Mateo smiled as he watched Gianna riding Eos in the valley near his home. She was so beautiful, her laughter melodious as she stretched her arms out, looking for all the world like she might take flight. She was so beautiful, reminding him of a wild angel. It had been a year since their meeting and nearly that long since she had married him and now she said she had a surprise for him, but it would have to wait until his birthday. He had tried getting the information from Tethys, but she had only stared at him until he was uncomfortable and had left. Not even his mother would let him know and it seemed only she and the dragon knew what Gianna was hiding. He kept telling himself he only had three days left, but that didn’t stop him from trying to get the information out of her.
“Where have you gone my sweet prince?” Gianna’s voice had him blinking his eyes and looking up as she approached on Eos. She swung down from the unicorn’s back and dropped down in front of him in the grass.
She smiled, her amethyst eyes lighting up. “Sorry my love just thinking.”
“Only good things I hope.”
“Of course, it’s about you so it’s always good.” She leaned in and pressed their lips together so his cheeks warmed. He pulled her into his lap, his heart beating excitedly in his chest. “I love you so much my beautiful dragon princess.”
She giggled and rubbed her nose against his. “Flatter me all you want, I still won’t tell.”
“I mean it, you’re my everything.”
His eyes spoke volumes and Gianna’s heart stuttered in her chest. After a year with her, he seemed to be able to express himself much easier. “I promise you’ll like this surprise.”
“I’ll love anything you give me, you know that.”
“I know, but this one will make you really, really happy.”
“why must I wait?”
“I’ve told you, telling you is a birthday present”
“Okay, there’s only a few more days left” She rested her forehead against his. Even a simple contact like this made her whole body relax. Mateo was such a good man and husband. She was carrying his first child and she knew he was going to be the best father. She was excited to see his face light up at his party when she told him and effectively everyone else at once they’d be parents. She knew everyone was going to be delighted. She wanted his birthday to be a truly happy day and thats why she was choosing to wait. Learning she was with child would keep him happy no matter what happened on his birthday.
“Can I at least try and guess what you got me?” He asked as he stroked her hair.
“You can, but I guarantee you won’t guess.”
He thought about it hard. “New clothes?”
“That would be too easy.”
“A blanket for Eos?” She shook her head. “Can I have a clue?”
“A lot of hard work went into it.”
“That’s not a clue.”
She giggled. “Sure it is and you’ll get it once I tell you.” She kissed his cheek. “We should head back, I want to help with preparations.”
“Everyone else can do it.” He blushed at how whiny he sounded. “Sorry, I guess I get selfish.”
“I love the way you are, how sweet and gentle you are, but I have something special being made and I need to check on it. It’s part of the big surprise and Tethys is making it. I couldn’t have anyone else do it or you’d find out.”
“I’m excited and a bit jealous of her and mom knowing.”
“Trust me, you’ll be happy, just be patient for a bit longer.”
The two and Eos returned to the castle to help everyone prepare. Birthdays were a huge event in the castle. Even though Eira’s first birthday would be soon they would still make a huge deal out of Mateo’s separately. Eira was another reason she couldn’t wait to see her husband as a father. He was so sweet with his little sister. Nerites was too and it was adorable. That little girl had both her older brothers wrapped around her finger but she had none of them as wrapped as their father Pontos. Thalassa had told her that Pontos had been like that with all their children though. He was putty for their little faces.
“I hope you don’t mind all the unicorns.” Gianna said with a big smile.
“Why would I?”
“It’s not too girly?”
“I love them, they all look like Eos.”
She kissed his cheek and they flushed. “Still so cute.”
He chuckled, looking around the big dining room. It wasn’t just going to be his immediate family, everyone was going to be there, people Gianna hadn’t even met yet. He was excited about them finally getting to see his beautiful wife. It was Nerites walking through the room looking irritated that pulled him away from Gianna. He grabbed his brother’s arm, startling him out of his thoughts. “You alright?”
“Tethys just yelled at me for trying to go into her room. I just wanted to see if she wanted to take Eira up and she snapped at me.”
“I’ll talk to her.” Gianna said. She knew Tethys had the gift up there, but Nerites didn’t know. She was sure Tethys would apologize, but she wanted to clear things up.
“Want me to come?” Mateo asked.
“No, I’ll be quick, just wait for me.”
