As always, thanks to Hubby for the edit!
Just as a head's up, chapter 26 will be the final chapter!
As Kian placed me back on the ground my heart hammered. I felt giddy, and had to hold onto him for a moment to steady myself.
“So, do you want the grand tour?”
I grinned. “Hell yes!”
He led me to the door, and then looked about sheepishly. “It’ll need some work. I’ve only had chance to get Ella’s room decorated.”
I stepped into a plain hallway with beige walls, devoid of any personality. But it didn’t matter, this was going to be our home.
I laced my fingers through his. “We can do it together.”
“No way! I’m hiring someone. I want us moved in before Ella is born, and you’re not lifting a finger.”
With my recent stay in hospital still fresh in my mind, I nodded my head.
I followed Kian down the hall to a spacious bathroom that had all the usual fixtures, along with a massive bathtub that had Jacuzzi jets built in, and could easily fit two people.
“Oh my god!” I said, letting go of his hand and running to the tub for a closer look. “This is amazing!”
Kian leant up against the wall and laughed.
After that we checked out the main bedroom, which was easily the size of my entire flat. The whole place was huge, with another bedroom and office on the upper floor, and extensive kitchen, dining room and lounge downstairs. The garden was just as big, with plenty of room for a patio and barbecue area, as well as space for a playset as Ella got older.
Finally, we made our way back round to the front, where a long driveway led up to the house and double garage.
“When can we move in?” I asked.
“Well, as I said, I want everything decorated first, but ideally I’d like to be in within the month.”
I took his hand, and we walked to the car. “Okay, will the people who did Ella’s room be willing to do the rest?”
“Yes, I’ve already checked with them, and they’re happy to do the work. All we have to do is decide what we want.”
We paused for a moment to get into the car, and once Kian had started up the engine I said, “Do you fancy going over some ideas when we get back to yours?”
“I thought you were tired?”
I stared out the window in amazement, following the length of the tree-lined alley that separated our new house from the road.
“I was, until you showed me this place. Now I feel like I’ve drunk three expressos. I won’t be able to sleep tonight.”
“You need to take it easy. I don’t want you ending up in hospital again.”
“It’s the last thing I want, too. But discussing designs and looking up ideas online won’t be that strenuous.”
Kian let out a breath then smiled. “Okay, but only for an hour and then we’re going to bed. Deal?”
It was almost two-and-half hours later when we finally climbed into bed, but I had Pinterest boards full of ideas, and we’d come up with a rough plan for how we wanted each room decorated. I intended to call decorators the following day while Kian was at work.
We settled into our usual position of Kian behind me, and me curled in his lap. His hand rested on my tummy, where Ella was squirming around and pushing into my ribs.
“Our little girl’s got quite a kick on her now,” he said after she booted his palm.
I rubbed my rib cage. “Yeah, tell me about it.”
Kian’s touch seemed to calm Ella, and eventually she stopped using my womb as a football pitch. Wrapped safely in his arms, I drifted off to sleep.
The following morning, Kian woke early to head to the gym. He tried to be as quiet as possible so as not to wake me, but between the sounds of him getting ready and the need to pee, I woke up too.
“Hey,” he said, as I padded into the kitchen. “I didn’t wake you, did I?”
“Not really.” I flopped down at the breakfast bar, and stole Kian’s glass of juice, draining it in one long gulp.
“Hey, I was drinking that,” he said, pouring us both another glass.
I smiled sheepishly. “Sorry.”
“Do you want anything to eat before I leave? I can cook you some eggs or something.”
“I can make my own breakfast.”
Kian said beside me, dropping a kiss on my forehead as he perched on the stool. “I know, but I like looking after you.”
“Honestly, I’m fine. I’m not even hungry right now.”
“Okay, well there’s plenty of stuff in the fridge for when you are. Have whatever you want.”
“You’re going to regret saying that when you come home and there’s nothing left,” I said, imagining the fry-up I’d cook for myself later. “So, what have you got lined up for today?”
“It’s the new guy, Sinclair’s first day, so I’ll be helping him settle in.”
“And by ‘settle in’ you mean pushing him to his limit to make sure he’s really as good as you hoped?”
