Each morning when my alarm went off at five-thirty, the first thing I did was reach for my birth control and the glass of water I kept by my bed. Even when I slept in one of the guys’ beds, I still went to my room to take my pill first thing.

It was so stupid to let them cum inside me. I knew pulling out wasn’t completely effective, but it was still better than letting them cum inside me. I should have asked them to pull out or to wear condoms. But it was so exhilarating to let them. Each time, I’d wanted it, craved it. And each time they came inside me, it felt better than the last.

Rather than eating dinner, Hank promised to run me to the nearest pharmacy.

The car was nearly out of gas, so we stopped at the gas station first. I felt guilty that I’d snapped at when he was only trying to console me. I’d have to apologize to him later, but now? Now I needed to talk to someone who was not part of the whole pregnancy. Someone who could provide perspective.

While I waited for Hank to fill the tank, I went into the gas station bathroom and locked the door. Thankfully, it wasn’t gross like most gas station bathrooms.

Pulling my phone from my pocket, I Face-Time my sister. She answered within seconds, her smiling face filling the screen.

“Hey, sis!” she said, cheerfully. “I was starting to think you forgot all about your baby sister!” She took in my tear-stained face and frowned. “Jada, what’s wrong?”

Everything fell from my mouth in a tumble, the pregnancy, the guys, our relationship together.

“Oh, wow,” she said. “You’re dealing with a lot. Can I ask you a question?”

I nodded. “Do you love them?”

I didn’t even have to think about it and nodded again.

“Okay, good. If they love you too, then they’re going to help you get through this no matter what you decide to do, okay?”

But I didn’t know if they did love me. Sure, they all liked me well enough, but that wasn’t the same as loving me.

Sadie and I hung up after a few minutes. She begged me to stay in touch and let her know what the test said.

I walked back out to the car. Hank had pulled into one of the parking spots after filling the tank. “I’m sorry for snapping at you,” I said.

“I know,” he said. “You’re dealing with a lot, and I know you don’t mean it.”

“It still isn’t a reason to treat you badly,” I insisted.

He didn’t argue with that, though he did say, “If you are pregnant, no one will blame you. You were on the pill. We should have been smart enough to wear condoms.”

Hank went inside the pharmacy with me. I was incredibly grateful for that and wasn’t sure if I would have been able to do it on my own.

I was quiet on the drive home, the entire time berating myself. I graduated magna cum laude. I should have been smarter than this, to allow myself to carelessly get knocked up.

Still, I didn’t yet know for sure.

When we got back to the ranch, I wordlessly locked myself in the bathroom. This was something that I needed to do myself. Though well-intentioned, I didn’t need the guys all hovering around me as we waited.

After peeing on the stick, I waited in agony for time to pass.

Ben

The four of us waited anxiously for Jada. Ace was pacing back and forth, Seki leaned against the living room wall, and Hank and I sat on the living room.

My mind was reeling. Am I about to become a father? I wondered to myself.

A baby would change everything. Would the four of us all be involved in the child’s life? Would all of us even want to be? I didn’t think Hank, Seki, or Ace were the kind of guys who would abandon a woman they knocked up, but babies did weird things to some guys.

Maybe Jada would demand a DNA test and only want the biological father in the baby’s life. Maybe she’d want to give the baby up for adoption or have an abortion.

There were just so many possibilities and they were all overwhelming.

When the bathroom door open, I shot to my feet. Next to me, Hank did too. Ace stopped pacing and Seki took a few steps toward her.

Jada took a deep breath and held the pregnancy test in the air. “It’s positive,” she said. “I took the test twice.”

We were all stunned, too stunned to speak.

“I’ll understand if you want me to leave the ranch. I’ll understand,” she said. “I can go back to Las Vegas.”

“No!” the four of us shouted at the same time.

“Jada,” Seki said, walking the rest of the way to her and wrapping his arms around her. “Of course we want you to stay.”

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