GLORY CHAPTER 24

She should be reviewing the numbers on the paper in front of her, instead of watching Sonny, but how could she resist. He was shirtless, tanned, muscled and playing with their kids. How could you beat that winning combination? She couldn't; besides she was all caught up with her work she missed while she was gone, after numerous all-nighters once the girls went to sleep. She really didn't have any pressing work until Enchantment launched their new mascara in eight weeks.

Sonny, her thoughts drifted back to him. This time around their love felt stronger, fiercer, if that was possible. It seemed like the love she felt for him before was child's play compared to her feelings now. She wasn't sure why that was. Maybe because they had four healthy, beautiful, wonderful children together. Or maybe because the valleys and mountains they had gone through while apart had made them stronger individuals, making them stronger together. Maybe it was a bit of both. Or maybe it was because they were doing things differently this time. Unlike their other courtships, there had not been lots of dates, fancy dinners, walks along the docks, expensive gifts or sexy lingerie.

They didn't have time for that now. With two jobs and four kids life was full with kid appropriate movies, dinners out were at Kelly's, Chuck E. Cheese, or the all time favorite Mc D's, much to Sonny's disgust, walks along the docks with three curious toddlers and a preschooler became dangerous. A diamond and ruby bracelet just couldn't compete with a cheerios bracelet from one of the kids. And sexy lingerie and children didn't mix at all. Brenda giggled. Sonny had barely seen her bra, much less her panties.

At one time, she would have been nervous and second guessing what it meant that they hadn't made love yet, although they had said those three little words and she had been back for a few months. But today's Brenda was okay with the making out and heavy petting sessions. She was more than okay, she actually found them incredibly sweet, even if they left her incredibly horny and frustrated. This was the first relationship she had where she was in love, but they hadn't made love. Really this was the first relationship she had ever had with a man and they hadn't had sex period, starting with Jagger.

What a novel experience this was. But this celibate relationship helped to quiet those pesky voices that occasionally still reared their ugly heads that told her men only loved her for her body. Sonny was disproving those voices on a daily basis. They would talk for hours about this and that, like they never had before.

She was no longer bothered when Jason came over and Sonny left the room and would mysteriously reappear hours later. She no longer questioned what was going on, that was Sonny's business. She had enough on her plate as a working mom, a daughter, sister, niece, cousin, friend, and keeping her man happy. Knowing that Sonny was keeping their family safe was enough this time. And she knew he would keep his mess away from home. She needed to enjoy the free time he did have so on that note it was time to join her family.

"Mama, mama," Glory, Morgan, and Robbie chanted, watching Brenda stroll down the beach towards them.

Michael whistled.

"What was that for?" Sonny questioned his eldest.

"Uncle Louie said, you should whistle whenever you see a beautiful woman," he answered honestly.

Suppressing her grin, Brenda thanked Michael. "Well in that case, thank you sir."

"You're welcome, Mom," Michael said softly and quickly before turning back to his sand castle.

Jumping into the water, Brenda landed next to Sonny.

Sonny whistled softly at seeing his beautiful girlfriend in her modest two piece.

"You're too kind, but I'm talking to Louie as soon as we get back. If he wasn't such a good and loving uncle, I would ban him from ever seeing our kids."

Sonny laughed.

"Did Michael call me- -"

"Mom," he finished, "yes." He watched the look of amazement, love, and wonderment spread across her face.

"Mom, I can't believe it."

"Believe it. You're the only real mother he's ever had. And by leaving him and Morgan, which I know was hard for you, you did something Carly never did, truly acknowledge me as Michael's father. When you were gone, Michael admitted that he was always secretly waiting for the day that I was no longer his father and he'd get a new one- -"

"How does Michael know about Tony, Jason- -"

"People have big mouths and kids have even bigger ears," he answered.

Fury coursed through her veins at the carelessness of people. Poor Michael. The doubt and fear her baby lived with.

"As pissed as I was and partly still am for you leaving, you gave me the greatest form of validation as the boys' father that I've ever received, next to the judge awarding me custody."

Brenda leaned over and laid one on him. She loved these moments when Sonny would open up and share with her. Her younger self would have killed for moments like these.

"They deserve a sense of security," Sonny said casually as they sat in the water and let the waves crash over them. "Look up."

She titled her head and saw a banner flying though the air which read, "Brenda Martin will you marry us?"

She looked at Sonny and saw him on one knee and the confirmation in his eyes. Laughing, she asked, "The kids' idea?"

He nodded.

"Yes, yes, a thousand times yes."

He pulled his future wife into his lap and kissed her passionately. "I love you, Brenda."

"I love you, Michael."

Suddenly they were surrounded by the kids, kissing, laughing, and hugging.

"Come on, Mom, Dad said he would treat us to a fancy dinner if you said yes," Michael informed her, tugging on her had.

"Okay, let's clean- -"

"No, you go on up to the house. The kids and I will gather their toys," Sonny commanded.

"I'm liking this marriage thing already," she giggled, kissing him lightly and taking off.