grow with me

~Meg~


I didn’t think I’d ever have kids. At least, it wasn’t in any of my plans or dreams when I was a little girl. After all, I come from the shittiest mom ever invented, and after being shuffled through the foster care system and seeing so many kids discarded as if they were stray pets, well, I didn’t want any part of children of my own.


As a nurse at the Children’s Hospital, I have a whole slew of kids to care for and love. My job is awesome, and there was a time that it was enough for me.
And then I met Will.


The day Will Montgomery came into my life and shook it all up like a snow globe was the best day ever. The man is just... well, he’s fucking amazing. Not just at football. Not just at being a decent human being, or giving me the best orgasms of my life.


He’s amazing at me. And I’m not easy let me tell you.


I mean, look at him, painting my favorite pink polish on my toes. Will has painted my toenails since we first started dating, but these days, it’s necessary. I can’t reach my toes anymore.


I can hardly see my toes anymore.


But I can see him. All six-and-a-half feet of him, with light brown hair and those amazing blue eyes. Broad shoulders.


The sexiest arms on the planet.


I’ve been pregnant for what feels like forever, and I want to climb him like a tree.

 

“What are you thinking about?” he murmurs without looking up from the task at
hand.


“You,” I reply and jump when I feel the baby kick my ribs. “This kid is trying to kill me.”


“She’s just running out of room,” he says with that cocky grin of his that still makes my knees mushy.


“She’s going to play soccer.”


“There’s no need to be mean,” he replies and blows on my toes, tickling me.

 

“There’s nothing wrong with soccer,” I remind him and let him pull me into his
arms, cuddled up on the couch. “What if she likes soccer?”


“I don’t really care if she plays soccer,” Will says after a long pause. “I just want her
to be healthy and happy.”


“If the way she’s kicking me is any indication, she’s perfectly fine,” I reply and push
up to kiss his smooth cheek. “The timing isn’t great.”


“The team understands,” he says with a shrug. Will is the quarterback for the
professional football team in Seattle, and training camp has just started. “None of us can control when she decides to make her grand debut.”


“True.” I push my palm against the side of my belly and smile when I feel her push back. “Who knew that this is where I’d end up?”


“What do you mean?”


“I’m married to you. I’m a part of the biggest, loudest, most crazy and wonderful family there is. And we’re having a baby, Will.”


“I’ve heard that rumor,” he says with a grin. “I hope it’s mine.”


I gasp and punch him in the arm, but he only laughs harder. “Ass.” “Never claimed not to be,” he says with a shrug. “But I’m teasing.”

“She should have been here a week ago,” I say and bite my lip. “What if she doesn’t want to meet me?”


“She’s a baby, and my mom says that babies come on their own time schedule. She’s happy in there. It’s a nice place to be. I like being in you.”


“I’m well aware.” I sigh and lean against his chest. He’s firm and warm, and every time I’m in his arms, it’s like being welcomed home.


Will is my home.


“I’ve been having contractions all week, and nothing. Maybe I’m not doing this right.”


“Yeah, you’re just being lazy with it all. So typical.” He chuckles and kisses my forehead and I shove my elbow in his ribs, making him laugh even harder.


“Be nice to me. I’m carrying your child.”


Suddenly, something feels... wet.


I look down in horror to see my pants getting soaked.


“Did I just piss my pants?”


“If you have to ask, the answer is no. I think your water just broke.”


“Oh, God.”


Will and I stare at each other in pure horror for a few moments, and then he springs
into action.


“Your bag is in the car,” he says and searches for his phone and keys. “I’m sending
the text to Caleb, and he’s going to alert everyone else.”


“The hospital won’t know what hit it,” I say with a grin. The whole Montgomery
clan descending on the hospital is going to be a sight to behold.

“How do you feel?”


“Crampy,” I reply just as my entire abdomen tightens. “Oh, God. This is happening.” “You are going to rock this, Megan.” He takes my face in his hands and kisses me firmly. “You’ve got this.” “I need drugs.”


