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I woke up before sunrise the following morning after my night with Clay. As much as Clay wore me out the night before, his cheap bed didn’t allow me to sleep comfortably. But it was fine because nothing, not even his bed, could ruin my good mood.

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Clay was still sleeping so I decided to make myself useful and prepare breakfast for him. It was the least I could do to thank him for everything – especially for that night. Since I didn’t plan on staying over I had nothing to wear. I didn’t want to ruin my good clothes in case I spilled something while trying to cook so I slipped on one of his shirts hoping he wouldn’t mind. I think I probably made two meals in my entire life, one was a salad and the other was baked potatoes and I cooked both those meals a long time ago. Cooking breakfast for Clay was going to be a mini-challenge I was willing to undertake.

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I cracked all the eggs into a bowl and seasoned them with salt and black pepper. Scrambled eggs was the only other recipe I knew although this would be my first time actually cooking it instead of watching Dad do it in our kitchen.

“What are you doing? It’s four in the morning.” Clay asked, surprising me as I didn’t even hear him coming.

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“You startled me!” I laughed.

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“Sorry.”

“I’m making scrambled eggs and bacon. Is that okay?”

“Yeah, I like eggs and I’m sure yours will be just as delicious as you are.” He said with a wink. I blushed a little at what he said before putting the frying pan on the stove and adding the whipped yolks.

“Do you need any help?” he asked.

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“No I got it!” I said. The eggs and bacon were done and they looked and smelled really good too. Not only was I good at chess, writing and detective work, it appeared I was good at cooking too. I decided there that I would try to do more of the cooking at home. “How does it taste?” I asked him as we sat by the dining table.

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“It’s really good. I like how fluffy the eggs are and you got the bacon crispy just the way I like. I tend to burn bacon whenever I try to make it.”

“Really? You really like it?”

“Yes I do. It’s very tasty. Thanks for making breakfast.”

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“Sure, no problem. Thank you for… last night.”

“You don’t need to thank me for that.” He said.

“It was amazing! I really needed that.”

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After we ate Clay offered to do the dishes but I had something else in mind.

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It was just as amazing as it was the night before. I got out of bed when I realised Clay was out cold and got ready to go home. I didn’t want to disturb him so I quietly dressed and left. I needed to get home before the girls woke up and started wondering where I was.

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The next few days were very busy for me as I had to oversee the renovations on our family house. I nearly broke the bank building it and barely had any money left to properly decorate but everyone was pleased with the overall structure and we saw plenty of possibilities with this new house.

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The first floor had a spacious living room, a kitchen with a family area, a gym, a study, a dining room and there was a large room right off the kitchen that led out by the pool area. We decided to designate that area as a lounge/pool house once we got enough funds since it was the perfect place in the house to host a party. We also had a master suite downstairs. I had it made with Dad in mind hence why I put the gym so close to it but he said it should be my room since it was the largest and I deserved it because I was the heiress.

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The second floor had four bedrooms, each with its own bathroom and there was an extra room we decided would be an entertainment/activity room. We also did a little landscaping but that was also a work in progress. Everyone was pleased with the new house. Leni had her own room now and Gem was glad to have a bigger one. Dad loved having a bigger kitchen and dining room so much that he practically lived in those two rooms. No one complained of course because we all loved his cooking.

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It was a good thing we decided to renovate the house when we did because Felix’s girlfriend Louise, who recently moved in with us, was pregnant. None of us even noticed she was pregnant at first because she always had a big belly. She and Felix kept the news secret until she was well into her second trimester before surprising us one morning at breakfast. Pregnancy looked good on her.

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Phoebe was also expecting but she was having twins! She dropped by for a visit to announce the news. She and Landon couldn’t be happier to start a family since both of them wanted as many kids as they could have. Phoebe was glowing! But I did wonder how she would carry the weight of two babies for nine months with those skinny legs of hers!

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I got promoted to Sergeant but I was still busting my hump out on the field catching perps and arresting scoundrels like before. I didn’t want to be one of those sergeants who took it easy after moving up the ranks by saddling themselves with paper work and supervising duties. There was still no one on the force who could beat my closure rate.

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I thought it would be awkward seeing Clay at the office after the recent advancement in our relationship. I was so busy with the construction and everything that was happening with my family that I had no time to return his calls. One afternoon after I closed one of my cases he called me into his office.

“Is your phone working? Cause… I’ve been calling and getting no response. Did I do something wrong?”

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“No, I was just…”

“Busy. Yeah, you said that over the phone. Danielle I have feelings for you, real feelings. I think I might be in love with you. But if you’re not ready for a relationship, I mean if it’s too soon for you, then I can wait. Or if you just don’t feel the same way about me then I’ll understand and we can just go back to being friends. Either way, you have to tell me what you want.”

I could see by the look in his eyes that he was trying his best to keep his emotions in check. I knew he was an honest, sweet man who simply wanted the chance to be in my life. Clay was always a professional and never once crossed the line, not even with me back in the day when I boldly came on to him. So I knew the fact that he allowed our relationship to progress in such a way meant that his feelings for me were genuine. That this wasn’t some casual fling for him. And he was so sweet for giving me a way out too. But I didn’t want a way out.

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I didn’t know when it happened exactly but I had also developed strong feelings for him. I didn’t think it would be so easy for me again. After my divorce I told myself to be cautious the next time a man came into my life, if not for the sake of my own heart then for the sake of my daughters. Gemma was so upset when Stephan left and she still believed that one day he would come back to us. Helena was a baby when he left and because of that she never knew what it was like to have a father so any new man in my life would become her first experience with a Dad. I couldn’t let them get attached to someone only to be disappointed when it didn’t work out. But Clay was different. I knew him for years. We were friends for a long time and he was so good with the girls. And it was so easy being with him. There were no doubts, no questions as to what he might be up to, or what secrets he might be hiding. I realised I was avoiding him on purpose over the last few days using the renovations as an excuse because I needed to figure out exactly what I wanted. Now I knew for sure.

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“I’ve liked you since the day we met and even though I moved on, I think a part of me always carried a torch for you. I thought I would be scared to fall in love again but I’m not. I want to be with you Clay. I’m ready.” I answered as I gently caressed his cheek.

He sighed in relief. “You have no idea how happy I am to hear you say that!”

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I wanted to kiss him so badly but I thought it was too soon for us to go public with our relationship at the office. We both went back to work but I couldn’t shake the smile of happiness off of my face.

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