Annie is asleep beside me, her head on my chest. I've been watching her for a while. Her hand is in mine against my heart. I rub her knuckles softly every time she moves. I want her to rest. She needs it. When we entered the room, Annie looked more tired than when we left the courthouse. I spoke to her dad for a bit while she used the restroom. It was deep and heartfelt. He cried. I cried. And then he told me to prepare myself because I was playing the next home game.

Annie starts moan softly in her sleep. Her nose scrunches and she starts to shake her head. Then she starts mumbling. And I know I need to wake her up before the nightmare gets worse.

"Annie," I say, gently shaking her shoulder. "Wake up; it's only a dream. Everything's alright."

It takes moment, but Annie opens her eyes with a deep intake of breath. I rub her arm to comfort her, waiting for her to talk to me.

"I hate dinosaurs," she mutters, hiding her face in my neck. "I used to think they were the coolest thing in the world."

"There were dinosaurs in your dream?" I ask, not meaning to sound amused, but I can't help it. She's adorable.

"There were, and it's not funny when they're chasing you off a cliff."

"I don't find that funny, I just think you're cute when you're groggy."

Annie sits up on her knees and looks down at me. Her green eyes are narrowed, still full of sleep. She remains expressionless for a moment, but then she moves and sits in my lap.

"So," she says, placing her hands on my chest, thumbing the buttons. "We're married now."

"Yeah," I say, letting my hands rest on her thighs.

"We have limits."

"We should talk about those limits."

"We should." Annie sighs and slides off my lap to the bed beside me. We're both disappointed about this subject, I can tell. I reach my arm around her shoulders, and give them a gentle squeeze.

"My parents don't want me to accidently get pregnant," she says with huff. "More specifically, my mom thinks it would make things worse. I know that is not something I should be thinking about anymore, but it doesn't mean I don't want that."

"She just wants her baby girl to last longer," I say, kissing her temple. "I want you to last as long as possible, too. I kinda agree with her on the subject. So, we're just gonna have to steal our nephews and have fun with them."

"That's a fair compromise, I guess."

Annie's tone grows more disappointed. It makes me think back to our first time, which only a week or so ago. We were not as careful as we should have been. I don't think we can be blamed for that because I would never have thought it would go that far.

"You got quiet," Annie says, leaning on her arm to see me face to face.

"Does any of this have to do with . . ." I smirk and trail off suggestively.

She smiles and laughs softly. "I don't think so. I didn't exactly tell my parents, though Dad seemed to caught on. Took it better than my mom did; they shared a look."

"Parents always share looks. They can read each other's minds."

This makes Annie laugh. I chuckle and pull her in for a kiss. Our conversation drops as we get carried away. This time around, it's different. And Jacks gave me something to be more prepared. I'm glad my brother is my best friend.

***

"Are you sure that's what you want to do?" Annie asks while share a pizza and salad. "My dad finally gives you playing time and you're planning to quit?"

"I'm probably not going to play for bigger teams," I reply, shrugging. "Who knows; I might not do anything involving soccer after this."

"But don't you think you should finish what you started? You need something to do afterwards."

"Afterwards, being when you're not around. I know."

"You can't give up soccer; I won't let you."

I sigh and look at her, setting my plastic fork down. There is no arguing with her. Ultimately, she is right. I should finish what I started.

"Okay," I turn my attention down to the food. "I'll finish with everyone else. If soccer doesn't work out, I'll look into something else."

"'Kay," Annie seems satisfied as she snatches the salad away from me, and takes a bite. "So . . . ." she says between chewing. "What are we doing or where are we going next?"

"Tattoo parlor," I reply, chuckling as I toss her a napkin. "I'm getting a tattoo of a cherry under my wrist."

She starts laughing, "Sure you are. You're getting it because it's my favorite berry and because you popped mine."

"You think it's funny, don't you?"

Annie nods, squealing when I lunge for her. She falls back on the bed, her hair everywhere, as I hover above her. I crush her lips with a kiss. I kiss her until we're both out of breath. Her hands roam everywhere. My hands are everywhere. They know every part of her body without me needing to think.

I really do plan to get that tattoo. I let out the part where I want it to say "Queen of my heart."

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