"That's it," I tell Bella when she answers the phone. I'm grinning widely as I walk away from the courthouse and toward my car.
"That's it? We're done?"
"She didn't show?"
"Not only did she not show, but she'd put a recommendation in writing that I should get the custody."
"She did what?" Bella exclaims.
"I know. My attorney thinks she wanted to make sure it got resolved quickly." I turn my smile on a passerby, earning me a strange look. I don't even care.
"Ah, for a minute there I thought maybe she'd developed a conscience."
"I think that's unlikely," I say as I check the time. "I'm heading home now, can you come over?"
"I can probably manage an hour or so if I take my lunch early," she tells me. "Let me know when you get there."
"I will. I love you."
"I love you too."
My mom pulls the door open before I even reach it.
"Well?" she calls out. She sees the smile spread across my face, and lets a cautious one of her own grow too. "Yes?" she asks. I nod my head and she brings her hands together as if in prayer, before raising them to her lips and closing her eyes for a moment. I reach her and place my hands on her arms, breaking her from her moment.
"I'm so pleased for you," she says, emotion swaddling her words as she hugs me tightly.
"Thank you. For everything," I tell her.
"You're so very welcome, honey."
We pull apart and I finally close the front door behind us, taking my phone from my pocket and texting Bella to let her know I'm home.
It takes ten minutes for her to arrive, and another five before my mom comes to find out why it's taking me so long to answer the front door. I'd be embarrassed if I wasn't so damn happy about finally getting my two favorite girls under the same roof without having to worry about anything.
"How's the packing going?" Bella asks as she follows me out of the hall and into the living room.
"Okay I guess," I tell her. "I can't wait to get out of this place now and get a completely fresh start."
"I'll bet," she says, taking my hand and squeezing it. It's been hard to get excited about moving into a new place with the custody hearing hanging over me, but now it's out of the way and I know exactly how things are going to be, it's proving hard to not be too excited about it all. We chose the new house together, and the long-term plan is for it to be a family home for the three of us - maybe more eventually, who knows?
I stop short, tugging her back by her hand. She turns, a smile on her face as she looks at me with questioning eyes.
"What's up?" she asks.
"I know we had this all planned out," I tell her. "The house and the relationship and everything. But I'm kind of sick of waiting. I could have it all here." I take her other hand too, so I'm holding both. "We could have it all." I pause, watching her face carefully. "Move in with us."
She opens her mouth to speak and, fearful of opposition to my proposal, I cut in quickly. "I know we said we'd wait and do the whole dating thing properly first, but I really don't want to. I'm done with fighting to find time together and going home to my own bed. I want you with me and I want you with Lucy. We both need you around. I want to build a family and I don't see any picture of one in my head that doesn't have you in it."
"I...I…" she stutters, shaking her head. I've actually managed to render her speechless.
"A yes or no answer will do," I say with a hopeful smile. "Actually...no won't do." I frown and she smiles at me. "A yes answer will be fine," I amend.
"Okay…well after that speech I don't think I could say no even if I wanted to," she tells me, stepping closer and leaning in for a kiss.
"Is that a yes?" I ask, as our lips almost touch.
"It's a yes," she confirms as I hear Lucy begin to cry.
"And welcome to our new life," I say as I settle for the briefest touch of lips on my own.
"It sounds perfect to me."
I smile and hug her close.
"Yeah, it really does," I agree, placing a kiss on the top of her head.
A/N Thanks to everyone who has read, reviewed, followed, rec'd and nominated this story. You're all what makes this fandom great :)
Special thanks to Chocaholic123 and SparrowNotes24 for their help, support and encouragement as ever *smooches*
Much love xx