12 Months of Braeden – August

Takes place after the series

“Here’s luck ‘n a fair wind t’ ye, me love.”

“It’s too early for that.”

The groan coming from the woman wrapped up in the sheet, her head buried under a pillow, was a warning, yet Braeden pressed on.

“It’s ne’er too early t’ say good mornin’.”

“We are not doing this again, Braeden. I told you last year, no more pirate talk.”

“Oh, but me beauty, pirate natter be necessary.”

“It’s not even September. Why are you doing this to me?” 

Andi groaned again, then tried to roll away from him, but Braeden wouldn’t let her get away. He jumped onto the bed, straddling her, then yanked the pillow off her head. His wife glared up at him, and even with a look that likely meant she wanted to kill him on his face, she was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. Every time he looked at her, his heart skipped a beat. 

Braeden knew he was the luckiest man in the world that Andi had given him a second chance after their bumpy beginning. He wouldn’t have blamed her if she rebuffed his attempts to rekindle their romance. They’d hurt each other so much, sometimes under the pretense of doing the right thing, sometimes out of spite, but in the end, they loved each other enough that the bad parts of their past didn’t matter.

“I love you.”

Her brows furrowed. “I love you, too, you big weirdo. Even when you wake me up too early with ridiculous holiday nonsense.”

“Come on, now, you know you love my ridiculousness,” Braeden laughed. “Almost as much as you love my…”

“DADDY!!! MOMMY!!! We’re hungry.”

The bedroom door flew open, revealing their twin daughters, Ruby and Penny. They wore matching pajamas, their hair smashed and ratty against their head in nearly the same place. Aside from Andi, there was no one else in the world that he loved as much as he loved his two little girls. They were the perfect blend of him and his wife, with their own personalities emerging more and more every day. Braeden had no doubt that he and Andi were going to be in big trouble when it came to their girls.

“We’re coming,” Braeden told the girls before turning back to his wife. “This conversation isn’t over.”

She laughed. “As long as you don’t talk like a pirate again, we can continue this conversation whenever you want.”

Braeden definitely liked the sound of that, but it wasn’t enough. If he couldn’t celebrate International Pirate month, what would he do with himself? It meant he had to go back to the drawing board and figure out what holiday he would observe for August, and then he had to make plans quickly.

While Andi fed the girls, Braeden pulled up one of his favorite websites and started scrolling through the holidays. As he made his way through the site, he wondered why he always tended to limit himself to one holiday instead of celebrating a lot of them. He could have so much more fun if he went for a holiday a day instead of just one a month.

“This is the best idea I’ve ever had,” he murmured to himself as he made a note of the days in August he wanted to observe

“What was that?” Andi asked.

“Oh, nothing. Just scrolling through Facebook.”

He couldn’t tell her the truth. That would ruin the big surprise, one that he knew Andi would be excited to have unveiled slowly. His wife was a big fan of surprises, especially when he was the one surprising her.

Three days later, he’d filled their house with the delicious smell of fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies.

“Why is it so freaking hot in here?” Andi asked as she walked through the living room into their kitchen, their daughters chattering behind her.

“I smell cookies. Are there cookies, Daddy?”

“Daddy, did you make cookies? Mommy, can we have cookies even though it’s almost dinner time?”

“Braeden,” Andi sighed. “What did you do?”

“Duh, it’s National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day, so of course, I made chocolate chip cookies.”

“But it’s almost ninety degrees outside, and now the inside of our house is hotter than outside.”

Braeden winced at the edge in his wife’s voice. Had he thought about the temperature outside? No. Had he noticed that his balls were literally sweating? Yes. But it hadn’t bothered him. Much, anyway.

The cookies were the important part. He’d bake cookies in a sauna if it meant he could see the beautiful smiles his daughters had on their faces. The frown on Andi’s face, now that was a different story. He’d messed up, and now he had to make up for it.

“I honestly didn’t think about the heat, babe. I’m sorry. Who wants to go out for dinner to mommy’s favorite restaurant?”


His two little girls jumped up and down, their hands raised in the air as they yelled “me” over and over, while Andi stared at him, her expression unreadable. After what felt like forever, she smiled at him, and he felt the breath he didn’t realize he was holding leave his body in a loud whoosh.

