Chapter Twenty-Two

"Tara! Tara, put that box down. You're going to hurt yourself!" Peter drops his own large cardboard box and runs over to me. When I still hold the box over my pregnant belly, Peter pulls it firmly from my hands. "I told you I would take care of it. All you need to do is sit on the couch and look like a beautiful future mother."

I sigh and sit on the couch. It's mid-April and the back door is open just a tad to let a breath of fresh air and wind rush through the house every so often. Peter asked me a couple weeks ago to move in with him. He was growing extremely worried about Melisa, Lukas, and me, so he thought the best way to relieve his almost sleepless nights was to move me in. So here we are, me sitting on a couch because Peter is worried I'm going to hurt myself if I carry one tiny box and Peter organizing my books in alphabetical order on the shelf next to the television.

"Peter, can I please do something?" I place a hand on my tummy. "I feel so useless!"

Peter stands up from his squatting position and crosses his arms. "Um… You could put your clothes away."

Before he can take back his words, I hop off the couch and make my way into the bedroom where open boxes lay strewn about. There's about three boxes of clothes, plus boxes for shoes, socks, and undergarments. I decide to start with the open box on the bed, using the hangers sitting next to it to hang everything. Dress after dress, shirt after shirt, each piece is put on a hanger before being separated into like piles. I finally finish unpacking one box and move toward Peter's quite empty closet.

"Need some help?" Peter says from the doorway. "Don't strain yourself, sweets."

I roll my eyes and continue hanging up some nice dresses. "I'm fine, Peter." A shirt falls out of my hands and onto the floor. When I bend down to pick it up, my head starts spinning and I get slightly light-headed.

"Let me get it," Peter chuckles and grabs the shirt for me, adjusting it on the hanger before handing it to me. As I make a move to pick up more pieces of clothing, Peter grabs my hand. "Can I show you something?" His fingers interlace with mine and he rubs his thumb over my knuckles. When I glance at the boxes, Peter smiles. "It will take ten minutes. Tops. I promise."

"Okay." I follow him out of the bedroom and down the hall. We're walking toward Peter's computer room, so I suppose he wants to show me some new gadget. Yet, when we near the room, the smell of fresh paint overwhelms me. I look sideways at Peter before stepping into a completely different room.

The walls are painted in light pink and blue with alphabet wallpaper lining the top of each wall. The pink closet door is open, revealing baby clothes hung with precision. There's a wall with shelves for shoes and hair accessories next to two cribs. One crib has pink blankets and a small teddy bear while the other crib is blue with another teddy bear. On the wall nearest the door is a changing table and toy chest. The window next to the pink crib has a small seat built into it, covered with different types of books.

I walk around the room, touching everything, shocked at what Peter did. "You… You did this all?" When he nods, I can feel tears of joy at the corners of my eyes. "It's perfect, Peter. You knew exactly what I wanted!" I walk back to him and wrap myself in his arms. "I love you." I give him a quick kiss on the cheek. "Thank you."

Peter grins and laces his fingers with mine again. "You're very welcome, my dear." He places his other hand on my cheek before pressing his soft lips against mine. I sigh deeply and wrap my arms around his neck. With both hands now free, Peter places them on my waist and pulls me closer. Before we go any farther, I pull away. Peter frowns and releases my waist.

"Did you finish up with my books?" I slip past him and make my way back into the bedroom.

"Yeah. Good Lord, Tara, you have tons of books." Peter follows right behind me, one hand on the small of my back.

I grin up at him before lifting a box onto the bed and starting to hang those clothes up. "That's nothing. I have about two or three more boxes twice the size of the boxes we used in storage. What can I say? I love to read."

Peter starts to put my shoes in a shoe rack hanging on the closet door. "And I love you."

I glance at him, shocked by his sudden transition into lovey-dovey Peter. He doesn't look at me, just continues to put shoes away. As we work like that, silently putting away more stuff, Melisa and Lukas start to kick.

"Peter!" I whisper. Every time I try to tell someone that Melisa and Lukas are active, they always stop when they hear my voice. I motion quickly for Peter and he places a hand on my tummy. As the twins kick against their father's hand, a grin spreads across Peter's face. "I think we're hungry." I say as the kicks die down.

