AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: Penelope Louleas
A Harbour Christmas
I smile as I look up at our stunning Christmas tree. The ten foot high pine tree stands tall in the middle of our great room. Adorned by glass baubles of green, red and gold, the small hidden twinkle lights flash in a sequence that is almost synchronized to the carols playing from the surround sound speakers. The tree is encircled by a short, intricately carved wooden gate, not for decoration but to keep it safe from our curious little boy.
Although I'm deliriously happy, I miss my family back home. They've chosen to stay in Australia as my sister in law is pregnant again and too far along to fly. I convinced them that I was fine with the decision, which I am, but I'm still a little sad that they won't be here. Lincoln offered for us to go there but with the drama surrounding his brother, we thought it was best to remain in New York.
"What are you wrapping there?" Lincoln leans over my shoulder attempting to sneak a peak at his now fully wrapped present.
"It's for later tonight. You'll love it." I turn in my seat and kiss his cheek. I feel his face move as he smiles under my lips. "You always give me the best gifts." With a wink and a quick peck on the lips, he's off again. I don't know where he gets the energy.
I clean up the table, putting away my wrapping supplies and placing the presents under the tree. My phone rings, "Pierce." I say to myself. I answer the call with a huge smile on my face. "Hi baby girl, how's life?"
I walk to the fridge for a water while filling Pierce in on all the recent happenings in the Whitmore household. So much has happened but Pierce knows most of it, we speak almost daily.
"How's Noah? And please, spare me the details." I could pretend to be disgusted but we both know I love hearing about the sexy things these two get up to. "Picture this. Noah sitting next to the tree, naked, wrapping a present that looks like it'll be fun to play with..." Pierce is interrupted.
"It's a crystal apothecary glass for your mums candy! Jesus Pierce." I hear Noah feign frustration.
"It looks like a giant, fancy butt plug." Pierce calls out to Noah. "It really does Har. I swear. My dad will see it and give me that raised eyebrow over his glasses look, you know the one? The 'I accept your homosexuality but please don't shove it down my throat' or up his arse as it may seem." I cough as the water I was attempting to swallow gets caught in my throat. Finally clearing it and sending Lincoln a reassuring smile, I try to admonish Pierce for being so crass. "I feel like I should say something 'adulty' like, don't talk like that, you're shocking etcetera but that's gold. Damn I miss you. When are you back in New York?" He pauses for a moment and I hear some shuffling around in the background. "We'll see each other soon enough." I don't respond and Pierce acknowledges it. "Relax baby girl, I promise I'll see you soon. Enjoy Christmas with your handsome boys and I'll see you next year."
We say our goodbyes for now and I disconnect the call. He's right, as usual. I need to focus on my family. Everyone I need to worry about is in this room. I walk over and take a seat on the rug next to them. "What 'cha building?" I ask York who is focused on his Lego. "For momma! Big house!" I look over at Lincoln who is wearing the same huge smile I am. We share a look which says, "look what we made! He's cute and smart!" Maybe the look doesn't say all that but I'm sure I'm close.
Our silent conversation is interrupted by Lincoln's phone, "Excuse me beautiful family, I have to take this." He leaves the room and I watch York slowly put the house together block by block.
"That's a really big house mate. It looks great! Do we get a pool?" He nods enthusiastically.
"Yup! It hot." With his limited words we have somewhat of a conversation. Lincoln returns and asks what he missed so I fill him in. "From what I'm understanding, he's building me a big house in Australia with a pool and a pet kangaroo. It sounds pretty awesome actually." Lincoln smiles and shakes his head, "He's not doing that, I am." I laugh, "You're getting me a kangaroo?" I look over at him and he smirks waiting for the penny to drop. It takes me a moment to comprehend what he's said, "Wait. What?" My heart rate picks up speed as I wait for him to explain himself. I know my mouth is open and my eyes are wide. I can feel the excitement and shock radiating from me. It's taking all my will power to stay seated where I am. "I'm building us a house in Melbourne. I love New York but with everything that happened with Artemisia, it was a huge wake up call. We need to be close to our families, they won't be around forever." He pauses and waits for a response but all I can muster is a slow nod and some tears. "My parents are away for over half the year, they will be happy to come visit us in Australia and the business is in good hands. What do you think? Say something." He's smiling because he knows exactly how I feel. I lunge at him from my spot on the floor and hug him tightly. "Lincoln are you sure? I want you to be sure." I hold him and wait for his response. I know he'll say whatever makes me happy makes him happy. He nods and smiles into my neck. "I love you Harbour. I want you to be happy." I sit back and bite my lip. It's time for his present. I stand up to fetch it but before I turn back to him, I take a deep cleansing breathe.
