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Nathan was surprised to hear that Milli’s parents would be in attendance. It was nice to hear though and that meant Bradley and Evelyn could meet their grandparents. He was. It nervous to meet them as Milli’s husband, it seemed way overdue. All he could hope was that they thought him proper for Milli. Nathan had finally finished, washing everything with water and he was glad to see that Bradley had started to take a liking to his food considering he was picky and by picky, Nathan meant Bradley didn’t want to eat anything that Milli didn’t make. He didn’t think too badly of it to be honest; he was just glad they got along. Dinner finished, Nathan had cleaned up Evelyn who was already dozing off, the medicine at least helping in the meantime. He couldn’t wait for it be officially over. He’d learned to start voicing his concern though instead of lashing out which was great improvement.
Bradley had headed to wash up, Nathan had placed Evelyn in the napper to wash the dishes, but Milli had already gathered them. She wanted to talk he could tell and was not going to let him back out it. He placed his plate in the sink, Milli turning to face him with a look that reflected being upset and frustrated at the same time.
“I said nothing is wrong alright. If I wanted to talk about it, I’d fucking talk about it. So, can we just drop it? I’m tired ‘s all.” He sucked his teeth, knowing that he had blown up and why was he being so daft? Milli was trying to work this out much the same as he had with her. He didn’t want to blame Milli though and was realizing it didn’t seem like he was going to win either way. He leaned against the counter then, arms crossed against his chest. The only sound in the house being the low sound of the tv playing in the other room.
“I’m sorry.” He said and it seemed like lately he had been apologizing for a lot. “I’m just – I haven’t been painting. Just tired –“ It was the partial truth at least. This whole Saoirse thing would pass wouldn’t it? Though he wondered would the same thing happen with any of his clients in the future?
Milli looked to Nathan and sighed out and nodded,
“Alright.” She murmured softly as she returned his kiss and watched him. She let Evelyn sleep for a while before getting to her feet and heading towards the kitchen.
“Uh... I spoke to my parents, they’re going to come for a visit.” She said and she had to admit it was a huge relief to know her parents were going to come over, she hadn’t send them in so long.
She did wonder how they would react to everything and Milli had kept them as up to date on everything as she could and she knew they wouldn’t have any problems with Nathan, at least she hoped so! She sat at the table and looked to Nathan, watching him eat and she was worried. Something was off and she wasn’t sure what. Had she messed up with the Saoirse thing? She looked to Bradley when he finished up,
“You go up and get washed up and I’ll come read you story in a while, okay?” She said to him.
Milli wanted for Bradley to go upstairs as she gathered the dishes and started washing up.
“Somethings wrong.” She said finally as she turned to look at Nathan,
“I know there is, so please tell me.” She murmured, she would rather know if something was wrong, than be stuck in limbo.
“That’s great to hear,” Nathan said, trying not to be so obvious in his relief. With Milli here it would be helpful and maybe he would be able to get some work done. He could only hope at least. Nathan rubbed at his face then, figuring he should check on dinner, maybe make a salad – anything to keep him busy as Milli was tapping away at his wall, waiting for him to just admit that he was tired and struggling. Why was he being so stubborn? “I told you I’m fine okay?” He tried to cover the frustration with a smile, kissing her lips. “Don’t worry about me.” Nathan gently tapped her nose, kissing the top of Evelyn’s head before getting up. He passed Bradley who was coming from his room, ruffling the young boy’s hair.
“So, have you thought about who you want to invite to the wedding?” He asked Milli. Nathan knew she was worried that he would flip out on her, but he couldn’t see that coming. Could he? Sometimes his best work did come from moments of anger and Nathan wondered then if his funk had something to do with his medication as well. He needed something, anything to excite him as much as he had been excited about working with Saoirse.
Once dinner was finished, he got everything plated. Evelyn had lost much of her hunger, but Nathan still made a little mashed peas to keep her health up. He plated everything for everyone, not really talkative and not as hungry as he had been earlier. Still, not trying to appear abnormal, Nathan ate for appearances.
Milli knew her husband well enough to tell when he was lying but she figured pushing him right then would only result in an argument. She only nodded to him.
“Filming was okay. Long day.” She murmured quietly. She had to admit his cooking had gotten better.
“I’ve got the next couple of days off while they edit a couple of things so I can help with everything.” She said to him, hoping that would put some sort of bright lining around the grey clouds.
Evelyn slept soundly and Milli looked to Nathan,
“You can tell me if you’re struggling. I know you have your exhibition soon.” She said to him, she didn’t want him to struggle and she knew fine well he had to focus on that too or risk losing out on a lot. She didn’t want him to struggle or to feel like he was falling behind on anything.
Bradley came down then and Milli smiled to him.
