I hadn’t spoken to Knox since he came to my apartment several days ago. And even though I missed him with every ounce of my being, it felt good taking control of my life and getting things in order. I’d put that off for far too long.
Brian and I toured the car lot, and I selected a slightly used silver sedan to test drive. Once the salesman had made a photocopy of my driver’s license, Brian and I were seated in the air-freshener-scented interior, ready to take a spin.
Gripping the wheel at ten and two, I waited for a large break in the traffic and pulled out onto the road. “So you’ve been seeing more of Amanda these days,” I said as I drove. It wasn’t a question, and Brian merely glanced up at me without responding. “That’s a good thing, right?”
He nodded, a smile barely visible on his lips. Good thing I knew him so well.
“How is she doing?” I asked.
“She’s great. She’s an incredible mom. It’s a big burden being a single parent, but I’ve never heard her complain once.”
“You like her.”
He chuckled at me. “I do. She’s a sweet girl.”
“What about the fact that she has a baby. Does that scare you?”
He looked thoughtful for a moment, but shook his head. “Not at all.”
It was the same way I felt about Knox having custody of his three brothers. If anything, the responsibility only deepened him and enriched our relationship. There was a whole other side of him to love. They were never a burden. Well, except when we wanted alone time, but I was getting distracted. “So are you guys, like, dating?”
Brian nodded. “Yeah, I think so. We haven’t technically been on any dates yet. She has a three-week-old daughter, you know? But I bring her dinner, we watch movies, and I really don’t mind pitching in to take care of AnnMarie. She’s a good baby.”
“You’re a good guy, Brian.” I felt proud of my friend. He was growing up and moving on, just like I was. “I think I’m going to get this car.”
“It’s a great car for the money and seems to run well.”
I nodded. I hadn’t brought him with me to talk about cars or Amanda, so I gathered my courage for what was really on my mind. “Bri?”
“Hmm?” he asked, gazing out the passenger window.
“Knox has asked me to live with him.”
I felt his gaze turn toward me, but like the chicken I was, I continued staring out the front windshield.
“Oh yeah?” he asked.
I nodded. “Yeah. And I’ve decided to move in with him.”
“Wow. That’s a big step, McKenna. Are you sure you guys are—”
“I’m sure. He’s my everything.”
“I get it. I could tell from the first time I met him that there was something major between you two.”
It was nice to hear him acknowledge that. He understood that Knox and I were a package deal.
We sat in silence for the duration of the trip back to the dealership, and I wondered what he was really thinking about all this. When I pulled back into the parking lot and went inside to sign the paperwork, Brian lingered on the car lot. I watched him through the showroom windows, walking around to look at the new cars, and unease churned inside me. He wasn’t going to make some last desperate plea for me, was he?
Finally I met him outside with my new car keys and found him lingering beside his car.
“Hey,” he said.
“Get it all squared away?”
I raised the keys in my hand and gave them a jingle. “You’re looking at the proud new owner of a Volkswagen Jetta.” I grinned.
“Good for you.” He returned my smile, but the worry line creasing his forehead was still present.
We both paused, laughing at the other.
“You go first,” I said. I braced myself for whatever it was that he was going to say. I was strong enough to handle it. Even if he tried to tell me that my parents wouldn’t have approved of Knox, I was certain that wasn’t true. They would be proud of any man who stepped up to raise his family and took good care of me, too.
“Amanda’s living situation isn’t ideal. She has two roommates, plus her and the baby in a small apartment. She and AnnMarie share a room, and I was thinking…” Brian paused and earnest blue eyes met mine. “I know it’s sudden and not like me, but with you moving out, I’d like to ask Amanda to move in with me. We can set up your bedroom as a nursery for the baby. There’ll be more room for toys and all the gear that comes with a baby, and I really like Amanda. Like, I really, really like her. I want to make this work.”
His admission stunned me. I had no idea he liked Amanda so much. But honestly, I should have pieced it together. He’d been at her apartment almost every day since I’d introduced them at the hospital, and he’d come home with a big dopey grin on his face each time. It crossed my mind that Brian might not know about her past with sex addiction, but I knew that was a conversation he and Amanda needed to have. It wasn’t my place.
“I think that’s amazing news.” I pulled him in for a hug. “Have you asked her yet?”
“No. Not yet. I’ve been thinking about asking her about getting our own place, but I didn’t want to just leave you behind. Now that I know you’re moving in with Knox…it just makes sense. It feels right, you know?”
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