Yeah, I was always the crazy one broke into the stadium
And I wrote your number on the 50-yard line
Will wouldn’t have admitted openly but when he was younger, he was a lot like Santi in that he slept around a lot. Broke many hearts when he was a teenager. To put it simply? He was an ass.
Time in the army changed that, especially when he met the men who would become his brothers. Between Pope, Catfish, and Redfly he was nowhere near the same person he was when he left high school. Benny liked to tease him a lot, whenever they came home to visit their parents.
In fact, that was what he was currently doing. He, and Benny, were driving home with Santi and Frankie in the back. His parents needed furniture moved out; they were downsizing to a smaller home. So, the four of them were going to be their muscles for it.
Benny was exaggerating many parts of several stories, that caused Will to roll his eyes constantly before correcting him.
He pulled into the driveway of his parent’s home, quietly wondering whose car was parked in front of their house. He shrugged it off not thinking too hard on it. The four of them walked up to the door and knocked.
Their mother, Winnie Miller, opened the door with a smile, “My boys! You’re early!”
She greeted Santi and Frankie as they all came inside with hugs and cheek kisses.
“Figured we may as well get here as soon as possible to start moving stuff out,” Will explained as his mother fretted over him and Benny, stating ‘we were too skinny.’
“Well, I do have some company but that shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Come into the kitchen, we just made some cookies,” Winnie said as she led them forward.
Benny bounded forward excitedly rushing past their mother to the kitchen. As they caught up to him, Will noticed he had stopped dead in his tracks, staring at the person sitting at the island.
“Benny, what the hell are y-…” Will started to ask but stopped as he took her in as well.
He muttered her name as he watched her straightened up.
You were always the perfect one and a valedictorian
So under your number I wrote "Call for a good time"
“You mean She-Devil?” Benny grumbled glaring at her.
She waved awkwardly, and said, “Benny. Hey, Will.”
“What are you doing here, Venus?” Will asked her, using her old nickname from high school.
“Just uh… talking…” She answered biting her lip, looking uncomfortable at the attention she was receiving.
“Hm. Talking? Planning on running someone else over?” Benny asked mockingly.
“It was an accident,” She mumbled shaking her head.
“Is that another exaggeration?” Santi asked as he and Frankie moved to stand to the side.
“Nope. She jumped the curb and broke Will’s leg in 3 places!” Benny exclaimed, waving his arms.
Will winced slightly at that and scratched the back of his neck.
“Can you not?” Venus threw back crossing her arms.
“Benny. Chill. Just… go outside with the guys, please,” Will commanded him gently not wanting a fight to start.
Just then a small voice could be heard behind him, “Mommy?”
Venus tensed, taking a deep breath, before passing by him to walk into the living room. On the couch was a little girl, who had been taking a nap.
Will gazed at the girl noting she was about 3 years old, with blonde hair and blue eyes. Blue eyes that looked eerily similar to his own.
“Benny. Seriously, go outside. Calm down,” Will called over his shoulder, his eyes never leaving Venus and her daughter.
He heard Benny huff and storm outside.
“I’ll go… talk to him,” Came Santi’s voice as he followed Benny.
Frankie looked at the two people in the living room, and then at Will. He could very easily connect the dots that was going on within Will’s brain.
Will stepped forward and glanced between her and the child.
“Something you want to tell me?” Will questioned her softly.
She sighed, picking her daughter up, who immediately clung to her neck.
“Her name is Charlotte,” She said quietly.
“…. After my grandmother?” Will murmured lowly.
She nodded once, not making eye contact.
Will nodded, rubbing his hand over his face, exasperated.
He walked back into the kitchen, giving his mother a pointed look.
“Give her a chance to explain,” Winnie pleaded.
He sighed heavily, before turning back around. However, she wasn’t there. He could hear doors closing and the sound of an engine starting up.
“Seems you got some splainin’ to do, brother,” Frankie stated as he snagged a cookie.
Will turned to his mother, and inquired, “How long have you known?”
“A couple of months. She… she was going through some things and came home to deal with some shit with her parents. I saw her at the grocery store with Lottie and knew immediately. Course, she tried to deny it at first, but Lottie looks exactly like you. Can’t fool me,” Winnie explained as Benny and Santi came back in.
“What are we talking about?” Benny was confused as to what he just walked into.
“Nothing,” Will said shortly, turning and walking out of the house.
He knew where she was heading. Same place she always did when she was stressed.
I only wanted to get your attention
But you overlooked me somehow
It was a 15-minute drive to the nearby park, and another 10 minutes following an old hiking path that led to a beautiful pond.
That was where she was, with her… their… daughter who was happily chasing after butterflies.
“Figured you’d be here,” He announced his arrival as he stood near her.
“You always did know me best,” She replied, not looking at him.
Will sat next to her on the worn bench that had been there since they were in high school. He fondly watched their daughter as she began to make flower crowns.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” He softly asked her.
“Because it was a one-night stand, after far too many shots. Figured you didn’t want to see me ever again. When I found out I was pregnant… I wanted to tell you but…” She started but her voice faltered at the end.
“But you thought I would reject you?” He supplied as he stared at her, noting her teary eyes.
She nodded in response, “Yeah. Plus, there was… a lot of drama with my parents and I didn’t want to involve you.”
“My mother mentioned that. What happened?” Will wanted answers.
“You remember how I told you about my last ex, when we… were last together?” She began, waiting for his nod. “Imagine their reaction when they found out I was pregnant.”
He rolled his eyes up to the high heavens, “Let me guess? They threw a conniption?”
