No matter how many times Cam brought me home to visit his family, I was still so nervous I feared I'd break out in hives and have to be rushed to the E.R., and how embarrassing would that be?
It was just that I... that I wasn't used to being among such a loving and affectionate family. And yeah, loving and affectionate were two very different things I'd learned, and the Hamilton family had both in spades.
Spending Christmas morning with them had been bittersweet, as was dinner and especially after Jase and Teresa showed up. All the laughter and the play fighting and the general awesomeness of their family really drove home the point that I'd grew up in with a family as warm as a mortuary. But damn, I was so lucky now. So, so freaking lucky in so many ways to have found Cam.
I glanced at the stairwell. Speaking of Cam, where in the heck was he? He'd gone upstairs after all of us had moved into the twinkling lights of the living room and he hadn't come back down. That had been a while ago.
Looking away, I saw that Cam's sister was watching me. She grinned as she sat beside me. "Maybe he fell into the toilet or something."
Mrs. Hamilton sighed as she turned to her daughter. "Really?"
"What?" She shrugged, unashamed. "That's the least disgusting thing he could be doing up there." She twisted toward where Jase sat beside her. "You should go check on him."
"I am not checking on him." Jase wrapped his arm around Teresa's legs. He sat on the floor, in front of the couch, his long legs stretched out. The two of them made a stunning couple. "I'm sure he'll be back down here whenever."
Cam's father made some kind of noncommittal sound as he glared at the TV screen. My gaze ended up on the Christmas tree. So colorful. Blues. Reds. Greens. Whites. Every color of the rainbow. My parents had done the monochromatic scheme—all silver. Everything. They also didn't put the decorations up themselves. They hired someone. But I knew Cam's parents—his entire family helped out. I liked that.
I loved that.
Feeling all warm and gooey, I suck into the cushion of the couch. Sometimes I worried that I'd wake up one day and discover that this had been nothing more than a dream. The mere thought of that was like having an icy hand reach right into my chest and seize my heart. But tonight wasn't one of those nights where my head ended up in the wrong place. Tonight couldn't be anymore perfect.
"You know," Mr. Hamilton said, sitting back in his recliner as he peered at Jase and his daughter. "I'm really glad you finally got the balls to settle down with my girl, but remember, balls can removed."
Jase's eyes widened as blood poured into Teresa's face. Her mom just sighed, and I giggled, unable to help it.
Finally, I heard Cam coming down the stairs. Or it was the ghost of Christmas past, but that seemed unlikely. Trying not to look like a loves struck goober, I glanced at the hallway.
Cam appeared, and my response to seeing him never diminished, never faded. It was always like stepping out under the summer sun or dipping toes into warm water. He was ruggedly beautiful, to me at least. His rich brown hair was all over the place, disheveled and adorable. Impossibly bright blue eyes stood out among thick, dark lashes. His face—his body, oh dear, his body—was just perfect, but he was so much more than man candy. Cam was good to his core, patient and understanding, funny and intelligent, and he baked cookies. And he was mine.