His lips twitch. “Let’s get you to the hospital.” “Excellent idea.”


~Will~


Jesus Christ, I’m a fucking mess. Not that I’ll let Meg see it, but my God, this is worse than the Super Bowl.


The woman of my dreams is having my baby. She’s going to hurt and bleed and there is absolutely nothing that I can do about it.


I’m not used to that. Being in control is what I do. Keeping Meg safe is what I fucking do.


“One step at a time,” she murmurs next to me as I speed down I-5 toward the hospital. “You’re worrying.”


Of course she knows. Meg knows everything.


“I’m fine,” I reply and clear my throat, then glance over to see her grinning at me, her hands rubbing her round basketball belly.

“I’ve always thought you were the sexiest thing I’ve ever seen,” I say as I change lanes. “And I still believe it. But Meg, the way you look pregnant takes the air out of my chest.”


“Yes, because I’m round and fat and—”


“No,” I say sternly and take her hand in mine so I can kiss her fingers. “You’re glowing. You’re so beautiful.”


“I’m gonna have a baby,” she says and takes a long, deep breath. “Holy fuck, are we there yet?”


“Almost.”


“Drive faster. My God, she’s pissed at me.”


I grin over at her, then wince when she digs her nails into my upper thigh and holds
on like a terrier.


“If you take my leg off, I won’t be able to drive.”


“Jesus, this hurts.”


“Breathe.” How did the breathing exercises go in that dumb birthing class we took?


“Remember? Just breathe.”


“How about if I twist your dick and tell you to just breathe?”


“Okay then.” I swing into the hospital parking lot and lift her out of the car, carrying
her quickly inside. We’ve already registered with the hospital, so getting her in and settled in a room moves smoothly. It’s only a matter of minutes until she’s in a gown, in a bed, and I’m sitting next to her, watching a monitor that’s attached to her belly, showing us the baby’s heartbeat.


“This is amazing.”

“I think I’ve changed my mind,” she says out of the blue.


“What do you mean?”


“Maybe we shouldn’t have a baby after all.” Her eyes are wild as she tightens her
hand on mine and leans toward me. “I don’t think I’ll be very good at this, and it hurts, Will. It really, really hurts. And it’s just the beginning.”


“Megan, this is what you’ve been training for.” “Fuck you, Will.”


“Well, that’s what got us in this mess.”


***
Thirteen hours later, I’m sitting on the bed next to Meg, who’s been cleaned up and is staring down at the most perfect, pink-faced baby we’ve ever seen.


“She’s so pretty,” Meg says, gently stroking the surprisingly long, dark hair on the baby’s head.


“Like her mama.”


“Is everyone here?”


“Oh yes,” I nod and then let out a laugh. “And they’re eager to get back here. Matt
showed off his badge, and said he has official business with you, but it didn’t work. He was a little pissed.”


Meg chuckles and kisses the baby’s head. “You’re going to love this big, crazy, wonderful family, little one.”


“We really need to name her,” I suggest and smile when she wraps her tiny fist around my finger. “She has a great grip.”

“I’ve told you what I want to name her, but you keep vetoing. I pushed her out of my body. I should get to choose the name.”


“I have to say it every day for the rest of my life too,” I say. “Francie?” she says.


“No. Jane.”


“No way. I want something different.”


“My family will knock the door down to get in here soon,” I warn her. “We can name her later.”


“We’ll name her and then the family can come in,” she counters. She may be exhausted, but she’s still got grit, which is just one of the things I love about her.


“I don’t want something too different, like Stargazer or something.” She giggles.

 

“I’ve always liked the name Erin for a girl.”


“Erin,” I repeat. “Erin is nice. What should her middle name be?” “Erin Louise?”
“Erin Margaret,” I counter.


“I like that better.” Meg nods and kisses the baby’s nose. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Erin Margaret.”


“Okay, I’m going to let the family in here, but only for a minute, and only a few at a time. I’m not ready to share you yet.”