“…Sorta…” She said softly. “They disowned me.”
Will raised an eyebrow at that, “They what? Seriously?’
“Yep. No inheritance for me. We don’t even really talk anymore. They keep trying to say they’ll forgive me and give it back if I marry someone that they approve. Too bad I am not 16 anymore, desperate for their attention,” She said bitterly.
He snorted at that, “So, my mom discovered your secret. What’s been happening there?”
“She keeps insisting that I come over to eat. Says I’m too skinny. I think she also just likes being a grandma,” She replied with a shake of her head. “I have my own place, I just… go over there to keep her company. Don’t… don’t exactly have any friends here. At least not anymore.”
“Mh. She says that about everyone,” Will smiled. “You still have me.”
She looked over at him surprised, but appreciative. She gently scooted closer to him, giving him a side hug. He returned it, kissing the top of her head.
“Mommy? Who this?” Came Lottie’s voice.
They parted, and looked toward her, and her handful of flowers.
“Lottie. This is Will…your daddy,” She introduced her pulling her in close.
She looked at Will with wide eyes, before making grabby hands toward him. Will chuckled as he picked her up, letting her stand on his legs.
“Hi sweetheart,” He said sweetly to her.
She smiled shyly, looking down at her feet for a moment.
“May I hug you?” Her voice softly asked.
Will nodded with a smile, holding his arms out accepting the hug that she gave him. Her grip tightened after a moment and she collapsed against him. He held her in his arms, glancing over at Venus who was watching them fondly.
Besides you had too many boyfriends to mention
And I played my guitar too loud
An hour later, he was returning home alone. Venus took Charlotte home to finish her nap; they had made plans to have dinner together tonight.
He stepped inside the house with a heavy sigh, tossing his keys onto the side table near the door. He made his way back into the kitchen, where the guys and his parents were gathered drinking lemonade and eating cookies.
He snatched a glass from the cabinet and poured out some lemonade. He took a drink from it as his parents excused themselves to the living room.
“What the hell is going on Will?” Benny asked crossing his arms.
“Better question, who was the babe that apparently ran you over?” Santi chimed in looking at the two of them.
Will walked over to the table, taking a seat, waiting for the guys to join him.
“Venus… was the head cheerleader who I dated for several months. I broke up with her…. a week after we finally slept together… Needless to say…. She didn’t take it well,” Will began to explain.
“‘Didn’t take it well.’ Sure. That’s putting it lightly,” Benny rolled his eyes.
“She really ran you over?” Santi asked incredulously.
Will nodded once, wincing at the memory.
“So, yeah. She did that. Then we never really spoke to one another…until about 4 years ago,” Will continued.
“You saw her 4 years ago? Why? What the hell prompted you to talk to the She-Devil?” Benny questioned angrily.
“Hey, enough with the ‘She devil’ stuff alright? It…. Was some time after Jessica called off our engagement. Was at a bar… so was she… we talked,” Will explained vaguely.
“You mean the two of you got shit faced and slept together?” Santi laughed.
Will shrugged somewhat, avoiding eye contact with Benny.
“She had been engaged herself… and… the guy was killed in a hit and run incident… 3 days before their wedding. Apparently, her parents didn’t approve of him because he was an artist, not something fancy like a lawyer. Her parents had no sympathy for her,” Will cleared his throat briefly. “So, yeah. We drank. We slept together….”
“…made a kid…” Frankie coughed quietly.
Benny’s face became one of pure disbelief before he stood up, shaking his head, and leaving the room.
“The little tyke we saw earlier?” Santi clarified.
Will and Frankie both nodded, with Frankie adding with a tease, “Looked just like Will too. Frown and all.”
Will rolled his eyes, a small smile on his face as he thought about how much Charlotte looked like him.
When I took off to Tennessee
I heard that you made fun of me
Approximately 2 hours later, Will had cleaned up and stood in front of Venus’ apartment. He knocked firmly and heard a small set of feet run to the door. He heard the doorknob jiggle a few times before it finally turned, and the door swung open.
He looked down, spotting his mini me, shyly looking around the door.
“Hi,” She quietly said, opening the door a little wider for him.
“Hey sweetie,” Will greeted her with a smile, stepping inside. “Where’s your mom at?”
“In here!” Came Venus’ voice from further in the apartment.
Charlotte grabbed his pants leg, tugging on it slightly. Will squatted down near her, closing and locking the door as he did.
“Mommy’s trying to impress you, but she’s not the best cook,” Charlotte whispered to him.
Will snorted softly, nodding his head, “She wasn’t a good cook when we were younger either. Let me go see if I can save dinner yeah?”
Charlotte giggled at that, and the two of them made their way toward the kitchen.
Will came up beside Venus and asked, “So, what are you making?”
“It… it was supposed to be chicken alfredo but… apparently the kitchen still hates me when I try to cook because nothing turned out right,” She answered biting her lip, looking dejected as she tried turned off the stove.
Will looked at it and noted that she had burned a great deal of it, and not much could be rescued.
“So… Pizza?” Will suggested looking back at her.
She shrugged, grabbing the takeout menus and setting them out. Will watched as she walked down the hallway, mumbling she was going to clean up a bit. Will ordered the food, and then cleaned the pans, tossing out the inedible food. When the pans were clean, he told Charlotte to go clean up as well, while he checked on Venus.
He walked toward her bedroom, noting the light coming from it. He took a step knocking lightly on the door looking around for her. She wasn’t in the bedroom, so he moved over to the ensuite bathroom.
“Venus? You okay?” He quietly asked her.
