Her hand skimmed over her belly, and she nodded. “Right. We are.”
I took her upstairs and pointed down the hall. “The master is down there, and there are two more bedrooms this way.” I pushed open the door to the closest bedroom, looking at it in a whole new light. The windows were large, letting a ton of natural light in, and the ensuite bathroom had a nice tub. “You know, this might be a good room for the baby,” I mused. “Unless it’s the one you want.”
Her shoulders were tense as she looked around the room. “I hadn’t gotten that far yet,” she admitted. “I’m not a big plan-the-nursery girl. I’m more of a best-hiking-kid-backpack girl.”
“Noted. We’ll register at R.E.I.,” I teased.
“Now, that’s the best idea you’ve had all day.” She grinned as we walked down the hall to the third bedroom. It had the same great windows, minimalist furniture, and was the farthest away in this part of the house.
“Closet is through there,” I pointed toward the far door as she explored.
“You can fit everything I own on one of these shelves,” she called after sticking her head through the doorway. “This one works. The desk is great.” She motioned toward the wooden expanse just under the window. “Unless you’d rather I take something on the other end of the house,” she blurted.
“No, I actually like you closer. That way I can get to you if you need me.” How fucking corny could I possibly sound?
“Thank you for having me.” She smiled, and it suddenly didn’t feel so corny.
“I’m glad you’re here.” The admission slipped out before I could shut my ridiculous mouth.
“Me, too.” She scrunched her nose. “No fish.”
I laughed, then wondered just how often I would do that with Liberty in my life…for however long I got to have her around…that was.
* * *
I rolled my shoulders as I walked into the kitchen three days later.
“Good workout?” Liberty asked from the disaster area previously known as my island. Monday morning meant she didn’t have class until the afternoon, and the entire counter was covered in chocolate, baking pans, bags of flour and sugar, a carton of eggs, and a giant mixer. The cakes were already cooling on the rack.
Hey, if she’d found something she could keep down, then I didn’t care if she turned my whole house into an episode of Hoarders. She could mess up my kitchen any day.
“Yeah,” I answered, averting my eyes from the mess and grabbing a recovery drink and an apple from the refrigerator. “I like lifting. It clears my head.”
I caught her staring at my bicep. “Looks good, too.” She cringed, and swiped her hand across her forehead, leaving a chocolate smear. “I mean, I bet it feels good.”
We’d only lived together for four days, and I’d been gone two of them, and already the electricity in the house was at a singe-worthy level. There was a reason we’d jumped into bed so quickly when we met—we had that X factor, that chemistry you simply couldn’t question…which meant lifting didn’t just keep my head clear, it kept my hands off her.
But fuck me with those tiny ass shorts she had on right now. The fact that she had on a baseball tee on top with the sleeves pushed up her arms just made it even sexier because she wasn’t trying. God help me if the woman ever tried.
“So, the dress code for the party on Sunday—” I twisted the top on my drink.
“Whoa.” She interrupted, flinging her arms out as she leaned against the counter. “You were serious about me going to that team party with you?”
“Yeah.” I chugged the drink, and by the time I finished, she was still staring at me. “Why wouldn’t I be serious?”
“Because…” She fumbled for a reason. “I don’t know. What are you going to say? Hi, this is Liberty, the woman I accidentally knocked up while we were drunk in Vegas?” She raised her eyebrows, which just crinkled the chocolate she’d smeared on her forehead.
“I thought we agreed on the term baby buddy?” I tossed the bottle into the recycling bin.
“This isn’t a joke, Nixon!” she shouted.
“I never said it was!” I fired back, then groaned when her eyes narrowed. Shit, I couldn’t lose my temper with this woman. Not now, not ever, but I’d gotten so used to nearly everyone in my life being disposable, that I’d lost the ability to reign it in for the greater good. I wasn’t just a pro athlete, I’d become a professional asshole. “I’m sorry.”
“I don’t know what role I play here,” she said softly, bracing her hands against the counter.
“Whatever role you want to.” I put my apple down next to a bowl of what looked to be frosting, then crossed to the sink and dampened a clean towel. By the time I turned back to her, she was licking frosting off her finger.