Nixon barked out a laugh, jolting slightly on my bed at my words. “Is that a technical diagnosis?”
I smiled up at him, happy that those brown eyes didn’t look so damn heavy. “No,” I said. “It’s a purely emotional response, but it doesn’t make it less true.” I let out a sigh. “Look, I get it,” I said. “I hate that you endured such an awful situation, but I get it, now. The reaction to me showing up at training camp.” I sighed. “I know I looked crazy.” I laughed. “But I swear I only wanted to be fair to you. To be honest. I would hate having a baby out there I didn’t know about,” I teased, and he laughed again, the warm, full sound tingling my bones.
He laid his hand over the one I still had on his forearm, the muscle rippling beneath my touch. “Move in with me,” he said, a plea to his tone. “No expectations,” he said. “I just want to take care of you and the baby. I want to know you two are safe while I’m not here.”
Right. Because away games and practices and press conferences…
What did I get us into, baby?
I rose from my kneeling position, pacing the small length of clear floor in my room. “I don’t know, Nixon,” I said. “We really barely know each other—”
“I’ve been trying to fix that,” he said.
“I know. And I really appreciate it. I do. I swear. I actually look forward to your texts now,” I admitted, and he smiled as he pushed off my bed. A real smile, not a practiced one. “But moving in together? That’s a huge step.”
“Again,” he said, stepping into my path to stop my pacing. “No expectations.”
I tilted my head as I gazed up at him. “I never read anything about your ex and that situation in the press.”
He cocked an eyebrow at me. “You’re saying you followed my career?”
He nodded. “I paid a ridiculous amount of money to ensure no one heard about it.”
I hissed. “You had to pay her to keep quiet.”
“How many other people know about it?”
“My brother and my parents” he said. “And my boys, Roman and Hendrix.”
“And now me.”
“And now you.”
Trust. Honesty. Exactly what I demanded of him.
“I need to think about this, Nixon.”
“Understandable,” he said, a sigh of relief rushing past his lips. I guess he assumed I’d say no right off the bat. And maybe I should’ve because merely having him this close, all caring and sexy, did things to my already confused soul. “That’s all I want,” he said. “A chance to take care of you until…”
Right. Until…when? The baby came, and we went our separate ways?
My nerves tangled into knots as he headed for my bedroom door. “Call me when you’ve decided. Or if you need anything in the meantime. Okay?”
“Liberty?” he asked, his hand on the knob.
“Hold your breath.” A crooked smile shaped his lips.
I laughed but covered my nose and mouth.
He cracked the door open just enough for him to slid his massive frame through before quickly shutting it. I dropped my hand, shaking my head as I smiled like a schoolgirl at my shut door.
He had my head spinning, that was for sure.
It took less than five minutes for Heather to rush through the door, flinging herself on her bed across the room with an expectant look on her face.
“What?” I laughed.
I sighed and fell backward onto my bed before telling her about Nixon’s request.
“Omigod, you have to!”
“What? No, I have to think this through.”
“Please, what is there to think about?” Heather scoffed. “You have to go live in the quarterback’s mansion and let him cook for you and give you back massages and shit while you grow a human inside of you.”
I snorted I laughed so hard. “It is way more complicated than that, Heather.”
“What isn’t complicated about relationships?”
“This isn’t a relationship.”
She arched a brow at me. “You’re carrying his child, and you both are trying to get to know each other and where you fit in each other’s lives. What else would you call it?”
“An attempt at friendship?”
“Friendships are still relationships. Not everything is about sex, you know,” she teased. “Or is it? Cause I’d really love to hear more about that.”
“Ha! If I could remember anything, I’d let you know.”
“That is such a bummer.”
I nodded, unable to argue that one.
“You need to do this,” she urged. “If for the sole reason of getting away from the god-awful fish tank of Julie’s.” We laughed, and she tucked a pillow under her side. “I’m serious! I wish someone would offer me a place to stay. Hell, I’d move in with a drug dealer to get away from that smell,” she joked.
I sighed, the laughter lightening the tension in my chest. “I love you.”