He didn’t hear a response, so he gently pushed open the door. She was standing at the sink, glaring down at it. He leaned against the counter, his hand gently resting on top of hers.
She glanced at it, her gaze slowly moving up to meet his.
“Sorry for ruining dinner. Guess I should stick to baking, never have a problem there,” She said to him with a small shrug.
“Sweetie… I knew the second we decided to have dinner, that it would probably be takeout. I don’t mind. Maybe, I need to teach you how to cook…or at least see where you keep going wrong,” Will lightly teased her.
She weakly chuckled, “I might take you up on that. Does… does that mean you may stick around?”
“Probably… We’ll talk more later,” Will promised. “Now, let’s go watch a movie while we wait for pizza.”
She nodded, and without letting go of her hand, he walked with her back to the living room. Charlotte was on the floor in front of the movie case, trying to pick out a movie.
She eventually chose Big Hero Six, the three of them settling onto the couch to watch it. Will got up about 30 mins in to grab and pay for the pizza. Once everyone had a slice, and drinks, they resumed. Charlotte fell asleep after a slice and a half, toward the end of the movie.
Will easily picked her up, following Venus to her room. He tucked her into bed, Venus placing a large polka dot elephant in with her.
When they stepped back out, Venus whispered, “That elephant is her favorite, she will not sleep through the night if it’s not with her.”
“Good to know,” Will whispered back, looking down at her fondly.
Venus could feel her face warm at the look Will was giving her, and felt her breath hitch slightly, as Will leaned down. He paused, waiting to see if she objected to him making a move. When he saw none, he continued, pressing his lips lightly to hers.
Venus froze for a moment, before responding, kissing back more firmly. Will’s hand came to cup her cheek, his thumb brushing against it softly. His other arm, wrapped around her waist, pulling her in close. Her hands clenched at the fabric of his shirt, wrinkling it.
They kissed for what felt like hours but was really only minutes. When they parted, they were breathless.
“Think we should have that talk,” Venus murmured her head resting against his chest.
She felt him nod and the two of them walked back into the living room, sitting on the couch.
For a moment it was quiet, as both of them worked up the courage to speak.
“I want the both of you in my life,” Will started eventually.
“You do?” Venus was surprised.
“Yeah… Not going to lie… seeing you 4 years ago… made me realize just how much I regretted what I did in high school…” Will admitted.
“….Why did you break up with me? Because… you said it was for a bet, but… Andrew didn’t recall such a bet when we dated,” Venus said with a raised eyebrow.
“Can’t believe you dated him. Andrew was such a dick…” Will shook his head. “I broke up with you… because… I was terrified. It was our senior year… I had no plans for college, but you did… Felt like I was going to… hold you back or disappoint you.”
Venus stare at him with wide eyes before smacking him on the arm.
When she heard the satisfying ‘ow’ in response, she spoke, “You were never a disappointment… nor did I think you would hold me back. When I heard you left for the army, I was extremely proud of you. Worried as hell, but proud.”
Never imagined I'd make it this far
Then you married into the money girl
“You were worried for me?” Will asked curiously.
“Yeah. I was. Just because we weren’t together didn’t mean I stopped caring about you. I always wanted to ask your mom about you, but I figured she hated me for the whole… broken leg thing,” she said with a wince.
He laughed at that, “No. She told me I had it coming. Was surprised you didn’t try to hit me twice.”
Venus giggled a little at that.
“Can I ask you something? Why the hell are you still here, in this town with your shit parents?” Will asked her seriously.
“Rent agreement is 6 months. I have another month to get through. Don’t know what I’ll do after that,” Venus said simply.
Will thought for a few minutes, before proposing, “There’s… there’s several houses for rent in Castle Rock… in my neighborhood. You… you and Charlotte could come live near me?”
“Think you could handle us being that close to you? You know Lottie will want to come see you a lot. She… She gets attached quickly. Please don’t break her heart,” Venus requested firmly.
“I understand. I have no plans of hurting either of you, but you and I both know you need to get out of this town. It’s not good for you nor her to be around your parents,” Will said concerned, his hand brushing against her cheek.
“I know… You’re right. I only came back because apparently my grandparents left me everything, and my parents… were not happy. Tough shit,” Venus scoffed. “They keep dragging in lawyers to try and dispute the will. It’s been such a pain in the ass.”
“What exactly is there to dispute? Didn’t your grandparents change their will when we graduated high school?” Will questioned.
She nodded, “Though… most people assumed it was them trying to spoil me. In reality, my parents didn’t approve of me going into architecture. So, they put limits on my accounts, thinking that if they made it difficult for me to pay for things that I would suddenly change my major and do something I had no interest in.”
Will rolled his eyes, thinking back to when they had dated, how her parents never approved him. He wasn’t on the football team, with straight A’s or a plan for college. He played lacrosse, made decent grades and the only thing he look forward to was riding his Harley.
“I guess… the next thing we should talk about is us,” Venus said after a moment.
“Yeah… when… when we last saw each other we were both going through some intense shit. However, I don’t regret it. Or the result of it. Maybe we could… try dating again, not... start over necessarily but…” Will said with a sigh.
“Fresh page sort of thing?” Venus supplied biting her lip for a moment.
“Yeah. That sounds good. Um. So, I going to be here for a few days helping my parent’s move…” Will began.
“Yeah. Your mother has roped me into helping pack up the glassware and such. So… we will be seeing each other a lot… How pissed is Benny?” She asked with a small wince.
“He’ll get over it. But I figured you could meet my best friends and we could go out on more relaxed dates for a time?” Will offered reaching over to take her hand in his.