“Dinner smells good.” She mumbled to Nathan and she figured he would need a break sooner or later so the next few days she could watch the kids, especially Evelyn with her infection. The poor note was struggling too and she just wanted to help as best she could.
Nathan hated to see Evelyn in pain and all he could do was follow the instructions given by the doctor. He brushed his hair out of his face, finally pushing the strands into a not so good looking bun. It did the job though. Milli entered then, looking a bit tired herself but there was a sense of youthfulness to her and he suspected that had something with getting out of the house and back to work. Nathan was a bit upset, or maybe it was jealousy. It was a complex feeling as he didn’t mind spending time with his children and raising them, that was his job and that should always come first, but Nathan just found himself having days where the motivation to get up wasn’t there. He couldn’t paint and hadn’t even touched the self-portrait he had been working on.
“Hey,” he said before taking a seat on the couch. He exhaled, Milli taking Evelyn from his arms then. He kissed Milli’s cheek when she sat beside him; it took a while, but Evelyn eventually settled. Hopefully she’d sleep for at least an hour. “I already started dinner, lasagna” he said. If there was good thing coming out of this, it was that Nathan was improving as a cook at least. He’d soon grown tired of documentaries and the news and eventually had started watching whatever came on the food network.
He chuckled halfheartedly, laying his head back on the couch, eyes looking toward Milli. “I’m fine,” he lied. “Exhibit and all,” he shrugged. “How was filming?” He asked her, trying to change the subject.
Milli had been doing her best to keep busy. They’d called her in for a couple of scenes early and she was just finishing up. She knew it was tough to look after both kids and keep on top of the house, it could all get a bit much. She waved off the others as she started the drive home, a little worried because the timing was so bad given Evelyn had an ear infection. She pulled up outside and left her bag of things in the car except for her phone and keys as she stepped inside.
Nathan looked totally frazzled with it all and she paused for a second as she shed her coat and put everything away.
“Hey.” She said quietly and looked to Evelyn.
“Here, sit down.” She said to Nathan gently, coaxing him to sit as she took Evelyn up in her arms and and stroked her head gently, bouncing her slightly until she went quiet.
“You look exhausted, Nathan.” She murmured softly as she sank into a seat beside him.
Milli managed to get Evelyn quiet and sighed softly. The poor girl was barely sleeping thanks to the ear infection so anytime she could grab sleep was a bonus. Milli set her in her napper and looked to Nathan. She really did appreciate him helping more but she just didn’t want him burning himself out.
Inside the house Nathan and Milli prepared the hot chocolate and he reheated the pizza for Bradley. He took a slice himself, hungry from barely eating the night before. He looked toward Milli. She was smiling, which he figured meant she was in a good mood.
“I told you I’m fine” he said before smiling in return. “It’s done alright?” Of course, Nathan was trying his hardest just to not think about it honestly. The more he thought about it, the more frustrated he began to be again, and he figured if he ignored it enough, then he would forget it completely. “So, let’s stop talking about it.” Nathan kissed Milli’s cheek then. He cleared his throat and started eating. He hadn’t meant to come off so short with her, but it was bothering him to continuously think about giving up the opportunity, for what neither of them knew.
She couldn’t put it into words and because of that Nathan couldn’t really fix t, all he could do was put in some kind of effort to show that he cared. Running his hands through his hair, he got up to clean and put everything away. It was then that he received a message from Saoirse, expressing her disappointment in not being able to work together, hoping in the future they could collaborate. He sighed, sending a generic response.
The following days were a bit tougher than Nathan had expected. Watching the kids and taking care of the house was a lot of work which left very little time for Nathan to paint let alone think. It didn’t help that Evelyn had an ear infection she was getting through. Nathan had barely managed to get dinner in the oven before rushing over to the young girl to soothe her. Fortunately, Bradley was washing up.
“Maybe.” Milli said when he mentioned her parents as she hugged Bradley, smiling a little. She hoped her parents would come over and she figured she could call them and ask. She had kept them as up to date as possible. Australia sounded beautiful that was for sure and she figured the heat and everything else was great for her parents! She grinned,
“Alright, hot chocolate time and some pizza.” She said as she ushered them all inside so they could warm up.
Milli helped Nathan to serve up the hot chocolate and settled the kids at the table, helping Evelyn with her own. She looked to Nathan and smiled a little,
“You sure you’re okay?” She asked him quietly as she let Evelyn finish up and settled her in her napper. Being outside had been a big morning for her and the girl was fighting sleep. Milli let Bradley play with his switch and she settled in a chair, heating up her cold fingers where the cold had nipped at them. She knew Nathan was a master at bottling up his emotions and then they would manifest as outbursts and tantrums which were usually detrimental.
Milli cleared some of the dishes away and looked to Nathan, worried that maybe he wasn’t doing okay. She knew she shouldn’t have let him cancel the contract down and she still felt awful about it.
