Maggie's Marriage (The Cloverleaf Series Book 2)(11)

By: Gloria Herrmann


Maggie felt so much better now that she was back in Birch Valley. The support and love of her family was doing her a world of good. This was why she so desperately wanted to move back.



***



Maggie snorted as she tried to catch her breath; she had been laughing uncontrollably for the last hour. God, she needed this.

Rachel had showed up earlier in the evening, unexpectedly, with a couple of pizzas and an arm full of board games and movies. They had played a couple games with Melanie until she couldn’t keep her eyes open, then the adults sat on the ground around Liam’s coffee table, sharing stories about growing up, mainly about the shenanigans that the O’Brien children got into. Maggie didn’t recall the last time she had laughed so hard, it felt great.

“I’d better head home,” Rachel announced as she slowly crawled up off the floor.

Maggie noticed Liam watch Rachel rise, and disappointment seemed to flood him as his eyes grew a shade darker, when moments earlier they were light and shining with happiness and something else. Maggie and Liam each rose off the ground, with Liam starting to help gather the games and movies.

“Thanks so much for coming over. I had a lot of fun,” Maggie said as she rubbed Rachel’s arm.

“I’m glad, I did too. I don’t think I have ever laughed so hard in my life. You O’Brien kids are crazy,” Rachel replied, a lingering giggle escaping her mouth.

Liam held a stack of board games. “Rachel, are you coming over to my folks’ place tomorrow?”

Rachel bit her bottom lip. She eyed Liam, and said, “I’m not sure, your family may have a lot to discuss.”

“I’m sure it will be fine,” Liam said, clearly trying to convince her. Maggie could see he wanted to spend every moment he could with Rachel. She remembered feeling that way about Michael.

“Rachel, it’s totally okay, you can come over if you want.” Maggie attempted to reassure the other woman, but she could tell Rachel was still undecided.

“We’ll see, I have some paperwork I need to do and stuff. I’ll call you, Liam. Tell Melanie goodbye for me, just in case I can’t make it over.” Rachel reached out to Maggie and squeezed her softly.

“I will. She really likes you, Rachel. Thanks for all the treats you brought over, she had a blast.”

“No problem, it was my pleasure. Well, I’d better get going,” Rachel answered as she slipped her jacket on.

“I’ll walk you out,” Liam said, still holding the armload of games.



***



Rachel



Once outside, the chilly air slapped Liam and Rachel, stinging their cheeks. Their breath hung heavy around them. Rachel started her car to let it warm up, she popped her trunk, and Liam placed the huge stack of games inside. The days had grown warmer than when she first arrived in Birch Valley, but the evenings were still cold.

“Hey, thanks for coming over. I appreciate you bringing a smile to Maggie’s face.” Liam hovered over Rachel as she stood next to her silver BMW.

She looked up at Liam, wonder filling her eyes as Liam bent down and kissed her. Rachel still wasn’t quite used to it. Every time their lips touched, an electrical current surged through every inch of her. How did she get so lucky?

They had only been dating officially for a couple weeks since the O’Brien family had invited Rachel to go on their annual moose watching camping trip. It was there, in the majestic pine-filled mountains, near a partially iced over lake, that she finally let her guard down and accepted her feelings for Liam, feelings she had been fighting for a couple months. She didn’t want to fall in love; that was not the reason she had moved over fifteen hundred miles away from the shimmering ocean community of Newport Beach, California. Rachel was cautious in their new relationship, especially considering she was his boss at Birch Valley Elementary. No one seemed to mind, except one teacher who plainly had the hots for Liam. Everyone else appeared happy that Liam and Rachel had finally ended their nonsense of denying their feelings for each other, especially the school secretary, Karen. Rachel was still a little uneasy about being open with their relationship, she wanted to make sure the school board would renew her contract as principal for following school year. Some state testing results would help decide that.

Liam pulled Rachel close to him, wrapping her tightly in his arms, trying to warm her.

“I’m not sure about tomorrow. I really feel like that this is something you guys need to work out with Maggie as a family,” Rachel said firmly.

“Rachel, my family adores you and won’t mind if you’re there. If they had their way we would already be married.” Liam eyed her playfully, teasing her with a kiss on her forehead.