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Authors: Delaine Roberts

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Romance, #Contemporary, #Contemporary Fiction

Chasing Air (16 page)

BOOK: Chasing Air
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CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

 

 

Makenzie woke up to a warm feeling of strong arms wrapped around her. She smiled while thinking how comfortable it felt having Ryler in her bed. She knew she’d made the right choice with him, she was certain. But for them to be completely happy, she needed to be able to put her past behind her.

Ryler stirred and looked at the bedside clock. “Crap, we have to get going. You’ve got thirty minutes and we’re out of here.”

“I took some vacation days from work, remember? We can sleep in.”  She tried to pull him closer to her.

“We have to be somewhere. Now scoot.” He didn’t want to be late for her surprise.

She gave him a confused look. “Where are we going? Do I need to dress up?”

“Nope, jeans and a sweatshirt works just fine.” He couldn’t wait to give her what she needed more than anything.

The short drive to the Addison airport had her almost jumping up and down. “We’re doing it again, ohmygosh, I can’t wait until the day when I can jump by myself.” She was beside herself with excitement. He hoped that she wouldn’t be disappointed when she discovered why they were really there. They sat in his car and waited for the plane to pull up. When he saw Trey taxiing the plane close to the hangar, he opened

 

Makenzie’s door. They walked around the corner of the hangar just in time for her to see her mom descend from the plane. She turned to Ryler completely overjoyed.

“You brought my mom here?” Her eyes flooded with tears.

“No, I brought your family to you. I wanted to give you what you needed more than anything.”

“One of the many ways I love you. Thank you.” She kissed him quickly through her tears and ran to her mom, embracing her, while waiting for her dad and sister to descend the stairs. Trey followed them, along with his co-pilot. They all went into the hangar lounge to become acquainted while the co-pilot brought in their luggage.

Ryler got a great big smile from Makenzie and he saw the light in her eyes that had been absent since he had met her. He gave her what she needed, filling the empty void in her heart. She looked over at him and mouthed, “I love you,” as she formed a heart with her fingers in the air in front of her. He winked at her and sat back on the sofa to watch the family interact. He made a few calls and arranged for his parents and Trey’s wife to meet them for lunch.

They visited and continued to get acquainted over lunch. Ryler watched Makenzie release the veil that had masked her emotions for so long. He hoped that surrounding her with a family’s love and support would be the healing power that she needed to overcome the grief that she had bottled up inside.

He and Makenzie made hotel arrangements for her parents, and her sister was going to stay at Makenzie’s loft. He wasn’t thrilled with the idea of not being able to sleep while holding her, but he needed to make arrangements for his house sale anyway. He wasn’t looking forward to time apart from her, but the arrangements were for the best.

 

***

 

The next several days flew by in a hurry. Ryler got his house listed on the market and had a solid offer by the third day. With the incredible backyard, the quick offer didn’t come as a surprise to anyone.

His mom came over and helped him pack up most of the house and had the movers put the items in storage. She stood in the living room and he could see her trying to imagine the events that had turned their world upside down. “I want to know, but I don’t,” she said as tried to rub her arms to calm her shivering.

“You don’t, Mom. What you need to remember is that everything is okay and just the way it should be.” When he looked at her, he saw the moisture in his mom’s eyes. Nothing else needed to be said. He was certain it would be an event that they would never speak of again.

They finished packing everything but the immediate items he would need until the sale closed. A few things belonged to Cyndi. His mom boxed those items up to be sent to her.

“Where are you going to live until you find another house?”

“I’m moving in with Makenzie. She has another three months on her lease. That will give us time to find a house or start a new build. I’ve decided to ask her to marry me.”

Mary Buchanan whirled around so fast Ryler thought he might need to duck. Her sudden action caught him off guard. “Oh, son, I am so happy for you!” She leapt and wrapped him in that special embrace that only a mother knows how to give.

“You scared me there for a second!” He laughed. It felt good to laugh and his mom joined him.

“I’m sorry, you caught me by surprise. The stories you shared with me about the pies, I knew she was in love with you. A mother knows these things. After I met her, I saw the love between you. It was completely unmistakable. I’m so very happy, and your father will be too.”

“Thank you for everything, Mom.” He kissed his mother’s cheek and held her close. He felt her tears on the side of his neck, and it warmed his heart.

“It’s time you forgave yourself for Cyndi leaving. You need to move on with your life.”

“My love is completely different with Makenzie. I’m different.”

“It’s obvious that you love her deeply. Do you know when and how you’re going to propose?”

“Yes. I’ve got her parents blessing, so I have a little shopping to do for the perfect ring.”

 

***

 

The week was coming to a close and Makenzie had enjoyed both families rallying behind them. She also had been to the hospital to visit with Rachel and attended several appointments with the counselor already. She was doing much better about letting go of her old ghosts. She made arrangements for her shifts to be covered until the following Monday.

She attended a long meeting with the hospital’s CEO and with Dr. Trynn, explaining a detailed account of the horrid event and her life story that led up to it.

The hospital protected her identity change, but they surprised her when they asked her to consider moving back into practice as a surgeon. Makenzie declined, citing her complete happiness with her current role.

Makenzie and Ryler said goodbye to her family and put them back on a private flight home to New York. She would forever be indebted to Ryler and Trey for making her reunion with her family such a special one.

In the car, Ryler headed a different direction on the toll way. He was headed north.

“Where are you taking us?” Her thoughts lingered on the idea that he was going to look at a house.

