Author's Note: Hi all, I know it's been a minute. Hope you didn't think I wasn't writing any more. This one took me a while. I found some notes the other day from when I started this - from a year ago! The whole story is written, but I have some editing to do. So I'll post it in 12 chapters. I'll do my best to make the posts pretty regular.

Also, I noticed in my stats that I've had some readers from Ukraine. Please know I'm thinking of you and hoping you have your country back soon. And thanks for still reading with every else you have going on. Take care!


Emma smiled as she snuggled deeper into Clay's arms. He had fallen back asleep after they made love this morning, but she was wide awake and content to stay curled up with him under the covers. When he woke up, she would cook him a big breakfast, but right now he needed to catch up on his sleep.

He had returned last night from a long spin up. The dark circles under his eyes emphasized how worn out he was. Without stopping to eat, he took a quick shower and crawled into bed. She knew he would be hungry once he awakened.

Clay's arm tightened around her, and he nuzzled into her hair. Lying still, she waited for him to settle back into sleep. She rubbed her thumb across the back of his wrist and hoped he would drop off again as she wanted to stay here a while longer. Her life had transformed so much recently, and she still found herself thinking the changes were a dream. Being here in Clay's arms helped remind her all this happiness was real.

Three seemingly short months ago she graduated from NYU. Then she and Clay became engaged and bought a house. She also signed a music publishing contract with a company in Nashville. They even adopted Cerberus upon his retirement from the Navy. All these life altering events in a relatively short amount of time sometimes made her head spin.

Sliding her left hand out from under the covers, she admired her engagement ring. She loved its unique, vintage style, particularly as it was a family heirloom from Clay's grandparents. A smile curved her lips as she remembered the night Clay placed it on her finger.

"What are you grinning about?" Clay's gravelly morning voice rumbled in her ear.

She cuddled back against him again. "Oh, just thinking about getting married."

"Yeah?"

Rolling over to face Clay, Emma rested her hands on his chest. "Yeah."

They smiled at each other, basking for a moment in their happiness. Clay tightened his arms around her, and she leaned in and kissed him. The kiss was slow and gentle, until Emma unhurriedly broke it off. "Are you hungry? We have all the ingredients to make omelets… or pancakes."

"Mmm, omelets sound good."

"Okay, I'll get them started." She began pulling away, but Clay stopped her, catching her wrist as she sat up.

"Wait, Em."

Pausing, she glanced back over her shoulder. She frowned as she noticed his furrowed brow.

"I meant to tell you. Earlier I felt a bump, um, on your breast."

"Really? Where?"

"Here, I'll show you." He tugged her back down to his side and rubbed his thumb along the lower outside of her right breast. "Right here."

She tried to see where he indicated but couldn't. Lifting her hand, she touched the same spot, feeling a small protrusion about the size of a pea. "I don't know. I never noticed it before."

"You should probably get it checked out."

"I guess." She shrugged. "I mean, it's probably nothing."

"Still, better to get it looked at."

"Yeah, I'll call the doctor later and make an appointment."

Emma leaned forward and gave Clay a quick peck, wanting to wipe the worried expression off his face. She doubted the little lump was anything to be concerned about. She was too young for problems like that. "I'll start those omelets cooking." Grabbing Clay's t-shirt from the end of the bed, she stood, pulled it over her head, and left the room.