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Milli set the plate of sandwiches on the table for the kids and smiled to Bradley, fixing his hair gently.
“How are they?” Alice asked and Milli looked to her mother.
“The kids? Great. Perfect.” Milli explained and smiled a little. She took a sandwich and her cup of warm tea and sat at the kitchen table with her mother, glancing over to Nathan and her father, at least glad they seemed to be getting along because she knew how protective her father could be.
“Is it difficult?” Alice asked and watched Milli, glancing to where Bradley was playing his console. Milli thought for a while,
“Sometimes. But not really. I love him just the same, he even calls me mom from time to time. He loves Evelyn too. I just feel awful his mother isn’t around.” Milli murmured and Alice tutted at that,
“I don’t know how she can do it.” She murmured and Milli just shrugged. She knew the woman had a lot of problems and she wasn’t going to judge her for it but of course she felt bad for Bradley.
Evelyn had managed to crawl up on Gareth’s lap, grateful for the attention whilst Bradley had wrapped himself in the blanket Alice and Gareth had brought from Australia.
“I should get us something for dinner.” Milli said as she got up, looking through the cupboards.
“Oh, no. Don’t bother yourself with cooking. Besides, it’s been too long since I’ve had fish and chips, just not the same in Australia.” Gareth chuckled and Milli smiled a little. Alice rolled her eyes,
“It’s all he spoke about on the flight. C’mon, let us treat you both to some fish and chips.” Alice said and wasn’t going to take no for an answer as Milli sat back down and nodded.
Bradley was a tad standoffish, but Nathan expected that considering it did take time for him to warm up to people. These were his grandparents and over time, Nathan knew that he would become comfortable. Evelyn was blown away however and more than likely it was from the extra attention she was getting. He smiled at Milli as she came out, followed shortly by her father.
“Gareth. It’s great to finally meet you,” he responded and shook his hand. He looked to Milli before her parents again. He knew it was silly to suggest they still didn’t like him, but of course he tried to make it clear without words just how much he loved Milli.
Nathan kissed Milli’s cheek before she and her mother went to make lunch. Nathan sat on the couch, watching the children before returning to his father in law. It was such a strange concept to think that and while he and Milli had been married for the last couple of months, it still was amazing to say.
“Right, Milli and I always talked about it with how crazy things are, just felt like it’d be a nice get away.” He took a sip of his tea. Nathan was happy that he was fortunate enough for them to have this trip. They had a crazy relationship that had moments that were miserable and tough, but not once did Nathan doubt his love for Milli and they had beautiful and happy moments that definitely outweighed the bad. “I thought we should push it after the accident, but you know Milli.” He said with a chuckle. She had healed well and while it was hard to get her to listen to him about slowing down, he was happy that she was such a strong woman to push pass it. It made his stomach twist then thinking about the chance of them having another child. If they were even to get pregnant, how safe would it be to deliver?
Nathan shook his head, telling himself he was just overthinking. “I’d love for you to join, but I hear you guys are busy.”
“Yeah, but we wouldn’t miss this for the world of course. My daughter seems very happy with you Nathan.” Gareth smiled in his direction then, patting him gently on the back. Nathan chuckled and exhaled a breath he hadn’t known he was holding in. He soon turned on the tv to something they both enjoyed.
Milli smiled when she heard Nathan come in and she looked to her father,
“Come on.” She said as she took out the tea and coffee and Gareth followed her. The man eyed Nathan over and although he knew how much trouble the man had been in when it came to the media and such, he also knew that his daughter seemed very happy around him and loved him.
“Nathan, a pleasure to meet you.” He said as he shook Nathan’s hand.
Milli watched as she prepared some lunch for the kids and smiled a little. It was nice to have her parents around for a change but she didn’t blame them for immigrating to a beautiful country.
“Heard you guys are going to Egypt for a while?” Gareth said as he tried to invite Nathan into casual conversation.
Alice cane over to help Milli prepare some sandwiches for everyone,
“He’s handsome.” Her mother chuckled quietly and Milli smiled,
“He seems lovely, dear.” Alice said and watched the kids as she set a plate of sandwiches on the table for everyone to help themselves to.
