Page 14 of Happy Ending (Fisher Brothers 4)

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As we pulled out of the driveway, Matson asked from the back seat, “Do you hope it’s a boy too, Ryan?”

I glanced at Sofia, who was breathing a little faster than usual, and squeezing my hand like she wanted to cut off all the circulation in it.

Do I want a boy?

“I don’t know,” I said, answering him honestly.

Of course, I’d thought about it over the past several months, but I’d never come to a firm conclusion in my mind or heart. All I knew was that I wanted a healthy baby with the woman I loved. It was a fucking cliché and everyone said it, but it was the truth.

“Well, I want a little brother. I mean, I’ll be okay if it’s a girl, but I want brothers like you.”

And there it was. Matson wanted to have what he had become familiar with. He wanted brothers just like mine.

I thought about what he said as I navigated the streets as quickly, efficiently, and safely as I could. Sofia moaned once and it almost tore me apart. Her grip on my hand tightened, and I pressed the gas pedal a little harder. Knowing she was in pain wasn’t something I’d ever be okay with, no matter what caused it.

“You know what, though?” I said to Matson. “I always wished that we had a sister too.”

“You did? Like instead of Nick?” he asked, and Sofia and I both laughed.

“No, not instead. I still wanted Nick and Frank, but I wanted a little sister too. I wanted to have someone to protect. And I wanted to be able to beat up the boys who liked her.”

“Really, babe?” Sofia said with a soft smile.

“I can do that if I have a sister? Beat up the boys who like her and not get in trouble?”

Matson sounded a little too excited, and Sofia’s grip on my hand was no longer about the contractions, but a warning about my response.

“Great job,” she whispered from beside me, and I bit back a smile.

It was the truth. I had always wanted that. How did that make me the bad guy? I figured it made me a good potential older brother.

“Maybe,” I said, and Sofia immediately let go of my hand. Apparently, that had been the wrong answer.

“I guess a baby sister won’t be so bad then,” Matson said as I pulled into the hospital’s emergency parking lot. Thankfully, I found an empty spot near the entrance.

I shut off the engine and ran around to Sofia’s door to help her out. I tried to hustle her toward the entrance, but she refused to take another step, almost causing me to trip over my own damn feet.

“Ryan, stop. Matson!” she shouted.

I could have smacked myself. I looked behind us to see Matson struggling to keep up, his mom’s overnight bag half as large as he was.

“Sorry, buddy.” I hurried back and removed the strap from his small shoulder, then slid it over mine.

“It’s okay. You were distracted.”

“It’s not okay,” I said. The last thing I wanted was for Matson to feel replaced or forgotten. He’d already forgiven me, I could tell, but I still wanted to kick myself.

He ran to his mother’s side and reached for her hand. “How are you, Mama?”

“I’m good,” she said, and he beamed up at her like she was his entire world. “How are you?”

“I’m good too.” He dropped her hand and ran toward the doors. “I see Grandma and Papa!”

I kissed the side of Sofia’s head and watched Matson run into his grandpa’s arms, thinking about how this would be his last day as the only child.

“You ready for this?” Sofia asked me with a wicked grin, like she knew something I didn’t.

“You trying to scare me, angel?”

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