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“I still don’t like the idea of you wearing another man’s shirt,” I reply, irrationally pissed off.

“I could take it off and just sit here like Lady Godiva if you’d prefer.”

“Then I’d have to start blinding people like poor Peeping Tom,” I say causing her to laugh. Out of the corner of my eye, I think I see a flash. When I look in that direction, I see a waiter tuck his cellphone into his apron pocket and walk toward our table.

“Welcome to Nancy’s. I’ll be your server, Wyatt. Great game on Saturday, Hot Shot,” he says.

“Thanks,” I reply nicely. Without butts in the seats, there would be no team, so I’m as nice to fans as I can be.

“Can I get started on your drinks?”

“I’ll have a sparkling water, please,” Rose says.

“And for you?”

“What Gallucci Brothers do you have on tap?”

“Spring Lager and Moody IPA.”

“I’ll take a pint of the lager please.”

“Are you ready to order? Appetizers?

“I’m ready, if you are,” Rose says smiling at me.

“Go ahead,” I tell her.

“Okay. I’ll start with a small salad, with French dressing and then I’d like a medium pepperoni and extra cheese stuffed pizza.”

“And I’ll have a thin Chicago Beef, medium.”

“Coming right up.”

Wyatt the waiter leaves the table and I focus all of my attention on her. She’s beautiful, but today, she’s got dark smudges under her eyes, and she looks pale.

“I remember you telling me you were getting a promotion. How’s that going?”

“It’s going really well. I love being in charge of my own department. It’s a lot of responsibility for someone my age.”

“Twenty-three right?” I ask, remembering her birthday was a few days ago. Cheryl mentioned it to me when I video chatted with Nolan. I bought her an engagement ring, but definitely haven’t given it to her.


“Well, tell me everything you’ve been up to since I saw you last.”

“All I’ve been doing is working and binging TV.”

“No impromptu dance parties?” When we were in Maine, I’d catch her dancing around and shaking her butt. She did it with or without music and it was the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen. I pulled into my arms and slow danced with her to a Kane Brown song that played softly on her phone. That was the first time I knew for sure that what I felt for her was love. It when I knew it was the kind of love that lasts forever. Like a psycho, I added the damn to song to my workout playlist.

“No. I’ve really felt up to dancing lately.”

Before I can dive into that statement, Wyatt drops our drinks off and her salad.”

“Your pizza’s will be up shortly.”

“Thanks,” I reply, never taking my eyes off of her. I watch as she removes onions, olives, and hard-boiled eggs from the salad, placing them on a napkin. Her nose is scrunched up.

“You want any of that?” she asks?

“No, thanks.” I watch as she starts to cut her salad up into smaller bites. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone do that before.

“Don’t stare at me while I eat. Tell me what you’ve been up to, besides getting embroiled in a baby mama drama scandal.”

“Don’t bring that bitch into it. I’ve been going to games and working out. I’ve been doing Sunday dinners with my parent’s when I’m in town. Nothing crazy.”

“That’s sounds nice,” she says, pausing when a different waiter walks by our table with two large pies in his hands. “What… Oh God,” she says, looking green. I get a huge whiff of hot anchovies as the pies go on past me. Rose stands quickly and tosses her napkin down on the table and bolts toward the bathroom. I take off after her. We crash into the single unisex bathroom; I lock the door behind me out of habit. She lurches into the stall and I’m right behind her. Without thinking too much about it, I lift her hair up and away from her face as she hurls.

I murmur encouraging words to her as I hold her hair in one hand and rub soothing circles on her back.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that she’s pregnant. With my kid. That makes me feel like a king. When she’s finally done, I help her to her feet.

“Are you pregnant, Petal?”

Her lack of response is telling, but I have to know. My eyes roam down her body, settling on her tits. They are definitely bigger and while her belly is still flat, I know my seed has taken root.

She was always going to me mine, but this ties her to me for all eternity.

I bred her, so I get to keep her.


“Rose, are you going to answer me? Are you pregnant?” This is the second time he has asked the question and it doesn’t make me want to answer it any more than the first time he asked it. My mind is buzzing with witty comebacks, like no that would be Honey. Or snappy comebacks like, my body, my business. But none of them seem right and I know he could see through all of them. Damn it. Definitely not the time for this baby to be pissed at me. Looking up at his handsome face, all concerned and scornful at the same time because I haven’t answered him, and all I want to do is nod my head and bury my face in his chest. So instead, I try to lie.

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