Kian grinned. “You know me so well.”
“Reckon you’ll be able to get away for lunch around one so I can fill you in on what the decorators say?”
“Yeah, shouldn’t be a problem. I’ll let Davi know it’s important. I’m sure he won’t mind me taking an hour.”
“Perfect. And you’re still happy with everything we came up with last night?”
“Absolutely. I think we found a great balance between the styles we both like.”
Kian finished his juice, then threw a couple of protein shakes into his gym bag with the rest of his gear.
I walked to the front door with him. “Have a good morning with Sinclair.”
“I’m sure I will. And good luck with the designers.”
He pulled me to him, and pressed his lips against mine. “I’ll speak to you later.”
“Yeah, see you later.”
After another kiss, Kian was out the door, and I padded back down the hall to the living room, then called Stacey to let her know about the new house, knowing she’d never forgive me if I left her out of the loop.
To mine and Kian’s delight, the decorating of the new house only took two weeks, and after hiring a removal team to move the boxes of stuff from both mine and Kian’s, we were all set.
Everyone pitched in to help with the unpacking, and the house was a hive of activity with my parents, his parents, Marie and Darren, and Stacey and Josh all helping to get every room sorted.
Stacey and I were up in the bedroom, hanging mine and Kian’s clothes in the built in wardrobe.
“Oh my god, this wardrobe goes on for miles,” Stacey said, hanging up a pair of jeans I hadn’t worn since before I got pregnant.
“Right? I’m never going to fill it.”
“You know what we need to do? Go on a shopping spree.”
I grabbed a pile of clothes I’d already put on hangers and started placing them on the rail. “Hold your horses. I’m not buying anything until after this little miss is born, and I’ve gotten back into shape. Plus you kind of need money for a shopping spree, and I have none.”
“Good point. Your savings run out?”
“Not quite, and I’ve added to it a little from the freelance jobs, but I don’t want Kian paying all the bills while I’m on maternity leave and then looking for work.”
“When I start at the bridal place, I could give you a loan or something.”
“I appreciate the offer, but I’m not taking your money, Stace. It’ll be fine. Ella will be here soon, and then I can do some more freelance jobs until I find something permanent.”
I hung up the last of Kian’s shirts, and moved over to the dresser to start putting away underwear and stuff that wouldn’t be going in the wardrobe, while Stacey finished hanging my clothes.
“Well, if you change your mind, you can always ask.”
“I think you’ll be needing the money for something else soon enough. It wouldn’t surprise me if Josh pops the question soon.”
Stacey giggled. “You think?”
“Oh yeah. I saw the way he looked at you over lunch. He clearly wants something more.”
“Says the woman who’s just moved in with the father of their baby.”
I laughed and busied myself with folding away bras.
It was almost dinner time when everyone had finished unpacking and putting things away in their respective rooms, so we decided to order takeout from the local Chinese restaurant.
Deciding it was best just to buy a load of everything, we opened the cartons and placed them on the dining room table, then set out some plates so people could help themselves.
I piled my plate with Chow Mein, rice and barbeque spare ribs, then settle on a chair to eat. Looking around the dining room, I couldn’t supress the grin that covered my face.
Kian and my dad were chatting about a recent football game, while his dad was giving Josh fishing tips. His mum was talking to Stacey about her job at the bridal shop, and my mum was chatting to Marie and Darren about how their jobs at the hospital were going.
Ella flipped over in my tummy, and I patted the large bump that now blocked me from viewing my feet whenever I was standing.
“I can’t wait for you to meet everyone,” I told her quietly, fighting the tears that were welling in my eyes. Bloody pregnancy hormones! “They’re all here now getting the house ready for you, and they love you very much. Just like Mummy and Daddy do.”
I looked over to where Kian was making elaborate hand gestures to explain something to my dad and grinned.
Gathered in my new home, with everyone I loved around me, I’d never felt more content. I let out a long, slow breath and closed my eyes, happy just to listen to the chatter of those around me.
I must have dozed off for a bit, because the next thing I knew, Dad was beside saying, “Me and your mum are heading home now, Love.”
I sat up, stretched out my limbs and noticed the dining room had been cleaned up.
