“Well, I appreciate the fact that you haven’t done it yet.”
“You’re not afraid of heights like mom so I figured it would be pointless to run and hide now,” she admitted.
“True,” he murmured thoughtfully, deciding that locking up the ladders until Mikey was eighteen might be for the best.
“That’s what I figured,” she said with a dejected sigh that had his lips twitching before returning to the subject at hand.
“Your mom is not going to love the baby more than you, sweetheart. Trust me. You have a special place in your mother’s heart and no one can ever replace that,” he promised her.
“I guess,” she said with a shrug before adding, “At least the baby is going to have a dad so that’s cool.”
Smiling, he leaned down and kissed the top of her head, “And so will you.”
Returning his smile with a sly one, she looked up at him and asked, “Do you love me more than mom?”
He snorted at that. “Of course.”
“That’s what I thought,” she murmured as she shifted next to him so that she could dig back into her food.
“Would it make you feel any better if I told you that you mean the world to me?”
“It probably wouldn’t hurt,” she said with a pleased smile as she helped herself to the last sausage.
She was so much like her mother, he thought with a grin as he dug into the food, laughing when she shoved his fork out of the way with hers so that she could attack the hash browns. She was going to fit in so well with his family, he thought with a smile when she slyly stole the plate from him.
There was something seriously wrong with her, she thought as she lay there, pretending to be asleep, which probably would have made more sense if someone else had actually been in the room. But, since it was just her laying there, panicking, it was actually pretty pathetic and at some point the realization would have her opening her eyes and shaking her head in disgust, but not just yet.
He wanted to marry her, she thought, biting back a groan, wishing that she’d never left the comfort of her bed to find out where her pancakes were. If she’d just stayed here, waiting to be served in the manner that she was determined to become accustomed to, she wouldn’t know that he’d planned on marrying her and…
Well, she didn’t know what else he had planned since she’d panicked the moment he’d made the announcement, which had sent her tiptoeing back to her room and climbing back into her bed, cringing every time a floorboard creaked or she breathed too loud, terrified that it would give her away.
Now as she lay there, she couldn’t help but notice that she’d been lying there for quite some time and she had yet to see those pancakes that he’d promised her. The service in this house really was horrible, she thought with a sigh as she turned over and-
“He’s gone,” Eric announced, making her scream somewhat hysterically when she realized that she was no longer alone even as she had to wonder how he’d managed to join her on the bed with a huge plate of food without her knowing.
Then again, he’d always been a sneaky little bastard, she thought as she remembered all those times that he’d snuck up on her when she was with Michael. He’d taken great joy out of scaring the crap out of her and did it every chance he got until one day she’d had enough and had ended up pining the little bastard to floor and shoving one of his dirty gym socks in his mouth.
With Michael’s help, of course.
“Who’s gone?” she asked, narrowing her eyes on the large stack of pancakes covered in butter and maple syrup, the fake stuff because she wasn’t really a big fan of real maple syrup.
“The man that you tried to replace me with,” he said with a sad shake of his head as he gestured for her to sit up with a sausage link before popping it in his mouth.
“Reese is gone?” she asked, sitting up and stealing the plate of food that was rightfully hers.
“Yup,” he said, as he stole a bite of hash brown.
“Where did he go?” she asked, picking up her fork and taking a big bite from one of the thick pancakes only to moan in ecstasy, because the man could cook. Reese that is, because she knew better than to think that Eric had anything to do with this.
Shrugging, Eric grabbed the remote and turned on the television. “He didn’t say.”
“When’s he coming back?” she asked, taking a bite of sausage that was cooked to perfection, once again noting that Reese was an amazing cook. He was also the only other person that she allowed in her kitchen.
“Ah, well that I do know,” Eric said, nodding as he flicked through the channels while she sat there, waiting for him to answer.
When it finally became obvious that he wasn’t going to answer, she dropped her fork on the plate, reached over with a sigh and flicked his ear.
“Ow! What the hell is wrong with you, woman?” he demanded with a glare as he reached up and rubbed his ear.
“When is he coming back?” she asked, fully prepared to do it again and they both knew it.
“In a couple of days,” he said, stealing another sausage with a pout that had her reaching up to do it again and since he’d abandoned her without a word for months, she did it.
“Ow! What the hell was that for?” he snapped, which of course made her flick him again, because he really should have known why she was flicking the crap out of him.
“You know why!” she snapped as she gave up flicking him and angrily popped a piece of potato in her mouth.
“It was for your own good,” he said, reaching for another sausage only to have his hand slapped away.
“You don’t deserve sausage,” she informed him, popping the sausage that he’d had his eyes on in her mouth out of spite.