Nathan loved the sight of his kids playing. Bradley was having a good time and had even attempted a snow angel, Evelyn trying to mimic him. He was glad Milli wanted to go along with the idea of a ceremony. It would be a bit costly and definitely take a lot of planning, but he figured maybe it could help them out. Nathan smiled at her kiss, kissing the corner of her lips in return. Nathan watched as the little child squirmed and managed her way out of her mother’s arms and into Nathan’s lap. He chuckled and held her close, kissing her and shuddering at her tiny cold hands. His heart seemed to grow larger at her little smile.
Bradley had come bounding over then, cold and exhausted, but he’d enjoyed himself. Bradley placed both hands on Milli’s knees, leaning into her. “A wedding? Like in the movies?” Nathan smiled then.
“Exactly, and you can be the ring bearer.” Nathan smiled at Evelyn; she’d be a cute little flower girl along with his nieces. Nathan’s friend pool was a little small, but he was sure he could work up a decent amount of groomsmen. Derek definitely was off the list.
“What’s that?” He asked them.
“It’s the person in charge of the ring,” he said. Nathan looked to Milli then, he loved the ring he got her. Maybe, he’d add another band for her. It was a traditional ring and though beautiful, not necessarily that extravagant. It mattered most to him because it was an heirloom.
“Maybe we can finally meet your other grandparents,” he said raising a brow at Milli.
He wanted their families and friends to be in attendance. “We should get inside, don’t want you two to catch a cold,” Nathan said before coming to a stand, holding Eve. At least there was still pizza so lunch wouldn’t be hard to plan. Nathan asked Bradley to help with collecting the mugs.
Milli had helped a little with the snowman and she looked to Nathan as she took a break, dusting off some of the snow as she looked to his hot chocolate and eyed him at his words.
“A big wedding ceremony?” She said and she thought about it. It would be wonderful to have Bradley and Evelyn there and their family.
Milli thought about it for a while and she figured maybe that was what was wrong, maybe she felt like they hadn’t had a proper ceremony. She figured it would be nice.
“Sure.” She said finally and smiled at him, leaning into his side and watching the kids. Bradley was trying to teach Evelyn and she was glad the young boy had good patience and he had certainly done well with Evelyn despite the rocky beginning.
“I like that, really.” She said to him and kissed his cheek softly. Soon enough the kids were exhausted and cold and Milli went and scooped Evelyn up, setting her down and taking her hands so she could somewhat fiddle over to Nathan. She squealed in delight at her new feat and Milli giggled softly.
“What do you think, Bradley? Should we have a wedding?” Milli asked as she hugged the young boy.
Soon, they were all excited and getting dressed in a flurry. Nathan watched Milli tending to Bradley, smiling at the thought of how much he loved her. She was patient and kind and she had taken on a lot to be with him. Why was he willing to be upset with her for canceling the contract when Milli had done so much for him? It was only fair right? He sighed out then, continuing to finish dressing and adjusting Evelyn’s layers before they all made their way outside. Bradley was thrilled, already mushing his hands about as he danced upon the plush white field. Evelyn had a look of surprise. Nathan had picked up a small portion and held it out to her, watching her slow movements of her tiny gloved hands as she pressed against it. They all certainly were having a great time.
Nathan had left for a small while to make some hot cocoa. Bradley was trying his hardest to make a snowman with Evelyn, who was trying her hardest to balance for longer than thirty seconds. Nathan looked to Milli then, “I think we should have a ceremony, a wedding ceremony.” He said to her then. “Nothing small, I want something big – something that perfectly defines you and me.” He told her as he took a sip of the cocoa. It was an idea he had earlier while he was painting. He knew that they both loved their intimate Vegas wedding, but Nathan felt like Milli should be seen. Why wouldn’t she deserve a big flashy wedding like Julia? It was also somewhat of an attempt to reinforce how much she loved her as the mother and wife she was and had always been.
Milli watched Nathan with careful eyes and she nodded a little before looking to Bradley as he finished his cereal. She ushered him upstairs to put some warm clothes on so they could play in the snow and she didn’t want him to get too cold. She tidied up before finding some fluffy boots she could wear. She looked to Nathan and Evelyn and gave a small smile. She had to admit there was something very attractive about him as a father and she wasn’t sure what it was. She wrapped herself in a scarf and woollen hat, rummaging around on one of the pegs and she found a scarf, wrapping one around Nathan.
She knew things were awkward but she just hoped for today it would ease up a little. She smiled as she helped Bradley with his own boots and made sure to put him into a jacket so he wouldn’t freeze. She opened the back foot and giggled a little as Bradley was out like a shot. She shook her head a little and looked to Nathan, helping to put Evelyn in some good layers. She stepped outside and watched as Bradley ran around in the snow and she gave a small laugh as he bounded around and she caught him to put a hat on his head.
