“Love you, too,” she said, then eyed my phone as it buzzed on the desk near our beds. “Tell him you say yes yes yes,” she said as she hurried out of the room.
I grabbed it, my shoulders only slightly sinking at the realization it was not, in fact, Nixon calling to persuade me on all the reasons I should go live in his palace with him. Okay, not a palace but damn me if he wasn’t acting like prince charming.
“Hi, Mom,” I answered. “How is Brazil?”
“It’s a lot of work,” she said, the line slightly staticky. “But beautiful, baby. I sure wish you were here!”
For the first time in forever, I couldn’t echo that sentiment. Not with a huge workload for my final semester in college and a baby on the way and Nixon Noble to contend with.
“How are you feeling?” she asked, and I filled her in on the past few days since we’d spoken.
“It will pass,” she said. “I thought I was going to die when I was pregnant with you. I was nearly hospitalized you made me so weak.”
“Jeez, Mom. I suck, I get it.”
She laughed. “No, you’re perfect, darling! One day I woke up and wanted nothing more than a cheeseburger. And I ate three of them in one sitting because you actually let me.”
My stomach rolled at the thought of food. “Gah, Mom! No food talk!”
“Right, sorry, sweetie.” She sighed. “Have you heard from Breaking Boundaries yet?”
“Nothing yet,” I said, and honestly couldn’t be that disappointed. While I was in love with the program, the last thing I needed right now was another major decision. “But the process takes a while, and I only applied a few weeks ago.” Before I knew about the baby. Not that having a child would change my goals or aspirations, I’d just have to plan better. Take different precautions, that’s all.
“I’m sure you will,” she said. “I’m so damn proud of you.”
“I have to dash,” she said. “The clinic is drowning in locals right now. So many people need to be seen.” There was a sadness to her voice. “Too many,” she continued. “I can’t wait until you’re with me. You’ll do so much good here.”
“I love you, Mom,” I said, my chest tightening again.
“You too. Talk soon!”
The line went dead, and I swallowed hard. Traveling the world, working with Mom to help those in need was all I’d ever wanted in the world.
My entire life, I’d wanted nothing else.
Until two pink lines changed everything.
“That’s the last of it.” Roman set a cardboard box marked textbooks on my dining room table.
“You’re sure?” I scanned the contents of the dining room. There were maybe a dozen boxes and three suitcases. It was hardly what I expected when Liberty agreed to move in with me. Was this really all she owned?
“Looks right,” she said as she walked right past me and planted a kiss on Roman’s cheek. “Thank you so much for helping. Really.”
“No problem.” He gave her the smile that had melted a thousand panties, but I knew it wasn’t intentional flirting. Roman was just that damned charming by nature. Had it been Hendrix, I would have kicked his ass.
“It would have gone faster if you’d let me help.” Liberty fisted her hands on her hips and tilted her head at me.
“What?” I balked. “You’re not supposed to lift anything heavier than twenty pounds. I read it,” I wagged a finger at her.
Her mouth twisted to the side, but she finally sighed.
Nixon one, Liberty zero.
“Fine, then we could have asked Cory and Tyler to help. I hate that you two had to give up a perfectly good Thursday afternoon, especially since you’re leaving tomorrow for Buffalo.”
“That was never going to happen,” I muttered.
Roman rubbed the back of his neck and grimaced.
“What am I missing here?” Her gaze darted between us.
“Most of us like to keep our houses…you know…private, that’s all,” he answered.
Her eyes danced with mischief as she turned toward me. “Are you saying that you big, macho men are scared of the fanboys?”
“Yes,” I answered.
“Absolutely,” Roman agreed. “Besides, is there actually a point to owning a pickup truck if we don’t use it to help someone move at least once?” He lifted his palms.
“Excellent point. You were really just doing us a favor.” I nodded emphatically.
“You two are ridiculous.” She rolled her eyes, then looked over the contents of the table. “Man, I really need to purge.”
Roman and I exchanged a look of pure confusion.
“I wouldn’t consider being able to fit your entire life on my table as needing to purge.”
She snort-laughed, which might have been the cutest damned thing I’d ever heard. “Owning more than I can fit in two suitcases is a reason to purge.”
Suitcases. Right. Because she was planning to leave as soon as she got her doctorate. But May felt like a whole lifetime away, and maybe by the time the whoosh got here, she’d change her mind. If not…well, we were going to have to eventually broach that topic, but not today.