She smiled and nodded enthusiastically at the suggestion.
Ain't it a cruel and funny world?
He took your dreams, and he tore them apart
The next day rolled around, and as he woke up at 5am exactly like the others, he figured he and Benny needed to talk. He motioned for Benny to step outside with him, and with a frown, he does so.
“Look… I know you don’t like her for the shit she did when we were in high school. However, we were both just as bad. I forgave her for that shit years ago and so did she. I’m going to need you to try and tolerate her. Especially when her daughter is also your niece. Please, do not start a fight,” Will begged him.
Benny stared at him for a few minutes, before finally looking away, mumbling something under his breath.
He sighed heavily, turning to look back at Will who stared at him with a raised eyebrow.
“Sure. I’ll…try…I make no promises,” Benny grumbled after a moment.
“I’ll take it. She should be here in a bit, to help mom pack up,” He warned Benny.
“Why does this matter so much to you? I get wanting to be civil for the kid’s sake, but you always said that you didn’t care about her after y’all broke up,” Benny was trying to understand what was going through his brother’s head.
“… I lied. I… I never her told her this but her parents made sure to let me know that I was just going to hold her back and be a disappointment to her. Well. She knows the latter half… she doesn’t know it came from her parents. I let them get into my head and I broke her heart to make it easier,” Will explained as he tucked his hands into pants pockets.
“Shit… You let those freaks into your head? Explains why you were so miserable for so long,” Benny replied, scoffing.
Will did a half shrug as they walked back inside to see Frankie serving breakfast, waffles and bacon. The four of them ate making plans on which rooms they should work on first. After creating a plan of attack, it was almost 7am and there was a quiet knock at the door.
Benny was the one who went and answered it. Will closed his eyes, tensing, expecting raised voices and fists landing.
Benny answered the door, finding Venus standing there with Charlotte in her arms. Venus straightened up as she realized who stood there.
“Morning,” Benny greeted first.
“Mornin’. Lottie. This is Benny, he’s your uncle. He’s a bit silly,” Venus introduced Charlotte to him, softly.
Charlotte looked at him, shyly waving at him.
“Hi,” She said with a small wave.
“Hey. C’mon in. Frankie made waffles if you’re hungry?” Benny offered waving them in.
“Oooh. Waffles? Waffles are your favorite, isn’t that right sweetie?” Venus cooed to her.
Lottie nodded with a small yawn.
Benny escorted them back into the kitchen where Frankie was cleaning up the mess he made after serving breakfast, and Santi & Will were sitting at the table still. Lottie upon seeing Will, wiggled down in her Venus’ arms, wanting to be set down. Venus placed her on the ground, straightening out her clothes for a moment before letting Lottie run over to Will.
When she stood near him, he immediately picked her up and placed her in his lap, and she curled up into his arms.
Frankie quietly called for Venus’ attention, asking her, “Would she like a full waffle or half?”
“Half. She never finishes a full. Thank you,” Venus said appreciating him as he took a waffle and cut it in half.
He cut a slice of bacon in half as well, before coming over to Will with the food and syrup. Venus quietly grabbed from the fridge a small container of fresh mixed fruit, grabbing a small plastic bowl to scoop some into it. She served the fruit alongside the waffles that Lottie was currently devouring.
“Slow down sweetie, the food isnt going anywhere. You are going to make yourself sick eating that fast,” Venus lightly warned her.
Charlotte slowed down after that, mumbling a quiet sorry.
She finished eating about 20 minutes later, and thanked Frankie for the food, stating, “It was really good.”
Frankie smiled brightly and told her, “You are very welcome, honey.”
By then Will’s parents had woken up and were dressed for the day. They made their own plates and were eating as Benny told them the plan.
Will noticed Venus hadn’t made herself anything and was simply leaning against one of the counters in the kitchen, waiting.
Will stood up, placing Charlotte in his seat with a quick kiss on the head.
Will stood next to her, and said lowly, “There’s plenty of food for you to eat as well.”
Venus sighed softly, “I know. Not really hungry. Never am when my parents call.”
“What did they say this time?” Will asked looking at her with slight concern.
“The usual. I’m a disappointment. We didn’t raise you to be like this. If you just did what we asked, things would be easier for the both of you. We want to know our granddaughter and you are depriving us. Blah Blah Blah,” Venus said in a monotoned voice.
“Tch. They had plenty of opportunities to get to know her. Don’t let them ruin your day, simply because they want to be manipulative and guilt trip you,” Will stated matter-of-factly.
Venus nodded, understanding him, but it was still difficult to do. She had heard the same lines long before she left high school. In fact, she started hearing them when she dated Will because he wasn’t on their approved list of suitors. Honestly, that fact alone made her like Will even more, because it meant she didn’t have to put on a façade.
They didn’t get to say much more as his parents finished up, and his mother wandered over to her to start wrapping and packing up the fragile items. It was quiet work as the guys moved out furniture onto a truck, some furniture was going to their new place in Denver, but many others were being donated to other families in town who needed them.
Charlotte helped by dispensing tape for a while before growing bored and running to go supervise the guys. Venus shook her head, chuckling.
“It seems things are going pretty well with you and Will…” Winnie’s teased her. “I notice he didn’t come home until late last night.”
Venus cleared her throat, as she felt her face warm up. After their talk, they had spent a great deal of time… getting reacquainted with one another.
“I have no idea what you are talking about Winnie,” She replied her voice cracking halfway through.
