“Of course not, sweetheart.” I stared at her innocent nine-year-old face and felt tongue-tied. I really didn’t know what to say. It wasn’t like I could tell her that there was no way in hell I missed that bitch Monica and that no one would ever call her a bad girl for hating the witch. “Monica loved you in the best way that she could,” I took a hold of her hand. “But she didn’t really know how to love.” Anyone but herself. “She loved you in her own way, but needed to take care of her own issues.”

“I’m glad she left me with you.” Skylar’s eyes were wide and I could tell that she was trying not to cry. “She said that if you didn’t give her money she was going to make things bad for you.”

“Do not worry about what she said, darling. She’s gone from our lives forever.” I pulled her towards me and stroked her hair. “We’re a family now.”

“You, me, Uncle Zane, Aunty Lucky, and the new babies.” She grinned as she pulled away from me. “I can’t wait to have brothers and sisters.”

“They won’t be your siblings.” I laughed at her and pinched her cheek. “They will be your cousins.”

“Oh, okay, yeah. I can’t wait to have cousins.” She laid back in the bed and yawned again. “And then one day, I can have brothers and sisters as well.”

“That would be nice, wouldn’t it?”

“And a mommy.” She closed her eyes and her words were slightly slurred. “I’d like to have a real mommy as well.”

“I know, darling.” Robin’s face flashed in my mind, and I felt a wave of sadness fill my soul. Nothing had been the same after the day I had left Robin’s apartment to rush home without telling her what was going on. She had said that she was willing to move past everything and try again, but we’d only seen each other twice in the last month and both times had been awkward. Every night, I thought about her and making love to her. My body ached to touch her and be touched by her, but we hadn’t slept with each other since that incident. I knew that she was hurt by what happened, but I wasn’t sure what else I could do to get her to open up herself to me, and to give me a new chance. A real new chance. I sighed as I thought about the fact that Skylar was as far away from getting a mommy as I was from figuring out Robin. I was about to stand up and get the book when I realized that Skylar was sleeping. I looked down at her sweet face as she slept and gave her a quick kiss on the cheek before turning the light off and exiting the room.

I walked back down the stairs and into the kitchen to see if I could find something to eat, as I had forgotten to make myself something when Skylar had been acting up.

“That was quick,” Zane looked up from the fridge as I entered the kitchen. “Want a beer?”

“Yeah, thanks.” I nodded. “Skylar fell asleep already. Long day, I guess.”

“I bet.” Zane opened the bottles and handed me one. “Lucky was right, though, you’re doing a great job.”

“Thanks.” I took a chug and sighed. “It’s a lot harder than it looks.” I opened a cupboard and looked for some chips. “Want to share a pizza?” I closed the cupboard door and walked over to the fridge.

“Sure.” Zane grinned. “You call and I’ll go ask Lucky what she wants on her slices.”

“I thought she liked ham and onions?”

“She does,” He rolled his eyes. “But she’s on this thing about not assuming she wants what she wants.”

“What?” I laughed, slightly confused.

“We all know she wants ham and onions on her pizza, but we can’t order that until she says that’s what she wants.” He made a face at me. “I think it’s the pregnancy brains, it’s made her all crazy.”

“Oh,” I said, laughing.

“Don’t get married, bro. It will save you from many gray hairs.”

“You’re not married yet,” I laughed. “You can always walk away and give a better guy a shot.”

“Why do I feel you’re not joking?” He half-smiled at me, and stared at me. “Everything okay with you and Robin?”

“There is no me and Robin.” I looked away. “Go and get Lucky’s permission and I’ll call. You want pepperoni, peppers, onions and extra cheese, right?”

“You got it.” He laughed. “I’ll be right back. Why don’t you give Robin a call and see if she wants to come over.”

“She won’t.”

“Give her a call anyway. Just to see.” He gave me a look. “If you like her, you’ll need to pursue her a bit harder.”

“I’m trying, she’s just getting over what happened.”

“Can you blame her? She let you into her life, into her bed and maybe into her heart and you held the biggest secrets you could from her.”

“It wasn’t because I wasn’t falling for her.” I said defensively. “In fact, she’s the only girl I’ve felt that connected to.”

“Does she know that?” He looked at me with a stern expression.

“I don’t know.” I sighed. “She doesn’t care.”

“Stop being so defeatist, Noah. I know you think you’re the savior of the world and the keeper of all of mankind’s secrets, but you’re just a human like the rest of us. You do make mistakes, and while I know your heart does what you think is best, sometimes you get it wrong.”

“Okay, tell it like it is.” I made a face at Zane. “I know I f**ked up. I just thought?.”

“Stop thinking already. I know what you thought, I’m sure Robin knows what you thought, but sometimes you have to think about what the other people are thinking as well.”

“So I’m a screw-up, huh?”

“Basically.” He laughed punched me in the shoulder. “But I still love you. Just call her and see what happens. I’ll be back after Lucky tells me what I already know.”

“Okay, okay. I’ll call.” I turned away from him and pulled out my phone. I stared at it for a few seconds before pressing the numbers into the phone. I held my breath as the phone rang, and I could feel the disappointment seeping out of my pores as it kept ringing. I was about to hang up, when she answered the phone.

“Hello,” her voice was soft and my heart ached at the sound of it.

“Robin!” I said brightly and too eagerly. I stifled a groan.

“Hey.”

“Hey.” I answered and then there was a moment of silence. “How are you?”

“Fine.”

“I tried calling you a few?.”

“I was busy.” She said abruptly.

“I see.” I bit my lip, unsure of what to say next. “So Zane and I were about to order pizza and I was wondering if you would like to come over and share some with us.”

