“No shit? What did he say?”
“Said something about how he knew we were faking it and our new relationship was a great distraction, but they couldn’t be fooled.”
“What an asshole,” Owen says, shaking his head. “Did you kick his ass?”
“He didn’t say that to me, he said it to her. Then he took off. I never even talked to the guy.”
“Yeah, because he knew you’d flatten his ass if he said that to you. He’s not stupid.”
Right. I would’ve flattened that guy’s ass. I wonder if there’s anything on the web today about us. I wouldn’t doubt it. I’m sure that guy—whoever he was—ran off and posted a false story on the Internet.
“Listen, just keep up the good work and make it look like you can’t live without her. Since she just came from spending the night at your house.” The smirk Owen sends my way makes me chuckle. “Then you must be doing something right. Maybe you’ll finally settle down like the rest of us after all.”
“Settle down? Screw that noise.” I wave a hand, dismissing his words.
“Screw you, jackass. Let yourself fall for once, you know? There’s nothing wrong with having a girlfriend. Trust me. It’s nice having someone who loves you unconditionally, who’s there for you when you need her.” His gaze meets mine, his expression sincere. “It’s okay to need someone, Wade. You don’t have to do everything by yourself.”
I want to believe him. I want to trust what he’s saying is true. I want to trust Drew. And Fable too. They all preach the same thing. A steady girl wouldn’t hurt me, or my career. She’d keep me straight.
But I’m still wary. Relationships are bullshit. People come, and people go. They rarely stick together. It’s a fact of life. So can Sydney and I really be a thing?
I don’t know.
“I can’t believe you’re going to have another baby.” Chelsea, Owen’s girlfriend, fiancée, whatever she is, smiles brightly at Fable as she reaches across the table and grasps Fable’s hand, giving it a squeeze. “Are you guys excited? When are you due?”
“More like I’m tired. The baby is due in April.” Fable’s smile is weak. We’re sitting outside on the back patio at one of the tables close to the pool, the giant umbrella above us providing plenty of shade against the warm August sun. “Though yes, we’re both excited, and more than a little surprised. This baby was unexpected, and I have to be careful. I don’t need any more complications.”
Chelsea’s expression turns somber. “I remember. That was so frightening, when you were in labor with Jacob.”
“Tell me all about it. I don’t think Drew can go through that again,” Fable says wryly.
I listen to their conversation about babies, covertly studying Chelsea. She’s pretty, but not what I pictured Owen’s girlfriend to look like. And I don’t even know why I’m thinking that, but I guess I had some presumptive thoughts. Besides, I’ve heard a lot about Owen Maguire since I’ve started working for the Callahans. I’ve seen photos, seen videos on YouTube even. He’s larger than life, with a charming, magnetic presence that draws people to him.
Chelsea on the other hand, is quiet. I can tell. Her long, dark brown hair is pulled into a side braid and she’s not wearing any makeup, though she looks great without it. She has beautiful blue eyes that remind me of the sky and clear, creamy skin. She’s wearing a simple black sundress that gently clings to her curves, showing off her tanned arms. Her face is friendly. Open. And that reassures me.
My mind starts to drift, my thoughts filled with grandeur. What if Wade and I can really make this work and have an actual relationship? He and Owen are so close. They make sure they’re involved in each other’s lives. This means Chelsea and I would most likely have to spend a lot of time together, too. Could we be friends?
I hope so.
“How long are you and Owen here for?” I ask Chelsea.
She smiles at me, revealing straight, perfect teeth. “Only until Tuesday afternoon. Owen has to get back to practice on Wednesday.”
“Aw, that’s so soon! I was hoping you guys could stay through the week,” Fable says, sounding sad.
“Come on, Fable. You know the drill. You’re a football wife.” Chelsea sends her a meaningful look. “Besides, I need to get back so I can go to class.”
“So you’re definitely going to school there?’ Fable asks.
“Yeah, I may as well. I need to finish up my master’s degree and Owen didn’t want me waiting any longer. So I’m enrolled in a couple of classes. I think I can finish everything in the next year if I stay focused, but we’ll see,” Chelsea explains.
Wow. Her master’s degree? I’m impressed. She’s smart. And I’m not. Great. We’ll probably have nothing in common.
“That sounds like a good idea,” Fable says with a nod. “Just don’t let Owen distract you, and you’ll be fine.” They both laugh.
Chelsea turns her gaze on me. “Do you go to college, Sydney?”
I shake my head, suddenly uncomfortable. This is the last thing I want to talk about. “No. Not right now.”
Fable frowns with concern. “Oh. Do you want to go? You never told me. You should enroll in a few classes. I’m sure we could work around your schedule.”
She’s always so nice, so accommodating. I don’t know how I lucked out with her as my boss. Even with the naughty nanny drama, I have no regrets. I can’t. I met Wade through them and he more than makes up for all the nanny stories.