“I haven’t seen him happy in a long time. Or that relaxed. He is usually always tense when he comes home, no matter who is with him or what is going on. I assume he knows what’s going on?” Winnie asked her as they taped up some boxes.
“Yeah. He knows. Told me that uhh… there are some houses up for rent around his neighborhood. I might… see into that,” She informed Winnie, her movements slowing down as she thought about it.
“What’s that big ol’ brain of yours thinking now? I can see you getting lost in your thoughts. Or should I say your insecurities,” Winnie was always able to see right through her.
“Just… worried he’s going to change his mind… about us… about Charlotte. I don’t want to live closer to him just to have my heart broken again,” Venus confessed quietly.
“I understand. You cannot tell him I ever told you this but… when you were teenagers your father said a lot of things to him. Made him feel like this relationship was only going to end in misery. He left because he thought it was best despite the fact that he was miserable without you,” Winnie’s voice dropped as well.
Venus stared at her surprised. Everything made so much more sense now. She never understood why the breakup and even though Will had told her last night that he felt like he would be disappointment, she still didn’t understand where that came from. Now she did. Her father planted seeds of doubt and the both of them suffered because of it.
He never comes home, and you're always alone
And your kids hear you cry down the hall
A few hours had passed, and they had moved furniture out of at least 3 rooms and moved them to their new homes. Will chuckled as he watched Charlotte, or Charlie as Benny has taken to calling her, played with Benny in the front yard.
Benny and Frankie had stripped off their over shirts, Benny in a tank and Frankie in a simple white tee. Will and Santi had taken their shirts off completely, all four of them trying to cool off as they rested.
Venus stepped outside at that point with an armful of water bottles. She passed one out to everyone, checking on Charlotte.
“Sweetie, why don’t you come sit in the shade for a bit,” She said bringing her over to the porch.
Charlotte got onto the porch swing, drinking from her small water bottle, with a sigh. Venus quietly looked her over, noting she looked like she had a bit of sunburn on her shoulders.
Venus looked over at the guys who were sprawled out all over the yard.
“Ya know… there’s this thing called air conditioning inside the house. If ya’ll want to crawl back inside. Drink your water… there’s also cold beer,” She tempted the four of them.
At the mention of cold beer, Benny and Santi popped up immediately, making their way inside. Frankie got up as well, but not as quickly. He chugged down his water, muttering a thanks to Venus as he joined the guys inside. Charlotte after a moment, followed them in as well, wanting to cool off.
Will, who was sitting on the steps, simply patted the spot next to him. Venus joined him with a smile, leaning against him lightly.
“So, your mom doesn’t want the four of you to strain yourselves. She wants you to take it easy tomorrow. I was thinking… maybe… we could go check out those rent houses if you were up for it,” Venus proposed, her chin resting against his bicep as she stared at him.
“Yeah. Yeah, we can do that. Charlotte can come with or she can stay here and be doted on by her grandparents,” Will said with a small chuckle.
“Oh, I’m sure she’ll want to stay here since Grandma Winnie plans to make more cookies tomorrow,” Venus said a smile on her face.
They spoke a little while longer, making plans for tomorrow, when a car pulled up to the house. A very nice and expensive car.
Venus stared at it with narrow eyes as she watched Andrew McIntosh step out.
“What are you doing here Andrew?” She asked him not bothering to stand up.
“Well. Your dear ole mother said you were refusing to answer her calls and wanted to know if you were okay. So, she asked me to come check on you,” Andrew answered looing at the house with disinterest.
“Well. I’m fine as you can see. Now leave. I don’t want to see or speak to you ever again,” Venus growled her body tensing with anger.
Will quietly placed his hand on her shoulder, before standing up.
He squared up in front of Andrew and said, “You’ve done your task, now get off my property.”
Andrew scoffed at him, “Can’t believe you. You were so desperate to get away from her. Kept claiming she was so damn clingy and needy.”
“No. That was you. I vaguely remember knocking you on your ass for it too. Seriously, get off my property before I remind you of all the times I kicked your ass when we were younger,” Will promised him.
Andrew shook his head, but even Venus could see that he was nervous, as he backed away. Andrew walked away and got back into his car, driving away.
Venus stood up as Will turned around, he took a deep breath to calm himself down.
“You really need to block your parents,” Will said after a moment.
“I know. She called once and then sent that shithead to come “check on me.” Most likely he’s going to go back to my mother and tell her I’m here and then I’ll get yet another phone call today. Such fun for me,” Venus said with a roll of her eyes.
Venus stared at him for a moment, before slowly wrapping her arms around his neck. His arms went to her waist, instinctively.
“Thank you for defending my honor. I appreciate it. I regret ever dating him,” She muttered to him.
She stood on her tiptoes to press a kiss to his lips. He kissed her back, deepening the kiss. They kissed for a good minute before parting. The two of them smiled at each other before heading inside, holding hands.
As the guys drank and cooled off, Venus took the opportunity to bring Charlotte to the spare bedroom and apply some soothing lotion to her shoulders before putting her down for a nap. Once she was asleep, which didn’t take long, Venus stepped back out into the living room, and took a seat next to Will as they all talked.
About 30 minutes had passed when her phone began to ring. She glanced at the screen noticing the name was Horrid Woman aka her mother. Will noticed it and motioned for her to answer it. She does so, staring at him curiously. When it connected, he hit the speaker button.
“Young lady. You have so much explaining to do. Why in the world are you with that… that… hoodlum? You are going to send me to an early grave I swear. Enough is enough. It is time for you to come home and stop this nonsense. We’ve allowed you to have your rebellious phase, but it is now time for you to grow up and act like an adult. I swear I don’t know where I went wrong with you,” Her mother’s shrill voice ranted.
