“How many roommates do you have?” I asked, spotting two twin beds, two dressers, and a mountain of shoes. Books lay in heaps on top of a spindly, mismatched desk, and clothes oozed out of the closet.
“Three. I share this room with Heather. Monica and Julie share the other one.” She squirmed past me and flushed at the sight of the closet. “Sorry, I was at work until about an hour ago, and I chose a shower over cleaning the room.”
“I don’t care,” I said, noting that one bed was made and one wasn’t. Please let hers be the made one.
She shoved the pile of clothes back into the closet and threw me a disbelieving look. “You look like you do.”
“I don’t.” I lied. It wasn’t that I was judgy. I didn’t care how other people lived. But in my life, everything had a place, and if it wasn’t in that place…well, I put it there. Clothes were hung by occasion, color and sleeve-length. Shoes were shelved in pairs. Socks were mated, then organized by purpose and color. How the hell could she find anything in here?
She pushed one last time, and the clothes disappeared behind the mirrored door, but something else fell free and hung out of the doorway at an odd angle.
It was a life-sized cardboard cut-out of me in full uniform.
“Oh my God!” Her face blushed an even brighter pink, and she scrambled to tuck the thing away.
“Is that a bra hanging from my helmet?” I managed to keep a straight face.
“Nope.” She stilled, then ripped the lacy confection down and shut the closet door. I bet it looked phenomenal cupping those exquisite breasts hidden behind her oversized UNC T-shirt. Hell, I even bet her nipples peeked through that lace just enough to make out their dusky color. Her breasts were mouth-wateringly incredible.
Those, I fucking remembered.
She turned toward me, then realized the bra was still in her hand. Sighing a rumble through her lips, she gave up the pretense and flung the thing into the overflowing hamper next to me.
I laughed and raked my hand over my hair. This whole situation was ludicrous, and we both knew it.
She rolled her eyes. “The cutout was a gift from my roommates. It’s how they told me they’d bought you in the charity auction. All of my sorority sisters chipped in, too.”
“I remember you telling me they all went in on it,” I admitted with a grin. “But you left out the six-foot-four cardboard me in your closet.”
Her mouth opened and shut a few times as her forehead puckered, but finally, she gave in and smiled as she laughed.
My heart fucking stuttered. That right there was what had drawn me to her in the first place. Before the drinks turned into many drinks, which turned into a night I barely remembered, she’d smiled, and I’d been stunned speechless…just like I was right now.
That smile of hers was genuine. Authentic. And in my world—where every woman was surgically enhanced, fake-as-hell, and always had an ulterior motive, genuine was rare. Genuine was precious.
Snap out of it.
“You said you had something for me?” I turned toward the desk and picked up a few of the books, which were all on psychology. I quickly stacked them in alphabetical order as I heard her come up behind me.
“Oh, right,” she said, opening the skinny drawer on the left side of the desk and taking out a paper. Her eyebrows knit slightly as she noticed the newly-stacked books. “Do you have OCD?” she asked softly.
I bristled. “Liking things to be their correct place doesn’t mean I have OCD.” Not officially, at least. It had taken five years of therapy after Nick died to lessen the worst of my compulsions, but stressful situations still brought them out.
This definitely qualified as a stressful situation.
She didn’t question my tight tone or look at me with skepticism or pity, which would have most-likely pushed me right over the edge. Instead, she simply handed me the paper with a soft smile. “This is your copy of my lab report.”
“My copy?” I asked as I looked it over. The doc’s office looked legit. There was her name, Liberty M. Jones.
“I figured you’d want your own.”
I read down the report to her HCG levels. She was pregnant.
Pregnant…and by the dates of her last cycle, and the estimated conception time frame on the report, the baby was mine.
Mine, mine, mine. MINE.
If the report is real, that tiny little voice in the back of my head chimed in.
Because the last time, it hadn’t been.
It had all been one giant lie.
“Say something,” Liberty urged gently.
“Looks like you’re pregnant.” My fingers tightened on the paper, making it crinkle. I read it again and again, then folded it down the center once, then twice, before tucking it into the back pocket that didn’t hold my hat.