“Okay, you’re not.”
“I’m a fucking catch!”
“Sure you are.”
“You only wish that you could get someone like me,” Darrin snapped, not really caring that the other man had moved on.
“Every single second of the day,” Patrick murmured dryly, clearly mocking him, but Darrin decided to pretend that he hadn’t heard his sarcastic tone.
“That’s right. You do,” he said firmly, shifting his attention away from the poor bastard who just couldn’t seem to accept that Darrin was off limits to him and glanced around the lobby until he found his wife and the other lying bastard that he was going to have to deal with.
“Why are you sitting on my lap?” Aidan asked even as he wrapped his arm loosely around her waist and helped himself to one of her chips.
“Because I needed to talk to you,” she explained, handing him the small bag of chips so that she could take a sip of her root beer.
“And you couldn’t do that from the comfort of your own chair?” he asked as he stole another chip.
“No,” she simply said as she reached in the bag and grabbed a chip.
“And why’s that?” he asked, waiting patiently for her to move her hand away so that he could grab another chip.
“Because your mother’s apparently playing matchmaker and this seemed like the most effective way to get her to give us a little privacy,” she announced with a careless shrug as she grabbed another chip.
Aidan went completely still as he shot a frantic look towards his mother, back to her and then over to Darrin who seemed to be trying to convince Patrick of something until he finally looked back at her. “Oh God, Darrin’s going to kill me.”
“Probably,” she murmured in agreement as she glanced back at the gift shop and contemplated getting another bag of chips, but just as quickly dismissed it and decided to grab something to eat when they left the hotel.
“Why exactly is she trying to push us together?” he asked, reaching into the small bag with a shaky hand as he sent another wary glance at his younger brother, who even she had to admit had always seemed to take immense pleasure in fucking Aidan over. She would never forget that time that Darrin had convinced all their brothers to pretend that Aidan was invisible for a year, she reminisced with a small smile and another chip.
“Because she thinks that Darrin and Reese are gay,” she said with a shrug as she took another sip of soda.
Clearly startled, Aidan’s hand froze halfway to the bag. “And why is that exactly?”
“Jason and Trevor,” she simply said, because with the Bradfords, that really all that needed to be said.
“Ahhh, I see,” Aidan said with a knowing smile that was a touch smug and would probably get his ass kicked if Darrin saw it.
“Look, we don’t have much time,” she said, shooting another glance over to her husband to find him glaring down at the man clearly bent on ignoring him. “I need to talk to you about something.”
“What’s on your mind?” he asked, frowning down at the empty bag with a slight pout that would have normally earned him an eye roll and probably another bag of chips to get him to stop pouting, but not today.
Today she needed answers.
“I want to talk to you about In Vitro Fertilization again,” she said, forcing the words out of her mouth and pretending that it was an option for her, because otherwise…
God, she didn’t even want to think about what it would mean if she couldn’t do this for Darrin. She just couldn’t. She needed to do this for him, to give him the baby that he dreamed of so that she could tell herself that she deserved him. She couldn’t stomach the idea of sentencing him to an existence without children and grandchildren, because she knew that no matter what he said or did, she would never be good enough for him.
“Marybeth,” Aidan said softly, dropping the empty bag on his lap so that he could take her hand in his and gave it that same comforting squeeze that he’d given her the last time that they’d had this talk, “I’m sorry.”
Pretending that she still had some hope, she ignored the concerned expression on his handsome face and plowed on, hoping that there was something that she could say that would fix this. “There are studies out there, new experimental drugs that might help. They’re making breakthroughs every day, Aidan. They might have found something that could fix this and allow me to have children. Your dad already had my eggs harvested and put on ice years ago so I have a viable option. Maybe there’s a drug or a new procedure that would allow me to have-”
“You have to have a hysterectomy, Marybeth,” he said softly, cutting her off by saying the five words that she’d been dreading since she turned fifteen and realized that there was something very wrong with her body.
“No,” she said weakly even as she frantically shook her head, willing him to take it back and lie to her.
“I’m so sorry, Marybeth. I wanted to wait until we got back to tell you,” he explained, looking like he was going to be sick. “Your test results came back. Your uterus needs to come out, soon. It’s enlarged and covered with cysts. We need to test those and see…”
But she couldn’t focus on what he was saying, not when he’d just destroyed her only hope for a real future with Darrin.
“Excuse me, but I need to go lie down,” she said hollowly as she stood up, wrapped her arms around herself and somehow managed to walk to the elevator just as the doors slid open. She stepped inside, barely aware of the curious looks the other passengers were shooting her or the fact that Darrin and Aidan had followed her and were talking to her, asking her if she was okay. She wasn’t sure how she managed to get to their room, but she knew the moment that Darrin took her into his arms.
It was the moment that her entire world shattered.
“Get the fuck off me!”
“Tell me what you said to her!” he shouted, shoving Aidan into the concrete wall of the stairwell, struggling to keep it together.
“I can’t tell you!” Aidan shouted back, trying to shove him away, but he wasn’t going anywhere, not until he had some answers.
“You know that by law I can’t tell you anything!” Aidan snapped, trying to shove him away again.
“And you know that I don’t give a flying fuck about anything but her! Tell me why my wife can’t stop crying!” he said, slamming his brother into the wall, more terrified than he’d been in life.