Say You Want Me(8)


by Corinne Michaels

She looks up as she puts the knife on the counter. “I’m not using anything. Look,” her features soften, “you’re up there all alone. Your parents are gone. Your brothers are gone. I’m gone. I want to know my niece or nephew. There’s so much here that would make it easier for you, Ang. You’d have an entire support system. I think you’re being stubborn.”

“I am not!” Well, I kind of am. I know she’s partially right, but it feels like I’m losing everything. “I can’t move here. I can’t give up everything because Wyatt lives here and I live there. What about the bakery? What about my life, Pres? I feel like I’m screwed either way.”

“You have Erin at the bakery. She’s more than capable of handling things for a bit. It was the whole damn reason you brought her on,” Presley throws back at me. “And as for your life? Babe, it’s going to be all about the baby. You’ll see. It’s the most rewarding job you’ll ever have.”

I groan. “I’m not ready for all this. I didn’t want kids. I mean, I did in theory, but the more years that passed, the more okay I was with not having them. Now I’m having a baby with a guy who lives like four states away. It sucks. It’s not ideal at all.”

She doesn’t get it. I don’t expect her to. I don’t know what the right thing to do is. All I know is that I’m truly pregnant and that things are going to change drastically after the little nugget gets here.

Presley pauses and then her face brightens. “What if you stayed until the baby came? Or maybe until the wedding and then see how you feel?”

“I need a drink,” I grumble. “But I can’t have one! I already hate being pregnant.”

She chuckles and goes back to cooking. “You have no idea, my friend.”

“You can shut up now.”

“Whatever you want.” Presley grins and busies herself.

We sit in comfortable silence. I give myself a few minutes to calm down and start to make a list of pros and cons. I can’t even believe I’m even considering this. I love Bell Buckle—in theory. It’s peaceful, full of heritage and beautiful homes. There’s so much history that I don’t even have to look to find it. It’s just not my home and I can find plenty of history in Philly. Here, I can’t find a quick Chinese food place or grab a cheesesteak from Geno’s. I’ll have to cook. My coming here also means losing the bakery. It means dropping the one thing that I’ve really done on my own.

God, this sucks. Already all I can think about is food.

The pros are the people, though. Presley, Cayden, Logan, her family, Zach, Wyatt, and his family. They’ll be here to help with the baby, and they’ve already accepted me into the family. It’s a pretty big pro. I won’t have that in Philly. The Chinese food guy won’t come watch the baby so I can shower. I shudder. That would be gross and creepy. Plus, it doesn’t matter if I have all the cheesesteaks in the world, they won’t give me a shoulder to cry on. I also can’t ignore the fact that when I’m in Philly, I miss Presley and the boys. I would be lying if I didn’t wish we were living in the same town again.

“Pres,” I whisper. “I’m scared.”

When I drag my gaze away from the countertop I was staring at, she’s already leaning against the edge watching me. I know that look. I’ve seen it many times. She’s trying to find a way to talk me off the proverbial ledge. “I know you are. I would be, too. This is a lot for you and I can’t give you the answers, but I can tell you that you’re loved. You would have a lot of people who would help you.”

“Where would I even live?”

Her mouth opens and closes before she lets out a heavy sigh. “You know you can live here, right?”

“I couldn’t.” I shake my head.

She’s getting married in six months. The last thing I want to do is disrupt her new life with Zach. There’s not a shadow of a doubt that they’d welcome me in. But I have to think of not only them, but myself as well. I would kill her. I love her, but living with her isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I like being able to kick off my shoes and eat ice cream from the carton. Presley wants the shoes in a neat row by the door and believes there’s a reason for a bowl. We’re different. I’m more free spirited. She’s more organized.

I need to be on my own.

“Why not?” I give her a look that says everything I thought and she giggles. She knows that if I don’t kill her first, she will off me. “Then the only other option is Wyatt.”

I sigh. Damn him. “You know he was all alpha stupid with saying we will get married?”

“I’m not surprised. It’s not being alpha—it’s being Southern.”

“Meaning?”

“Meaning he wants to take care of you. He’s a good man, Ang. He will always take care of his responsibilities. He was raised that way, and his mama raised him right. He may act like a child most of the time, but he’ll do right by you and this baby.”

“That’s the problem. I don’t want to be his charity case. Just because we had sex, it doesn’t mean he needs to give up everything. He can still be a father to our child without me having to move here. I would never keep the baby from him.”

She nods. “I don’t think anyone is disputing that, but do you remember when the boys were little?”

“Yeah?” I don’t know where she’s going with this.

“A lot happens when they’re little. The first smile. The first time they start to crawl or walk. It’s a lot of little things that only happen for the first time—once.”

I don’t disagree with her. “That said, I’m not certain that means I should uproot my life.”

“Don’t you think it would be nice to have help with an infant? He’ll be a good dad, and he wants to be there.”

“I know he’ll be a good dad, Pres. I’ve seen how he is with Cayden and Logan.”

I believe that deep down in my soul. Wyatt made it clear that he’ll be around for the baby. He wants to be involved, and I’ll never begrudge him his own child, but I’m not marrying the man. He’s lost his damn mind if he thinks I’m going to because he thinks it’s “the right thing to do.” Whenever I finally decide to marry someone, which will probably be never, it’s going to be for the right reasons.