“Okay” when Gianna was gone he said “Maybe my surprise gift is in that room. Gianna has a surprise for me and only Tethys and mom know about it”
“she didn’t need to snap at me though” Gianna rushed to Tethys room, walking right in. Tethys knew who it was so allowed the entry “Tethys, you should apologize to Nerites”
“He and I are friends but it doesn’t give him the right to barge in here”
“You go in his room too.”
“I guess, I just got defensive quickly because I didn’t want him seeing and telling your husband”
“I know, will you come apologize”
“yeah” Tethys and Gianna returned and Tethys gave Nerites a genuine apology “Just please, for awhile knock before you enter my room”
Gianna was relieved that all went smoothly. She never wanted her friends fighting, especially not when Nerites seemed genuinely interested in Tethys. They left to get Eira and Mateo gave a sigh of relief. “Thank you for that.”
“Tethys lets her wildness out at times and doesn’t realize how hurtful it can be. She wasn’t trying to be cruel and I think Nerites realized that.”
“You look hungry love, want me to get something for you?” Gianna smiled and gave him a kiss.
“I think I’m more tired actually.”
“Why don’t I take you up to our room and then get you something.”
“I can walk.”
He blushed. “I know, I just like being close to you, the closer the better.”
His words melted her and she couldn’t protest any longer. She allowed him to sweep her off her feet and he took her to their room. He made sure she was comfortable then walked back out to get them food. He just grabbed some fruit since she wanted to sleep. It was somthing and it wouldn’t be too much for her to eat before resting. “Thank you Mateo” she said as he entered the room. She already sounded half gone. She was extra tired lately and he hoped she wasn’t coming down with anything.
They ate together and she soon was sleeping soundly. He kissed his wifes cheek and cuddled up to her. He attempted to rest with her but his mind was far too busy on her well being, his birthday and whatever surprise Gianna had. He simply let his fingers travel her resting body as he thought, hoping he brought her comfort in her rest.
Gianna jerked awake with her stomach churning and it startled Mateo when she bolted out of bed and into the bathroom. “Gianna?” He was right behind her, his fingers pulling back her hair as she threw up. “Are you okay?”
She nodded. “Fine, just a little under the weather.”
He helped her to her feet and she rinsed out her mouth. “Why didn’t you tell me? You shouldn’t be out riding or be planning a birthday if you’re sick.”
“Mateo, I’ve been sick before.”
“You need rest and water. I’ll get a healer.”
“Mateo.” She grabbed his face in her hands and kissed him. “I am a healer remember and all I need to make me feel better is you so stop worrying.”
He frowned. “But it could be serious.”
“People get sick Mateo, it happens. I’ll be fine and I’d tell you if I wasn’t. Trust me.”
“Okay, but please just rest for today, you don’t need to push yourself for me. My family can finish planning and you’re more important than a party.”
She smiled and decided to give in to him. He just looked so worried “alright, I’ll rest for today but I assure you I’m going to be just fine”
“I can find some cards and we can play while you sit in bed/ I dont’ want you to be miserable. I know how you hate not doing anything”
“That sounds nice, maybe chess too?”
“sure, you just wait and I’ll get you another drink” When he was no longer in the room she gently rubbed her stomach, thinking once again of what a good father Mateo was going to be to this child. He came back with the cards and chess board then set up a game of golf for them. It took her a bit to get the hang of the card game again since it had been quite a bit since she played cards.
The rest of the day was spent with him fussing over her and she couldn’t help but giggle at how he would be once he found out she was pregnant. “How are you feeling?” He asked that night when he crawled under the covers with her.
“Do you need any water or juice or how about some crackers?”
“Mateo, I’m fine.” She said with a laugh and he blushed.
“Sorry, I just love you and I don’t like you being sick. You’ll tell me if you get worse?”
“Of course.” She moved closer and brushed her lips against his, making his cheeks turn a deeper shade of red. “I love you Mateo, so much, you make me extremely happy.”
He swallowed, his heart racing at her sweet words. He wanted to make love to her, but he also wanted her to rest and he wound up hugging her tightly to him, his nose pressing into her hair. “I love you too.”
“You do remember I can sense everything right?”
“Yes, but you need rest so please sleep, I can be good and wait.”
“I can’t tell you I love you enough Mateo” When his party came and Gianna found the right moment she got everyones attention with the help of queen Thalassa. Gianna cleared her throat and began speaking eloquently, unphased by how many looked at her. “I’ve made my husband wait on this surprise until today so I could tell everyone at once and it would make his birthday even more amazing. Telling him today I can know for sure today will be a majorly happy day for him. Anyway, now that I’ve said day too many times.” she paused a brief moment to take her husbands hand “I’m pregnant with our first child” She could feel love and excitement swell in him as it did her.