“‘That hoodlum?’ Seriously mom? Can you sound more like an 80s sitcom? I am not coming home. I am not going through a phase. Stop calling. Stop sending people to check on me. I don’t want anything to do with you, or dad,” Venus spoke calmly but her rage was stirring.
“Why I never… He is no good for you. All he will do is disappoint you and break your heart again. He’s done it once before,” Her mother continued.
“Yeah. about that… tell me mother… how much shit were you and dad spewing to him when we were together? Hmm? The way I see it, I was happy, and you couldn’t control me anymore. So, you two did what you do best: destroyed everything. Got me back under your thumb for a time. Sadly, for you, I am not a teenager desperate for your love and attention. I’m blocking this number, do not call me ever again,” Venus ended the call, blocking it immediately.
Venus tossed her phone onto the coffee table, standing up and walking down the hallway needing to be alone for a minute.
Benny was the first to react, “How are her parents still that much of a nightmare?”
Will shrugged, standing up as well, searching for her. He eventually found her in the laundry room, small sniffles filling the room. He gently pulled her into his arms, holding her as she cried quietly. He often found her in a similar state when they were younger, hidden away somewhere to cry in private after an argument with her parents. He knew from past experiences, to just be there for her and let her cry.
Alarm clock starts ringin' who could that be singin'
It's me baby, with your wake up call
The rest of the evening went smoother, the guys crashed in the bedroom they had been in last night. Will and Venus crashed on the couch, curled around each other. They fell asleep together, enjoying one another’s company.
Venus woke up, with her back to Will’s chest. She opened her eyes, feeling something nudging her. She looked down to see Lottie trying to join them. She checked the time, noting it was still early morning. She repositioned herself to lie on her back and pulled Lottie onto her chest, tossing the blanket over her.
“Bad dream sweetie?” Venus quietly asked her.
Charlotte nodded once, burying her face into her chest. Will, who woke up slightly, wrapped his arms around the both of them. The 3 of them fell back to sleep for a few more hours.
Winnie woke up a bit early, getting dressed, and making her way downstairs. She stopped short when she spotted the scene that was before her on the couch. She pulled out her phone to take a photo of it. Some time in the night they had shifted to where Will was on his back, Venus tucked under one arm, and Charlotte sprawled out on his chest.
Winnie made her way into the kitchen, finding the boys in the kitchen making breakfast.
“Good morning my boys. Ready to be my packing helpers today?” Winnie asked them, making herself a cup of coffee.
“Yes ma’am,” Santi answered, handing her a plate of food.
“One second, let me go and get my grandbaby. She’s an inch away from rolling off them and onto to the floor,” Winnie said setting her cup down next to the plate.
Winnie made her way over to them, gently waking Charlotte up as she picked her up off of Will’s chest. Charlotte grumbled a moment before rubbing at her eyes, slowly waking up.
“Good morning my sweet. Let’s go get dressed and have breakfast, hmm” Winnie cooed to her taking her to the spare bedroom.
Will woke up when he heard his mother, opening his eyes eventually. He looked down at Venus, gently waking her up too. Venus stretched gently, slowly sitting up. The two of them quietly got up and got ready for the day, parting briefly to go to separate rooms.
Will stepped out, watching with some surprise as Venus and Benny talked at the island, and were actually being civil with one another. Charlotte was with his mom, eating quietly, and his dad was talking to Santi and Frankie over coffee. He took in the moment, sighing softly.
How do like me now? Yeah
How do you like me now?
Eventually, later on that morning, Venus and Will were in his neighborhood meeting with the realtor that had been working with his parents. The realtor was an older woman named Susan, who gave off mom vibes.
Susan had about 4 houses for Venus to look at. The first two were no’s due to the amount of work that they needed to be done for both of them. The third one was small and not in the best location. The fourth one was alright, not too terrible and was down two streets from his.
“This one has 3 beds, 2 baths. Open floor space for the kitchen and living room. And of course, a nice backyard for any little ones,” Susan said as she showed them the house.
Then one appeared to be the winner; an hour later she had signed all of the necessary documents and was given the key to her new home. By the time everything was said and done, it was late in the afternoon. Will had a small idea, and instead of driving out of the neighborhood, drove her to his place.
He parked the car, and led her inside telling her, “Figured you and I could have dinner together. Catch up. Have… have some alone time.”
She smiled brightly at that, nodding her head.
Now that I'm on my way
Do you still think I'm crazy
They spent the evening together, enjoying one another’s presence. That night they slept together, exploring each other’s bodies. Since they were alone, they could be as loud as they wanted to. They fell asleep in each other’s arm, content.
When they woke up, Venus felt oddly on edge. It took her a few minutes to fully realize why she felt strange.
“As much as I like this… can we head back to your parent’s? I’m not used to being away from Charlotte for so long,” Venus requested once she thought about it.
Will nodded, understanding, “I get it. Let’s get dressed and we can head back to the house.”
They do just that, and when they pull up to the house, and make their way up to the door, Will threw his arm around her shoulders, kissing her cheek.
They stepped inside, and immediately were ambushed by a small child who rapidly spoke about her day.
“Honey, you gotta slow down a bit there,” Venus laughed picking her up.
“Uncle Benny let me watch movies until midnight and we ate popcorn and candy. Uncle Santi and Frankie went to bed early, but they helped me build a blanket fort in the living room,” She repeated going slightly slower.