“After everything I’ve done for you,” he said, shaking his head in disgust as he turned his attention back to the television.
“Like suddenly drop out of my life without a word?” she asked, dryly.
“And I’m supposed to be grateful for that?” she asked, as she went to take another bite, but her stomach had turned with this conversation so she shoved the plate back in his hands, threw back the covers, and decided that she’d rather spend the day curled up on the couch.
“Kasey,” Eric said with a sigh as he followed her into the living room where Sara was lounging with her phone in her hand and a plate of food by her side. “You needed a chance and having me underfoot wasn’t going to do that. I know that you’re pissed, but I had to give you your space.”
“And that meant cutting me off?” she asked with a snort of disgust.
“Honestly?” he asked, as they headed towards the couch. “Yes, because I wasn’t willing to take the chance of you using me as an excuse. I knew it would be hard enough dating with Mikey and I didn’t want to make it any harder by being here and getting in the way or reminding you of Michael.”
“Eric, I-” she opened her mouth to argue only to have him cut her off with a shake of his head.
“Don’t, because we both know that I’m part of the reason that you’ve had such a tough time letting him go,” he said, making her bite her lip, because that was probably a little bit true. “I never meant to make things more difficult for you, Kasey. I just wanted to be here for you and Mikey.”
“You didn’t,” she promised him, because it wasn’t his fault that some days when she looked at him all she wanted to do was cry.
As much as she hated to admit it, having him around probably would have made things a little harder for her and she hated that, because when all was said and done, he was still her best friend, which meant that if he ever pulled this crap on her again that she was most likely going to kill him.
“I’m not going to leave you again,” he promised.
“Because I’d slap the shit out of you?” she asked, smiling when he shot her a wink.
“Exactly,” he said, throwing his arm around her and giving her a quick hug before gently pushing her away.
/> “What’s going on?” Sara asked absently as she moved her feet to make room for her.
“Where’s Mikey?” she asked, instead of answering her, because she wasn’t in the mood to rehash this conversation with her.
“She went back to bed. Something about being exhausted thanks to the bastard that had snored all night,” she said with a shrug.
“Good, then I guess we have a few minutes to talk,” Eric said, plopping down on the coffee table so that he was facing them.
“You’re probably right,” Sara said with a nod and a forlorn sigh as she tossed her phone aside and sat up so that she was facing her. “We need to talk, Kasey.”
“About?” she asked, glancing between the two of them and regretting her decision to leave her bed.
“You, Kasey. We want to talk about you,” Sara said with a reassuring smile as she reached over and took Kasey’s hand in hers with a gentle squeeze that she honestly found a hell of a lot creepier than her usual “car salesman” pitch.
“Before you fuck this up and end up old and alone,” Eric added solemnly as he reached over and took her other hand in his.
Blinking, she asked, “You want me to kill you, don’t you?”
Shaking his head, he said, “You really need to get over me and move on.”
“It’s for your own good,” Sara added with another gentle squeeze of her hand and making her roll her eyes even when she couldn’t help but laugh.
“Does this have something to do with Reese?” she asked, releasing their hands so that she could grab the blanket off the back of the couch and curl up, more than ready for a nap after last night.
“You mean the man that knocked you up? Yes, yes it does,” Eric said, gesturing for Sara to move over only to shake his head in disgust, reach over and shove her legs off the couch, and before she could retaliate, he was plopping himself down on the couch between them and forcing Kasey to share the blanket with him.
“I’m not going to screw this up,” she said, closing her eyes and settling in the corner of the couch.
“No, no of course you won’t,” Sara said in a tone that clearly stated that she didn’t believe her.
“So, the idea of marrying Reese and spending the rest of your life with him doesn’t terrify you?”
“No,” she answered, honestly, because the idea of spending the rest of her life with him didn’t scare her.
However, the idea of losing him was a different story altogether.
She just needed to figure out how much.
“Your order will be out in a few minutes,” the waitress said with a smile before walking away and leaving her sitting across from the man that hadn’t said anything since he’d picked her up.
Since it had taken them two hours to get to this insanely expensive restaurant in this upscale Boston hotel that she’d never even heard of before, she was, in her opinion at least, understandably nervous. Then again, the fact that he’d disappeared for two days without a word only to send her a text this morning telling her that he was taking her to dinner and asking her to wear something nice could be contributing factors to the anxiety attack that she was currently pretending that she wasn’t having.
“You look beautiful,” he said with a devastating smile as he picked up her hand and brushed his lips against the back of her knuckles as she shot a nervous glance around them, taking in the candlelight, the soft romantic music playing in the background, the lit fireplace, and the fact that their table was located in back of the upscale, and incredibly romantic restaurant and felt her stomach drop.
