Home > The Addendum (The Contract #3)

The Addendum (The Contract #3)
Author: Melanie Moreland








Twilight was closing in all around as I stood on the deck, gazing over the water. The last echoes of daylight caught the movement of the ocean, the never-ending kaleidoscope of colors swirling under the fading light.

I sipped my scotch, appreciating the smooth, rich flavor as it slipped down my throat. I contemplated my life as I watched daylight bleed into night—Katy’s favorite time of day. It always seemed so odd that someone so filled with light should prefer the inkiness of dark around her, but that was my Katy. Zigging when I expected her to zag. Surprising me at every turn—the way she had our entire relationship.

Behind me, from somewhere in the house, I could hear Katy’s muffled voice speaking, the sound of her laughter bringing a smile to my face. No doubt she was talking to Gracie or Heather about our upcoming trip to Toronto. As usual, my wife was excited to see our girls, and I had to admit, I matched her feelings. No matter the time, their age, or how close together the visits were, I missed them—all my children. Only Matthew resided close, living here in Victoria. The twins, Penny and Gavin, were both married, Gavin living in Calgary with his wife Amanda, and Penny with her husband Philip in England. Matthew was still single, married to his career of being a doctor. Katy fretted over him all the time, but I had a feeling he would find his other half when he was ready. He had always done things to his own beat. Shyer than the rest of my brood, single-minded in all his endeavors, he was smart, determined, and driven.

I took another sip, feeling a swell of gratitude. My family was all doing well. I was about to retire, and we were headed to see our daughters and our adopted family in Ontario. After years of living together, Heather and Reed had finally decided to get married. Low-key and simple, the ceremony would take place at the winery where most of the kids had gotten married.

The slide of the patio door made me look over my shoulder. My wife stepped onto the deck, a glass of wine in hand. Even after all these years, my breath caught in my throat as I looked at her. How I had ever thought her to be plain was a mystery. I had been blind. Katy was beautiful. The years had been kind to her, softening the edges of her youth and giving her the glow of maturity. Silver and gray streaks were woven in with her dark tresses, a few tiny laugh lines scattered around her brilliant blue eyes that had never faded made her look mischievous. She was still small and shapely, fitting under my arm perfectly. She smiled at me, the love she personified filling her gaze as she approached.

I held out my hand, pulling her close and dipping my head to kiss her.

“Hey, sweetheart.”

“I thought I heard you come in.”

“You were on the phone. I grabbed a drink and came out to see the sunset.”

She smiled and took a sip of her wine. “I was talking to Heather. She is anxious for us to get there.”

“Everything okay?”

“Yes. She just misses us.”

I nuzzled her head. “You, especially. I’m sure she wants her mom around as the wedding gets closer.”

Katy chuckled. “They aren’t even calling it a wedding, Richard. A nuptial party, I think is how Reed phrased it.”

“Whatever. They’re finally getting married.” I sighed.

“You are so old-fashioned.” She patted my chest. “Who knew under the veneer of the modern, arrogant, forward-thinking man I married, you would one day fret over a piece of paper.”

“It’s not a piece of paper,” I argued. “It’s a commitment.”

She laughed. “No one could ever doubt Reed’s commitment to our daughter. It’s been Heather holding up the works. She said she never cared about getting married.”

“What do you think changed?” I asked. “Do you think she’s pregnant?”

“No, I asked her. She said Reed asked—again—and this time, it felt right, so she said yes.” She looked up at me, her eyes dancing. “I think she shocked him, but he didn’t waste any time. He started organizing it before she could change her mind.”

“Well, whatever changed her mind, I’m glad.”

She reached up, loosening my tie. “Everything go okay in the office today?”

“Yep. I brought home some boxes of stuff, signed some papers, spoke with HR, all the usual.”

“Are you anxious?”

“About retiring?”

She nodded, looking concerned.

I winked at her. “I think you are. Worried that I’ll be underfoot all the time, Katy? Follow you around, showing you better ways of doing things? Insisting on coming everywhere with you? I’m looking forward to being with you twenty-four seven,” I added with a smirk.

I laughed at her horrified expression.

“I’m not anxious at all. I’ll still consult if needed. I plan on golfing. Sailing. Spending lots of time with my wife. Extended trips to Ontario to see my girls. Visiting with Gavin and Amanda. Finally having enough time to go to England to see Penny and Philip and tour around. Meet my new grandchild.” I tugged off my tie and loosened the collar of my shirt, rubbing the back of my neck. “I guess I understand Heather. I wasn’t ready until now. I’ve always loved my job, but I want to concentrate on us. Our family. Watch our grandkids grow. Spoil you.”

“I can get on board with that.”

I threw back my head in amusement. “I’ve been trying to spoil you for over thirty years, Katy. I doubt you’ll let me now.”

“You might be surprised.”

With a smile, I slipped my hand into my pocket and held out a box. “How about we start right now?”

“Richard,” she admonished quietly. “What is that?”

“My retirement gift to you.”

“I’m supposed to get you a gift.”

“You know I like to do things my way.” I pressed the box into her hand. “Take it.”

She set down her wine and opened the box. Inside, the slim, stylish watch glimmered against the dark lining. My wife still loved to wear an old-fashioned timepiece. She was one of the rare people who didn’t always keep her cell phone with her and preferred to glance at her wrist to see the time. She lifted out the watch, admiring the delicate white-gold bracelet. The small diamonds that surrounded the squared face of the wristwatch twinkled under the patio lights that had come on once the sun began to set. I smiled as she turned it over, knowing the words on the back would make her emotional.

Katy -

Now it’s our time




She looked up, tears in her eyes. “I love it,” she murmured, her voice thick.

I helped her put it on, showing her the safety chain and double latch. She admired it on her wrist. I knew she would love it. Elegant and beautiful—just like her.

She leaned up on her toes, cupping my face and pressing her mouth to mine. I caught her around the waist, pulling her close and kissing her back. She tasted of wine and sweetness—and Katy. She hummed against my mouth, sliding her hands up my shoulders and wrapping her arms around my neck.

Even after all this time, all the years spent together, kissing her was one of my favorite things. She had brought me to life with her kisses and gentle touches years ago, and I still felt reborn with her in my arms.

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