“Oh? Uncle Benny gave you sugar after 10pm? Oh no. That means my little gremlin will appear soon, doesn’t it?” Venus said somewhat joking but also with a hint of dread.
Charlotte had a tendency to have a sugar rush and crash, but she gets extremely grumpy when she is about to crash.
“Well. You are about to experience a potential temper tantrum,” She warned Will as Lottie wanted to go back to Benny, running.
“I’m sure I can handle it, doll. Dealt with these 3 children for the past 10 years. Trust me, nothing she does will compare to them,” Will said softly.
An hour into moving more furniture out, the dreaded crash began to take hold. Charlotte was refusing to do anything that she was asked. She would either ignore the person talking to her or she would stomp away. Venus sighed heavily as she walked after her, after Venus told her to go sit somewhere safe while the guys were lifting heavy furniture.
She finds her on the staircases, arms crossed, frowning, and staring at the floor.
“Lottie. C’mon. Let’s go sit somewhere,” Venus held out her hand for her to take.
Charlotte just shakes her head, pushing her hand away.
“Charlotte,” Venus said more firmly.
“NO!” Came her voice loudly.
Will, who was helping clear out a nearby room, heard the shout. Will walked toward the sound, spotting Venus standing there with her eyes closed as she tried to calm herself down. Venus knew it was because Charlotte was tired, but her refusing to listen to her was frustrating.
“Lottie. Can you come here sweetie?” Will asked squatting down.
Charlotte slowly walked over to him, frown still in place.
“What’s the matter? Hm? Are you tired?” Will questioned, his voice soft.
Lottie, after a moment, nodded.
“Then why don’t we go take a nap hm?” Will proposed, moving to pick her up.
“But I don’t wanna nap!” She said as she squirmed in his grip.
“Then how about we just lay down for a moment?” Will countered as they stepped into her room.
He laid her down, and even joined her on the tiny bed.
“Sweetie. You can’t be yelling at your mom, okay? She was just wanting to keep you safe. We are moving a lot of really heavy stuff. If we didn’t see you or if we lost our grip on something and you were nearby, it would really hurt you, okay?” His voice stayed soft as he spoke to her.
She nodded her head, “I’m sorry daddy.”
Will still wasn’t used to hearing her call him that. Hell, he doubted he ever will. Hearing her call him ‘dad/daddy’ made his heart swell with so much emotion.
“It’s not me you need to say that to,” He tells her.
Lottie yawned loudly, her eyes drifting she shut as she mumbled an ‘okay.’
He waited a few minutes, to make sure she was asleep, before standing up. He tucked her polka dot elephant in with her, before closing the door behind as he stepped out.
He made his way back to Venus who stared at him with wide eyes.
“Magic. You are magic. I’ve… I’ve never been able to get her to go down for a nap that easily when she’s upset,” Venus stated in disbelief.
“Told you. Dealt with grumpier children. And all 3 of them are my brothers,” Will said with a shrug.
A chorus of “hey’s” came from the other room, causing them to laugh.
Standing here today?
I couldn't make you love me
That had been about 5 months ago. In that time, Venus and Charlotte had moved into the new house and Will practically lived there. They had gone on several dates, some with Charlotte and some without. On those dates, Grandma Winnie was more than happy to spoil her “favorite grandchild.”
When Will wasn’t with them, he was still doing his lectures and meets at the VA offices. Or working with Benny during his tournaments. It felt strange to say it, but Will found himself enjoying life more. It didn’t feel like a monotonous routine; it wasn’t boring anymore.
Will was currently on his way back from a tournament that Benny came in second place. Benny was bummed out and had planned to meet up with Santiago to go drinking. Will was tired, having been up since 3 am and wanting nothing more than to just collapse into a bed. He had planned on going to his home but found himself turning onto Venus’ street.
He pulled up to the house, parking with a heavy sigh. He got out of his car, walking up to the door and knocking twice. A minute passed and the door swung opened revealing Venus who was in just a silk nightgown.
“Hey, I heard about the tournament. How’s Benny doing?” She asked as she let him inside.
“Upset but that’s nothing new. He’ll be fine by morning. Is Lottie asleep?” Will questioned noting how quiet the house was despite it being 8pm.
“Grandma Winnie decided she wanted to steal her for the night. Something about a Disney movie marathon? So… It’s just us,” She explained softly, biting her lip.
“Oh… is that so?” Will smirked as he slid his hands around her waist.
He swiftly picked her up and carried her to her room, wanting to take advantage of this time. Her giggles sounded down the hallway before turning into moans as they landed on her bed.
Despite the fact that they’ve been dating almost 5 months, they haven’t been able to do anything too salacious without something interrupting them.
Tonight, apparently would be no different. Will had just tossed off his shirt and was working her nightgown off when a phone rang. Will collapsed with a groan, Venus growling loudly in annoyance.
Venus reached over to grab her phone and answered it with a sigh, “Hello?”
“Hey honey, I am so sorry to interrupt but I wanted you to know that Charlotte is running a fever. I gave her some children’s Tylenol, but she keeps asking for you and Will. He wouldn’t happen to be there with you, would he?” Came Winnie’s worried voice.
“Shit. Yeah. He’s with me. We’ll be over in a little bit,” Venus replied sitting up with Will.
“No need. I am on my way already. She was very adamant that only your chicken noodle soup would help,” Winnie said with a weak laugh.
“Okay. We’ll be here,” Venus said as she hung up. “Lottie has a fever. Your mom is bringing her back.”
“Was she feeling bad when she left?” Will asked as he threw his shirt back on.
