Chapter Thirty-Part Two ~Travis~

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"Good morning, lovebirds," Danielle says, sitting on the kitchen counter with Alex right beside her.

"Good morning," Maddie and I reply in unison.

With her hand still in mine, we cross the room to join Sanders and Aiden, who are sitting at the kitchen table. With a nod to them both, I take the only open seat and pull Maddie onto my lap. She blushes at the attention of our audience, but she can be embarrassed all she wants; I'm not letting her out of my sight.

"Has anyone checked on Becca?" I ask, forcing my eyes away from Maddie and to the others in the room. Becca's the only one absent from the kitchen.

"She was asleep when Alex checked on her earlier," Danielle responds.

"Any word from Jim?" Sanders asks.

Wrapping my arms around Maddie's waist, my gaze finding hers once more, I respond, "Nothing yet. If anything changes he said he'd call."

"Damn girl, what did you do to him?" Sanders shouts, eyeballing me.

"What?" I respond, laughing as I turn to face him.

"Dude, you've barely stopped smiling since you walked in the room," he replies.

"Aww," Danielle coo's, swinging her legs while Alex, who's sitting beside her, rolls her eyes.

"I don't know whether to be ecstatic or fucking terrified," Sanders chimes in again.

"Shut up, man," I reply, shaking my head with a chuckle.

"But really, no man should be this happy," he says, pointing at my smile. "It makes people nervous."

Maddie turns in my lap, laughing, and rests her arm along the back of the chair. With my arm still around her waist, I begin caressing the side of her thigh. I can't seem to keep my hands off her. I've wanted and waited for this long enough. We both have.

"I think it's sweet," Danielle intervenes.

Maddie leans down, wrapping her other arm around me. "I think it's sweet, too," she whispers in my ear.

"I think someone's jealous," Aiden chimes in, directing his comment at Sanders.

"Gonna go check on Becca," Alex says, hopping off the counter.

Maddie watches as she exits the room, and the strain between them is palpable. I'm just not sure Maddie understands where the disconnect is coming from, especially since Aiden seems to be fine with us being together.

"Shut it pretty boy," Sanders replies to Aiden's comment, hand gesture included.

Leaning in, Maddie gives me a soft kiss on the lips. When she pulls away, Sanders immediately sees the shit eating grin I have plastered across my face.

"Aww, hell, no!" Sanders explodes out of his chair and moves to stand in front of us. "This," he begins, pointing at my grinning mug, "is what I'm talking about. It can't continue. It just can't. It's freaking me out. You can't be doing this to my man, Maddie."

"Doing what?" she replies with a soft giggle.

And Aiden groans across the way, covering his eyes with his hand. Maybe he's not that okay with it.

"This," Sanders exclaims, pointing even closer to my face. "Hear me out," and with his index finger tapping his chin, he begins pacing in front of us, like a lawyer, ready to address a jury.

"You're my boy's girl, Maddie," he continues. "So I want you to know... that makes us family now. Just consider me the brother you never had."

"More like the brother you never wanted," Aiden mumbles, and clears his throat as he sits up and looks at Sanders once more.

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