Oh shit. What if he still lived at home?
I recalled him telling me that he had a college degree, so why was he working at a bar, only three days a week? God, I had so many questions.
“Did you call me over to talk about my hours at the bar?” he asked, his lopsided grin spreading.
“No. I . . .” I cleared my throat as I slipped past him and walked to the couch, trying to clear my thoughts. He followed, sitting down on the edge. “That’s not the reason why I asked you to come over.”
His brows rose slightly as he took a sip of his tea. “I got to admit, the anticipation is killing me.”
I ran my hands down my denim clad thighs to keep them from shaking. I figured the best way to tell Nick would be like ripping a Band-Aid off. Make it quick and as painless as possible. My throat tightened. “I don’t know how to tell you this.” Pausing, I looked over at him. The easy grin had slipped a notch. “I’m . . . I’m pregnant.”
There. I said it.
The grin was completely gone from his face and he was staring at me like I’d spoken an entirely different language. I saw his hand spasm around the glass. He didn’t speak, but since I got the most important words out, there it was, like a plug had been yanked out of my throat.
“According to the tests I took, I’m around five weeks pregnant, which makes sense timing wise,” I continued in a rush. “I have a doctor’s appointment on Thursday, at noon, and I’m guessing they will confirm what I already know.”
Nick’s mouth moved for a few seconds but there were no immediate sounds. “I used a condom.” Those four words were hoarsely spoken. “I always use a condom.”
The muscles in my back stiffened as something I’d never even thought of just occurred to me. What if he didn’t believe he was the father? After all, what reason did he have, given how we got together? My heart started to pound. “I know, but the condom had to have broken, and looking back, it did feel . . . different afterward. I haven’t been with anyone else since you and it had been like six months before you. I take birth control pills, but when I was getting ready to move, I missed some,” I rambled on. “I didn’t pay any attention to it, because I wasn’t with anyone until . . . until you.”
Nick looked away as he set his barely touched drink on the end table. “You’re sure you’re pregnant?”
“I took three tests.” I waited for him to ask if I was sure he was the father. That question would sting, but I expected it, and couldn’t really blame him for it.
“Oh, shit.” He pushed to his feet, thrusting a hand through his hair. “Oh, shit.”
“That pretty much sums it up.”
Nick glanced down at me, his pupils dilated, and then he looked away. He walked toward the door, and for a moment my heart stopped. I thought he was leaving, but he spun around. Pacing. He was pacing. “How long have you known? Is that why you didn’t return my text last week?”
His question caught me off guard. “I took the tests last Sunday—a week ago. I didn’t answer your text, because I . . . well, honestly, I hadn’t wrapped my head around it then. I didn’t know what to say to you.”
He faced me, his lips thin. “You should’ve told me the moment you found out.”
I jolted. Of all the things I expected him to say, that hadn’t been it. “I needed to talk to my mom first.”
Nick blinked, obviously surprised. He opened his mouth and then gave a little shake of his head. Lifting his hand, he rubbed the heel of his palm across his chest. I hoped he wasn’t having a heart attack. I kind of felt like I might have one.
“I’m sorry,” I said, because I didn’t know what else to say.
He turned away and tipped his head back, hands at his hips. “All right. I wasn’t expecting this. I need a moment.”
Understandable. I pulled my legs up, tucking them close to my chest as I rested my chin on my knees. I had an idea what he must be thinking. Lots of confusion and shock, I imagined. I was still shocked and I’d known for a week.
“Are you okay?” he asked suddenly, whipping back around to me. I stilled, surprised, as he sat back down on the couch. “That’s why you were sick the other week, wasn’t it? How are you feeling now?”
Shocked, all I could do was blink at him.
“Pregnant women get morning sickness, right? That’s why you were sick?”
I snapped out of it. “I think so, but it hasn’t been severe. It comes and goes throughout the day.”
He stared at me a moment and then cast his gaze to the floor. “You’re really pregnant.”
It didn’t sound like a question, so I didn’t answer.
“I’m . . . I’m going to have a kid.” Shock colored his tone, and I was glad he was sitting down now. “Oh, wow. I don’t . . . know what to say—wait.” He twisted toward me. “Wait. I’m getting ahead of myself. Do you want this baby?”
My entire body tensed and my throat sealed off as my pulse skyrocketed, turning my stomach upside down.
“Because I do,” he said, his gaze holding mine. “We created this baby, didn’t we? So I want this baby. You haven’t said if you do or not or what you plan.”
I felt my jaw loosen. No words rose to the tip of my tongue. I didn’t know what to say. Shock rippled through me, floored me. Nick wanted this baby? I hadn’t expected that. Oh no. I expected protests and so much surprise that we wouldn’t even get to this conversation today. I figured I was going to have to search his ass down after he ran for the hills, screaming.
His gaze sharpened. “I’m assuming you haven’t made up your mind or you plan on keeping the baby, because why else would you have told me. You could’ve just . . . you could’ve handled it without me ever knowing.”
“I couldn’t do that without talking to you.” My mouth felt dry, and I looked away. Everything seemed so . . . so real, which was stupid, because everything was real.
“You haven’t decided then?” He lurched to his feet and his hand went through his hair again. A moment passed. “Do you even want kids?” A choked laugh rattled out of him. “Fuck. Listen to us.”
I squeezed my eyes shut. “I know.”
“Do you?” he persisted.
“Yes. I want kids.” I forced my eyes open just in time to catch a flicker of relief crossing his face. “But I thought I had time and I’d be married first. Or at least . . .”
“In love? With someone?”
I blinked and then whispered, “Yeah.”
Nick’s features softened before he dipped his chin. His shoulders rose with a deep breath. “I can take care of this baby—I can take care of you, Stephanie.”
My eyes widened, and I swore that my heart might’ve faltered a beat. “I don’t need you to take care of me, Nick. That’s not—”
“I know that’s not why you told me and I didn’t mean it like that. I know you probably don’t think much of me—”
“What?” My brows lifted. “That’s not true.”
He went on as if he hadn’t heard me. “—being that I bartend, but I can support you and this baby. I will. That’s not something you need to worry about.”