Room for More(89)

By: Beth Ehemann

“Do you want to bite us?” Piper asked, giggling.

“You guys look SO cute!” I pulled my phone out of my pocket and aimed it at them. “Smile! Brody, get in there with them for one.” He walked up behind them and squatted down in the middle. “Say, Happy Halloween.” They smiled and I clicked away.

“Want me to take one of the four of you?” Zach asked, holding out his hand for the phone.

“Really?” I asked. “You wouldn’t mind?”

“Of course not.” He took the phone from me. “Hop in there.”

I walked up behind the girls and squatted next to Brody, who wrapped his arm around my waist. That moment was incredibly surreal to me. Overwhelming even. As my past was taking a picture of my present, a calm wrapped its arms around me and I just knew things would be okay. Brody and Zach were acting like champs around each other and the girls had handled the news perfectly. Could life get any better?

“We better get going, Twinkies,” Brody said excitedly. “There’s a lot of candy out there to claim.”

“Wait, one more pic. Zach, you wanna take one with Lucy and Piper?”

Zach nervously rolled his top lip in between his teeth. “I would love it, if you guys wouldn’t mind.” He pointed to Brody and me.

I took my phone from him and stepped around front.

“Have at it.” Brody stepped to the side.

After the picture of Zach and the girls, Lucy jumped up and down. “We need one of all of us, Mommy! One more!”

I looked up at Brody and bit my lip nervously before glancing over at Zach who had shoved his hands in his pockets and seemed beyond uncomfortable with the prospect.

“Uh…” I stalled, trying to decide how to deal with the awkward situation.

“Come on.” Brody walked over behind the girls again. “I have long arms. I’ll try and get everyone in. Let’s go.”

Zach looked at me and shrugged as a small smile cracked his lips.

Why the hell not?

I squeezed in between Zach and Brody.

We snapped a few more pictures and were out the door.

Two hours of walking door-to-door and the adults were complaining more than the kids.

“Do they always have this much energy?” Zach yawned.

“Unfortunately, yes.” I laughed. “They never stop moving.” They’re going to have enough candy to last them until next Halloween.” Zach shook his head as they ran past us to the next house.

“Not after the candy tax,” Brody joked.

Zach turned and frowned at him. “Candy tax?”

“Yeah. Once the kids go to bed, the parents get to raid the bags and pick out their favorites as a tax for walking all night.”

Zach threw his head back and laughed. “I think I’m gonna like the candy tax.”

Lucy and Piper looked up, saying something to the older man who had just dropped candy in their bags. As they waved good-bye and ran down the sidewalk toward us, I stopped them. “What were you saying to that man?”

“Oh!’ Lucy shrugged. “He asked if that was Brody Murphy on the sidewalk and we told him yes, that we have two dads and Brody is one of them.” She grinned.

“You told him that?” I blurted out.

“Yeah, lots of people asked about Brody and we told all of them that he was one of our two dads.” Piper said proudly. “Come on, Lucy!” They linked hands and sprinted off for the next house.

Brody, Zach, and I stood frozen on the sidewalk with our mouths open.

“Did she just tell people—” Zach stopped halfway through his sentence and looked at Brody and me.

“I believe she did.” Brody laughed hard. Zach and I followed suit.

“Oh my God,” I said as my laughter died down. “I’m so sorry. People are going to think you and Zach are…”

He grinned and shook his head, chuckling. “Andy’s going to have a good time explaining this one to the tabloids on Monday.”

8 months later…

Today is June 24th.

Two months ago today, my team was knocked out of the play-offs by the fucking Chicago Blackhawks, once again. Despite my rough start to the season, I ended it with more wins and more saves than any other season in my career.