“And I simply have to see your dress.” Alice said and was very glad they had made it to London for this wedding.
Nathan had soon arrived at the cottage. He saw Milli’s car and figured her and the kids were back. He knew then that would mean her parents had arrived. Nathan brushed his hands through his hair and got out of the car. He took a moment to smoke a cigarette, just to calm down. He didn’t know why he was so nervous. Would her parents see something in him that made him not seem the man right for their daughter? Nathan had adjusted his clothing then and smoothed back his hair into a more presentable looking bun before heading toward the front door.
Nathan was met with a warm welcome from Bradley as he came in. He always managed to bring a smile to Nathan’s face. He bent down and kissed the top of Bradley’s head, smiling then. “Hey Bray.” Bradley took his hand then, leading him into the house just as he was taking his shoes off. Evelyn affectionately called him did, squirming in the lap of who he could only assume to be Milli’s mother. They shared the same features, beautiful inviting almond eyes and a wonderous smile.
“You must be Nathan,” his mother in law said, grinning as she came to. Stand and gave him a hug. “I’m Alice of course.”
“Of course, nice to meet you. I’m so happy you’re here. Where’s your husband . . . Gareth, right?”
“Right,” Alice said with a smile. “He’s in the kitchen with Milli.” Nathan had removed his jacket by then, Evelyn being passed into his arms. He could hear Milli and her father then, a smile growing on his face. He just told himself there was nothing to truly be worried over.
Milli was a little nervous about seeing her parents for the first time in forever, knowing full well it had been too long. Still, she was relieved to see them smiling brightly as she pulled up to the pick up zone and she got out to help with their bags. She hugged her father and mother tightly.
“Emilia! It’s been too long! Oh and are these my grandchildren?!” Her mother beamed and looked to Bradley and Evelyn. Her father chuckled a little at all the excitement and assured Milli he could manage the cases as they all bundled into the car.
It was a short drive home thankfully and Milli had been sure to set up the guest room for her parents, figuring that a hotel seemed pointless. She showed them inside and looked to Bradley, kissing his cheek softly.
“And where is the man of the hour, then?” Her father asked happily.
“Oh, Gareth, I’m sure he’s rushed off his feet.” Her mother chastised and rifled through some bags.
“Now, I know you said no fuss, but I simply had to bring you guys some stuff from Australia.” Alive said as she pulled out a special blanket for Evelyn and Bradley, one each.
Milli watched and smiled to herself as she put the kettle on and did some teas and coffees.
“Are you excited?” Her father asked as Alice bonded with the kids.
“Of course.” Milli said to him with a smile.
“You love him? He love you?” Gareth asked and Milli smiled at him with a nod.
Nathan couldn’t believe that the ceremony had come so soon and while he wasn’t really marrying Milli again, that wasn’t to say that he wasn’t nervous. He felt like the luckiest man very time that he looked at her. “I can’t wait to meet them either,” he said with a smile. Time was dwindling by and Nathan knew he would ahv to finish ting and get rweady. Michael was not going to allow him to be late. He kissed Milli and the kids goodbye before heading to shower and get dressed. Michael arrived on time of course and they headed toward the city. The good thing was that the hype around Nathan had died down which made for a private afternoon.
Still, he was sure it would leak afterwards about the cute private ceremony they’d have. H knew it would rally eat at Julia considering her wedding wasn’t for another few months – but he knew the hype would be much bigger surrounding hers with l lth celebrity bound to be there. Still, it’d be a kicker to know she hadn’t been invited.
An hour later Nathan was standing in the gray suit, adjusting the tie around his neck. He looked in the mirror.
“Gregory you are the master at this,” Michael said toward the grey-haired gentleman. The suit did fit Nathan perfectly. Still, it was a bit different for him. “How do you feel?” He asked Nathan, Gregory straightening out the legs some.
“I feel good – I’m nervous.” He admitted with a chuckle, for some reason now everything seemed so real. He was a married man with two kids – wow life had hit him quick. Milli was even contemplating having another baby, which he was certainly happy about.
“What’s to be nervous about? You’ve already got the girl.” Michael chuckled and patted him on the back.
