“I can’t believe they’ve been married for five years already,” Andrew said, scanning the room at his niece’s anniversary party.

His companion smiled, saying, “Just look at them dancing, though. It’s easy to see how much they love each other.”

He nodded. “Regan has made her happier than I ever dreamed possible, especially considering the rough start they had.”

“They are happy,” she agreed. “Just like…,” she trailed off as a blush stained her cheeks.

Andrew smiled warmly, taking her hand in his. He squeezed it gently, his silence saying more than any words could.

Every time our eyes meet
This feeling inside me
Is almost more than I can take
Baby when you touch me
I can feel how much you love me
And it just blows me away
I’ve never been this close to anyone or anything
I can hear your thoughts
I can see your dreams

She rested her head on his shoulder, still holding tightly to his hand. The spell was broken as Mart interrupted, seeming oblivious to the fact that he was intruding. “Diana and I are conducting a survey and I would highly esteem your valuable input. Namely,” he laughed, “namely, what do you think they’re going to name this one?”

“Do they know yet if it’s a boy or a girl?” she asked.

Mart shook his head. “No, Regan doesn’t want to know, and somehow that I really don’t want to know about, he’s managed to curb Trixie’s curiosity. So, I’m taking suggestions for both genders.”

Andrew chuckled, “If it’s a boy, I’m guessing that they’ll name it after somebody, like they did with Billy and Daniel Andrew.”

“You do realize that you’re the only one who insists on using his entire name, don’t you?” Mart grinned. “Not that I really blame you, but… oh, have you heard what he did this morning?”

“Do I dare ask?” Andrew asked dryly. The two-year old already had a reputation for getting into anything and everything.

“Well, you know how much those silly old Lucy Radcliffe books mean to Trixie, especially the signed edition of Odyssey in Ossia that Mr. Appleton gave her. Anyway, according to Bobby, Rebekah was sitting at that little table they have, pretending to read Trixie’s book. You know how careful she always is, so Trixie doesn’t mind. This morning though, Danny decided that he wanted it, and snatched it out of her hands, ripping two pages in the process. Rebekah started crying and went after him to get it back. She succeeded, so he kicked her, right on her bottom!”

“What on earth did Trixie do?” she asked curiously.

“Let’s just say that she can move faster than I would have given her credit for in her condition! She popped his bottom, then calmed Rebekah down. Bobby said that she was in tears herself, though.”

“I can only imagine!” she said. “Where was Billy during all of this?”

“At the stables with Regan, ‘helping’ feed the horses. So, do you have any name suggestions?”

“What do you have so far?” Andrew asked.

“I suggested Titania for a girl, but Diana doesn’t like it for some reason. I can’t imagine why, it’s a perfectly good name!” Mart declared.

“I have to say I agree with her!” she said laughing. “But, Mart, it’s pronounced tyetainia.”

“No, it’s Titania. You know, just like Britannia,” he argued.

Andrew shook his head, laughing at the other two. “I expect they’ll name her after Regan’s sister, if it is a girl. Trixie told me that she really wants to name a daughter after Mrs. Wheeler, but she won’t deprive Honey of that honor.”

Mart nodded, groaning as he did so. “I can certainly understand the sentiment, but why on earth did she have to be named Elspeth of all things?”

“It’s an old family name, Mart,” Andrew explained. “Anyway, I like that a lot better than I do your choice,” he said, his eyes twinkling.

“There is just no accounting for taste anymore!” he sniffed before he walked away laughing.

She remarked to Andrew, “He must have been a hand-full when he was a child!”

Andrew smiled as he nodded his head. “I’ll say! To be honest, though, they all were,” he said nostalgically. “You never got to know them when they were younger, did you?”

She returned his smile, saying, “I met them once, back when I still had a lot of growing up to do.”

He whispered something in her ear, gently squeezing her hand as she blushed. Drawing her closer to his side, he leaned over and kissed her softly.

The smell of your skin
The taste of your kiss
The way you whisper in the dark
Your hair all around me, baby, you surround me
You touch every place in my heart
Oh, it feels like the first time every time
I wanna spend the night in your eyes

They reluctantly broke apart as they remembered where they were. Andrew spoke in a barely audible voice, “After the party’s over, will you meet me at the clubhouse?”

