After a soft knock, the door opened and the doctor entered. I was thankful I didn’t have to respond to Bray just yet. I had no clue what to say. He was being totally irrational. The doctor sat across from us and handed me the printed black-and-white photos of my little kidney bean, and then began to cover all the prenatal dos and don’ts and what to expect during the next eight months. Basically all of life’s pleasures were being stripped away from me—coffee, alcohol, soft cheeses—but exercise was still encouraged. Ugh. God was definitely a man.
Braydon hung on the doctor’s every word and occasionally interjected with questions of his own. I felt numb and sat there bouncing my knee in silent anxiousness while I stared down at the photos in my shaking hands. While the doctor spoke, Braydon’s offer hung heavily on my mind. Could we really do this? Go from a faux-couple to moving in together and raising a baby? Something told me if anyone could do this and do it with humor and ease, it’d be us. We just worked. And it seemed he was finally seeing that.
We were quiet as we left the doctor’s office. The first stop was the drugstore, where we picked up gingerroot for my nausea and a bottle of prenatal vitamins, along with a tub of rocky road ice cream, which I was suddenly craving. Badly. It took every bit of willpower I had not to peel the lid off the carton on the cab ride to Braydon’s and dig in with my bare fingers.
Though I hadn’t agreed to anything else, I did agree to a sleepover at his place.
“You sure you don’t need anything? I can lend you something to sleep in, a toothbrush, whatever you want.”
“Thank you, that’ll be perfect.”
He smiled at me, flashing that dimpled grin and those gorgeous blue eyes and I felt calmed, like maybe everything really would be okay somehow. “So . . . dinner, yes? What are you in the mood for?” he asked.
I held up my carton of ice cream. “I’m good.”
He chuckled. “Got it.” Returning a moment later from the kitchen with two spoons, we settled in the living room with the tub of ice cream between us.
I almost made him suffer by refusing to share, but then decided he’d been too sweet today. I couldn’t say no to him.
Over spoonfuls of ice cream, Braydon brought up the topic of me moving in again. “I know there’s not a ton of extra space here, but the baby would sleep in our room for the first few months anyhow, right?”
I let him talk, nodding occasionally, but not coming right out and agreeing to anything. This was a huge step for him. He should at least sleep on it at the very least, make sure it was what he really wanted.
“Why are you being so quiet?” he finally asked.
I shrugged. “It’s just a lot of change, Bray. I don’t expect you to rearrange your whole life just because I got knocked up.”
He released a heavy sigh and took my hands. “I need to say some things.”
I nodded, meeting his eyes. I would listen to anything he had to say. Maybe he was finally coming to his senses about how much work raising a baby would be.
“It was never just sex between us, we both know that. I looked forward to seeing you, bringing you dinner, listening to stories about your day. The truth is, I’m miserable when you’re not with me. You’re the one I want to see every day and I can’t sleep at night until you’ve texted me that you’re in bed. I know I sound like a pu**y right now, but I don’t care. I’ve been trying to figure out a way to tell you all this for a while now, but I was worried about your reaction. I didn’t want you thinking I just wanted to start having sex again. And I do, believe me, but I want all of you. No more holding back.” He brought a warm palm to my cheek and stroked my bottom lip with his thumb. “God, Ellie, I’m f**king crazy about you. Your smart mouth, your intelligence, beauty . . . the way you f**k. I think I fell a little bit in love that first night with you. Which was why I fought so hard to enforce the parameters of our arrangement.”
I chewed on my lip. I wanted to believe him, but I was terrified his declaration had more to do with the baby than with me. “Just because I’m pregnant doesn’t mean we have to . . .”
“Stop. You think I’m just realizing this? Bringing you to my apartment, knocking down all my walls—it was stupid—I should have just told you, but bringing you here was my way of showing you I wanted more with you. I just didn’t want to push you for more when I’d already pushed you away so many times.”
He sat back against the sofa, breaking our connection and looking serious. “And I won’t push you now, either. If you want me—all of me—you have me. If you just want to be friends, you can have that too, as long as you know I’m going to be as involved in this baby’s life as I can possibly be. And it would be a lot easier if you moved in with me. The three of us could be together like a real family, travel to photo shoots together even.”
I stayed silent, tears building in my eyes. It was everything I ever wanted. I was still scared to be a mom, but excited too. “What do you think they’d say if we brought a baby on set?”
“They’d freak at how gorgeous our kid is, obviously.”
“I’m sorry, this is just a lot to process.” I pressed my fingers to my temples, abandoning my spoon in the tub of melting ice cream.
He nodded. “I know. You don’t have to make any decisions right now. Let’s go get ready for bed. It’s been a big day.”
That was the understatement of the year. My day had begun with meeting Braydon to see if we were going to rekindle our friendship, then I’d helped him and Katrina put their pasts behind them, and then came the biggest bombshell of all—finding out I didn’t have the flu after all, and instead was expecting a baby. But the biggest news of all was that Braydon wanted more with me—much more. Asking me to move in was a total shock.
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