The both of them had lunch in the city after Michael’s fitting and soon he was heading back to the cottage.
“They’re just boarding the last flight. They’ll be here soon.” Milli said as she looked to Nathan and smiled softly. She set Evelyn in her high chair and looked to Nathan when he mentioned his final fitting. She giggled softly,
“This is exciting.” She said to him softly, stealing a kiss from his lips as she got a yogurt for Evelyn who seemed content enough as she watched her parents.
“My parents are excited to meet the kids, and you of course.” She explained and smiled at the prospect. She knew her mother would want to spoil the kids rotten and her father would no doubt want to get to know Nathan. They weren’t the traditional sort of parents and seemed happy that Milli was loved and had settled herself.
Milli glanced for the time and smiled a little,
“I’ll take the kids to the airport while you get our fitting all sorted.” She said to Nathan as she tied her up, figuring he deserved a rest and no extra stress. She had been really nervous to meet his family so she figured he was the same. The last thing he needed was any extra stress.
Milli got the kids ready and got them settled in the car before looking to Nathan and brushing some of his hair out his face, smiling a little to him.
“I’ll see you soon.” She didn’t want him to rush or anything as she kissed him before getting in the car and heading down to the airport.
Nathan admittedly was a tad nervous to be meeting Milli’s parents. He was a bit embarrassed that he hadn’t gone about it the proper way when proposing but hoped that them being a part of the ceremony would smooth things over. He was being tough on himself though, knowing that it couldn’t be that big of a deal and Milli’s parents had to be just as lovely as her. He was getting along well enough with his classes, though of course teaching art was a whole different thing. Still he enjoyed it and surprisingly was finding himself. Student at times. The greet thing was that it had pushed him to get back in the studio, though most of his pieces had been examples to use in class. Sharon was beginning for him to work on a new showcase for the year through and Nathan was kind of tempted. He wanted to get through the wedding first and nothing was going to come before his vacation with his family.
He’d just finished a few touches to a portrait he was working on of Evelyn. She was already growing, and he couldn’t bear the idea of when she would be Bradley’s age or surpass it even. Wiping his hands off, Nathan stood and left the studio. He could smell the soup Milli had been cooking and it certainly made him regret skipping breakfast.
“I agree,” Nathan had said entering the kitchen, kissing Milli and Eve’s cheeks. “Parents flight alright?” He asked, rummaging through the fridge before settling on making a sandwich. “I have my final fitting with Michael this afternoon,” he said. It would be different being in a full tux, even during his exhibits, Nathan’s attire was still heavy on the casual side; other than when dating Julia to which he felt like a choking penguin being toted around.
Milli was and always would be incredibly grateful for Nathan’s presence in her life and the coming weeks had been a touch stressful. Milli had been getting to work when she could and thankfully her schedule was pretty flexible and they would wrap up filming just before the wedding date which of course was exciting. Milli didn’t want the media there, she wanted it to be intimate and quiet, and all of her friends had sworn themselves to complete secrecy. Milli knew things had been stressful for Nathan when it came to organising his mothers care and helping Nadia but she was glad the family was more close together.
Milli stirred some soup as she chatted on the phone,
“No, Mom, that’s fine.” She said to her mother. They were due to arrive later on in the evening and Milli had been sure to get them the nicest hotel and the closest one on the lead up to the wedding. Milli had enlisted Nadia’s help and some other people and her wedding dress was neatly tucked away upstairs.
“No, it’s going to be a quiet affair.” She promised and smiled a little.
“The kids can’t wait to see you. Alright, I’ll pick you up later. Love you too.” She said as she set her phone aside.
She rubbed her eyes tiredly and stretched before letting the soup simmer and looking to Bradley who was playing online with his cousins and some other friends and she smiled a little.
“Dinner’s almost ready, sweetheart.” She said to him and looked to Evelyn who had been helping her in the kitchen with her company. She picked the young girl up and smiled,
“Don’t you go growing up so fast, alright?” She cooed time the girl who giggled in response.
