Careful not to wake her, I lay her down on the couch, gathering a handful of tissues to wipe between her legs where the after-effect of my orgasm is beginning to show. Seeing my come decorating her delicate pink folds makes me half hard again. But we've both had multiple orgasms in the last hour, so I will let her sleep. She murmurs something as she feels me clean between her legs, but her eyes stay closed. It's like she's been drugged. I smile proudly.

Once she's clean, I dress Kylie in her t-shirt, and then slide her panties up her legs. She curls onto her side on the couch, cradling her casted arm close to her body, and I join her, pulling a blanket over us and tucking her body in close to mine. I'd never fully appreciated spooning until this moment. With my body curled around hers, I close my eyes and let myself drift off into that relaxed state just before sleep takes over.

"Goodnight, Moon," I whisper with my lips pressed to her hair, thankful that even if it's just for tonight, she's in my arms.


At some point in the night, she had gone. Left me alone on the couch in favor of Max. Something unsettled me about that, as if it was a metaphor for our entire relationship. She was too scared to feel something for me, and rather than staying with me and taking the risk, she'd gone back to the safety and comfort of what she knew. A sense of loss greater than I'd ever known fills me.

Stiff, and still groggy, I sit up and stretch my arms over my head. Images of last night's intense sexual encounter dance through my brain, warming me.

As I make coffee in the kitchen, I hear voices from inside my bedroom. I listen more closely and smile at the soft notes of her singing baby songs to Max. My heart speeds up, knowing it’s Saturday and that I have the entire day to look forward to with them.

I rummage through the fridge and cabinets in search of something to make them for breakfast. Just as I settle on eggs and toast, Kylie comes out of the bedroom carrying Max. He is still dressed in my t-shirt, and for some reason that makes me smile. Kylie is dressed in the same clothes as yesterday and her hair is tied back in a low ponytail.

"Morning," I say, leaning in to kiss her cheek.

She pulls back suddenly, her eyes betraying her confusion.

"Everything okay?" I ask, sensing an unwelcome shift between us.


"Yes, everything's fine," she says. "I just can't believe we stayed the night. I don't have any more diapers and of course Max is completely soaked."

I'm intuitive enough to know it's not the lack of diapers that has her frazzled, but I won't pry right now. Something tells me if I do, I'll only push her away. "I don't suppose some paper towels and duct tape would work?" I ask, giving her a grin.

She laughs. "No, I don't think so, but that's very MacGyver of you."

"I can run to the store while you guys have breakfast. The eggs are ready." I glance toward the cook top where the skillet of scrambled eggs waits.

"No, that's sweet of you, but we need to get home."

I swallow an uncomfortable lump in my throat. "I was hoping you would stay, spend the day here. We could take a walk down to the park."

She chews on her lower lip like she has something unpleasant to tell me. "We're meeting Elan for brunch later this morning."

My hands curl into fists, but I don't respond.

"I thought I explained this to you. I thought you understood that Elan and I have a history and we're…"

I hold up a hand, stopping her. "It's fine. I understand that you have a history with him. You have a baby for fucks sake." Kylie cringes at my rough tone. "I'm sorry." Shit, why can't I do anything right? Why can't I get this woman to see how much I care about her? It's fucking infuriating. And after the night we just shared, I thought we were past this. I don't spoon with women after sex or gently wipe them clean. Kylie is the exception to everything.

Awkwardly, she turns away from me and I see her wipe her eyes.


Then she grabs her purse from the back of the chair and slings it over her body. "I guess we're gonna go," she says.

"Pa-pa," Max says, reaching for me.

"Have fun with your dad, buddy," I tell him, my voice sounding oddly cold and disengaged. I want to take him in my arms and hug his little body to mine, but I don't. It will only hurt worse.

I know I should offer to walk her out, help her get Max into the car. But I don't. Instead, I grab a plate from the counter and begin piling eggs on it.

"Bye Pace," Kylie whispers. I don't turn toward her. I don't want her to see the tears swimming in my eyes.

I hear the door click closed and I hurl the plate against the wall, the porcelain shattering and eggs flying everywhere.

"Fuck!" I roar.

The empty, too-quiet condo feels cold and hollow.

I sink to my knees on the kitchen floor, and begin picking up pieces of broken glass. If I can't win her over with my actions, or my words, I'm lost. I gave her everything I had last night. I bared myself. My feelings for her and for Max were right there at the surface. Today, I feel raw and broken, like a piece of me is missing. She saw me – the true me, and everything I had to offer as a man, a lover and as a father, and still, she's chosen to walk away – chosen him. Elan might share Max's DNA, but he hasn’t given them a piece of his heart like I have.

Chapter Thirteen


Elan sits across the table from me, sipping his coffee and quietly watching Max. The restaurant is more upscale than I would have preferred. I'm not opposed to taking Max out to eat, but generally choose somewhere loud and kid-friendly. This quiet, quaint bistro is neither. In fact, I think Max is the only child in the place. Thankfully, the restaurant did have a highchair when I asked for one, and Max is seated in between Elan and I, happily munching on crackers that I've broken up in front of him. The dirty scowls from the waitress tells me that she's definitely noticed the pile of crumbs he's creating on the floor.