Milli watched Bradley in the snow and she honestly didn’t regret a thing. She had two children with Nathan, it didn’t matter if legally one wasn’t hers, she loved him all the same.
Bradley was more than excited at the prospect of playing in the snow, making snowballs to launch. He’d taken a seat at the table and was enjoying his cereal. Nathan had headed back into the kitchen with Milli. “Coffee sounds good, thanks.” He’d started on making some toast and an egg. He hadn’t eaten much for dinner and his stomach was empty, clawing at itself from the hunger. Nathan allowed the coffee to cool off some before taking a sip. It certainly helped with waking him up, knowing he hadn’t got much sleep. His eyes were already beginning to hurt which he knew meant he definitely needed a break.
“Yes,” he said with a smile. “And no, you can’t get out of going,” Nathan teased softly. He liked Milli at his side, it helped calm him down. He was never good at the whole socializing bit of his career. Even the social media end of it was overwhelming, to which he’d given Michael pretty much control of his page to post when he didn’t feel like it. Sharon said he had to continue to make his presence known, if he expected not to fall off the map in between his work. The Chanel contract would’ve helped with that. He bit his lip then, forcing the bitter liquid in to wash away those thoughts.
Mug aside, Nathan watched Milli carefully, his arms loosely wrapped around her waist. He smiled at her kiss. He knew Milli was affectionate, but something about this was different, especially considering how tense their last couple of days had been. He was conflicted, he didn’t want her to feel bad because she didn’t deserve that and yet Nathan was upset. He kissed her forehead.
“Should probably get Eve,” he said then softly. Was he the one now finding any excuse to escape? Nathan headed toward Evelyn’s room, the little girl already up and barely managing to hold onto the bars of the crib. She lit up when she saw him. Nathan grinned and picked her up, kissing Evelyn to which he earned a delightful set of giggles. He changed her and placed her in a onesie before heading back out with her on his hip. If anything, today would be a family day, that would be nice right?
Milli put an arm around Bradley and smiled to him.
“Maybe you can help me with lines later, huh?” She said and kissed his forehead,
“Wanna play in the snow later?” She offered and looked up when Nathan came in, listening to his words to Sharon and she looked over the back of the couch when he came in. She still felt like shit about everything.
“Uh... tea. Here I’ll help.” She said as she got to her feet and set her papers away. She kissed Bradley’s cheek and made him up some of his favourite cereal.
“Coffee?” She asked as she made Nathan a coffee and glanced to the stairs. Evelyn was still sleeping but she would wake her up soon so they could enjoy the snow in the garden. She took a sip of the tea and picked at some toast, knowing she had to eat something or she would pass out.
“Is your exhibit still on?” She asked him quietly, stirring her tea slowly. She would understand if he didn’t want her or the kids there. Those nights were for him. She set her tea aside and watched Nathan, wrapping her arms around him and kissing his cheek, gently.
Bradley had woken up soon enough, trudging into the living room where Milli was working. He yawned and climbed on the couch, snuggling her close, trying to be careful and mindful of her papers. Nathan had been working on a self-portrait. He didn’t do those enough, not really that big on the man he saw in the mirror and not from a depressing standpoint, but he felt there was something incredibly average about him. What had Milli saw that made him attractive to her? He’d tried not to make a big deal out of beauty and certainly he didn’t have a particular [I taste], when you considered the women he dated: they were all incredibly different. His last self-portrait had been when he was eighteen and only a sketch. This would be his first on canvas and now it seemed a bit more daunting. How much had he changed the nearly 9 years? Other than the obvious.
He’d figured he needed to give his eyes and back a rest and stopped for the day. He knew that Milli had brought up going to the snow and he figured it would be nice for the whole family to get out. Maybe if Milli focused on other things like work and going out, spending time together – all this silly stuff about not feeling wanted or attractive would disappear. Besides, his event was coming up and he didn’t want Milli to doubt why she was at his side, on his arm. He’d called Sharon who was not happy about him canceling, a conversation he was still in the middle of having as he exited the studio.
He’d seen Milli and Bradley on the couch. Nathan started the kettle for the tea.
“It’s just personal reasons. I – I think I’m overworking myself, burned out,” he lied. “It’s best I just spend time with my family. You know recharge?” Sharon couldn’t argue with that as she did want Nathan only producing his best work. She sighed out and end the call demanding to see him in person sometime this week to hash out the exhibit finals.
Nathan sighed out and hung up the phone. He made himself a cup of tea, leaving it to steep before popping into to see Milli. She looked do focused, or was she ignoring him?
“Good morning,” he said finally with a small smile. “Tea? Breakfast? Or am I officially banned from the kitchen?” He was hoping his joke would help if she were feeling guilty. He wanted her to forget about everything, because Nathan didn’t want to risk expressing how he truly felt about giving up the contract.
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