I just wish Drew would see it that way.
With a sigh, I move to the closet to get my luggage. I only took one small bag with me when I left a week ago, so there are a lot of clothes to be packed. I spot the large beige leather suitcase on the top shelf.
Walk-in closet shelves really weren’t designed with the petite in mind. I stretch on my tippy-toes, trying to grasp the handle. I consider getting a chair from the other room, but I try jumping for it first.
As I bend my knees for my second attempt, I hear Drew come up behind me. he reaches over my head, easily taking hold of the suitcase, and brings it down.
“You shouldn’t stretch your arms over your head. It’s not good for you . . . for the baby.” he walks out of the closet and lays the suitcase on the bed.
“how do you know that?” I ask as I trail behind him.
he shrugs. “When Alexandra was pregnant, I read a lot. I wanted to be prepared in case she went into labor at a family function, or if we got stuck in a cab together during rush-hour traffic.”
he unzips the bag and adds, “I would’ve had to gouge my f**king eyeballs out afterward, of course, but it would’ve been worth it.”
he takes me by the shoulders and sits me down on the edge of the bed. “Just . . . put your feet up. Rest.”
Then he turns toward the dresser and takes a stack of my T-shirts out of the drawer, placing them neatly in the suitcase. he doesn’t look at me as he works.
“You’re helping me pack?”
he nods stiffly. “Yep.”
“But you still don’t want me to move out?”
“And . . . you still think it’s a stupid idea?”
“Yep. You don’t have many stupid ideas—but even if you did, this would be the dumbest of them all.”
he takes another pile from the drawer as I ask, “Then why are you helping me?”
he drops the pile in the bag and makes eye contact. And his face says everything that he’s feeling—frustration, resignation . . .
“In the last two years, I’ve probably told you a dozen times that I would do anything for you.” he shrugs. “It’s time I put up or shut up.”
And this . . . this is why I love him. I suspect it’s why you love him too.
Because despite his faults and flaws, Drew is bold enough to give me everything he’s got. To put his heart on the chopping block and hand me the ax.
he’ll do things he hates, just because I ask him to. he’ll go against his instincts and better judgment, if it’s what I need. he puts his well-being, his happiness, second to my own.
I stand up, wrap my arms around his neck, and press my lips to his. A moment later, my feet leave the floor and his hand buries in my hair. his mouth captures my moan as he presses me closer.
I pull back and tell him, “You’re amazing.”
he gives me a soft smirk. “That is the general consensus.”
I smile. “And I love you.”
he sets my feet on the floor but keeps his arms around my waist. “Good. Then you’re going to let me put three locks on the door of whatever apartment you decide to move into. And a chain.
And a dead bolt.”
I smile wider. “Okay.”
Drew slowly steps forward, backing me up toward the bed.
“And you’re not going to bitch when I have a security system installed.”
“Wouldn’t dream of it.”
We take another step together, almost like we’re dancing.
“I’m thinking about buying you one of those ‘I’ve fallen and I can’t get up’ necklaces too.”
My eyes squint as I pretend to think about the idea. “We’ll talk about it.”
“And . . . you’re going to let me walk you home from work every night.”
The back of my legs make contact with the bed frame.
“I’m also going to come to every doctor’s appointment with you.”
“I didn’t for a second imagine you wouldn’t.”
Drew cups my face in his hands. “And one day, I’m going to ask you to marry me. And you’re going to know it’s not because you’re pregnant, or because of some misguided attempt to keep you.”
Tears spring into my eyes as we gaze at each other.
In a rough voice, he continues, “You’re going to know I’m asking because nothing would make me prouder than to be able to say, “This is my wife, Kate.” And when I do ask, you’re going to say yes.”
When I nod, one tear trails down my cheek. Drew wipes it away with his thumb as I promise, “It’s a sure thing.”
And then he’s kissing me, with all the passion and desire he’s held in check the last two days. Drew cradles my head as we fall on the bed together. Then I arch up, and heat spreads across my stomach and down my thighs as I rub myself against where he’s already hard and ready.
Resting his elbows on the bed above my shoulders, Drew lifts his head and pants, “So . . . is this make-up sex . . . or break-up sex?
Because I have really fantastic ideas for either one.”
I open my legs wider, nestling Drew between them. “It’s definitely make-up sex, maybe a little bit of take-a-break sex. And a whole lot of last-day-in-the-apartment sex. That’s a lot to cover—so it’s going to take a really, really long time.”
Drew smiles. And it’s his boyish, delighted smile—one of my favorites—that only comes out on very special occasions.
“I adore the way you think.”
And we don’t leave the bed for the rest of the day.
Eight months later
So . . . I’ve gone back to church. Every week. Sometimes twice a week.
Yeah—it’s me, Drew.
Long time no see. Miss me? Judging from the “I’d like to shove your dick in an automatic pencil sharpener” look on your face . . .
I’m guessing that’s a no.
Still pissed, huh? Can’t say I blame you. It was a solid three weeks before I could look at my reflection in the mirror and not want to kick my own ass. In fact, one night I was out with the guys celebrat-ing a massive deal Jack closed, and after one too many shots of Jäger, I begged Matthew to punch me in the nuts as hard as he could.
Because I couldn’t stop seeing the look on Kate’s face when she walked in the door that horrible night. It replayed in my head over and over, like one of those awful films on cable that’s constantly on, but no one ever watches.