Say You Want Me(9)

by Corinne Michaels

“It’ll work out,” Presley says with conviction. “I know it.”

“Ugh!” I drop my head in my hands. “Everything is so fucked up!”

“Or maybe everything is finally falling into place.”

Since I’m not really sure about the rules for pregnancy and coffee, I grab a cup of tea, head out to the wrap-around porch, and plop myself in one of the Adirondack chairs. With everyone still asleep, the house is quiet, and the pre-dawn morning is peaceful. I take a sip of my drink, wince, and make a mental note to ask my doctor about my coffee allowance. There’s no telling what kind of awful bitch I’ll become if I can’t have it, but I don’t want to do anything to hurt the baby in the meantime.

I sit, staring out at the rolling hills before me. I hold the cup in my hand as the steam rises, and then I spot the garden figure I gave Presley when she bought the house in Media. Two girls sit on a swing, holding onto each other as if they’re all the other one needs. After college, I wanted to be sure she’d always have me close (not that I was ever really far to begin with), but seeing she brought me here to her new life, I can’t help the smile.

Presley’s life hasn’t been easy the last few years thanks to my brother. She had everything. A husband, kids, a new business, and happiness—then she lost it all. It fell apart, no, it imploded. Losing my brother by suicide was awful enough, but then I lost her in my everyday life and it was devastating. But she didn’t fall apart.

She didn’t quit.

She rose up from the ashes, and while it wasn’t an easy road, she did it with grace. I know some think otherwise, but I’ve known her most of my life. I’ve seen her weak. I’ve seen her distraught, and I’ve seen her be brave for her kids.

That’s the one thing that I can honestly say about her, she always puts those boys first. They’re her priority, and her choices may not be what I would do, but they come from love. I need to find that part of myself.

I need to be brave in order to take on this new life and be the woman who cares for her child. And who knows? Maybe this will be the best thing to ever happen. I didn’t plan this, but I’m still going to be someone’s mommy. The baby needs me, and I know once it’s here, I’ll love the little nugget.

“This isn’t going to be easy,” I say as I rub my stomach. “I don’t know how to do this. So, just a forewarning, I might suck as a mom. I figure you should probably know I don’t really have that trait. Your Aunt Presley is the one who does that. I’m probably going to be a mess for a while, but I promise to try really hard to be better.” I whisper the words to the tiny child growing inside me.

And I will try.

Because that’s what moms do.

I rock back and forth in the chair, looking out at the lake. “And so it begins.”

“What begins?” A deep voice rumbles, causing me to jump.

My teacup falls forward, clanking against the ground as I let out a loud squeal. “Shit!” I glare as Wyatt stomps up the steps. “Wyatt! You scared the crap out of me.”

“I was hoping you were awake,” he says as he leans down and grabs the cup. His eyes lock on mine, and I have to remember to breathe. He looks unbelievably attractive in his faded Tennessee hat and dark blue jeans, which cling to his legs and outline his perfect ass. The gray Hennington Horse Farm T-shirt, which is clearly adored and fits him perfectly, allows me to peruse every muscle in his chest. Everything about him causes my mouth to water. He’s sexy without even trying. Nothing he’s wearing is to impress anyone. He’s just impressive. “You okay?” he asks after I still haven’t spoken.

“I’m fine. Trying to get my heart to calm.” And my libido to ebb.

He sits on the chair next to mine. “I didn’t mean to scare you. I figured you heard my truck.”

“I guess I was lost in my thoughts.”

“Have you thought about this situation?” His voice has a tinge of hesitancy.

“That’s all I’ve thought about, Wyatt.”

His hand lifts and pushes a strand of hair behind my ear. His finger brushes across my cheek and I actually sigh aloud. Like a freaking idiot. Wyatt smiles at the sound and cups my cheek. “Me too. I can’t stop thinking about it or what you’re going to do. We need to talk. We need to figure this out.”

“I’m trying.”

Wyatt drops his hand. “Again, it’s not just you. It’s my baby you’re carryin’. I want to help you.”

He’s right. It is his baby, and I already know what he wants. He’s not once asked me what I want. “I won’t keep him or her from you. I’m not like that.”

“I know.” His lips press together. “Tell me what you’re thinkin’. Maybe I can help ease your mind.”

I wish it were that simple. There’s nothing that I’m going to say that will ease his mind. If anything . . . I’m going to lose my own. “What am I thinking? You really want to know?”

He leans back, tossing one ankle across his knee and painting an easy smile on his face. “I’m all ears, honey.”

“Okay, you asked for it.” I make sure the warning is clear in my tone. “I’m freaking out. We’re having a baby, and we’re not even together. My choices are: be alone in Philadelphia and raise this kid or move here—neither choice is appealing to me. I feel as if someone has taken away my life and then I feel like a selfish bitch for thinking that way,” I ramble the words as fast as I think them. “I hate this. I hate that I’m having a baby with a man who doesn’t even like me, let alone love me. This should be a joyful time in my life, and it’s not. I feel robbed. I didn’t get to pee on a stick and hide it from my husband so I could do some grand gesture to tell him we were having a baby.” Tears start to fall as I let it all out, all the while Wyatt holds my hand. “I never really thought much about having a kid, but at least when I did, I figured it would be with my husband. Instead, we get this! How is that fair? It’s not. I wish this never happened. I wish I never went home with you. I wish I could go back in time and take it all back.”

When I say the last word I instantly regret it.

That was mean, and it’s not true.

I don’t regret being with him. I had every intention of doing it again when I boarded that plane two months ago. And I want this baby. Sure, it’s not the way I wanted it to happen, but there’s a human being growing inside me, and I’m going to love him or her, I’m already starting to feel better about it. I need a little more time.