Say You Want Me(3)

by Corinne Michaels

“There’s a lot of those.” He chuckles. “Are you from Philly or just passin’ through?”

“No, I live there. I have for almost twenty years now.”

“I spent a week there, interesting place. I’ve been a Southern boy my whole life. I don’t travel much, but my brother got himself a job outside the city, so I helped him move.” My heart starts to fall back into rhythm as he tells me his story. “It’s definitely nothing like Nashville, that’s for sure.”

I giggle. “I’m sure it’s not. We do have Starbucks, though.”

We talk a little more and then the plane lands without incident. Now is when the real shit starts. I’m going to walk off and come face to face with my sister and best friend. I’m going to have to admit what’s wrong and why I’m here. It won’t be my secret.

It will be the truth.

It all begins now.

“Thanks for keeping me calm,” I say to the cute cowboy.

“It’s not every day that I get to save a beautiful lady.”

When the door to the plane opens, he grabs his bag from the overhead bin, and I realize something.

“You know,” I say as he starts to walk off, “you never mentioned your name.”

He smiles, extends his hand, and tips his hat. “My name is Wyatt.”

Of course it is.

I disembark the plane and head to the baggage area. I need Presley to tell me this is going to be okay, because I’m freaking the fuck out.

Each year that passes, my desire for a family dwindles. The men I’ve dated look great on paper, but they end up not being what I need. They’re selfish, narcissistic, and I’ve never gotten close to being in a committed relationship. There was the one guy after college, but we dated for six months before I overheard him saying he was screwing someone else, so I dumped him. After that, it was random dates with casual sex.

I’ve lived all of my thirty-six years content with being the friend who never marries—the eternal bridesmaid and never the bride. It works for me. I like to know I can go where I want, when I want. But now my days of being unhitched to anything are long gone.

All because of one crazy amazing sexfest.

“Ang!” I hear my best friend call out as she rushes toward me. “I’m so sorry I’m late!”

Tears begin to form at the sound of her voice, and the second her arms enclose around me, a sob breaks free. Her touch unleashes the flood of emotions I managed to keep in check through my drive home from the doctor, the mindless packing, and the flight. Now though, I can’t stop them.

“Angie? What’s wrong?” She pulls back and looks in my eyes.

I see the fear in her own gaze, but it’s nothing compared to how I feel right now. There’s no easy way to say this, and I know she probably thinks it’s something worse than a baby. “I’m . . . I’m . . . I’m just so happy to see you!” There’s no good reason why I don’t tell her. I just know that I’m not ready.

She lets out a half laugh. “I’m happy to see you too!” Her all-knowing eyes pierce through me as she studies my face. “Are you sure that’s all? Not that I don’t love seeing you overcome with emotion at being near me, but you look like something’s wrong. What did the doctor say?”

“It’s not cancer.”

Her shoulders slump in relief. “Thank God. I was really worried when you wouldn’t say anything other than you needed to visit. Did he say it’s anything serious?”

She probably drove Zach crazy since she was clearly upset, but I didn’t want to tell her like that. I still don’t want to tell her. I want her support, that’s why I came, but I don’t know if I should tell Wyatt first.

“The doctor said I needed a break. Stress and all that.” I wave my hand dismissively.

Her lips purse, and she puts her hand on her hip. “I’m not buying it.”

“Whatever. I don’t think you’re one to give me shit about secrets.” I lift my brow. She knows damn well what I mean. Presley has lived most of her life clouded by things she suffered through alone. When my brother killed himself, there were only four people who knew the cause of his death. She struggled so she could keep her boys protected. By doing that, she had no one to help ease her burden—until Zach.

Even then, she wasn’t forthcoming about things. The secrets she held damn near destroyed her life.

It’s a low blow, but I’m hoping it buys me some time to garner the courage to tell her that her other best friend, and future brother-in-law, knocked me up.

I’m a fucking mess.

Pres grabs my bag in silence.

“I’m sorry,” I say, feeling like shit. “I didn’t mean that. I’m being a bitch.”

“I know. And I’ll be the first to remind you that secrets cause damage.” She grips my arm and looks at me with concern. “I love you, and I’m worried. I know something is going on. Something that you want to tell me, otherwise, you wouldn’t be here. You can sell your stress story to someone who hasn’t known you for almost twenty years. Try again.”

Damn her. “Give me a few hours.”

“How about we grab some Starbucks before we head to Bell Buckle?”

“It’s like you know me or something.” I smile. This is the best part of our friendship, we know when to let something drop and share a deep affection for coffee.

We grab our drinks. I subtly get decaf, which is pretty much blasphemous, and we start the trip to Bell Buckle. We chat and she tells me all about the wedding plans. It’s amazing how much this girl got done in a few months. I shouldn’t be surprised, considering she did the same thing with the bakery. It was a concept one day, and then the next thing I knew, we were signing a lease. Presley is smart, hardworking, and has the biggest heart of anyone I know.

When we enter the town limits, my muscles tense. We pass through, and I wonder when I’ll see Wyatt. It’s going to happen, but I’m so not ready to deal with him.

I have to figure out my plan so when I do see him, I have answers. Do I want to do this completely on my own? My parents and brother live in Florida (where I will stay far away from), Presley lives here in Tennessee, and the baby’s father . . . I have no one in Media other than the people who work for me. Having a baby is hard enough for married couples, but being a single mom with no support system—it will be damn near impossible.