“I’m sorry if I came between you guys.” I’m starting to think I’m the reason why she might be here crying. Something happened. I’m also guessing Calder has been making her stay away because he didn’t want to share the secret that wasn’t his to tell.
“No, it was time. I had to come clean to my family. I knew how they would react, but it still hurt. I wanted to tell Calder I finally did it. He was the first person I thought of. It’s really just been him and me for the past seven years.”
I reach out and grab her hand. “Well, now you’re about to be an aunt,” I tell her. She smiles. I know Calder doesn’t have any family besides the baby and me, but I realize she is his family, too. I’ve been wanting that from him. For him to tell me more about his past, and now I’m seeing it and I’m going to embrace it.
“He told me you were sweet.” She laughs. “In fact, he couldn’t shut up about you.”
“When?” I can’t help but ask.
“I knew something was up after New Year’s. He’d been gloomy since he lost his parents, throwing himself into work nonstop, but I could tell there was something else. Being around him was like being around a freaking bear. One night we were playing video games, and he drank a little much, and I seized the opportunity to get him to spill the beans finally.”
I scoot a little closer. “What did he say?” I ask, making her laugh.
She looks over at the door and I follow her line of sight to see Calder standing in the door. “Tell her.”
“That he would do anything to get you back. That you were his one, like his dad always told him his mom was his one.”
“You said that?”
Calder just nods.
“Said he wanted to give you time. That he’d fucked up. Shocker.” Sidney laughs at her own joke. “That he tried to reach out, but you wouldn’t respond, so he figured you needed more time. Then he kind of snapped.”
“You didn’t reach out.” I shake my head. No phone calls or anything.
“I emailed you every day,” he says, a confused look crossing his face.
“You didn’t get them?” He steps into the room. “You didn’t get them,” he repeats, but this time it’s a statement.
“The university got a whole new email system over Christmas break after the semester ended. Everyone got new email addresses. The old one remained active, but I never checked or used it.” All this time I’d thought wrong. That he’d only come back because he knew I was pregnant, somehow.
“I thought you came because you found out I was pregnant. That's why you wanted to get married. Wait.” I run back through my mind. “You asked me to marry you before you actually knew, didn’t you? Oh, my God.”
Calder walks over to the bed and drops to his knees in front of me.
“I’m going to leave, you guys. I’ll call later, and we’ll do dinner. I can tell you lots of funny stories,” Sidney says as she exits the room, leaving us alone. Calder cups my face.
“I came for you. The baby was a bonus.”
“What made you finally come? I swear, I never saw your emails.”
“I snapped. I couldn’t take it anymore. I’d been in darkness so long, and that day I came up onto the balcony you lit my life back up. I tried to stay away at first. But my mind kept buzzing with the idea of us being together. Having a family again. I wanted it bad. Then I fucked it up. Sent you running. I couldn't get you to respond, and your dad said you were graduating, and I knew I had to go. Had to see you.” He looks down, rubbing my baby bump and then back at me. “I should feel bad, but I went there with the intention of blackmailing you. I thought you were ignoring me. I just thought if I could get my hands on you, I could make you fall in love with me. I just had to get you back first, and I was willing to do just about anything to do that. Anything. Knew I’d already fucked up a ton. That you probably hated me. I had nothing to lose and everything to gain.”
His forehead drops to mine when he’s done with his confession.
“You didn’t have to make me fall in love with you. I’ve been in love with you from that first kiss. I love you.”
His mouth takes mine in a hard kiss. His tongue pushes in and both his hands dive into my hair. When he pulls away, we’re both breathless.
“You know that’s the first time you’ve said that without me making you?”
“You’ve been keeping it from me?”
“You’ve never said it.”