“Really? It’s 8pm.” I could tell she was feeling feisty by the tone in her voice.

“Yeah, we’re having a late dinner.”

“Am I the dinner?”

“What?” I frowned into the phone.

“You call me out of the blue at 8pm at night and ask if I want to come over for dinner. And I want to know if I’m the dinner. Is this a booty call?”

“Of course it’s?.”

“Of course, if it is, you wouldn’t tell me. I’d be the last one to know, right?”

“Robin, this is not a booty call.” I sighed. “Honestly, I think a booty call would be if I had called you at midnight. And then I wouldn’t ask you to come over for pizza.”

“Oh, you’d ask me to come over for some dick.”

“Uhm,” I tried not to laugh. I knew that she hadn’t intended to be funny, but for reason I couldn’t stop myself from finding her last statement really funny. “If you want to.”

“What?” she screeched, and I knew she was surprised at what I had said. But I was too tired to mess around anymore. Either she liked me or she didn’t. Either way, I wasn’t going to play games.

“If you want to come over for some pizza, then that’s fine. If you want to come over for some dick, preferably my dick, then that is also fine. Big Noah was talking to me the other day and he did tell me that he misses you, so I’m sure you would be very welcome.”

“You’re an asshole.”

“I’ve been told that once or twice.”

“You’re possibly the biggest as**ole I know.” She continued.

“Big Noah just told me that he wouldn’t mind exploring your asshole.” I joked and the phone went silent. “Sorry, Robin. I didn’t mean that. It was a bad joke. I have a problem of joking at the most inappropriate times.”

“Yes, you do.” Robin gasped and then burst out laughing and my heart soared with hope at the sound of her giggles.

“Let me make it up to you. Whatever you want on your pizza is all yours. I’ll even buy you your own.”

“I don’t know.” She hesitated.

“Please.” I begged. “I miss you.”

“I guess.” She sighed. “But I’m not staying over.”

“Fine.” I grinned into the phone. “You don’t have to stay over.”

“Big Noah better not try and beg me.” She laughed. “’Cause I’ll tell him no, too.”

“To his face?”

“You wish.”

“More like he does.” I shifted my legs as I felt big Noah awakening at the possibility of coming out for the night.

“Big Noah and small Noah both wish.” She giggled. “Though, I don’t know which one is in charge of the other.”

“No fair.” I groaned, because at that moment, I wasn’t sure either. “Anyways, I’m going to hang up now, so that you can come over before you change your mind.”

“Scaredy-cat,” she laughed. “I’m not a flake, you know.”

“Uh huh.”

“Okay, I’m just going to go brush my hair and I’ll be over.”

“Don’t forget your toothbrush.”

“What?”

“Nothing.” I said quickly. “See you soon.”

“Wait, Noah.” She almost screamed into the phone.

“Yes.” I held my breath, wondering if she had been playing me, trying to get my hopes up before changing her mind.

“Pepperoni and jalapenos please.”

“Huh?”

“On the pizza.”

“Oh, yeah,” I laughed.

“There are going to be pizzas, right?”

“Of course.” I answered quickly, hoping her mind didn’t start jumping to conclusions.

“Okay, I guess—”

“I gotta go.” I said hurriedly. “See you soon.” And then I hung up. There was no way I was going to give her the option to change her mind. I stood there for a few minutes with a huge grin on my face and happiness in my heart as I realized that she was definitely coming. But that wasn’t the reason for my thudding heart and hopeful mindset. That was because she had sounded like she was open to really giving me another chance to make it up to her. It was crazy that I cared about her so much; we barely knew each other, but I already felt so connected to her. I knew that if I didn’t try to make things right with us, I would lose her. Scratch that, I needed to make things better than right. I needed her to give me a new chance, a fresh chance. Because I had a feeling that if she did that, things would work out for the best.

***

Ding dong. I ran to the door excitedly, only pausing to take a breath before I opened it nonchalantly.

“Hey,” I smiled, expecting to see Robin on the other side of the door.

“Hey, bro. What’s up?” Leonardo’s handsome mug grinned back at me before he reached over and gave me a brotherly hug.

“Leo,” I hugged him back and tried not to show my disappointment. “How are you?”

“I’m good, but I want to hear everything.” He stared at me and laughed. “Look at you all buff, I see you’ve been working out a lot more.”

“Well, you know.” I laughed as I let him in, and we walked to the living room. “There’s not much to do when you’re in hiding.” I looked over at my brother’s best friend and chuckled before becoming serious. “It was hard being away.”

“I bet.” He gave me a look. “We thought you were dead.”

“I know.”

“Zane was devastated.”

“I know.”

“Don’t do it again.” He gave me a look and I nodded, understanding his unspoken words. I had nearly killed my brother inside and out. It had been selfish of me to disappear and not say anything; I still thought my reasons were respectable, but as time went by, I was starting to see that I didn’t have to be a martyr in the situation.

“So Zane got himself a hottie,” Leo joked, breaking the tension in the room.

“I heard that, Leo.” Zane came running down the stairs and into the living room. “Don’t you go getting any thoughts into your head.”

“Scared of a little competition?” Leo joked and Zane laughed.

“Never.”

“If Lucky’s a smart girl, I think we both know how this will end.” Leo winked at Zane and I laughed.

“Yeah, she’ll choose me.” I joined the conversation and Zane gave me a small glare.

“Who’ll choose you?” Lucky had a big bright smile on her face as she walked down the stairs in a simple white dress.


Tags: J.S. Cooper Forever Love Romance
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