Moonlight rippled across his muscular back and broad shoulders as he leaned forward on the edge of the porch. Along the reedy path, hidden creatures made their nighttime noises, matching the rhythm of the ocean as its gentle waves lapped onto the rocks. Peace and tranquility surrounded.
She stopped a sigh before it alerted him to her presence and stood tall to peer over his shoulder. Dark eyes peeked up to her after a long blink. The tiny head, covered in milk-chocolate curls, was cradled in his Daddy's palm. Her heart flipped. Then flopped.
For years she believed she'd traded something she wanted for something else she wanted more. How wrong those thoughts were. In fact, she'd given up nothing more than a simple career, in exchange for something she both wanted and needed. Needed like she needed the air to breathe.
"Why don't you ask your beautiful Mommy to join us?" The tiny baby in his arms gave an obliging yawn, mouth opening as wide as his head while midnight eyes closed to slits.
"He's going to have your baby-brown's, too." She touched her husband's cheek as she sat next to father and son.
Her bare toes dangled into the cool dewy grass as she conjured visions of their daughters. All three had kept her own blue eyes, becoming the perfect mixture of their parents in every other way. Not the son she'd given him, however; he was the spitting image of his father, right down to the long graceful guitar-playing fingers.
"I was introducing our son to nature." He leaned in to kiss the top of her head and she buried her face into the warmth of his neck and took a deep breath.
He could shower morning, noon and night and never rid himself of the smell of sea salt and surfboard wax. The scents of her happiness, of home.
"Writing a song?" She kept her voice soft, not wanting to betray the serenity surrounding them.
"Mmm." Still, after all these years he never shared with her his writing process. She heard a song only when it was finished, ready to go onto the next album. This was something she treasured, part of that charming and boyish shyness he'd been unable to let go.
The baby smelled her swollen breasts and let out a soft mew. It was new to her, this quiet subdued infant, nothing like his sisters had been when hungry or tired. No, this was another way the baby being placed into her arms was just like his father: never demanding, confident things would come when needed, at their own pace.
He rooted only seconds before latching on. She held him to her in silence as he ate his last meal of the evening. Already, at eight weeks, he slept in seven hour stretches through the night.
Her husband's golden-brown eyes glowed under the pale moon as they watched his son suckle. Nothing like the smolder they normally shone while looking at her bared breasts. They were soft, awed.
"How does that happen?" He echoed her earlier quiet tone. "Three hours ago I was looking at your naked body, thinking dirty things." He'd read her thoughts almost since the first night they'd met. "But right now. I don't know." Broad shoulders offered that half-shrug she'd once thought of as condescending. She'd been far off base. "That's so beautiful. So right."
"Nature." Her thumb slipped between her breast and the now sleeping infant's mouth. There was a soft pop as he broke free. "I'm going to put your son in his crib." She stood and walked toward the door, turning back before she entered the house. "When I come back out, maybe you can tell me about the dirty things?"
"I can't think of anything I'd rather do."
Of all the things he'd retained through their years together, that devilish smile was her favorite.