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Neighbors were out, working in gardens or doing spring maintenance, and when they saw their lovely neighbor run by, they stopped to wave to her and her daughter.

“Looking good, Miss Esprit!”

Or, “How you feelin’?”

She gave her standard answers of, “Thank you!” and “Feeling great!”

They reached Main Street and turning left, headed toward the park. She ran a block and thought she saw a familiar truck up ahead and then remembered Luke was working on a house in town, building a detached garage. Not expecting to see him, she picked up her speed a little to pass by, not wanting to distract him.

“That’s Daddy’s truck,” Emily shouted.

“Yes, it is, girly. We won’t stop, though.”

“Why not?”

“He’s working. It wouldn’t be right.”

She flew by the house, not seeing that Luke stood outside with the owner, looking at drawings.

“Wow, there’s that hot girl with the eyepatch,” the man said, pointing to Bridget as she passed by. “We see her running around town all the time. My wife and I saw her on television. They say she got injured in the war, that she’s Val Amotte’s niece.”

“That’s my wife, Bridget,” Luke said proudly, watching her run by, their daughter waving. “She was wounded in Afghanistan.”

“Tell her thank you, Luke. I had no idea.”

“Thanks. I will tell her.”

Pulling his truck into the driveway later that day, the first thing he saw was his wife on a ladder, stringing purple and green lights across the upper edge of the portico. Margaret stood with Emily at the bottom of the ladder, holding it steady. When Margaret saw the truck, she grabbed on to Emily, even though the child knew enough not to run in front of him. Growing up so fast, they had to remember she wasn’t a baby any longer.

Shaking his head, he got out of the truck and looked up at Bridget, shading his eyes with his hand.

“Why didn’t you wait for me?” he called out.

“I had the time, and I wanted to do it. It’s fine,” she said, looking down at handsome Luke. “I’ll be down as soon as I finish this string.”

“I’ll wait,” he said, smirking.

Swooping up Emily in his arms, he knew Bridget would come down if she had an audience.

“Oh, for heaven’s sake,” she said, attaching the end of the light to a hook and coming down the ladder. Near the bottom rung, she leaned over and kissed him on the mouth. “You don’t trust me.”

“It’s not that, Bridg. Your center of gravity is way off.”

He pointed to her pregnant belly, laughing.

“That’s baby brother,” Emily said.

“What are we going to name him?” Bridget asked, grabbing Emily’s hand.


“Ha! No,” Bridget answered.

“How about Reginald?” Luke asked. “We’ll call him Reggie for short.”

“Your dad’s name?”

“Yep. What’d you think, Em? Baby Reggie?”

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