"Well," Peter says as he folds empty cardboard boxes. "What would you like to eat? I can whip up something for you."

I think for a moment as I place my socks in my own drawer. "Ice cream sounds so good."

Peter chuckles. "Okay. We'll go get some ice cream. Let me go take care of a couple things while you get a coat. It's raining." Peter kisses my cheek, lips lingering, before walking into the living room to close doors and turn on some lights.

I go to the coat closet and take out my rain boots and jacket. Before I go to the living room, I slip both on and look at the nursery again. I sigh deeply and go out into the front room. Peter is standing there with a leather jacket and tennis shoes. He looks so handsome that I can't help but place my hand on his cheek and kiss him. Peter smiles against my lips and takes my hand, guiding me to the car.

"Be careful," he says as he closes the front door. "It's slippery." I feel his grip on my hand grow tighter as we walk across the wet cement and into his car. "I suppose you want to go to Superior?" He turns the heat up high and backs out into the street.

"I don't know." I look down at my bump. "Melisa? Lukas? Does Superior sound good to you?" Two little kicks are my reply and I grin. "I guess it's to Superior we go!"

Peter glances at me, his lips turned up, his eyes shining. As he makes a turn, he reaches over to hold my hand. Our fingers lock together and I absent-mindedly draw patterns on the back of his hand. Rain is coming down in small sprinkles, barely showing on the front window.

"Peter?" I say, staring out the window.

"Yeah?" Peter replies, squeezing my hand.

"You're excited to be a Dad right?" My voice talks, but in my head I wasn't going to ask that question. I bite my lip and look at him. He releases my hand to turn the radio down.

"Of course, Tara. Why wouldn't I be? I'll have the perfect wife and mother, the perfect daughter, the perfect son. It'll be great." He smiles at me and brushes a stray piece of hair from his eyes.

I nod. "I was just… I don't know. Worried, I guess."

Before Peter can say anything else, we reach Superior and rush inside from the now-pouring rain. We sit at a booth for two, Peter's arm around my shoulders, holding a menu for the both of us. We order what ice cream we want (Peter's single scoop of lemon and my small hot fudge sundae) and then sit in silence.

"Tara." Peter says, looking at me. "Why are you worried? I'm so excited to have a family with you!"

I shrug. I really don't know why I was worried, but apparently my voice has a mind of its own. "Well, you have a great job. We'll be newlyweds, but with kids. Maybe you feel like you have to love me now. Which you don't. I mean, I love you. And Melisa and Lukas sure do. But you shouldn't feel obligated to love us too."

Peter shakes his head and chuckles. "I love you, Tara. I've loved you for a while now and I'll love you for a while still. So don't worry." He brushes a piece of hair from my eyes as the waitress brings our ice cream.


Later that night, we've finished putting away everything of mine. Cardboard boxes lay near the front door and everything has a place. Peter and I are sitting in his bed, watching I Love Lucy, his arms around me, my head on his chest, a bowl of popcorn laying next to us. When a commercial comes on, Peter releases me and moves so he's facing me.

"You know, Tara," he says, placing a hand on my knee. "I was worried."

I move the popcorn onto the floor and sit up. "What do you mean?"

Peter looks at me. "I was worried when we found out that you were pregnant. I knew I loved you. I have for a while now. But I was still really worried."

I can feel my brow furrowing as I position myself to sit cross-legged. "About what?"

"I knew I loved you. But I was worried about your family, about my family. I was worried if we were ready for this. I was worried what other would think. I was worried that you would have trouble. Or that something would happen to you." He places both hands on my knees now. "I wasn't excited. I was downright scared to death. But now, now that I see how happy you are, how happy everyone else is. Now that I see that everything will be alright. That we do love each other unconditionally. I'm not scared. I'm extremely excited." Peter smiles now. "I'm excited to be a Dad. I never thought it would be this early in life, but I'm excited. I'm excited to play sports with Lukas and to watch over Melisa. I'm excited for their first words, their first steps. I'm excited that I get to do this with you, Tara. And that's the truth."

