“Family meeting!” I yelled from the bottom of the stairs, then, without pause, hit a few buttons on the phone screen.
“This better be good,” a voice grumbled in my ear after several rings.
“Family meeting,” I declared again.
He started to groan, but I hung up.
Family meetings were not negotiable. Not ever. Especially when I had something good I wanted to say.
Rimmel shuffled out of the kitchen, drowning in my hoodie and a pair of oversized sweats. Her hair looked like a chicken took up residence in the strands, and her nose was all scrunched up, accentuating the tired look in her eyes.
“Roman Anderson!” she chided, sassy as ever. “What in the world do you think you’re doing yelling up the stairs like that at six a.m.?”
Running a hand through my damp hair, I gave her a crooked smile. “Family meeting, baby.”
She snorted. “There can’t possibly be anything that important at this hour. If you wake up the boys with all that yelling…” she warned. In her arms, our daughter stirred. Rim glanced down then back at me accusingly. “Look what you did!”
I rolled my eyes. “London was already awake,” I pointed out, gazing directly at the bottle Rim was holding.
Rimmel looked down at our daughter, her eyes softening. My heart clutched a little, tightness squeezing my chest. London might be our youngest child, but seeing Rim standing in my house, drowning in sweats and holding my daughter, was something that would always affect me.
They were perfect standing there. My girls.
“Your daddy is a crazy man,” Rimmel told London. “Calling silly meetings at the crack of dawn.”
London made a sound and reached up for the black-framed glasses perched on Rim’s face.
“Nothing I do is silly! Don’t be telling my girl disparaging things about me,” I grumped, going forward to gently take her out of Rimmel’s arms. After taking the bottle, I glanced down. “Don’t listen to her, Strawberry. Mommy’s just grouchy without her coffee.”
London smelled like Rimmel, and I cuddled her closer into my chest. She reached for the bottle and pulled it to her mouth, her wide blue eyes staring at me like I was the only thing she saw in the world.
Smiling, I brushed at the soft dark hair covering her head. She was a miniature version of my wife, only with blue eyes.
The only one of our children to actually favor Rim in looks over me.
“Go get some coffee, baby. I got this.”
When Rimmel didn’t move, I glanced up. She was staring at me and London.
Lifting an eyebrow, I said, “What?”
That kissable mouth of hers pulled into a soft smile. “I just like watching you with her.”
“You make good kids, smalls.”
“You aren’t so bad yourself, Mr. Anderson.”
Heavy footfalls on the stairs made Rim lift her head.
“I’m gonna kick you in the ass, Rome,” Braeden grumped, scrubbing a hand over his face as he yawned.
“Rise and shine,” I drawled, then leaned over to kiss Rimmel on the forehead. “Get your coffee,” I instructed softly.
“It better already be made,” B bickered, brushing past.
Rimmel smiled and turned to go into the kitchen, but her feet got caught in the damn too-large sweatpants and she pitched sideways.
I lunged forward, clutching our daughter in one hand and reaching out with the other. Braeden moved a little quicker and scooped her up before she could hit the floor.
“Girl, either eat a steak or get some pants that fit,” he said, placing her on her feet.
“I thought you were half asleep.” She smacked his chest and started toward the kitchen. She fell so much it didn’t even faze her anymore.
I glanced down at London. “You can look like Mommy all you want, but how about taking on my reflexes, huh?”
“I ain’t so tired I can’t catch my sister before she busts her ass.” B scolded Rim as they continued into the kitchen. “We got shit to do today. A hospital visit ain’t on the list.”
“You know what this meeting is about?” The accusation in her voice made me wince, and I hot-footed it into the living room. I’d let him deal with that.