A weight felt like it was lifted from Amanda's chest. "Oh thank God," she sighed. "I thought you'd be mad!"
Ben squeezed her hand. "No way. We made this baby together and we'll see it through together."
Amanda frowned. "I don't want you to feel obligated..." she started to argue.
"Shhh..." Ben comforted her. "I do! I love you, Amanda. I can't wait to raise a baby with you!"
Amanda looked up. "Where?" she asked.
"Beeeeeeeeeen," Amanda squealed. "You tricked me!"
"I love you, Ben!" she said happily, all her dreams coming true.
"Ben?" Katherine asked quietly. "Can I come in?"
"Yeah," Ben said as he resumed pacing.
"Ben! You're not even dressed yet!" Katherine said, shocked. "Everyone's waiting!"
"I know Katherine. I just... I don't know if I'm ready for this... for marriage... for a baby!"
Katherine patted his shoulder. "Of course you are! It's what you've always dreamed up."
Ben smiled ruefully. "But I always imagined it would be you..."
Katherine smiled sadly. "I know. But that ship has sailed. We didn't want it enough to work for it. But, what you do have right in front of you is a wonderful lady who is having your child and is madly in love with you. So I guess you need to decide if you're madly in love with her, too," Katherine said kindly. "We'll see you outside."
His heart melted when Amanda looked up at him and smiled, rubbing a hand unconsiously over her pregnant belly.
He loved Amanda enough to work for it!
"I know, Dad. I know," Ben replied.
Amanda reached out and squeezed Ben's hand. "At least she had the wedding. It makes me happy that she was here for that."
Ben touched his wife's belly. "I wish she would've gotten to meet our baby. The due date is so close... if only..."
Amanda laughed. "Remind me not to let him have sleepovers at your house!" she joked. "Isn't that right, Deacon? Isn't that right?" she cooed to her son.
Jasmine flicked a glance at her Dad. "Yeah, why?"
Dean shrugged. "Just wondering." Tracing the condensation on his glass, he paused. "So, you think he'll take care of you? ... After I'm gone?"
Jasmine set her glass down and whirled on her father. "Don't talk like that Daddy! You're not going anywhere!"
Dean hugged Jasmine. "Ah, sweetheart, you know I won't be alive forever. Your Mom's passing away made me realize it might be sooner rather than later for me. I just want to know that you have someone in your life that will treat you the way you deserve to be treated."
"Lincoln will, Dad!" she reassured him. "I love him!" But, Jasmine had her doubts. Lincoln was all about fun. Who could blame him after his parents had raised him to party. Sometimes she worried that he'd decide he could do better one day.
Dean noticed her hesitation and patted her back. "If you need anything, you come back home. You always have a home here," he said, squeezing her tight.
"Dad, yeah! I promise! She knows if she needs me I'll be there for her. Why? Is something wrong?"
"No. No. I just don't want her to feel like she has to settle." He'd never say it out loud, but he thought his baby girl could do much better than Lincoln! That boy was all flash - no substance!