“Oh?” Nathan said with a smirk. He was glad that they both were back to normal and Milli’s presence as always made it easy for him to relax. Though, Nathan was still thinking about his mother and he was dreading the phone call he knew he had to have with her regarding the house. Michael had certainly become a great friend of Nathan’s and he was glad to have him in their life. Nathan would never forget that it was Michael after all that had called for the intervention. He would’ve been dead or washed up by now. Nathan. Lived with the reality of his addiction every day and he also lived with the knowledge that one drink or a bender was not worth losing his life over; a life that h had worked so hard to have and keep.
Nathan had no complaints when it came to Milli taking over dinner. He was tired and it was hard to hide it, especially after the flight. He took to the living room, plying with Bradley until Eve woke up and after a quick change and some snacks, she was no longer wailing and happily getting into anything she could. Much like Bradley she was a curious little girl. He did feel a twang of pain, knowing that he never got to experience watching Bradley grow up, but he was thankful he still had a chance to be in their son’s life. He looked to Milli then, three children would be a lot to handle. If they were lucky to get pregnant within a year that would mean a newborn, a one year old and Bradley would soon be twelve. That was just shortly before middle school which meant puberty – Nathan shuddered some at his own memories of such a confusing time as a young boy.
“Well if that’s so, we are going to definitely have to keep this hush hush,” he said as he took her hand, kissing it gently before laying his head in her lap altogether. It was rare for them to share a moment with one another like this during thee day. “I like how quiet it's been here so far and if the media gets word of it. “he didn’t need to say anything further. Still, he had initially offered Milli a garden wedding. :"You can have anything and everything you want.” He told her with a smile.
The next coming weeks had been different for Nathan who had slowly got into the swing of things. The talk with his mother had been difficult, but she had at least agreed to move. That said, things were chaotic: helping his sister move into her new place and dealing with being a teacher was taking a toll on him and wedding planning as expected wasn’t easy.
Milli looked to Nathan and smiled softly, placing her hands atop his on her stomach and leaning into his kisses on her neck, sighing out.
“Keep that you and it won’t be that long.” She whispered and giggled breathily are his comment about Michael.
“I think he’ll be a great help. And the kids adore him.” She said with a smile as she kissed Nathan’s cheek.
“Why don’t you relax while I start on dinner for later?” She offered him with a small smile, gesturing for him to just relax. He’d been doing most of the work lately and Milli wanted to remind him that she could still help and do her part. She figured a lasagne would be fine and easy to whip up right then. She set everything in the oven and put it on a low heat before settling on the couch, stretching and stifling a yawn.
“We can start planning the ceremony, maybe we have it here?” She offered with a bright smile. “Get the garden all done out, I’m sure Michael knows some good planners that can help decorate and make everything pretty?” She said as she looked out the window. Heated gazebos, lit torches and music. Maybe an archway.
Nathan knew the sad truth was that they didn’t know how much longer his mother had to live and suspected it would be better for them to have the ceremony while she was her. It was of great importance she be a part of it and Nathan knew her mother wasn’t all too happy about the couple eloping, despite how much she loved Milli. Nathan was upset that his mother hadn’t told hm what was going on, but he knew she was probably trying to shield him from becoming upset.
“Breaking hearts?” He said with a snort. “Not while I’m a live,” Nathan joked. He kissed Eve’s cheeks again then before taking hold of the suitcase as they began out of the bedroom. All set in the car, they made their way to the airport, with enough time to meet their flight without rushing which was nice.
Nathan’s mother eagerly kissed her grandchildren goodbye not feeling up to the drive, but still having a smile on her face. He made sure to remind himself to call her when they got home, wishing that he’d found out about all that was going on earlier in the weekend. It would probably be easier for him over the phone anyhow. Derek had given a nod at Milli, clearing his throat at her comment and it but all took a look from Nathan between the two to know that he was serious.
“Just think soon enough we won’t have to deal with these goodbyes,” Nadia said as she hugged Milli goodbye. The flight was nice enough and Nathan had ended up catching a few moments of sleep he missed out on by not sleeping in. Once home, he put Evelyn to bed, though knew she would wake up soon enough hungry; his arms needed a break though. Bradley had some burst of energy to him through and was playing his game with his cousins, missing them.
