“Hockey is…” I swallowed hard, glancing at Nathan who sat with one arm tucked behind Harper. “Interesting.”
Nixon tried to cover his laugh with a cough but failed miserably.
Harper giggled, but Nathan gave me a genuine smile. “Little different than Monday Night Football,” he said.
I spared Nixon a glance as the waitress brought us our drinks and took our orders. The man was carved muscle, those arms relaxed as he sat next to me—the same arms capable of throwing touchdown passes or holding me tight against a locked locker-room door until my body sang for him.
“I’m partial to football,” I finally answered Nathan after the waitress had left to put in our orders.
“Really?” Nathan asked, setting down his drink. “A tad boring, don’t you think? All those time outs and flag-fests. The posturing. The end zone celebrations.” His smile had grown wider as he spoke, his eyes on Nixon.
“As opposed to the caveman-level fights you boys have on the ice every five seconds?” I teased right back.
Nixon full-out laughed this time, and Nathan’s eyebrows shot right up his head. Harper slow-clapped before pointing a finger at me. “I knew I liked this one,” she said, and I winked at her.
Nathan raised his glass to me, and I clinked my soda water against his.
“In all seriousness,” I said after we took our sips. “The game was fantastic. I’m always blown away by what you professional athletes can do with your bodies.” Heat flared over my cheeks, and I shifted in my seat. “I mean…well, what I meant was that you two have huge talents—” Harper nearly spit out her drink, and I facepalmed myself.
“I’ll take that as a compliment,” Nathan said.
I nodded rapidly, trying to shake off the blunder of my no-filter mouth.
“This coming from a man who told his fiancée I was a running back,” Nixon grumbled from my side, and my eyes darted to his then Harper’s. She nodded, and I gaped at Nathan, who could barely hold back his smile.
“What?” he asked innocently. “It’s in my blood to mess with my brother.”
I glanced between the two brothers, wondering how so much hotness could fit at one table. I’d almost gotten used to the stares that followed us whenever Nixon and I went out in public, but with both of them? It was like traveling with…well, with two gorgeous, talented, professional athletes.
And the resemblance to Nixon was incredible—obviously, they were twins—but Nixon had rougher edges where Nathan’s were smooth, calm. Nixon had a wildness to his eyes, a churning depth this side of painful that I constantly wanted to uncover. Nathan had the soft, kind eyes of a man in love, happy, settled.
I couldn’t help but wonder if Nixon would ever look that settled or if he’d constantly chase the storms that plagued him—the ones he showed when he thought no one was looking.
“You’re lucky I love Harper,” Nixon said, a tease in his tone. “Or else I would’ve driven you into the ground for calling me that.”
Nathan snorted and rolled his eyes. “You can’t take me.”
“History says otherwise.” Nixon leaned his elbows on the table.
I raised my brows at Harper, who just waved off the brother’s banter.
“What, one time out of thousands?”
“Try the other way around,” Nixon said.
“Your memory is off,” Nathan joked. “You’ve been sacked too many times, your head has taken too many hits.”
Nixon shifted next to me, going as still as a statue. I furrowed my brow, wondering if he’d swallowed something from his cocktail, but his glass remained untouched on the table.
Something glistened in Harper’s eyes, and Nathan flashed Nixon an apologetic look.
“Nix,” he said, his tone soft. “I didn’t mean…” His voice trailed off, and Harper smoothed her hand over Nathan’s back.
I studied the hard line of Nixon’s jaw, the way his dark eyes had gone distant, sad even. The tension in my chest tightened as the seconds ticked by and he offered no response.
“So,” I said, desperate to change the subject. “Twins run in the family.” I glanced down at my stomach, then back up to Nathan. “I’m thankful it skipped us. I mean, while I wouldn’t mind two, one is terrifying enough. I mean, how could I split myself between two babies? How did your mom do it?” And now I was rambling.
Harper pressed her lips together, giving me a pitiful look.
Okay. Hello awkward.
“Mom is the most amazing woman on the planet,” Nixon said, and the sound of his voice washed over me like a tropical shower. “I honestly don’t know how she survived the three of us.”
Three of them?
Nathan continued to attempt some sort of silent conversation with Nixon, but I couldn’t tell if Nixon was responding or not. He’d thrown that wall over his eyes, the one he usually reserved for the cameras and reporters.
“She always says it’s about balance,” Nathan said when Nixon clearly wasn’t elaborating. “And she always treated us as separate entities,” he continued. “We may be twins, but we responded differently to everything. Mom made sure to react or treat each situation according to which of us was at the center of it. That made the whole difference.”