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“Maddi is going to love this. You did amazing,” I tell Libby, meeting her gaze.

“I hope so. I kinda stole the idea for the big unicorn from Etsy.” She laughs.

“It’s perfect.” I walk to the back table, which holds a large white box.

“That’s her cake. They delivered it about twenty minutes ago. It’s so adorable.” She opens the lid for me to get a peek.

“They did a great job.”

The cake is the same kind of unicorn that is on the wall, except there is a horn protruding from the cake, along with icing flowers. It’s cute—and so Maddi.

“I’m just going to place the balloons around the room. If you want, you can set up the plates and things that you brought with you on the tables.” She trades me the bag she’s carrying—which has plates, cups, and utensils in it—for the balloons. “Antonio is going to bring another table in for gifts so they’ll be out of the way.”

“Sounds good,” I say.

She starts placing balloons around the room while I set up the tables with the plates, table decorations, and gift bags Maddi and I made up a few nights ago. Each bag contains bubbles, a candy ring, glitter lotion, plastic bangles, and a few pieces of chocolate.

I glance at my watch when we are done and realize that Maddi and Lucas should be here any minute. Lucas and I agreed that I would come early, since we wanted the balloons to be a surprise for Maddi.

“I’m going to go back to the kitchen to finish getting stuff ready,” Libby says. “When Maddi and the kids get here, we will start bringing out the stuff for the pizzas.”

“Let me know if you need any help,” I say.

She waves my offer away. “No help needed. The rest is easy. The kids will do most of the work. Let me know if you need anything.”

“I will.”

She smiles at me once more before leaving.

I look at my watch again and try not to get annoyed with Eva, who’s still not here. If she flakes, we won’t have drinks for the kids or snacks for the parents.

“Baby,” Lucas calls from the doorway.

I turn to find him looking as handsome as ever in a pair of dark jeans, a black T-shirt that fits his frame snugly, and boots. Maddi is wearing the colorful tutu Fawn got for her—over bright-pink leggings—and a T-shirt that says “Birthday Girl” in glitter. A sleep mask that looks like a unicorn’s face is covering her eyes.

I walk toward Lucas and Maddi. I lean up to kiss his cheek, then bend down to whisper in Maddi’s ear, “Are you ready, sweetheart?”

“Yes.” She smiles so bright that I don’t have to see her eyes to know they are filled with excitement.

“All right.” I step to her side and rest my hand on her shoulder.

Lucas takes off her blindfold, saying, “Happy birthday, honey.”

I watch her take in the room, the decorations, and the cake that is now unboxed. I fight the urge to cry when she turns back toward us and throws her arms around our waists.

“I love you guys.”

“Love you, too, sweetheart.” I rest my hand on the top of her head, then look at Lucas when I feel his eyes on me. He doesn’t say anything—then again, he doesn’t have to. I see in his eyes that he’s happy because his baby is happy.

“Go check out your cake, honey,” Lucas says.

Maddi looks up at both of us and smiles before she skip-hops across the room toward her cake.

“Is Eva here?” he asks when she’s out of earshot.

I shake my head no.

“The party is going to be starting in just a few minutes,” he says angrily.

“I know,” I agree. Then I add, “Do you want to call and see if she’s on her way? If she’s not, I’m going to have to run out to get drinks and stuff.”

“Fuck.” His jaw clenches as he pulls out his cell phone and walks out of the room, putting it to his ear.

I watch him for just a second before I head across the room toward Maddi. She’s now wandering down the length of each table, looking at everything.

“What do you think, sweetheart?”

“It’s so cool.” She beams at me.

“There is one more thing . . .” I open my purse and pull out the headband I got her. It’s covered in multicolored silk flowers and has a gold unicorn horn in the middle. I place it on her head. “Perfect.” I reach into my bag and pull out my compact mirror for her to see.

“I love it,” she breathes. “Thank you, Courtney. I love you so much.”

“You’re welcome, sweetheart. I love you so much, too.” I rest my hand against her soft cheek and fight back a wave of tears.

“Baby?” Lucas calls from the doorway. He jerks his chin up—a silent signal for me to go to him.

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