“They love us,” Meg says with a smile. “And I want to show her off a bit.”


“Are you feeling okay?”


She wrinkles her nose and shrugs. “I’m gonna live through it. As long as I don’t have to run any marathons any time soon, I’m great.”

“You don’t run unless something’s chasing you, remember?” “Exactly.”


~Meg~


I hurt everywhere, and I’m so damn tired. I’ve never been this tired. And I’m happy and scared and excited, all at the same time. I’m just a big jumble of emotions that I don’t even understand.


I’m horrified at the thought of crying in front of our family, but I think it might happen.


I’m a sappy mess.


Will just left to let the first few family members in, and all I can do is lie here and stare at Erin. She’s perfect in every way. She has long, wispy dark hair, big blue eyes like her daddy, and long fingers and toes for such a little girl.


She’s happily sleeping now, after eating a hearty dinner. She’s going to be a good eater like her daddy. Her eyes are still a little wet from the goo they put over them right after the baby’s born.


She’s a bit wrinkly and I get why some people say newborns look like little old men.


“Hey, Meg-pie,” Leo says as he walks in. “Sam’s going to join us in a minute, but I wanted to say some things first.”


“Are you going to get mushy?” I ask, tears already threatening. Leo is the only true family I’ve ever had in my life, until I met Will. He’s my brother in every way that counts, and I love him with my whole heart.

“Maybe,” he says and sits at the side of the bed. His tattooed hand reaches out to gently rub his finger on her cheek. “She’s so small.”


“It didn’t feel small,” I reply, and smile when he cringes. “Sorry, I couldn’t resist.”


“I’m so fucking happy for you,” he says, then cringes again. “Sorry, I’ll watch my language around her.”


“I don’t think she’s going to repeat anything you say for a while.” Leo wraps an arm around me and hugs me close.


“I love you, Meg.”


“I love you too.”


“Being a parent is a scary thing for people like us.” His eyes are clear and somber as he talks, absent-mindedly rubbing circles on Erin’s little head. “Very scary.”


“But you’re not Sylvia, Meg.” He swallows hard. “You’re so much more. So much better than her.”


“I hope so,” I whisper. “What if that lives in me, though, Leo?”


“There is no part of her in you. You are the most gentle, fun-loving woman I know, and you’re going to be an amazing mom. Besides, with a family like ours, you can’t lose.”


“True,” I reply with a watery smile. “I’ll have more help than I’ll know what to do with.”


“I want to help,” Jules says from the doorway. She waves when we both look over.

 

“Can I interrupt now? I know you’re trying to be sweet and mushy, but it’s a new baby, Leo. You have to share.”

“Come in,” Leo says with a smile and leans over to kiss my cheek. “I love you, Meg- pie.”


“Stop making me cry,” I reply and then soften my words by taking his hand and kissing his knuckles.


“Oh, what a precious love,” Jules says as she leans over to get a look at Erin.

 

“What did you name her?”


“Will didn’t tell you?”


“I was waiting until everyone was in here,” Will says as he joins me. The whole family is filing through the door, and gathering around the bed. Nate joins Jules, tosses me a wink and wraps his arms around his wife’s waist. “And I couldn’t make them wait their turn. They trampled me.”


Will’s mom, Gail, is wiping tears as she approaches. “May I?”


“Of course.” I pass her the baby, and smile softly as Gail kisses Erin’s little forehead.

 

“Welcome to our family, little angel.”


Natalie is rubbing circles on her own round belly and leaning on Luke, who kisses
her gently. Nat is due any day with baby number three.


“She has your nose, Meg,” Samantha says with a smile. “Thank God.”


“Hey, what’s wrong with my nose?” Will asks.


“It’s crooked,” Caleb replies with a smile. “But you, Meg, look fantastic.”


“How do you feel?” Nic, Matt’s wife, asks.


“I’m tired, but good. I’m happy she’s here.” I sigh in happiness as the baby moves
around the room, meeting her family.