“She had said she felt like her nose was stuffed but I figured it was just allergies. She didn’t say anything else was wrong,” Venus answered, concern lacing her features.
“Well, we will make her some soup and go from there. C’mon,” Will nodded, kissing her cheek trying to assure her.
The two of them got up, and made their way into the kitchen, fixing themselves up as they moved. It didn’t take long for a knock to sound on the door. Will, leaving Venus to heat up soup, answered it.
“Hey ma,” He greeted before turning his attention to Lottie in her arms. “Hey lil bug. What’s wrong my sweet girl?”
He gently took her from his mother’s arms and held her close as she sniffled.
“Don’t feel good,” Charlotte whispered, her voice sounding scratchy.
“Ohno. Well. Momma’s making soup and then you are going to bed,” Will told her as he walked into the kitchen.
His mother came in and told Venus when she gave Charlotte medicine and symptoms and such. Once she was done with that, she made her way back home.
Charlotte quietly ate her soup when it was done, coughing once or twice. She finished about 20 minutes later before turning to Venus, holding her arms out to her. Venus, with a soft smile, picked her up and carried her to Lottie’s room, tucking her in softly.
Will was waiting for Venus in her room when she stepped inside.
“You know she’s going to be in here in like 20 minutes, right?” Will joked as the both of them crawled under the covers.
“I know. Habit to just tuck her into her own bed. Plus, she might not, she was practically asleep when I laid her down,” Venus said as she laid down on her side, curling up to Will who was on his back.
Will hummed quietly in response as the two of them laid there in comfortable silence.
15 minutes later, Venus was asleep, and Will was almost there too when he felt a small tug on his side of the blanket. He looked down to see Charlotte quietly staring up at him. He leaned down slightly, picking her up and letting her crawl under the covers. She collapsed onto his chest, one arm firmly holding her polka dot elephant.
She was out in seconds, and as Will wrapped his other arm around her, he looked at the both of them. His beautiful daughter and the woman he was falling back in love with.
He never imagined this. He never thought he would have this: a family to call his own. He loved it far more than he would ever admit.
But I always dreamed about living in your radio
How do you like me now?
It has been a year since Venus re-entered his life with Charlotte. Since then, Will had moved into her house and sold his old place.
The three of them were currently getting ready to go out to dinner with the guys. It didn’t take very long for them to get dressed and on the road.
They arrived at the restaurant, joining the guys with smiles. Frankie had Isabella with him, who was giggling happily when she saw Charlotte. The two of them became fast friends and had play dates often.
Charlotte sat in Will’s lap and gently played with Isabella who was in a highchair. Venus and Will ordered their drinks before looking over the menu.
The guys chatted happily with them, ordering their meals as they talked.
Lottie gently tugged at Venus’s hand, quietly telling her she needed to go potty. Venus took Lottie to the bathroom, swiftly.
“So… when you going to propose to her?” Frankie asked casually as he took a sip of his beer.
“Soon. I got the ring earlier today,” Will said with a small smile.
“Real question is which one of us is going to be the best man?” Benny asked with a smirk.
“She’s gotta say yes, first, dumbass. Then I’ll decide which of you asses will be my best man,” Will laughed.
Charlotte popped up next to him a second later.
“Daddy. Mommy looks mad,” Charlotte tells him, looking over at her.
Will’s head whipped over to look at Venus who had been stopped by Andrew McIntosh, his hand gripping her arm tightly. Will sat Charlotte on Benny’s lap, muttering for her to stay there.
Will strolled over to them, his fists clenching.
“Andrew. Get your hands off of her,” Will commanded him, his rage brewing.
Venus held a hand up to him, gently telling him to stop.
Venus looked at Andrew and said, “Stop bothering me. Stop reporting to my mother. Leave me alone.”
Venus ripped his hand off of her arm. When Andrew tried to reach for her again, Venus threw a punch out at him, a sickening crack sounding as she broke his nose. Andrew groaned as he held his nose, blood oozing from it. Andrew glared at her, moving to go after her, but Will stepped in between them.
“You put your hands on her again and a broken nose will be the least of your concerns,” Will warned him.
Andrew huffed, walking away with a glare.
Will turned to her and checked her over really quickly.
“You okay?” He asked her, his eyes examining her arm.
“Yeah. I’m good. Been wanting to do that since we were 7,” Venus said with a laugh as they walked back over to the table.
Will shook his head, smirking.
Dinner went without any further incident and they made their way back home. Charlotte wanted to watch a movie, so Will put on Beauty and the Beast for her.
As she watched it, Will and Venus stood in the kitchen quietly talking.
“What did he say to you?” Will asked her.
“Same old bullshit. I’ve learned to not care about it anymore. I have you and Lottie. That’s all I want and need,” Venus answered with an eyeroll.
Will looked at her for a moment before reaching into his pocket, pulling out the small velvet box he had hidden in there.
He gently opened it, presenting the ring inside.
“I was planning on doing this more romantically but… I don’t want to wait any longer. I want to call the both of you mine. That is… if you’re up for that,” He began, hesitating.
Venus stared at him in surprise, not expecting this.
She gently pulled the ring out of its box, looking at it for a moment, before slipping it onto her left hand.
“Yeah. I’m up for that. Shall we go tell our daughter?” Venus asked smiling brightly.
“In a moment,” Will muttered pulling her in close, kissing her softly.
If someone had told him a few years ago that he would be proposing to the girl he was in love with from high school, he would’ve thought they were insane. However, he wouldn’t have traded this for the world. He had his daughter and the woman he wanted to spend the rest of his life with.
Tell me, baby
I will preach on