Eggs. Salmon. Veggies and fruits—colorful fruits and vegetables, because apparently there was a difference. No boring colored fruits for pregnant people! Sweet potatoes. Greek yogurt. And finally, lean meats.
I sort of liked the fatty meats, because, you know, I preferred things that had taste.
I’d also picked up a mammoth-sized prenatal vitamins and acid reflux medicine. Since it appeared there wasn’t a lot that was approved for expecting mothers, and the heartburn medicine was, I thought it might help with nausea. I wasn’t going to take it now, since the sickness was manageable, but it was good to have on hand.
Cheez-Its or Pringles? That was what I was debating when there was a knock on my door.
I turned around slowly as my heart did a cartwheel. A moment passed and then I approached the door. Even though some instinctual part of me knew who it was, I checked. It was Nick. Biting on my lip, I glanced down at myself and sighed. My sweats were at least two sizes too big and my cropped sweater was not something I’d ever wear in public. A decent part of my stomach was visible, and while there were no noticeable changes, I wished I had time to run back—
Well, wait. Why did I care what I looked like or what he thought? I was mad at him. And I could look worse. I could have a Cheez-It stuck to my chest or something. I opened the door, ready to demand to know why he was there.
Before I could open my mouth, Nick strolled right on in, like he had every right in the world to come in. A helmet was tucked under his arm and a worn leather jacket stretched over his broad chest.
“So you still have a motorcycle?” I blurted out, and man, wasn’t that a stupid question.
He placed the helmet on the kitchen table. “Yeah, I do.” His brows knitted. “I have a car and a motorcycle. It stopped raining, so I decided to ride the bike.”
“But isn’t it cold on the bike?”
One shoulder rose in a shrug. “You get used to it.” There was a pause as that light green gaze slid over my face. “I need to get you on the back of my bike and take you for a ride.”
A tight shiver tiptoed down my spine. Those words dripped with a heavier meaning. Folding my arms across my stomach, I looked away, my gaze landing on the helmet. “Why are you here, Nick?”
Silence greeted the question, forcing me to look at him. His gaze sharpened as he stared down at me, his jaw a hard line. When he spoke, his voice was clipped. “I can’t believe you’d ask me that question.”
I wanted to point out why I had, but the reasons weren’t very good. I could recognize that now.
“So I guess this is why you didn’t respond to my text Monday?” he said, his hands settling on his hips. “I’ve done something to piss you off. I don’t know what exactly, so would you be kind enough to let me in on whatever it is?”
The prickly irritation was back, but mostly directed at myself. What was really bothering me, what I didn’t have the nerve to point out, was what he had said at dinner Sunday night. That we were “stuck” together. There was the source of my frustration and . . . and yes, the dull ache in the center of my chest. But telling Nick that would be equivalent to stripping down and doing a little dance for him.
“I guess . . . I was upset over how long it took you to respond to my text Monday.” I squeezed my eyes shut, hating myself for even saying that out loud, because it was partly true. “I just thought you’d . . . um, respond quicker.”
When I opened my eyes, a look of doubt was etched into Nick’s expression, but so was . . . amusement. I pursed my lips. What in the world did he find funny about this? He shrugged off his leather jacket and draped it over the back of the chair. Guess he was staying. “You’re right,” he said.
I glanced around the room. “I am?”
Nick stepped toward me, and I stilled, unsure of what he would do. He was so damn unpredictable, and he did surprise me by taking my hand. Threading his fingers through mine, he tugged me away from the entrance. My heart did an unsteady flop, because for a second I thought he was leading me back down the hall, toward the bed, and while my head said that was a bad, bad idea, my body practically exploded with a rush of hormones screaming hell yeah.
But that wasn’t where he was guiding me. He led me toward the couch and then sat, tugging me down so I was sitting right next to him, my thigh pressed against his, and since my head was happily splashing around in the gutter, the contact sent a wave of heat through me.
I needed to get a grip.
My gaze dropped from his beautiful eyes to an area below the belt.
I really needed to get a grip.
“What are you thinking right now?” Nick asked.
“Huh?” My gaze flew to his face. “Nothing.”
He turned his head slightly. “Yeah, I don’t believe you. Your face is suddenly flushed and your eyes are unfocused— Wait, are you feeling okay? Is it the—”
“I’m fine.” Not like I was going to tell him I was horny. I pulled my hand free and clamped them between my knees. “So . . . what was I right about?” Without looking at him, I knew his gaze was fastened on me, and it was that intensely unnerving gaze that made you feel like he was seeing right through you.
“You were right about the not-texting-back thing. I should’ve texted you back sooner.”
Surprised, I glanced at him sharply. “Are you for real?”
He ignored that question. “But you also should’ve had the balls to call me out on it immediately. We could’ve dealt with it then instead of you stewing for two days over it and me having to ask Roxy yesterday if you were dead.”
“What?” I leaned away from him. “You asked Roxy if I was dead?”
A completely unrepentant look settled into his features. “Well, I didn’t say those exact words, but I saw her at the bar this afternoon when I swung by and asked if she’d heard from you. My point is, you should’ve had the balls to call me out on it.”
“I don’t have balls,” I said snidely. The crazy thing was, in any other situation I would’ve called his ass out on it immediately. I wouldn’t have stewed over it.
One side of his lips quirked up. “Then you should’ve had the fertilized eggs to call me out immediately.”
I jerked. A laugh roared out of me. “Fertilized eggs?”
His grin spread. “That’s the next best thing to balls.”
“Oh my God.” I smacked my hands over my face as I laughed. “That just sounds all kinds of wrong, Nick. So wrong.”
“Yeah, you’re right. It does sound weird.” He chuckled as I lowered my hands.
Warmth crept into my cheeks and I squirmed uncomfortably. “You’re right,” I said. “I should’ve said something or asked, or at least I should’ve responded. It was childish, and normally I’m not like that. I guess I’m . . .”
“Stressed?” he supplied gently, nudging my leg with his.
I nodded. “Yeah, I am, but that really isn’t an excuse. It’s not—”
“There was a reason why I didn’t get back in touch with you until later, on Monday night. I take care of my grandfather.” That statement jarred me. Nick was looking straight ahead, all the earlier humor vanished from his striking profile.