She looks up at me with red eyes and a quivering lip. “I’m so confused.”
“About me?” I ask her.
“About me,” she replies, and this makes me blink in surprise.
Why would she be confused? Jorie is the one who has always known what she wants.
“I don’t understand,” I say as I squeeze her knee. “But I’ve got the rest of my life for you to explain it to me.”
She studies me for a moment before she says, “I’ve never loved anyone like I love you.”
Fuck… those words.
What they do to me.
Better than any fucking orgasm I’ve ever had, and that’s the God’s honest truth.
“But you abandoned me,” she continues. “I get you may have been overwhelmed with emotion, or a sense of misplaced priorities to Micah, or even scared shitless over the whole situation. And when it boils down to it, I can love you to the ends of the earth, but you may not be what’s best for me.”
Christ… if I thought I’d been cut before by the events over the last few weeks, those words right there completely gut me. For the first time, I’m truly afraid of losing Jorie.
“Vince, on the other hand,” she says with a watery laugh. “He pulled through for me. He was there when I was at my lowest. He has a lot to atone for, and I don’t know if I can make it past the awful things he said and how they made me feel about myself. But he’s also offering me something I’ve always wanted, and that’s a committed relationship with children.”
My fear skyrockets over those words. Vince brought his fucking A-game to Jorie, except it’s not a game at all. I can’t judge his intentions because I’ve not talked to the guy, but whatever he’s said… however he’s handling things with Jorie, she’s truly considering him.
She’s fucking considering the man who kicked her out of her home because he’s now ready to have babies?
Well, that isn’t fucking happening until she knows how I feel about that shit. I get why she’s confused now, but she doesn’t have all the facts to make a good decision.
“I never thought I wanted kids,” I say suddenly, and Jorie sort of jolts at my words. “It wasn’t something I really thought about. I was busy building my career, and then Renee and I started dating, getting serious, and then married for all the wrong reasons. Kids never even entered a conversation for us, and when I divorced, I just went on my merry way leading the single life. I never gave my future that kind of thought.”
She stares at me transfixed, and I’m not sure she’s even breathing, so I continue to get this out.
“Honestly, Jorie… I didn’t think about kids when you and I were together either,” I say hesitantly, and her lips flatten in disappointment. I forge ahead. “I thought you and I were casual. I thought we had an expiration date. I couldn’t see a future with you past what we had planned for the very next day. I thought we had time to figure stuff out, but then the rug got pulled out from underneath us, and suddenly… I didn’t have you anymore.”
Jorie just continues to watch me silently, but I notice her hands are gripped tight and her knuckles are white.
“You can be damn sure,” I tell her as I lean in toward her to look her straight in the eye, “that I’ve thought of nothing else since your brother came to see me.”
“Micah came to see you?” The surprise on her face is evident.
“It’s a long story but it involved me punching him and then him helping me pack to come rescue you,” I tell her with a small smile.
She gives me one back, and that’s something.
“Jorie… I’m suddenly faced now with a woman I love beyond reason who may very well tell me I can’t have her. It makes a man put stuff into perspective. It’s made me think about what my future really would look like with you in it.”
“And what do you think that future would be like?” she asks hesitantly, clearly afraid the answer may not be what she wants to hear.
I squeeze Jorie’s knee. “I had intended to do this a lot differently. I thought you’d fall willingly into my arms when you opened that door this morning, and we’d ride off into the sunset together. We’d go back to Vegas and be a couple. I’d propose to you, and it would involve a romantic meal, candles, wine, and bended knee in the restaurant where everyone would watch and clap, and then you would say “yes”.
“But instead, I come here to find out you’ve committed at least a part of yourself to Vince. You came back to him to give the marriage an honest try, and he’s brought a lot of promises to your table. But I need you to know I’ve thought about these things a lot, and my future is with you. As my wife. And as my wife, that means you will have my children. And they have children, and we become grandparents. I know you’re confused, but you need to know I’m offering you the same exact thing as Vince. And frankly, our babies would be prettier.”