“You suck, Emilio.”
“But the daddy bird, he knew it was just fear that kept Finny moving from nest to nest, and that when she found the right one, she would be willing to sit in the nest a little longer. The daddy bird worried about some of his other birdies, but never Finny. She was strong and she was true, and she was as reliable as the day is long.”
His eyes fill up with tears and mine do the same. “You can stop now,” I tease. I wipe my eyes with my sleeve.
He shakes his head. He’s not finished yet, apparently. “So while the daddy bird loved and trusted Finny, he always wanted a little more for her. He wanted her to have a nest of her own, but in order for that to happen, she would have to find another bird who would keep her safe from falling.”
“The daddy bird kept her from falling,” I correct.
“But the daddy bird knew he wasn’t quite enough. She needed her own family, and her own birdie to love, and she needed someone to make her feel safe forever.” He slams his hand down on the coffee table. “Bam!” he cries.
Benji and I both jump. “Damn it, I hate it when you do that,” I mumble.
“Bam,” he says again, a little more softly. “She runs into a certain boy birdie, and this boy birdie knocks her directly out of the sky. But just as she’s tumbling to a tragic death, he reaches out to catch her and he keeps her from falling. But Finny…well, she’s slow to trust, so it took some time.”
“Melio,” I mutter.
“Finny is smart and loyal and kind and loving, and she’s all the things a daddy bird could ever want in a baby bird. And I’m damn happy you found Tag, Finny, because that boy loves you and you need him.” He nods toward Benji in my arms. “And you’ll make one hell of a mother.” He looks at Benji. “You’d do anything to keep that little guy from falling.”
A hot tear slides down my cheek. “You think I can do it?”
He nods. “I know you can. And so do you. So get off your ass and get it done.”
I snort out a laugh and sniffle back a tear. “You suck so bad, Melio.”
He holds out his arms. “Here, give me that little one so you can go back and fall in love some more.”
I shake my head. “I think I’ll take him with me, if that’s okay with you.” I look up at him and I see pride in his eyes.
“If you think that’s best,” he says.
“Did you love me less because I wasn’t yours?”
He shakes his head quickly and barks out a laugh. “You were mine from the minute I laid eyes on you, dummy.” He gets up and kisses the top of my head. “I’m going to bed before the other rugrat wakes up.”
I laugh. “Thanks, Melio,” I say. “I love you.”
“I love you too, Finny.”
I get Benji’s bag and take him and his things with me down the hallway, and let myself into the room.
Tag stirs and looks over. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” I say. “I wanted to get Benji and bring him in here. You don’t mind, do you?”
He smiles into his pillow. “Mind? I love it.”
He gets up and helps me set up a portable crib for him, and we slide it into the open walk-in closet space. I pull the door almost closed so I’ll still be able to hear him, and I can almost see him. He’ll sleep for a couple of hours now, I think.
“Thank you for going and getting him,” Tag says. He surprises me when he pulls my pajama top over my head and shoves my pajama pants down to my ankles. I step out of them.
“I’m guessing you want me naked, huh?”
He grins and pulls me back to bed with him, spooning us together again. I feel him pressed hard against my backside, and he nudges and slips inside me.
“We have a baby very close by,” I remind him. But I’m already arching, trying to take him deeper.
“There won’t be a time when there’s not a baby very close by, Finny,” he informs me. He shoves the covers down and rubs a circle right in the center of my ass cheek. Then he lifts his hand and slaps me.
“Did you seriously just hit me?”
I laugh. “You got some balls,” I whisper.
“Almost as big as yours,” he replies. “I love you, Finny.” He pulls out of me and rolls me to my back. He slides inside me, pressing so deep that he pushes me forward in the bed.
“I love you too,” I say on a moan, because he feels just right inside me.
Sated, we’re still sticky with sweat when we hear Benji wake up. He starts to fuss, so Tag gets up and brings him to bed to lie between us for a while. I play with his feet and he kicks his little toes. “He’s so perfect,” I breathe.
“So are you,” Tag says.
He leans over Benji and kisses me, and nothing ever felt quite so right.
Finny jumps into her jeans, tugging them by the waistband as she hops into them. “If you don’t get moving, I’m going without you,” she warns. She glares at me, but her eyes are still hot from what we were just doing. She tips her wrist to look down at her watch. “I told Lark I’d be there five minutes ago.”
I prop my head up in my palm and look at her. “Tell me again why we’re going to the tattoo shop?”
“Because I’m going to have ‘Tag is a horny asshole’ tattooed on my ass,” she tosses back. She rolls her eyes and shoves my arm so that my head falls. “Get up!” she barks.