwing her arms up in the air.
“We do,” Audrey agreed, her eyes lighting up a little bit. “Great game. We love watching you win, huh, Pennyloo?”
Penelope nodded quickly. “You’re so awesome, Daddy.”
That warmed his heart, but as he eyed his wife, he couldn’t shake the feeling that she had been crying. “Thank you, baby. You are too.”
“Duh! I’m Mommy’s baby!”
Audrey grinned at that, kissing Penelope’s temple before looking back at the camera.
“There is my true smile. I miss seeing it,” he admitted and Audrey looked down.
“Yeah, I need to smile more, huh?”
“Yeah!” Penelope agreed. “I love when you’re happy.”
“Me too,” Tate said as Audrey met his gaze.
“I’ll be happy once you’re home again,” she said, and he knew that wasn’t the truth. “Tell Daddy goodnight and that you love him. It’s time for bed. I let her stay up to talk to you. She missed you today, huh, sweetheart?”
Penelope nodded quickly as Tate said, “I miss you too, sweetheart. I’ll be home in two more sleeps.”
“I can’t wait!” she cheered.
“Me too,” Audrey said with a grin on her face, and he smiled back.
“I love you, Pennyloo, and I miss you,” he said and Penelope giggled.
“I miss you, Daddy! I love you so so so so so so so so so so so so so so,” she took in a deep breath and continued, “So so so so so so so so MUCH!!”
He grinned widely at her before kissing the camera. “I miss you more than that and then some. Now goodnight, sweetheart.”
“Night, Daddy,” she said before kissing the camera and then Audrey.
“I’ll be up in a few minutes, okay? Tuck in all your dolls,” she said and Tate chuckled.
Bedtime was a long, drawn-out process in the Odder household. It took Penelope at least ten minutes to tuck in all her dolls and then another ten minutes of a story before either Audrey or he had to lie with her, talking about their day. She hated to sleep and they didn’t mind catering to her needs. The perks of being the princess in the house.
Once Penelope hopped away, Audrey looked at the screen and tried to smile. “I figure when you get home, we’ll decorate. Christmas is right around the corner.”
He nodded. They had three weeks, but it was coming up quick. “Yeah, usually we are set up after Thanksgiving.”
She shrugged. “Yeah. Just haven’t been in the mood.”
“Yeah,” he agreed, and then he decided he didn’t like this. “Audrey,” he said since she was looking down, picking at her nails.
She glanced up. “Yeah?”
He was tired of it all. If she wouldn’t do what needed to be done, he was going to do it. He was going to make her happy.