He is quiet for a while, as he absently draws small circles on my stomach with his finger. I continue to stroke his hair and rub his neck. When his hand falls away, I’m shocked to hear a light snore. I stop moving, thinking I’ve imagined it, but a few seconds later, another follows. He’s fallen asleep curled against me like a small child. My legs are beginning to go numb and my bladder is reminding me that I rarely go more than an hour now without having to pee. I don’t want to disturb him, though. Regardless of how he tries to gloss over it, I know he hasn’t been sleeping that well, so I close my eyes and will away my discomfort.
Obviously, I managed to drift off because when I jerk awake sometime later, the room is completely dark and I’m alone in the bed. I get to my feet as quickly as possible and waddle-run to the bathroom, taking care of my most pressing need. After washing up, I walk down the hallway and catch the unmistakable smell of pizza. When I reach the kitchen, Lucian is just opening a box from Leo’s. He looks up as I walk into the room, giving me a shy smile. “Hey, baby. I was just coming to wake you. Are you hungry?”
Not bothering with social niceties, I step forward and lift a steaming piece of supreme pizza out of the box and to my mouth. My eyes roll back in my head as flavors explode on my tongue. “Oh, my God,” I moan around my full mouth. “I’d marry you and have your baby for this alone, Lucian Quinn,” I fervently declare.
He laughs softly and hands me a napkin. “That sounds like a good deal. Throw in a few blowjobs and I’ll keep you in pizza forever.” When I begin laughing, then choking at his words, he reaches over to thump me on the back. “Slow down, honey, I’d rather not tell my aunt and the hospital what caused you to choke on your food.”
I’m licking my lips then my fingers when a wave of affection comes over me. I can only imagine what I look like when I give him a sappy smile and say, “I love you.”
He quirks a brow in a way that is uniquely his and doesn’t even pause as he kisses the fingers I’ve just licked. “I love you too, baby.” We both look down to see one piece of pizza remaining. I give him a questioning look and he nods indulgently. “Yes, even enough to give you the last slice.”
In a perfect world, I would have insisted that he take it, but instead, I grab it before he can change his mind. “Thanks, babe. I promise that after I’ve had the baby, I’ll let you eat again.”
I look around the kitchen for the special fruit pizza Leo usually sends for me. I’m ready to panic when Lucian points to the refrigerator. “It’s in there. I know better than to withhold sugar from my woman. Now finish eating and I’ll rub your feet before bed.”
I run back to where he’s sitting on the barstool and give him a smacking kiss on the lips. “You’re a rock star.”
“Fuckin-A,” he retorts as he pops me on the ass before rubbing it to soothe the sting. “Just so you know…I’ll be collecting that promised blowjob before bed.” Never one to make idle threats, he got exactly what he wanted…
Aidan has been officially on leave for almost a month. He generally checks in via email weekly so I’m surprised to see his name on my cell phone display. My stomach drops when he doesn’t bother with pleasantries.
“Luc, something’s happened here today. I need to see you.”
It’s after six in the evening and I’m walking out of the office. Sam is waiting at the curb in the Mercedes. I acknowledge him with a nod when I slide into the backseat. “What’s going on? Has something happened to Cassie?” I keep my mind carefully blank. I want to offer my best friend the support he so obviously needs.
“She’s fine…but this does concern her. Listen, I’m on the road now. I’ll be in the city shortly. Are you going to be home?”
I don’t pursue the subject, not wanting to upset him while he’s driving. “Yes, come straight there.” He ends the call abruptly and I sit staring at the screen before putting it away. “There’s a problem with Cassie,” I say to Sam, knowing he can sense my tension.
“Any ideas as to what?” he asks while continuing toward my apartment.
“None. Aidan’s rattled though.”
“Maybe she’s taken a turn for the worse,” Sam suggests.
“He said that she’s fine, but this is something to do with her. Hell, she’s probably living with him by now.”
I notice Sam’s scowl in the rearview mirror and comprehend he’s no more excited by that thought than I am. It’s Aidan’s life and I can’t ask him to walk away from her, but at the same time, I need to keep her where she belongs—in the past. I’m not looking forward to more discussions concerning her, although I’m curious and more than a bit uneasy about what has him so agitated. It seems my life follows a predictable pattern, though. One month of peace and then some big upheaval.
“I don’t really like him being up there at her mercy,” Sam finally says. “She always knew how to get to him and I can’t believe it’s changed any.”
“I know.” I sigh. “But it’s his decision. We can only try to help him pick up the pieces again if something happens. He’s done that for me more than once so I certainly owe him that.”
We arrive at the apartment and I open my door to get out of the car. “Can you let me know later that Aidan is okay?” Sam asks.