A couple of days later, the smile was gone, and Braeden was in trouble again.

“Why? Or maybe I should ask, what the hell were you thinking?”


“It’s one of those stupid fucking holidays again, isn’t it?”


 “You let my brother think we were having another baby. Why would you do that? He stormed into the office today and announced it to everyone while lecturing me about being stupid enough to have more kids with you.”

Braeden opened his mouth to defend himself but thought better of it. He may have dodged a bullet with the last two goof-ups, but he didn’t know if he’d come out of this one unscathed. It didn’t matter that he hadn’t said a damn thing about having another kid to his brother-in-law. That wasn’t the point at the moment, and he knew it.

His gut had told him National Gossip Day wasn’t the best holiday to try to observe. He was trying to turn over a new leaf regarding talking about other people’s lives. That’s how he ended up talking to the guys about himself and Andi at the gym that morning, instead of the juicy gossip he’d heard about the new event planner at Arrow and the guy she was seeing from one of the local sports teams.

Of course, he didn’t think Andi would care much about that little detail either. Braeden could almost see the steam pouring from her ears as she glared at him. 

“You really need to stop it with these stupid holidays, Braeden. I mean it. You create so much chaos when your ‘celebrating.’ You drive everyone crazy.”

Andi’s use of air quotes around celebrating hurt, but he wouldn’t admit it. He didn’t just celebrate the holidays; he embraced them. He became them.

Not that Andi cared about that at all. She’d never been that big on regular holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving because her parents sucked. Braeden had done his best to help her find her holiday spirit, but it was like pulling teeth with her, even after the kids were born. He didn’t understand how someone could be so whatever about the holidays.

“I need you to promise me, Braeden. Tell me you’re going to stop with the holidays.”

“Do you know what you’re asking of me? That’s like removing a limb.”

“Give me a break,” Andi’s eye roll did nothing to lessen his hurt feelings. “It’s not that big of a deal. I’m not asking you to give up the big ones, just these random ones you found on the internet.”

“But I already have a night at the bowling alley scheduled for National Bowling Day.”

His wife gifted him with another eye roll, but it wasn’t nearly as dramatic as before. He could tell she was going to give him this last holiday. It was only the right thing to do. Plus, she didn’t want to crush his big heart. At least not this time. If he pulled anything else like what he did for gossip day, he fully expected she would cause him bodily harm.

“Fine. But that’s it. No more. You’ll just have to find another way to be the super extra Braeden that we all know and most of us love and not just tolerate. And you need to fix this shit with my brother. I do not need lectures from him for the rest of my life. We aren’t having any more kids.”

Braeden laughed. “I know that. Your brother needs to chill out. All I said was that we were thinking about adding to our family, which is one hundred percent true. We’ve been talking about getting a d-o-g for months now.”

Andi scrubbed a hand over her face and let out an adorable groan. “You two are going to be the death of me. I just know it.”

“Awww, come on now, you know you love us. Your life would be far too dull without us in it.”

“I think the word you’re looking for is peaceful.”

Braeden smiled at his wife as he laughed. “Whatever you say, my darling. Now, what should our team name be for bowling night? I was thinking The WINchesters where win is in all caps.”

“We don’t…”

“Then I was thinking the shirts could be that army green that Dean wears all the time.”

“Why not go with a flannel like Sam?”

“Ooooh, now that’s a bold choice. I’ve never seen a bowling shirt made out of flannel. I like where you’re going with this.”

“Oh, brother,” Andi muttered as she turned to walk away from him.

“Wait, we really need to get this nailed down so I can special order the shirts and get them here in time,” he called after her retreating form. 

He heard her groan again as she stomped her way up the stairs. Oh, his wife was fiery. That was one of the many things he loved about her. That she put up with every weird part of his personality was another. He would do exactly what she wanted and stop openly celebrating the random little holidays he found on the internet while his inner holiday spirit feasted on the weird and unusual. She never said that wasn’t an option, and he never planned on having her find out.

What Andi didn’t know wouldn’t hurt her…or him.