“Why didn’t you wake me sooner?”
Dad chuckled. “You looked like you needed the rest.”
“Yeah, moving is more tiring that I thought.” I stifled a yawn, then stood up and linked my arm through his. We headed to the front door, where Mum was saying goodbye to Kian.
“Thank you for all your help today,” he said, then embraced her.
I raised an eyebrow at Dad, who only smiled and shrugged.
My parents leaving opened the floodgates for everyone else, and for the next ten minutes, me and Kian were stood at the front door, thanking everyone for their help, saying goodnight to them, and promising we’d get together again soon.
Finally, we closed the door behind Josh and Stacey, and were alone in our new place at last.
Kian pulled me to him, and wrapped his arms around me, dropping a kiss on my crown.
“Home sweet home,” I said.
“You’re happy with how everything turned out then?” Kian asked, as he released me from his arms and turned towards the stairs.
“I couldn’t be happier.” We headed into our bedroom, and I paused for a moment to absorb the scene.
Kian was a few paces ahead of me, wearing trackie bottoms and a vest, with his hair in disarray from a day of activity, and in my eyes he’d never looked more gorgeous.
He turned to me, smiling and said “What?”
The indigo we’d chosen for the walls made his eyes stand out, and reminded me of the night I’d first met him, as they’re what’d originally drawn me to him.
“Nothing,” I said, crossing the room to him and wrapping my arms around him. “Just thinking how lucky I am.”
Kian grinned, then dipped his head, pressing his lips to mine. His hands snaked around my back, gently caressing my skin, as he unfastened the zipper of my dress and let it fall to the floor.
I stepped out of it and reached for him, lifting the hem of his vest so my hands could stroke the hard planes of his chest, relishing the feel of his taut muscles beneath my fingertips. I pulled the top up and off over his head, then braced my hands on his shoulders, standing on my tiptoes so I could kiss him.
Kian’s hands were still on my back, rubbing lazy circles up and down. As I slipped my tongue into his mouth, his hands moved lower and he grabbed the waistband of my leggings. He slid them down, his fingers leaving a blazing trail on my thighs.
I kicked the clothing away and tugged on the drawstrings of his trackies, pulling them off until we were both stood in our underwear.
Kian brushed a hand down my baby bump, “You’re gorgeous.”
The heat of his gaze made me blush and turn my head away. It was ridiculous that he still had that effect on me almost nine months later.
His hands trailed up from my tummy to cup my breasts, and my breathing hitched. Since officially getting together, we’d been taking things slowly in the bedroom department, and though I slept wrapped in his arms most nights, this was the first time I’d felt that sizzle between us, like something more could happen.
His hands worked their way down my shoulders, pushing my bra straps down as he moved. Then his hot fingers stroked around to my back, and he unfastened the clasp.
For a moment, I kept my hands at my chest, holding my underwear in place, suddenly nervous about undressing in front of him.
It wasn’t that I was scared about Kian seeing my body, we’d been there and done that, this was about more than just meaningless sex. We’d moved in together and exchanged ‘I love yous.’ This was the final step, and in the back of my mind, an annoying voice questioned what would happen if we slept together and it wasn’t as good as the first time? What if somewhere between me getting pregnant, and us becoming a couple, we’d lost the sexual spark we had on the night we met?
Kian noticed my hesitation, because his hands came back to rest on top of mine, and he asked, “What’s wrong?”
I laughed at my own ridiculousness and shook my head. “You’re going to think I’m stupid.”
“Never.” He punctuated the statement by leaning forward and kissing my shoulder, sending a shiver down my spine.
Our hands still joined, his lips roved across my collarbone and to my neck, where he lightly grazed the skin with his teeth.
My stomach flipped over, and I let out a breathy sigh, realizing I was indeed being stupid. If he could make my body tremble from just a few kisses, then there really was nothing to worry about.
I slid my hands from under his, pulling my bra off and leaving him to cup my breasts.
Kian kissed down from my neck, past my collarbone, until he met the valley between my breasts. With his one hand rubbing over my left nipple, he took the right into his mouth, and sucked gently, sending a surge of heat through my body.
