Drew texted me and told me what was going on, that Travis asked for a favor, and I’m happy he considered Courtney and looped Drew in on it. She’s the best of the best and can help him with anything he needs.

“I’m so happy you’re home and that you’re finally going to be my roommate,” she says as she parks outside of her place. We had talked about living together so many different times in college, but after being accepted into the common dorms, it was a lot easier to move my stuff across campus and not have to worry about paying rent.

“So, I got a job,” Courtney says, wheeling my suitcase across the pavement to her apartment.


“Well, I kind of told Travis I was going to work for him.” She bursts out laughing, and I can’t help but laugh, too.

“Seriously? What did he say?” God, I miss him.

“He looked at me like I had lost my damn mind.”

I know that look well.

“Have you?” We walk inside, and I see my boxes waiting for me in the living room.

“Yeah, probably a little bit. But my dad said no more freeloading. Either I get a job or move back to Texas and work on the ranch. How cliché is that?” She wrinkles her nose and makes a face. “And we both know I wouldn’t survive one day of having dirt under my fingernails or sweating.” She cringes.

“Oh, sweet baby Jesus.”

“I know, right? I’m not going back to Texas. No way. Not with your hot brother showing up and bringing me lunch. And with me becoming an aunt and all.”

I shake my head at her. “Well, if Travis goes for it, you totally should. He’s dealt with enough shit from the corporate world, that I’m sure he’ll treat his employees like gold. But honestly Court, it’s marketing. You hated marketing.”

She laughs. “Because it was boring! You have to admit it was boring.”

“You have a point.” I sit on the couch and prop up my swollen feet. “Oh, my God!”

She stands up and walks toward me. “What, are you okay?”

I look up at her, shocked. “Yeah. I just felt the baby kick for the first time.”

“Baby Traviola loves me!” She sits next to me and places her hand on my stomach, and the baby kicks again. It’s one of the weirdest sensations and makes this impending motherhood thing feel very real all of a sudden.

“Have you told anyone else yet?” She searches my face.

I shake my head. “Not yet. I’m not even sure what to say.”

“Honestly, I’m sure you won’t have to say anything.” She gives me a smile then glances down at my tummy.

“Oh, shut it. I’m so nervous, Court. I’m really scared to tell Drew. I’m worried to tell Travis and my parents. I feel lost. What if Drew hates me? What if Travis writes me off? What if my parents make me feel guilty?”

She gives me a hug. “What-ifs don’t mean shit. And no matter what, it’s going to be okay. No one’s reactions will change the fact that you’re going to have a sweet little baby. Everyone will have to accept it. You’re going to be the best mom on the planet, and I’m going to be the world’s number one aunt. And you know if you need anything, I’m here. Okay? Always.”

I nod, and she gives me a tight hug. Sometimes Courtney is completely ridiculous, but I love the fact that she’s always on my team, rooting for me, no matter what.

On a whim, I pick up my phone and text Drew because the time for him to know is now. I can’t hide this any longer.

V: I’m home. Still up for ice cream?

D: Yeah, give me an hour?

V: Yep!

My nerves kick into overdrive.

I glance at Courtney. “Want to drive me to Sugars, so I can tell Drew the big news?”

She lifts both of her eyebrows. “Are you sure? At an ice cream shop?”

“He won’t make a scene in a public place.” I laugh, but it’s true.

“You’re evil.”

Time passes quickly. Courtney reluctantly drops me off, and while I wait, I order two scoops of strawberry ice cream and sit in a secluded booth in the corner of the room. I get lost in my phone, and only look up when I see Drew walking toward me with a scoop of chocolate. I was so into this new book that I didn’t even see him come in or even order. As soon as he sees me, he smiles.

“Vi, you look good! The extra winter weight suits you,” he says, grabbing my spoon and helping himself to my ice cream that I’ve barely touched.

I furrow my brows.

“You too, ass.” I glare at him. He stops shoving the ice cream in his mouth, and I laugh. For the next thirty minutes, Drew catches me up on work and our parents. He talks about Travis and the business and even mentions Gryff. One person he doesn’t dare talk about is Mia, because he knows better, and considering my hormones, I might lose my shit over strawberry ice cream. It seems as if all of their lives have gone on without me, and I feel like I’ve missed so much. My heart is racing, and I try to find the right place to tell him the news. After he complains about the cold, I just blurt it out.

Tags: Kennedy Fox The Checkmate Duet Erotic
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