Things I own: My husband's heart, a dog that annoys the hell out of me, and more books than I have shelf space for.
Things I don't own: Jasper and the characters we love.
As most of you know this is the sequel to The Box. If you haven't read that the prologue won't make sense. IF you have read it the prologue will be deja vu since it's the epilogue from The Box. It gives me a starting point to move into the story.
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"Daddy, daddy I'm ready?"
I grinned and looked up as Meghan, my three year old daughter, and Sampson, our four year old Boxer, ran into the kitchen. She was dressed for bed, wearing her Little Mermaid pajamas and carrying her teddy bear. Her brown hair was hanging down her back and showing the waves her braid had made during the day.
I crouched down as she came over and scooped her up in my arms. Her beautiful green eyes sparkled as I plopped her onto the counter and turned to finish getting her some juice.
"Where's mommy?" I asked.
"Changing and getting the box."
I nodded and handed over her juice just as mommy came to the doorway.
"Are we ready?"
"Yeah," I said, setting Meghan back onto the floor. I watched as she ran over and took Bella's outstretched hand. I couldn't help but smile as they both looked up at me.
"You coming daddy?" Bella asked, giving me her own smile.
I nodded and quickly grabbed two bottles of water before following my girls into the living room.
As we got things situated I thought about what we were about to do. For the last six years Bella and I had been keeping a box.
It wasn't the same one I'd had, that one had sat untouched in the top of the closet since the night Bella and I had gone through it. I hadn't needed to look at the memories of the past since Bella was back in my life and we were trying to move forward. That didn't stop us from wanting to document and keep the things that were most important to us though.
For the first couple of years we only added. The night we got married, as we sat in our hotel room, we added another item and relived the things that had gotten us to that point. From that moment on every time we added something new we went through it again. That had lasted until three months ago when Meghan had turned three.
Bella and I had been sitting on the floor going through the box, after putting her to bed. We were in the middle of adding the item that had made us get it off its shelf, since Meghan's first birthday invitation, when she had toddled into the living room with Sampson trailing behind her like always.
Her curious little eyes had swept over everything sitting on the coffee table before looking up at us, her brow furrowed; looking so much like Bella it made my chest ache in the most amazing way.
"What's goin' on?" She'd asked.
"Mommy and Daddy are just adding something to our box of memories." Bella had answered.
"Can I see?" Meghan had asked looking over everything again.
"It's past your bedtime." Bella had answered.
"But I not tired." Meghan said while trying not to yawn.
Bella and I both had had to stifle chuckles behind our hands and then she'd looked over at me.
"What do you think daddy? Should we let her stay up for a little while and show her our memories?"
I'd looked back to Meghan at that point and her puppy dog eyes and bottom lip were out in full force. So much so that there was no way I could say no.
I'd leaned back against the couch and patted my knee, earning a squeal as she shot around the table.
She hadn't made it through the whole box. We'd had to give her a very condensed version of the past, so she would kind of understand why we had started with the thing we did and she'd fallen asleep halfway through the second item or items in that case. I'd taken her back to bed and tucked her in while Bella picked everything up.
We had figured she'd forget, but like all kids she didn't. However, she didn't mention it until the next Saturday during dinner.
We'd taken the box down again and she made us go through what she'd already heard before moving on to the rest.
From that moment on we had a new Saturday night ritual. We'd eat dinner, change into our pajamas, and then we'd sit on the floor and go through the box. Seeing Meghan's face light up with every item was the highlight of my week. She never grew tired of the stories and always looked at each thing with wonder.
For the last three months we had not added anything though. Tonight that was going to change and I couldn't wait until she found out. I could already imagine her reaction and I was looking forward to it.
I brought my attention back to my girls as Bella's hand landed on my arm and she used me as leverage to sit on the pillow, she'd dropped on the floor. As soon as she was seated I lowered myself to the pillow beside her and Meghan immediately crawled into my lap, snuggling as close to my chest as she could. Sampson circled a few time before lying down on the other side of Bella, his head propped up on one of her crossed legs.
"Are we ready?" Bella asked glancing at the two of us. Meghan nodded vigorously in her excitement almost catching me in the chin, but I didn't mind.
Having my two girls with me, reliving a past that I could finally be proud of, seeing their faces lit up with smiles and laughter, and knowing what the future held were the moments I lived for now.
I was no longer broken. I was a husband and a father and as I watched Bella remove the lid of our box I could not ask for more.
I know most of you have probably already reviewed this chapter on the other one, but let me know what you think again.