He went to cup her cheek and she captured his hand, kissing his palm. “I wish I knew you, the real you back then. It would have been nice to know you didn’t hate me.”
“I’m so fucking sorry for the asshole I was.”
She nodded. “We can’t change what happened. When you have kids of your own, Eric, you’ve got to allow them to flourish. To grow, you know?”
“Kids of my own.”
“Do you want to be a father?” she asked.
“Do you want to be a mother?”
She frowned. “I asked you first.”
“And I’m a tough negotiator.” He winked at her.
She rolled her eyes. “Yes, I want to have kids one day. I can see several boys and girls, running all around me. I’ve always wanted to have a big family. My parents wanted more but after me, they couldn’t have anymore, so they had to be happy with just me.”
“I’m sure they were the happiest parents in the world.”
She kissed his palm again. “Thank you.”
“Does anyone want to tell me why we’re all hiding away in secret?” Micah asked.
Eric stood in the woodshed. He held a flashlight, which he’d put through the hook hanging from the ceiling. He’d been the one to tell Dean and Micah to meet him here at one in the morning.
It was cold. The day had been so damn warm, but right now, he was freezing his ass off.
“We all need to talk.”
“And this couldn’t have been done inside? What if there are bears or wolves, or something else?” Micah asked.
“What do you have to say?” Dean asked, getting straight to the point.
He stared at his two best friends. This with Daphne had started out as a challenge, but now, Eric saw the potential here.
“It’s about Daphne.”
“What about her?” Micah asked, tensing up. “Is she okay?”
“She’s fine. As far as I know, she’s sleeping.” Eric ran his fingers through his hair. “There’s something I haven’t been telling you.”
“Spit it out,” Dean said.
He looked at his friends and told them everything. About his feelings for Daphne, the way his dad treated him. All of it. He didn’t leave a single piece of information out. Once he was finished, he looked at his friends. “I’ve also got another confession … I haven’t used a single condom since I’ve been here.”
Micah snorted. “Duh, neither have I.”
Dean shook his head as well.
“Okay, guys, we must all be fucking idiots because all three of us are fucking her on a regular basis and not one of us has considered pregnancy.” He looked at his friends. Micah was the only one who looked sheepish, whereas Dean didn’t appear troubled. “Dean, come on, man.”
Dean smiled. “Eric, I want her to get pregnant. I’ve been fucking her pussy with the intention of getting her knocked up.”
This was news to Eric. “What?”
“You heard me. Look around you. You think I want to go back to that city? You think I care about all that shit? I can work from here. I’ve proven it time and time again. That’s not my home. I’ve been so fucking unhappy there. This is my home. This is where I’m meant to be.”
This was news to Eric, and from the look on Micah’s face, it was to him as well.
“Was that your plan all along? Knock her up first so there was no choice and she had to have you?” Eric asked.
“You selfish bastard.”
“There are times it amazes me how we could even form a company together, let alone run one like we do.” Dean shook his head. “I didn’t do all of this just for me, you pair of assholes. Don’t you fucking see what’s happening right now? We’re all sharing our girl. We are all in love with her. I’ve never seen you all so happy. I haven’t been playing the competition game ’cause as far as I’m concerned, there is no competition.” He shook his head. “We’re a fucking team. We have been from the minute we met. Daphne is insatiable. All three of us can tame her. Don’t you want that?”
Eric stared at his friend. “This was your play? All along?”
“Yes. I love her. I don’t know when it started. I don’t know if I had feelings for her back then like you did, but I do now. I have a chance to be happy. You’re my best friends. Sharing her with you doesn’t fill me with jealousy. Seeing her with you guys feels right.”
“This is fucked up,” Micah said.
“The only person I’ve ever been unsure about in all of this is you, Micah. I don’t know your feelings. I know you like her, but I don’t know if you love her.”
Micah held his hands up. “Don’t do this to me right now. You’ve just revealed to me that we could have knocked Daphne up, that you plan to stay here forever, and that you see us all sharing her, for the rest of our lives.”