I hand him the box and he gives it a small shake. "Hmmm I wonder what this is?" York realises there is a present being opened and he isn't involved so he quickly jumps up into Lincoln's lap to help rip the paper off.
Once the paper is off, the long black box is revealed. Lincoln's facial expression tells me he has no idea whats in the box. He opens it and his eyebrows arch high into his forehead. "Um babe, sex vouchers? Maybe this could've waited." My eyes widen and my face reddens. "Shit! I mean, um that's the wrong box!" I fumble to take the present back while York is screaming that he wants the 'stickers'. Oh god. What a fail.
Lincoln finally gets his laughter under control long enough to accept the correct present. As York rips through the wrapping, Lincoln tells me in child friendly words that he is very excited to use his first present and would like to cash in the quickie voucher whilst Master York naps. I roll my eyes but a giggle escapes me. Of course me announcing to him that I'm pregnant wouldn't go to plan. I'm just too uncoordinated for that.
He opens the box and this time the correct item is in there. As lovely as the thought is, all I can think is that I just gave my hubby a stick I pee'd on for Christmas.
He drops the box and looks between the stick to I several times. His smile widens with every glance. "Har, are you really? Are we having another baby?" I nod and give him a huge smile but I don't move. York loses interest in the present and returns to his Lego. I don't expect him to understand exactly what's going on just yet.
Lincoln shuffles the two feet of distance between us on his knees. I'm still standing so he places his hands on my slightly protruding belly. No, I'm not blaming the pregnancy, that's all me. "Yeah, York is going to be a big brother in 7 months." After a quick kiss on my covered belly, Lincoln rises and takes me up in his arms. This. This is the response every woman deserves when she announces she's pregnant. His kisses are soft but strong, his hug is tight and reassuring and his smile is more vibrant than I've ever seen it. It's the smile he reserves for York and I. And now these babies get it too.
"Lincoln. There's two in there." He doesn't hear me properly or maybe he just needs a few seconds to process the information. He puts me down, takes a step back holding my hands and looking at my belly again. "I fucking love all three of you." He takes me in an all encompassing hug and I hear York admonish Lincoln, "Daddy naughty. Bad word daddy." I giggle and kiss my husband who releases me only long enough to pick up our son, quickly apologise for cussing and include him in the hug. "You're going to be a big brother buddy."
These guys, my husband, my son and our two little seedlings are what make my life complete.
They will fill my world with love, laughter and they will give me my happily ever after.
Penelope Louleas is an author from Melbourne, Australia. She lives with her husband and young daughter. Penelope began writing several years ago but only recently decided to try her hand at independent publishing. When she's not writing, Penelope is an avid reader and daydreamer. Her debut novel, Harbour, was released on May 16th, 2014.
Head to Penelope Louleas's Goodreads Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7538313.Penelope_Louleas
Harbour (Runaway Home #1): http://amzn.to/1OYM9CT
Pierce (Runaway Home #1.5): http://amzn.to/1OYMci7
If money was no object what would take out the number one spot on your Christmas list?
Full renovations on my house. Pretty much knock it down and build it again. (With a HUGE ass library of course)
What was the first book you read that made you think “wow this is what I want to do, I want to be an author”?
Breathe by Abbi Glines
What does Christmas mean for you?
Family. Im so excited to spend it with my kids. My daughter is three so this is the first year she’s really understood what christmas is. She sang the chorus to Jingle Bells the other day and I cried for 20 minutes.
What’s your guilty pleasure, the one thing you hate admitting out loud?
An occasional cigarette. I quit before i fell pregnant with my daughter but every time I drink, which isn't often at all, I crave one.
What’s next for you in terms of writing?
Im working on book 2 of the Runaway Home series, Artemisia. I’m really excited about this book because it’s different and surprising. People will love me or hate me, either way, I'm happy.