She raised her eyebrows, whispering, “A clandestine meeting in the clubhouse? Aren’t we too old for such things?”

“Never!” he assured her, looking deep into her eyes. “Especially not when…” he stopped abruptly as they suddenly heard someone approaching. “Please?” he whispered urgently.

She nodded in acquiescence, greeting Dan and Hallie as they sat down beside them. They chatted amicably for a few minutes, before Andrew asked, “So, Dan, what’s new with the SPD? Anything interesting happen lately?”

“Well,” Dan grinned, “I did have one very interesting call this morning.” He paused, chuckling at the look Hallie shot him. “I answered the phone, and this lady on the line was simply frantic. She was running late, and apparently she was in such a hurry that she locked the house, leaving her purse inside. Of course, her car keys were in her pocketbook, not to mention her house keys!”

She looked faintly puzzled as she asked, “Is that so unusual? I assumed you must get many calls of that nature.”

“Oh, we do!” Dan assured her, his dark eyes twinkling merrily. “It’s just that most of them don’t come from my own wife!”

Hallie playfully swatted his arm. “Just be glad I remembered to grab the diaper bag! That would have been awful!”

Dan put his arm around his wife’s shoulders, the corners of his mouth twitching. “Kitten, I’m just glad that you remembered to get the baby!”

“No, I could never forget her!” Hallie joined in the teasing laughter.

The party ended quite late, even though most of the guests had engaged baby-sitters for the evening. As everyone began to depart, Andrew privately cornered his older brother, handing him a key. “Peter, you and Helen can go on back to the house. I’m not sure when I’ll get home, so don’t worry about waiting up.”

Peter glanced at him. “Are you really going through with this?” he asked. “Are you certain this is what you want?”

“Yes,” he replied seriously. “I feel like I’ve been waiting my entire life for this moment.”

“Andy, I hope you’ll be as happy with her as I am with Helen.”

“Thank you, Peter. I know I will be.”

She was waiting for him when he reached the clubhouse, sitting patiently on the wooden bench beside the door. “I couldn’t get in,” she explained. “It’s locked, and I couldn’t find the key.”

“It’s such a pretty night,” he replied, glancing up at the new moon. “I thought we could sit out here for a while.”

“That sounds good,” she murmured, moving closer to him as he put his arm around her. “It’s nice of you to let Peter and Helen stay with you while they’re in town.”

“Their coming was the best anniversary present that Trixie and Regan could have had. And, well,” he frowned, “Peter hasn’t been able to stay at the Farm since the night Helen tried to take her life. He really blamed himself, you know.”

She smiled gently, placing her hand over his. Andrew returned her smile, looking deep into her concerned eyes. Time seemed to stand still as their lips met in a tender kiss.

I don’t know how you do what you do
I’m so in love with you
It just keeps getting better
I wanna spend the rest of my life
With you by my side
Forever and ever
Every little thing that you do
Baby, I’m amazed by you

Crickets chirped; a star blazed across the sky. He took her hands in his as he spoke the words he had never expected to say. “Will you marry me?”

“Yes,” she whispered, her eyes filling with tears of joy. “Yes, Andrew, I will marry you.”

Every little thing that you do
I’m so in love with you
It just keeps getting better
I wanna spend the rest of my life
With you by my side
Forever and ever
Every little thing that you do
Oh, every little thing that you do
Baby, I’m amazed by you


Author’s Notes: This story is a submission for the Anniversary CWP at Jixemitri. Required elements include: an anniversary of some kind, a cliffhanger, two characters arguing over how to pronounce a name, a blonde getting her bottom kicked, a Lucy Radcliffe book, someone locked out of a room making a frantic phone call, an acronym, a survey, and a clandestine meeting in the clubhouse. The anniversary song I chose is Amazed by Lonestar. And to give credit where credit is due – Mart and his soon-to-be aunt’s “discussion” over the name was inspired by a conversation in Lilian Jackson Braun’s The Cat Who Blew the Whistle and is used without permission.