Those dang pregnancy hormones kick in, initiating a waterfall of tears. "Peter," I say between manic sobs. "You're so sweet!"

Peter picks up a tissue box from the nightstand. "Tara, what's wrong? Why are you crying?" He wraps his arms around me.

"I…" I sob again. "I don't know! Stupid hormones." I blow my nose into a tissue before hugging Peter. "You're amazing, Peter." I say. I place the tissue and the box back on the nightstand. "I love you."

Peter grins and kisses me. His lips are soft against mine, moving carefully from my lips to my cheek and finally to my ear. He places one hand on my waist, the other on my knee, moving his fingers in slow circles. I sigh and pull away.

"This is why you wanted me to move in, I'm guessing?" I tweak his nose gently.

He chuckles and pulls me back to him. "Nah!" Peter kisses me again, this time more fervent, more in want. I feel my body melt against his as he wraps his arms around my waist.

My body wants more, but I'm timid. After we found out about my pregnancy, we'd only had sex that one time and once after that. I knew it was killing Peter. He wasn't on board with the whole abstinence thing to begin with and to have had that sort of thing happen twice, I knew he would want it again. I had promised myself that I wouldn't give in again. But, here we are, our lips plastered against each other, our bodies pressed together. And, gosh, I just want to give in.

It no longer seared my conscience, this sex thing. Sure, I promised myself abstinence, I promised my family. Yet, we're engaged. It's not like we're just going to do it and then leave each other. It'll happen again at some point. Sure, the one time I broke my promise I got pregnant, but it's not like that'll happen again in the next four months.

As my mind battles with itself, Peter pulls me on his lap. His lips are on my neck now, making me sigh deeply. I pull his face up to mine, look him in the eyes. One hand is on my waist while the other is on the small of my back, holding me closely.

"What's wrong?" Peter asks, pulling away slightly.

"Do you think this is a good idea?" I ask, mind still battling itself.

"Do you?"

"Peter, dang it, this is serious."

"Personally, I think it's a great idea." Peter says and moves closer again.

I run a hand through his hair and rub the stubble on his chin. "I just-"

"Tara, if you aren't comfortable with this, we can stop. I just thought since-"

Before Peter can say anymore, I place my lips on his. He runs a hand through my hair and slowly lowers me down on the bed. "Tara," he says as I trail my lips down his neck. "Tara, stop, for just a second."

I groan, frustrated that we can't seem to make a decision. "What, Peter? Obviously by the position we're both in, I think we've made a decision."

"What about…" His eyes lower to my abdomen.

I roll my eyes. "It'll be fine."

"But what if something-"

"The doctor said this is fine."


"Peter!" I glare at him and wrap my arms around his neck. "Stop fretting and kiss me already."

Peter takes one more worried glance before capturing my lips in his. Needless to say, not much more of I Love Lucy got seen that night. Nor did much more popcorn get eaten. But, also needless to say, Peter and I were two very happy campers.

I knew that was why he asked me to move in.

A/N: Before I say anything, I'm going to write a little disclaimer. I am in no way, shape, or form promoting sex before marriage. I'm just writing a story from the perspective of two people who are almost completely apathetic about it. This is not my view nor the view of anyone close to me. It's just a story.

Now that that's over with. Let's get on to the real author's note. If you didn't know already, you can follow me on livejournal. My user name is halanii (or click my homepage on my profile). That can keep you up to date with what's going on in my life and why I may not be posting.

I'm not a fan of this chapter. It's mostly transition, mostly fluff. But, like I've said before, I'll be falling into cliches often because I'm not writing this to be monumental. And I just want to get it done with. I love Peter and Tara to death, but at some point we just have to leave them to their lives. This is not edited, I just wrote it in about an hour and half then decided to post it. As of now, I'm predicting maybe ten more chapters with an epilogue. But we'll see how that goes. Most of it will be the wedding or wedding related. Don't worry. I won't put you through ten more chapters of fluff like this. I would not be able to write that much fluff.

So, here's a new chapter. Hope you like it more than me. Please R&R!

Thank you my dears,