He found Milli standing in the hall, looking toward his studio. “I’m waiting on the next day I get you back in there,” he whispered before kissing her neck. His hands were gentle against her stomach then. “I hope you’re ready for this this planning. I know Michael is going to go ballistic knowing we pushed up the date.”
Milli watched her husband, of course she was concerned because she knew things like this could set off a trigger and Nathan was so sensitive already. She nodded to him,
“I want your mom to be there, the kids, my parents.” She said to him and the idea of finishing it all off in Egypt sounded ideal. She gave him a small smile, watching him with Evelyn. She adored her father and it was so plain to see she was going to be a daddy’s girl as she grew up, that would have its own challenges she was sure.
“Wait til shes a teenager. She’ll be breaking hearts.” She murmured and kissed Nathan’s cheek as she went to find Bradley. She made sure the little boy had everything gathered and ready. Of course it stung that Bradley wasn’t hers. If anything happened to him, she was just the step mom. Still, it didn’t change how she felt about him.
“Stay safe, alright?” She said to Nathan’s mother and kissed her cheek, hugging her close. The woman did look frailer and more vulnerable and it broke Milli’s heart.
Nadia and Derek had opted fo drop them off at the airport and Milli had to admit she would be looking forwards to getting home. They could start planning their ceremony now and then jet off to Egypt. She looked to Nadia and smiled,
“See you soon, okay?” She hugged her and looked to Derek, thinking for a moment.
“And you better behave yourself.” She told him with a nod before helping to get the kids settled on the quiet flight. It was New Year’s Day so of course there wasn’t many travellers which meant the flight was quiet and Milli could relax as Bradley watched a film and Evelyn slept on Nathan’s lap.
Home sweet home, Milli was tired from the flight but she figured it was early afternoon and sleeping would only prove to become a hassle. She looked to Nathan’s studio and she hoped he didn’t lose his love of art with the teaching job and everything else.
“You know what she’s going to say,” Nathan said with a sigh. His mother had already not been willing to move out. Still, with her weakened health, he suspected that maybe she wouldn’t put up too much of a fight. “I mean, Derek and Nadia are thinking of moving closer and she offered to take Ma in, maybe that will convince her if she doesn’t have to go into a home” he told her. He squeezed Milli’s hand back, glad that he had told her what was going on. He was starting to feel comforted by her and it relieved some of the tension he felt. Brushing his hand through his hair then, he came to a stand to make sure that they had everything packed up. The good thing was that if they sold the home a good majority of things had already been packed away from his grandparent’s funeral. Nathan knew that even if his mother didn’t want it, it would be the best for everyone if they sold the house and moved her closer to him and Milli. It wouldn’t be a terrible thing.
“Before?” Nathan asked with a raised brow. The trip was putt off anyways considering the accident, so it wasn’t a bad idea. Not to mention if Nadia moved, she could help out as Nathan was trying to stay out of it despite being the one to offer.
“Is that what you want?” He asked with a smile, not wanting Milli to think that he didn’t care for it. He leaned in to pick up Evelyn, kissing her cheeks. “I guess it wouldn’t hurt and it’s good to maybe do it with our downtime while we can. “A winter wedding with a beautiful honeymoon in warm Egypt? I like it.”
Milli reaches over and took Nathan’s hand, squeezing it gently. Her heart broke for him. She wasn’t sure what the right thing to do right then was. “Maybe you should ask your mother...” she mumbled softly. It would be nice to have Nadia and Derek closer for the kids and adult company and she really did hope this worked out.
“I’m not sure your mom would want strangers staying here.” She said to Nathan and sighed softly. The house and everything didn’t matter, cancer wasn’t no joke sexually at his mothers age.
“I’m sorry.” She said to him quietly, there wasn’t anything she could do or say for him right then. She knew the prognosis for his mother wasn’t great and she chewed her lip. Maybe a home wasn’t a bad idea, her and Nathan could make sure it was a home close by to everyone so she would get visits from the kids all the time and she would at least be comfortable.
“We can figure it out, okay?” She assured him softly and placed a soft kiss to his cheek. She did know she wanted Nathan’s mother there to see their wedding ceremony.
“Maybe we should bring the ceremony forwards? Before we go to Egypt...” she said to him.
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