“You’ll see.” He grinned before taking her hand to his lips and kissing her.

They drove up to Plano to a neighborhood she’d never been to before. She noticed he was using his GPS, so apparently he wasn’t sure where they were going, either. Finally, they pulled into a neighborhood and parked in front of a home where a little girl played out front with some puppies. Ryler opened Makenzie’s door and saw that she was locked in on the puppies.

“You have some really cute puppies,” she said to the little girl as they approached.

“One of them is yours,” the little girl answered.

Makenzie turned to look at Ryler, who was nodded his head yes and wore a bright smile.

The front door opened and a young woman walked outside to join them.

“Mom, they’re here to pick out a puppy.”

“Allie, I’m so proud of you. You’re being such a big girl about the puppies and remembering our deal.”

The girl nodded her head yes and picked up one of the puppies. She turned to Makenzie, “That little grey one loves to give kisses.”

“You must be Ryler and Makenzie. I’m Pam and this my daughter, Allie. We just don’t have room for six dogs, so I made a deal with her that she could keep just one. Looks like she’s made her choice, so you can play with the others and pick the one you want.”

Makenzie knelt down to play with the three remaining mini-schnauzer puppies. Two of them ran off through the yard, but one ran to her, a little silver-haired female. She was so tiny, weighing about three pounds, if that. Ryler joined her as they became familiar with the little bundle of energy. While they played with the puppy, Pam went over the particulars. After a few more minutes, they decided that one was the one they wanted. Ryler paid Pam for the puppy and they found their way to the nearest pet store for supplies.

They left the pet store with a puppy bed made for a princess, a pet crate, a pet carrier that looked more like a designer purse, and all the amenities for a diva-dog-in-training.

“So, let me get this straight. You’re homeless, you want to shack with me, and you want us to have a puppy? Does that sum it all up?” Makenzie asked.

“Yep.”

“Ha. Well, this was the last thing I expected today, but I’m in love with her. What are we going to call her?” Her eyes lit up as she plastered a huge kiss on his lips, a squirming little puppy between them.

All the way home, they discussed names for their new family member. Ryler didn’t want to be the one naming her, he wanted Makenzie to develop that instant chemistry he noticed she had with the little puppy. He read that dogs were great for people suffering from PTSD and he needed Makenzie to have the one-on-one bond with the puppy.

Finally, she came up with the name Daisy. He wasn’t a fan, but he didn’t utter a word in defense of the puppy who would be stuck with that name. This was all about Makenzie.

Makenzie wanted to stop by the hospital and check on things. She also wanted to introduce David and Veronica to her new family addition. She noticed tha
t David and Ryler were deep in discussion about something off to the side, but he didn’t mention what it was. She made a mental note to ask him about it later.

When they got back to the loft, she danced around to music and was ecstatic over having four little feet get under foot.

Because she had an office, she thought she was going to be able to put Daisy in her carrier and take her to work with her, but only if Daisy was quiet, which remained to be seen. Daisy was a noisy little puppy with the cutest little moans, growls, and yawns.

“Let’s walk up to Astoria’s for dinner. They have tables outside and you can take Daisy in her carrier.”

Over dinner, Ryler brought her up to speed on the sale of his house and asked her to go look at some properties with him the next day. “Are you asking me to move in to a new house with you and live together?” Her question had a tone he wasn’t certain about.

“Yes, but only if you want. There’s no pressure for you to give up your space. I’m patient. I can wait.” Her resistance took him by surprise. He began to rethink his future plans for a moment.

“I still have three months on my lease. But after that, yes, I’ll move in with you.” She was so excited, she knocked over the chair when she jumped up to hug him. All the action scared Daisy, who had been sleeping peacefully in her carrier under the table. Daisy let out a “brrrrl” while they both laughed.

They took the puppy back to the loft and got her settled. Makenzie was overjoyed with the little thing. She wanted to let her sleep with them, but she gathered from Ryler’s look that a dog in the bed was a bad idea. Besides, she had ideas of her own for him once they got the puppy down for the night.

“Thank you for everything you’ve done for me.”

“I love you. I would do anything for you.”

“Anything?” Her question left room for many answers, but her look said there was just one answer.

“Yes, anything, and I would think by now you already know that.”

“Then give me more.”

“Music to my ears.”

Their love making was tender and special, their connection no longer overcast by her past. She gave of herself completely and he knew that what he had planned the next day would seal the deal.

 

 

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

 

 

Makenzie made omelets and toast for breakfast. She peeled a couple of oranges, but was a little greedy about sharing them with him. Daisy played at their feet as they ate.

“How many houses are we looking at today?” She popped orange slices in her mouth just before she shared a kiss with him.

“Hmm, oranges. Reminds me of our first morning together and how wonderful your lips tasted. Keep that up and we’re going to mess that bed up one more time before we go find us a new house.”

“It’s your house, Ryler. Why do you want me along so badly?”

“Oh, you know, the little woman’s eye is so much better about domestic things.” He winked at her.

“You did not just say that to me. Domestic comments get men put on restriction. Care to take that back?”

“You win!” He put his hands up in surrender.

With Daisy loaded in her carrier, they took off to meet Cooper Roberts, the real estate agent. Cooper had several properties for them to look at.

The last house they viewed was the one. Newer and larger than Ryler’s current home, it came with a pool already built but in dire need of landscaping.

BOOK: Chasing Air
9.36Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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