Still caressing my body, he lifted his gaze to mine. Without hesitation, I took his hand and walked across to our new king sized bed.
I was awoken in the middle of the night by excruciating pain in my lower back. I sat up carefully so not to disturb Kian, and took a deep breath in. Wincing, I blew the breath out slowly. Seconds later my whole abdomen tightened, and white hot pain flashed across it. This was no Braxton hick. I hissed out another breath, and climbed out of bed.
An array of different thoughts crashed into one another.
It’s too soon. Thank God my bag is ready. I need to wake Kian. Holy fuck this hurts.
I paced the room, counting the time between contractions. I remembered reading you didn’t need to go into hospital until they were less than five minutes apart, and mine hadn’t reached that point yet.
When another came, I leant on the dressing table and tried to breathe through the pain. Just as it was ebbing away, Kian woke up.
“Are you all right?”
“I think I’m in labour!”
Kian bolted out of bed. “Why didn’t you wake me? We need to get to the hospital.”
“It’s not time yet. The contractions aren’t less than five minutes apart.”
Kian’s face relaxed a little and he sat down on the bed, then flicked the lamp on.
“How long have you been awake?”
“Not long. They’ve only just started.”
“Can I get you anything?”
“No, I’m fine, thanks.”
A few moments later I scrunched up my face, gritted my teeth and clenched my fists as another contraction came. I tried to breathe through it, but this one felt longer and more intense.
Kian grabbed his phone off the bedside table and turned it on. “I’ll start timing them.”
Even though I was pacing, my whole body felt restless and my mind was racing. I was trying to recall the prenatal classes I’d been to, and the information we’d been given about pain relief, but all I could think about was the fact I’d meet my little girl soon, and how much this bloody hurt.
Another contraction came a few minutes later, again increasing in intensity, and I let out a guttural cry.
“That one was just under five minutes. I think we should leave,” Kian said, crossing the room to me.
With the pain still fresh in my mind, I wasn’t going to argue. “Fine.”
We headed downstairs and grabbed my hospital bag, which was by the front door, then climbed into Kian’s Audi.
He put the key in the ignition and turned it on, the engine roaring to life.
“See, I told you we needed to keep it!” I said, as we pulled out of the garage.
“If it gets you to hospital in time, I’ll never sell this car.”
Outside, the sky was dark, and due to our distance from the city, I could see the stars dotting the sky. The moon was a crescent shape overhead.
Looking at the dashboard, the digital clock informed me it was 2:36.
Cruising just below the speed limit, we made our way to the end of the tree-lined gully that separated our house from the street, then turned onto the road that would take us towards the city.
“What the hell’s that noise?” I asked, when the car made a loud bang followed by a disturbing rattling sound.
The car jolted and Kian pulled over.
Kian looked over at me, his eyes wide, and said, “It’s okay, I’ll change it.”
“Quickly, please.” My voice was breathy, and my heart hammered in my chest. As he climbed out of the car, another wave of pain crashed over me, and I screwed my eyes closed against it, breathing out slowly threw my nose.
Once the contraction has subsided, I opened the window, and leaned out of it to see what Kian was doing. He already had the jack under the car, and was removing what was left of the damaged tired. Then he headed to the boot again, and lugged the new one over to where the front of the car was propped up.
“This tire is knackered too.”
My breathing hitched, and my heart felt like it was pumping at double speed.
“This cannot be happening. Who the fuck keeps a punctured tire in their boot?”
Kian stood up, and kicked the tire away, then pinched the bridge of his nose. “I’m sorry. It slipped my mind.”
“Well fix it!”
My body tensed, and I felt sweat pouring off me. “Well do some- OW! Fuck! Kian, help!”
Another contraction violated my body, sending lightning bolts through my tummy and back. The pressure in my groin area was building, and I felt like I was going to shit myself.
His hands fumbling, Kian pulled out his phone and called for an ambulance.
“They’re sending an ambulance straight out,” he said, covering the receiver with his hand. “They want me to stay on the line and keep them up to date with what’s happening.”
I tried to answer, but the pain prevented me from speaking, Instead, I bent down, so my head was almost between my legs and started panting.
Ella was coming.