“Thank you,” she murmured, taking a sip from her water glass as she took in the incredibly handsome man sitting across from her and realized that yes, yes there was ample reason for her to be panicking.
“Mikey’s with Sara?” he asked, as though he hadn’t arranged for her best friend to show up a few hours ago and drag Mikey off with a cryptic message that it would probably be in her best interest if she packed an overnight bag.
Clearing her throat, she nodded a, “Yes,” and took another sip, trying to buy herself a little more time so that she could firmly stay in denial for as long as humanly possible.
“Your wine, sir,” the waitress said with a smile as she set a silver bucket covered with a white cloth down by her table all while Reese watched her with that expression that she couldn’t quite decipher.
“Thank you,” he said, turning their hands over so that he could lace his fingers with hers as she worried her bottom lip, waiting for the moment when it would hit him that she couldn’t have wine, but instead he took her by surprise when the waitress removed the towel off the “wine,” and produced a bottle of chilled apple juice.
Noting the cryptic look that passed between Reese and the waitress was all she needed to remind herself that she’d left her nausea medication in her bag, the same bag that Reese had sent up to the room he’d reserved with the bellhop when he’d checked them in an hour ago. As he shifted his attention back to her, she opened her mouth to tell him that she needed to run upstairs and grab her pills when the food arrived.
The food that he’d apparently pre-ordered when he’d made this reservation, which of course translated into incredibly expensive, was placed in front of her and with a bit of flourish, the covers were removed and-
She was pleasantly surprised to find herself looking at a large piece of chocolate fudge cake until she looked up and found Reese watching her in a way that made her really wish she had her nausea pills. Thankful that the wait staff had made themselves scarce, she pulled her hand away from him, cleared her throat and-
“Reese? Oh, my god, Reese!” a blond bombshell gushed, smiling hugely as she hurried over to their table and leaned over to give Reese a great view of her medically enhanced rack as she gave him a hug. “Oh, my god! I’ve missed you so much!”
“Missy,” the Adonis that had followed her to the table said, shooting Kasey an apologetic smile as he reached for the blonde woman that had yet to release her hold on Reese, whom she liked to point out looked angrier than she’d ever seen him before.
It didn’t take a genius to figure out that this was the infamous Missy and that the man standing behind her, looking like he’d rather be anywhere but here, was Roger. Although she felt morally obligated to make this woman cry, she also couldn’t help but wonder why they all just happened to be here tonight. Thankfully, Missy cleared that up for her before she could do something stupid like tell the man across from her that she loved him.
“Oh, my god! You’re proposing, again!” Missy said, clapping her hands excitedly before she reached for the fork on Kasey’s plate and-
“Don’t,” Reese bit out, but Missy simply ignored him and stabbed the fork in the cake and pulled it back with a beautiful emerald and diamond ring attached to it.
“Oh, my god! I’ve always loved this ring!” Missy said, as Kasey cocked a brow and took in the murderous glare he was sending Missy’s way.
“Missy, for Christ’s sakes,” Roger, and she was going to call him that until she found out otherwise, bit out.
“This is so sweet, Reese! I can’t believe you remembered!” Missy said and with that, Kasey was standing up with a murmured, “Excuse me,” so that she could reach into Reese’s coat, pluck the keycard for the hotel room that he’d rented for the night out of his pocket, and with a satisfied sigh, turn around and head towards the lobby, deciding that now was a good time to get those pills.
“Son of a bitch!” Reese snapped, shoving away from the table and headed after Kasey only to stop and turn around to grab the ring out of the wicked bitch of the east’s hand.
“Reese?” she said in that whinny voice that had always grated on his fucking nerves.
Sending her a glare that had her reluctantly moving out of his way, he went after Kasey only to realize that he wasn’t the only one. Shoving his fingers through his hair, he quickened his step to go after the bastard.
sey!” he said, wincing when she turned around and-
“Oh, crap,” she managed to mutter when whatever she’d planned on saying to him was forgotten as she placed her hand over her stomach and was swept off her feet by the bastard that was going to lose his fucking hands for touching her.
“What room, pumpkin?” Roger asked with an easy smile as he stepped into the elevator with her before Reese had a chance to grab her.
“Hand her over,” he snapped, following them into the elevator.
“Hit the button,” Roger said, nodding towards the wall of buttons.
“I’m not fucking playing,” he bit out, moving to grab Kasey who was pale and looking absolutely miserable, and he knew that it was because he’d seriously just fucked this up.
“Hit the button,” Roger said a little more urgently even as he shifted so that he could do it himself all while he kept an eye on