“You’re going as far underground as I can get you.”
“Liam,” I plead, and I’m in front of him by the time his name leaves my lips, my hand flattening on his chest. “Let’s talk about this.”
“We’ll talk when you’re underground.”
“I get why that’s your first reaction to me being pregnant but it’s not the answer. We can’t have a child that we hide away like some sort of animal.” And that’s what he wants. I see it in his eyes. “I won’t let that happen.”
“You having the baby and being safe doing it is what’s most important right now.”
“Ending this before our child becomes a target is what’s most important. I want this to end.”
“I’ll end this, Amy. You and our child will be off someplace safe when I do.”
“You mean you’ll take over my life rather than helping me get control of it again myself.”
The doorbell rings. He growls low in his throat, his hands coming down on my shoulders as he turns me and presses my back to the pillar. “You are my woman, carrying my child. This isn’t up for negotiations. We’re doing it my way.” He turns and stalks across the room.
Momentarily stunned, I stare after him. His way? Is he serious? He claims that we are in this thing together and then issues a command like that one? This isn’t even about what the right decision is. I really don’t know right or wrong at this point, except in this case. Liam dictating instead of talking is absolutely wrong and the kiss of death for our relationship if we don’t deal with it, and now.
I storm through the living room, determined to stop him from answering the door, but I’m too late. By the time I make it to the foyer, I can hear both Tellar and Derek talking to him. Balling my fists by my sides, I remind myself that I both want and need my suitcase that Tellar is delivering, but I do not know why Derek is required to deliver it.
Knowing I will spout out the many things blistering on my tongue and meant for Liam alone in front of company if I keep standing here, I turn on my heel and head back to the living area. The rumble of Liam’s deep, authoritative voice behind me vibrates in my body and for once it’s not soothing. I am far too tempted to say my piece regardless of who hears.
Saving everyone from a scene, at least for the moment, I detour to the kitchen. Somehow, that leads me to stare into Liam’s pathetically empty fridge. He was right. The kitchen isn’t well stocked and my emotional upheaval seems to be translating to hunger.
I wait a few expectant moments and when the three men don’t appear, my hunt for food has me opening what turns out to be the pantry. I find a bag of Oreo cookies that support Liam’s earlier confessed love of sugar-laden treats. I grab them, fill a glass with milk, which is surprisingly within the proper date considering the state of Liam’s fridge, and head to the table. Claiming the spot that puts me facing the island and anyone who enters the kitchen, I proceed to down six cookies and all the milk without so much as a tiny churn of my stomach. Apparently, the baby has a sweet tooth that won’t be good for my health or waistline but I’m happy to get anything in my stomach that stays down.
I’m about to go for another cookie when my hope that Derek and Tellar would leave proves futile. The three men pile into the room and it takes mere seconds for me to have enough testosterone standing in a row in front of the table, staring at me and my cookies, to make my head ready to explode. Most women would welcome these three men for many reasons, however I doubt it would be when they were stuffing their faces with food like I am now.
Avoiding eye contact with Liam, with his best interest in mind, I set my uneaten cookie back in the container. If I see that arrogant “my way is King” attitude in his eyes, my tongue will be whiplash ready. My distraction gets me nowhere fast. I’m back to staring at the three men’s stony faces, or rather two of them, and they at me. Seconds of silence tick by and it’s like no one breathes, and I get the distinct impression they are all waiting on me. Maybe Liam warned them I was a torpedo ready to blow. He was right, but I’ve practiced way too much restraint these past years to have none now.
I wave at the group. “Hi.”
The instant easing of tension of the room is like a rubber band popping. All three men seem to relax, muscles stretching and shifting. Okay, correction again. Two men relax. Liam is unmoving, his stare willing mine to find his, and I refuse.
“Don’t mind if I do,” Derek says, setting down a folder on the table, then claiming the seat at the end of the table, followed by the package of cookies. He lifts my empty glass. “But you didn’t leave me much to wash it down with.”
I study him a moment, his blond hair neatly styled, his customary suit replaced with neatly pressed dark blue jeans and a white polo, and although I get why Liam is invested in me, I’m not certain I’m buying Derek’s reasons for being here.
Liam walks to the fridge, retrieves the milk, moves the glass in front of me and fills it, the sweetness of the act belying his ability to excel as a complete ass**le. His eyes meet mine, and the connection, that damn connection, I feel with him, punches me hard in the chest. “Thank you,” I whisper.
“I need more than cookies,” Tellar complains, sitting next to Derek, and cater-cornered to the right of me. “I worked up an appetite hauling all the shopping bags Derek’s sister gave me to supply your closet.” He snatches up a cookie.