I live with absolutely no regrets though. I can't imagine life without Max. He keeps me steady. He grounds me. Just knowing there's someone who relies on me for literally everything—his food, safety, and comfort, it's humbling. And the moment I laid eyes upon him after twenty hours of labor, I made him a promise that I would never let him down.

I wipe away my foolish tears and close my eyes. I'm so tired. Exhausted actually. Being strong all the time is tiring. My body feels heavy against the mattress, and my breathing slows. Just as I feel myself falling under, Max begins to cry.

I climb from bed, forcing on a smile as I prepare to do it all over again.

Here we go.

Pace

The blonde bobbing up and down on my cock is slobbering too much. Her noises are too fake, her hair is too platinum, but mostly she's not Kylie.

It's been a week since I've seen her. A week since I've heard that sweet baby giggle, and watched them interact as mother and son. My erection threatens to fade, and I thread my fingers in her hair, pushing her head up and down. The satisfaction I get from her mouth is minimal, but it's better than my own hand on my dick, which has been a nightly occurrence since I'd watched Kylie get herself off by rubbing against me.

"Take me deep," I growl.

Blondie's moans increase in volume, but thankfully, so does her suction.

"Don't stop," I tell her, keeping one hand on the back of her head to show her how I need it.

When I picture Kylie's careful composure crumbling as she took her pleasure from me, a fresh surge of blood pumps south, making me fully hard again. I remember her whimpers and how full and soft her breasts felt in my hands, and I come with a roar, burying my hands in Blondie's hair as I release in her mouth.

The orgasm doesn’t even come close to satisfying the feelings of discontent stewing inside me. I've never been flat out rejected by a woman. At least not until Kylie. Turns out I don't like it. Not one bit.

I tuck my flaccid dick back into my pants and zip up. Blondie is watching me expectantly. Knowing that I won't see her again, I don’t care that she hadn’t gotten off. I know that makes me an asshole, but I don’t care.

Just as I'm looking for the words to get her out of my office, my cell phone starts ringing. I fish it from my pocket, thankful for the distraction from Blondie's watery blue eyes. A number I don't recognize flashes on the screen and normally I'd let it go to voicemail, but something tells me I need to pick it up.

"Hello?"

"Pace? It's Kylie. I need you." Her voice is weak, and she sounds scared.

My stomach tightens, and my heart begins pounding. "Where are you?"

"At the emergency room."

"What happened? Is Max okay?" My tone is almost frantic and a sour feeling pooling in the pit of my stomach.

"He's fine. It's actually me… I took a bad fall. Can you come get me?"

"Of course. I'll be there in fifteen minutes."

"Thank you."

Blondie's frown tells me she's not happy about the half of the conversation she overheard. Too fucking bad. Kylie needs me, and I will be there for her.

***

I take Max from one of the emergency room nurses and follow her into in Kylie's hospital room. She's sitting on the bed, holding her arm awkwardly in her lap. My heart clenches at the sight of her. This normally strong, resilient woman looks pale, exhausted, and tiny sitting in the hospital bed.

"Hey." I bend down and kiss her cheek. It's such a natural response that I don't realize until after my lips are on her skin that it's probably not appropriate. Oh-fucking-well.

"Thank you for coming. Max was getting out of hand. They have to fit me for a cast, and since they gave me some pain killers, they won't let me drive home." She reaches her good hand toward us and gives Max's foot a playful tug, trying to lighten the heaviness all around us.

"What happened?" I ask.

"I was working in the office above my garage and when I heard Max cry on the monitor, I went jogging downstairs to get him, and I slipped. I tumbled down the last half-dozen or so stairs. X-rays confirmed my arm is broken in two spots."

Shit. That's not good. The urge to pull her into my arms and kiss her is nearly overwhelming. Instead, I give Max a gentle squeeze. I get the sense that he's a buffer for each of us.

He lunges toward Kylie. "You've got to be gentle with your momma," I tell him, letting him sit beside her on the bed, where he promptly crawls into her lap. Kylie moves her broken arm to the side away from Max and winces in pain.

"Miss Sloan?" A nurse pokes her head into the room. "I'm ready to take you to get your cast now."

"Okay," Kylie says, then turns to me. "Will you take him to the cafeteria to get something to eat? I shouldn’t be too long."

"Absolutely. Want to get some lunch, buddy?" I ask, lifting him into my arms.

Max looks to Kylie, who makes the sign for eat, then he lets out a squeal.

Okay then. It's settled. I have a lunch date with the world's cutest one-year-old.

"Good luck," I say to Kylie as the nurse leads her from the room. I can't help the worry that churns in my gut.

Later, on the drive home, I'm trying to think of a way to explain to Kylie that it's not a good idea for her to stay alone right now. But I know it will be a tricky subject. She barely let me strap him into his car seat. We'd moved it from her car into mine and left her car in the hospital parking lot.

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