"I still can't believe you drove yourself," I tell her.
She shrugs. "I didn't know it was actually broken. I didn’t want to call an ambulance for nothing. It could have been a minor sprain."
"An arm broken in two spots is not nothing." Plus it's her right arm—her dominant hand—meaning life is going to be difficult for her for the next six weeks. I can see her beginning to process all of this when we pull into her driveway.
First I help her from the car, then I get Max, and carry him, along with her purse, to the front door. Fishing around inside her purse for her keys, I see baby toys and tampons and tubes of lipstick, but no keys. Finally she directs me to look in the outside pocket, and I let us all into the house.
"Thank you," she says, taking Max one-armed from me. "I'm sorry I interrupted your day. I hope you weren’t busy when I called."
I remember that my cock had been in another woman's mouth moments before she called, and I feel like the world's biggest asshole. "No, I wasn’t busy."
"Still, I feel bad. The last time we hung out…"
"I gave you my card and told you to call if you needed anything. I'm glad I was here today to help."
She nods. "Thank you for that. I didn't have anyone else to call. With my nanny still away on her honeymoon and Colton and Sophie in Africa … it's going to be a tough week."
"It doesn’t have to be," I say, gathering my courage for what I'm sure is about to lead to an argument.
"What do you mean?"
"Come stay with me."
"What? Me and Max? No. That's crazy."
"Kylie." I look straight into her eyes. "You couldn’t even get him in and out of the car seat without help. How do you think it's going to go when you're alone and trying to fix him dinner, or give him a bath, or change his diaper, or do any of the other millions of things you do with him every day?"
"I'll manage, Pace. It's not your responsibility."
"Maybe I want it to be."
She watches me curiously, her eyes bouncing from mine, to Max, to the floor. "You want to change diapers?"
I shrug. "I want to help you. I couldn’t sleep at night with the thought of you here, alone, injured and trying to be strong. I know you're strong. I know you can handle just about anything, but you don't have to do it alone. Let me help."
"The only reason I couldn’t get him into the car seat today was because I'm still sore."
They'd given her some powerful painkillers, but I could tell she was still hurting. "And you're going to be sore for the next several days. You broke your arm, angel. Come on, let's pack a bag for you and for Max, and I'll show you my place. If you don't like it, or don't think it will work, I'll bring you guys right back here. Sound fair?"
She huffs out a deep breath. "I guess so. I don't even know where you live."
"I have a condo on the coast. You'll like it, I think." I treat her to a dimpled grin, and she rolls her eyes.
"Come on, Max." She leads us all back to the bedrooms where she tosses clothes and toys onto the bed, and I stuff them into a bag.
When we arrive at my condo, I open the door and watch Kylie's reaction as she takes in the space. I certainly don't live in a mansion by any stretch of the imagination, but I like my place. I bought it two years ago when my business started taking off and got a great deal on it. I might have a trust fund like my brothers, but I make it a point not to live off the money. I like knowing that everything here—from the Persian wool rug on the cherry wood floors, to the dark gray sofa, to the oil paintings on the walls—I have bought and paid for with money I have earned.
It's an open floor plan, so pretty much everything except the bedrooms is visible. Kylie's eyes bounce from the living room to the kitchen, outfitted in stainless steel and granite. "Nice place," she comments, her voice small. It's a far cry from her cozy home with its throw pillows and oversized chairs and candid pictures on every available surface. My home lacks the personal touches hers has. I have only two photographs sitting on a shelf, collecting dust. One is of me and my brothers, taken two years ago during a yachting trip, and the other is my group of college buddies. James has a black eye in the photo, and Kylie leans close, looking at the picture.
"What happened to him?" she asks.
"Ah, it was his birthday," I say, not giving a further explanation of our drunken shenanigans. It was a long ass time ago.
"Do you go out and get rowdy like that often?" she asks, frowning.
"Not really." Not anymore. When you have to get up for work early the next day, the appeal of the late-night party scene fades considerably.
When Kylie sets Max down, he immediately toddles over to the floor-to-ceiling glass windows that have an ocean view, and begins slapping the glass.
"Come on, Max." She steers him away from the windows. "Wow, what a view," Kylie says, holding Max at her hip and admiring the blue water below.
"I like it." I grin, watching her. I like having her here, at my place. Already, there's new life breathed into the quiet space.
She lets Max explore while I show her around and in the span of fifteen minutes, he's riffled through my kitchen cabinets, and removed various dangerous looking kitchen apparatuses, crawled into the bathroom and stuck his hands in the toilet water, and now he's digging through the soil of a potted palm in my dining room. Kylie hasn't been able to relax for even a second, chasing him from room to room. This is not going well.