“Did you seriously bring a Nicholas Sparks movie into my home?” He glares at me.
“Yes.” I smile sweetly and bat my eyelashes, making Josh laugh. “It’s the newest one. The lead actor’s real name is Josh too, so you should love it.”
“That’s pure girl-logic.” He shakes his head and takes the disc from me, slides it into the player, and flops onto the couch with me. “I get sexual favors for this later, right?”
“I can’t confirm or deny that.” I take a sip of my Diet Coke. “If I start spoiling you like that, you’ll expect it all the time and it’ll be anarchy around here.”
“I’m going to spank you later,” he whispers playfully in my ear, and despite having had a mind-numbing orgasm less than thirty minutes ago, my stomach clenches and electricity shoots through my fingertips.
“Don’t make promises you can’t keep,” I warn him.
“God, you’re sassy.” He laughs and shakes some Skittles into the palm of his hand. He feeds me a green one and pops a purple one into his own mouth as the movie begins.
“Um, do we have to watch a chick flick, Dad?”
We are suddenly joined by a bouncing, slobbering puppy who wants in on the wrestling fun. Thor jumps up on both of us, tail wagging furiously and trying to lick us both at once. He happily slurps an orange candy from Josh’s fingers.
“Whoa, I don’t think you’re supposed to eat Skittles, buddy.” Josh scratches Thor’s head and pushes him onto the floor. “Hey, guys.”
I sit up to see Seth and Zack standing just inside the doorway, both of them watching us as if we’ve just sprouted wings.
“Hi.” I wave.
Seth glances at his dad and then back over at us. “They’re weird.”
Zack smirks and pats Seth on his shoulder. “They’re in love, Son.”
“That’s dumb.” Seth scowls and crosses his arms.
“I hope you still feel that way in five years,” Zack mutters, then looks at the television. His face falls in shock and he pins Josh with a glare. “Wait. You really are watching chick flicks.”
“It was my turn to pick.” I glare at Zack defensively and snuggle Seth’s sweet, soft puppy, who has jumped back up onto my lap. “Thor would watch it with me, wouldn’t you, baby? Yes, you would.”
Thor licks my face happily.
“Thor was licking his butt earlier,” Seth informs me with a giggle.
“Yuck!” I push the pup onto the floor and wipe my mouth with my hand as the three men laugh at me. “Are you guys going to join us?”
“Hell no.” Zack shakes his head and backs toward the door. “We don’t do chick flicks.”
“No way,” Seth agrees, and motions for Thor to join them. “Dad, can we go fishing?”
“Not today, the water is running too fast and too high. We’ll have to wait a few weeks for it to recede.” Zack pats Seth’s shoulder.
“So, does this movie even have a plot?” Josh asks, and pulls me against him tightly.
“Don’t be an ass. Of course it does.”
“Are there guns? Car chases? Aliens?” he asks hopefully.
“No.” I laugh and kiss his cheek. “You’re going to survive it, I promise.”
“And I don’t even know for sure that I’ll get sexual favors out of this deal?” He sends me a mock glare and I laugh, holding my stomach.
“You probably will.”
“What do I have to do to get a ‘definitely’?” He eats an orange Skittles.
“Go pop me some popcorn.”
“Hey, man, wait up,” Zack calls to me as I walk from the barn toward my house. He jogs up to join me, matching my pace.
“How are things going?” he asks casually, but I know my brother.
“Fine.” I eye him suspiciously. “What’s going on with you and Jilly?”
“None of your fucking business.”
“Come on, Bro.” I smirk at him and shake my head. “Cara and Jill are as close to sisters as they can be. You’re my brother. Talk to me.”
“There’s nothing to tell. She went back to LA.”
“Have you heard from her?”
He slowly shakes his head no.
“Have you tried to call her?” I push my hands in my pockets.
“Fuck,” I mutter under my breath, and shake my head at him. “One-night stands aren’t usually your style.”
His jaw tightens as he looks away, and I want to punch him in the chin, but I keep my hands in my pockets and my eyes trained on his face.
He laughs humorlessly and scrubs his hands over his face. “We are a fucked-up pair.”
“No, we’re not. I know who I want, man. She’s right inside with your kid. You’ll figure it out too. You always were the slow learner of the two of us.”
“You’re a dick.”
“Yeah, I can be.” I grin at him. “Cara will fit in here. Hell, she already does.”
“Just be careful, and for God’s sake, don’t knock her up.”
My eyes widen in surprise. “Are you saying that if you could do it all over again, you wouldn’t have had Seth?”
“No, I love my kid. I just wish I’d had him with someone else.” He brushes his hand through his hair and sighs.
“Well, maybe now you can have more kids with someone else.”
“What did you really want to talk about, Z?”
“I can’t ask you how you are?” He grins when I glance over at him with a raised brow. “Okay, how are things with Cara?”
He nods and looks ahead to the house where Cara is getting her day started tutoring Seth. “She moving in here?”
“That’s the plan.”
We stop by my truck and I lean my arm against the bed, watching my brother. He won’t look me in the eye, and I know it’s because he has something to say and doesn’t want to piss me off.
“Just say it, Z.”
“Is that smart?” he asks quietly, and looks me in the eye.
“She’s not her,” I remind him, and sigh when his eyes harden. “Dude, what were you supposed to do? Your wife was miserable. You tried to give her what you thought she needed.”