Everyone clapped and Mateo hugged Gianna “How far along are you?” he asked and she answered happily “not very far, for about as long as I’ve been getting easier”
“I’m so happy”
“Me too, you’re going to be so amazing as a father. There have been so many moments that tell me that”
“I can’t believe I didn’t notice.” He sat down and wrapped his arms around her waist, his forehead pressed into her belly. “A baby, my baby.”
Gianna stroked her fingers through his hair. “You’re so happy.”
He looked up at her. “Of course I am.”
“If he’s anything like Pontos, he’ll be following you just about everywhere.” Thalassa teased and Mateo blushed.
“You know I can’t help it my love, you and our children are my life.” Pontos replied then kissed his wife’s cheek.
“You should have seen him the night I threw up, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so worried.” Gianna said as she took her seat.
“It scared me, it was so sudden.”
“Could I bring down the other gift?” Tethys asked.
“Oh yes, please.”
Mateo gave her a questioning look. “Other gift? You’ve already given me so much.”
“Well it’s more for the baby than us, but I wanted to wait until I told everyone before showing you.”
Nerties was standing near so Gianna took the opportunity to say “Thats really why she snapped at you. She was keeping that gift and she probably panicked when you just came in like that. I told her nobody could know besides Thalassa. He looked a little relieved, it had obviously bothered him a lot when Tethys wasn’t happy to see him. Everyone waited for Tethys to enter the room again when she returned it was a reminder she was a dragon and not a human woman. She could carry absolutely anything and make it look light as a pastry.
Mateo was amazed at the crib and its intricate design. When Tethys sat it down, he got up to look it over, letting his fingers trace the dragon that made up the sides. “Wow, this is so amazing.” He hugged Tethys who had a surprised expression on her face. “Thank you so much.”
“You really like it?” Gianna asked.
“You know I do, it’s so perfect.” He pulled her into his arms, his lips pressing happily into hers. “This has been the best birthday ever. I can’t believe I’m really going to be a dad.”
“Take it upstairs you two.” Nerites teased and Mateo blushed.
“I wasn’t planning on that. I’m just happy.”
“Oh sure, the baby speaks volumes.”
Mateo didn’t know what to say and Gianna let out a laugh that had his heart pounding. “He has you there my love.” She gave him a quick kiss. “Let’s enjoy the rest of your birthday. I want cake,” she rubbed noses with him and said quieter, “and then you.”
She giggled again at how nervous she could make him. He was truly the sweetest man. It didn’t matter if it was a boy or a girl Gianna hoped they would get their fathers heart. They enjoyed cake and socialized for awhile before sneaking out to make love to eachother. They quickly went to their room and locked the door. Mateo gently pushed his wife against the wall and began to work her neck with his mouth, his hands holding hard to her shoulders. She moaned his name, bringing him up just that easily. She smiled and he nibbled her jaw “don’t be mean”
“I don’t think mean would stir your sleeping giant” he laughed and she whispered “I love you”
Mateo lifted her and she wrapped her legs tightly around him, smiling as she kissed him and he pressed her into the bed. They pulled at each others clothes, their hands and lips exploring so they were both moaning and covered in goosebumps. His lips stayed locked with hers as he pushed into her, his fingers lacing with hers as he moved. He was gentle, building her up slowly so he could savor her joy and pleasure. Her back arched off the bed, her moan parting their lips and he thrust a little harder, her quivering pushing him over the edge. “I love you Gianna.” He rained kisses over her face and she giggled, her happiness washing over him.
“I love you too.”
He braced himself on his elbows and let his fingers play through her hair. “You’re so beautiful.”
He smiled and gave her another kiss before moving to lay next to her, his arms pulling her against him. He wanted to maintain this closeness. She rested her head on his chest, sighing happily. “Thank you so much Gianna.”
“Everything, you’ve given me so much, so much love and happiness, and now a baby. You’re just so amazing and beautiful, so perfect. I’m so lucky.”
“Stop or I’ll cry.”
“Then I’ll work to make you smile again.” He kissed her forehead. “I love you so much and I always will.”
She felt herself tearing up. “Me too.” They lay there in their bliss, her trying not to cry at his sweetness and him drifting off to thoughts of fatherhood and how happy he really was. Both of them felt lucky to have found each other.