“Are you going to tell us what you named her?” Dominic finally asks.

“Erin Margaret,” I reply.


“What a lovely name,” Alecia says as her husband, Dominic takes Erin in his large hands and smiles down at her. “She’s truly beautiful, guys.”


“She has good genes.” I grin and sigh in contentment when Will lays her in my arms. “Is she named after anyone?” Stacy asks as Isaac slips his arm around her shoulders. “Nope, she’s her own little person,” I reply.


“I think that’s perfect,” Matt says and nods. “It suits her.”


“I can’t wait for Josie and Maddie to meet her,” Brynna says. “They’ll be so smitten with her.”


“I think it’s safe to say we’re all smitten with her,” Luke says.


“She’s a lucky girl,” I reply softly, then look up at these people who so effortlessly made me a part of them, simply because Will loves me. “I can’t find the words to tell you how thankful I am for all of you. It’s a blessing to be a part of this family.”


“Oh sweet girl,” Gail says, taking my hand in hers and holding on tightly. “I think you have it backwards. It’s we who are lucky to have you. You’ve made our Will so happy, and now we have this little one to love as well. There’s a lot of love in this family to go around.”


“And by love, she means loud chaos,” Jules says with a wink. “But it’s the best kind of chaos.”

~Will~


“I’m sorry I couldn’t get them out of here sooner.” I drag the hospital chair to Meg’s bedside and sit down, feeling weary and tired, but I won’t complain. I can’t imagine how exhausted my girl is.


“They wanted to love on her. It’s okay.” She smiles and gestures for me to take Erin from her. “Will you hold her for a while?”


“I’ll hold her forever,” I reply. “You should take a nap.”


“That’s a good plan.”


She closes her eyes, and drops off to sleep almost immediately. I glance down to find Erin surprisingly wide awake, looking up at me as if I might have all the answers in the world.


“You’re a little scary you know,” I whisper, careful not to wake Meg. Erin grips on to my finger again. “Yeah, you’re sweet, too. You can hold onto my hand anytime, okay? No matter what.”


Erin sighs and smacks her tiny lips together, still watching me intently. She’s probably hungry. I’m always hungry too. “Like, sometimes you might be scared, in a movie, or in the dark or something, and you can just grab on to my hand. It might make you feel better. I will have a rule that you have to hold my hand while you cross the street. At least until you’re fifteen.”


I take a deep breath. “I’m gonna screw this up sometimes, kiddo. Not on purpose. Never on purpose. You’re going to be happy, and healthy, and probably more than a little spoiled. But there will be days that I might say the wrong thing, or get angry, or just... Idon’t know, screw up. But you can hold my hand then too and remind me to take a deep breath. We’re a team, you know. You, your mama, and me.”


I drag my fingertip down her soft cheek. Jesus, she’s mine.


“You and your mom are the most important things to ever happen to me, Erin. I don’t want you to think that football is more important. I mean, it’s important, but it will never be more important than our team at home. I think you’ll like going to the games. You might pretend to hate it when you’re a teenager, but I think you’ll get a kick out of it.”


I frown. “Wait, will I still be playing when you’re a teenager? Probably not. That’s okay, we’ll sit in the living room and watch it together.”


Erin blinks and smacks her lips together again.


“You’re right, you’ll probably want to hang out with your friends. But no boyfriends, little girl. Do you hear me? I’ll kill them.”


I grin and bring her up for a kiss on the cheek. “That’s right, I’ll kill any little dirty fucker that even thinks about putting his hands on you. I’m not afraid of jail.”


“Really Will?” Meg says, not even opening her eyes. “She’s three hours old. You’ve got a while.”


“I’m prepared,” I reply and smile down at my girls. My world. My life. “There will never be a more perfect moment than this.”


But Meg’s asleep again, and when I glance down, so is Erin. So I sit back, the baby tucked safely against my chest, and keep watch over my girls.

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