Charlie has my full attention as she sits beside me on my couch. Her head is down, so her eyes are hidden from me. Completely freaking out about what she has to say, I try to appear relaxed when she starts to talk.
“To explain this in detail will be hard for me. I’ve not had to tell anyone or talk about it for over a year. And depending on your reaction, I’m… willing to try to tell you.” Lifting her head, her eyes snap up to mine. “The brunt of what I have to say though is the fact that I am a single mother.” For a few moments, the room is silent because it takes me a second to wrap my head around what Charlie just said.
“What?” I ask.
Her eyes sparkle with something fierce. “I have a baby boy, but the father is not in the picture. At all.”
A million questions race through my head. Who is the father? Where is he? Why isn’t he in the picture? How long has she had the baby by herself? What does he look like? How old is the baby? I absolutely love kids; my sister has twins and I spoil them as much as she allows me to. I contemplate how fitting it is that what we both have to talk about revolves around children. Choosing one of my many questions, I break the silence with a small smile. “How old is he?”
Charlie’s eyes widen. “What?”
“How old is your baby, Charlie?”
“A-about eight months now.”
“Is he as beautiful as you?” My words are obviously the wrong thing to say because her eyes start to water. “What is it, baby? What did I say?” Heart beating faster than ever, I reach for her hand and grasp it in mine.
“Nothing.” She sniffles and smiles. “He is beautiful.”
“Thomas seems nice.”
His words force me out of my fantasy. “Oh. Uh, yeah. He is.”
Caleb glances at me. “I thought I had the wrong place when he answered the door.” “I’m sorry,” I say, fiddling with my phone. “I was going to answer it. But then Thomas saw me and offered to get it.”
“He saw you? What were you doing?”
Oh shit. I’ve already said too much. “Um… nothing.”
“Nicholas, if you and he have something going on, now’s the time to tell me.” Caleb’s stern voice has me snapping my head around. The man’s grinding his teeth, his jaw hard and sharp as he glares through the windshield.
“We don’t,” I say quickly. “I was… freaking out a little. You know, feeling nervous, and he saw me having a shot of Scotch.”
Caleb blinks, his anger morphing into concern. “Why were you nervous? What happened?”
As my cheeks heat up, I look away. “Just for tonight. I was… nervous for tonight.” The car swerves and stops at the side of the road. I turn to Caleb, confused. “What—?” Big hands seize my face in a firm grip. There’s a raw intensity in Caleb’s eyes right before he crashes our lips together. I moan in surprised delight, my body awakening as Caleb kisses me passionately. Arousal has never hit me this fast before. I whimper and hold on to his forearms as his teeth nibble my lip. As quickly as it begins, it ends. Caleb pecks me once more and then sits back.
He flips on the indicator and then manoeuvres the car into the traffic. A moment later, he grins. “Sorry about that.”
“You don’t seem sorry.” I smirk, catching my breath. “And you shouldn’t be. I mean, you don’t need to be.”
“Good, because I’m not.”
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