Who had captured my heart.
I just didn’t know where Nick stood in this. Yes, he cared about me. I could tell in the way he talked to me. Yes, he wanted me. That was obvious. Yes, he was making plans with me. Those plans centered around the baby. His words lingered in the back of my head.
We’ll make the best of this.
Kind of like when life handed you lemons bullshit, but I wasn’t a lemon, dammit, and making the best of us wasn’t going to get us to the long haul, after the baby arrived and the newness of all of that wore off. Feelings had to run deeper for both of us.
I shook the troubling thoughts out of my head. Standing in the kitchen, staring at the sonogram, I pressed my lips together as I glanced down. There was the tiniest change in the shape of my stomach. Nothing noticeable. Yet. But eventually I would be like Lorraine in the doctor’s waiting room, and my feet would be so swollen I couldn’t wear shoes. I started to grin as I patted my belly. Considering the way I was eating now, I was going to have a heavy belly way before I hit nine months.
Walking to the couch with a glass of OJ, I plopped down and picked up my laptop and resumed my “mommy board” creeping.
Mommy board creeping was a really bad idea I discovered by the time Nick arrived. When I let him in and he kissed me, I was so distracted by everything I’d learned that I wandered aimlessly over to the couch and sat down again.
“I thought you wanted to go out for dinner tonight?” he commented as he took off his jacket.
“I do.” I picked up the pillow.
A slight grin appeared on his lips. “You going to wear that?”
Confused, I looked down at myself. Oh. I was rocking a pair of oversized sweats and an old Shepherd hoodie. “Sorry. I kind of got distracted.”
He sat beside me. “With what?”
I gestured at the closed laptop on one of the pillows that I’d placed on the floor. “I got on these boards—these online forums they call mommy boards.”
I shot him a wide-eyed look. “It was terrifying.”
“What?” he laughed.
He had no idea. None whatsoever. Holding my pillow to my chest, I stared at him. “I did learn that I had a symptom of being pregnant almost right after we conceived. My breasts were tender like two weeks after we had sex. I didn’t think you had symptoms that soon, but you can.” I gestured at the computer with my chin. “Did you know the nipple stimulation is the only scientifically proven method of inducing labor?”
“What?” he laughed.
“I’m serious,” I whispered. “Someone mentioned it on this board and so I Googled it, because really? Like that sounds bizarre, but it’s true.”
Nick cocked his head to the side, his green eyes dancing. “I am more than willing to help out when it comes down to that.”
I ignored that as I curled my legs up. “So then I got curious about what the baby really looks like right now, because these women were talking about how they could see eyes and stuff on the sonogram, and all I can see is a lima bean, so I started researching.”
“And I . . . I watched this video, on how a baby’s face forms in the womb, and oh my God, it was the creepiest thing I’d ever seen.”
His face tensed as he leaned over, putting a hand on my bent knee as he looked away. I saw one side of his mouth curve up. “It can’t be that bad.”
“Oh. It was.” My eyes widened. “Imagine what a clay potato head looks like. You got that image in your head?”
Nick closed his eyes and cleared his throat. “Yeah.”
“Okay. Now imagine that getting all squishy, like it’s melting. And then it filling out—like remember when you were a kid and you’d put your hands on either side of your face and then smashed your cheeks in?”
He blinked several times as he looked at me. “Nah, I think I need a demo.”
Dropping the pillow, I placed my hands on my cheeks and pushed forward while puckering my lips. Nick’s eyes widened, and then he tipped his head back, laughing deeply. I lowered my hands. “It’s not funny. Not funny at all.”
“God.” He chuckled.
“And then the eyes like come from where the ears should be.” I shook my head. “How is that even possible? I don’t even want to know, to be honest. And you don’t even want to know what happens to a woman’s body when they give birth.” I shuddered. “I need an adult.”
“You need to stop watching those videos.” Moving my leg to the side, he scooted closer and then reached over. Placing his hands on my hips, he tugged me over, and I went, ending up in his lap, straddling his thighs. “And I think you need a better distraction.”
I placed my hands on his chest. “I need a brain scrub.”
His hands slid from my hips to cup my rear. “Did you do any research on hormones while pregnant?”
My nose wrinkled. “Not really.”
“Well, you know what I’ve always heard?” His hands squeezed as he drew me closer and my fingers slipped up to his shoulders. “That pregnant women have an increased libido.”
I arched a brow.
“It’s true.” He moved in, his lips brushing over the sensitive spot below my ear.
Stretching my neck, I gave him space to roam, and oh, he did, gliding those lips over my pulse. “Do you know what else is true?”
His tongue flicked over my skin, causing me to jerk. “What?” he murmured.
“Some women lactate automatically when they hear babies cry,” I told him. “Even if it’s not your baby. I could be walking in the grocery store and my boobs could just start spraying out milk.”
Nick lowered his forehead to my shoulder, and I felt his body shake.
I dipped my chin, staring at his head. “And the longest pregnancy on record was like a year and ten days—a year, Nick. A mother freaking year.”
“Steph, baby . . .” He lifted his head, smiling. “As much as your freaking out is adorable, you got to stop watching and reading stuff.”
“But I need to read stuff and watch stuff. How else am I going to learn?”
“Generations and generations before us weren’t online on mommy boards or WebMD.” He patted my butt with both hands. “And things worked out.”
I started to point out that I doubted the statistics of childbearing were better back before the invention of the Internet, but Nick kissed me, really kissed me, and when his lips moved over mine like that, there was little room to be thinking about anything else.
The kiss deepened as I slipped my hands up his cheeks, the stubble along his jaw tickling my palms. I tilted my head, drawing him into my mouth. Unbridled lust shot through my veins, and I knew if he was in me right now, I’d be ready.
“You were right,” I said, kissing the corner of his lips, the slight indent above them. I dropped tiny kisses all over his face.
Nick let his head fall back. “You’re going to have to be a little more detailed, because I’m right about a lot of things.”
I laughed as I tasted the skin below his jaw, thrilled by the deep breath he drew in. “About pregnancy hormones. Because I’m pretty horny right now.” I nipped at the space where the neck met his shoulder. “Then again, I’m always horny when I’m around you.”