Jake Understood

Page 30

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What was I thinking touching her? One more second, and I knew I wasn’t going to be able to stop myself from taking what I had no right to.

She was breathing heavily and almost looked scared, like she wanted to say something but was holding back. I couldn’t blame her. She was the Little Red Riding Hood in this situation and I was the Big Bad Wolf with a big bad boner.

For fuck’s sake, say something, Jake.

Before I had a chance to, Nina blurted out, “I want to know what you do when you go to Boston every weekend.”

Shit.

Shit.

Shit.

Should I just tell her the truth?

Think!

I blinked repeatedly to buy myself some time. The truth. Yeah, right. Could you imagine? “Nina, I’m actually married, but it’s okay. There’s a good explanation. I’m telling you this right now with a stiff willy because…”

Fuck no! I couldn’t tell her now. Not like this.

So, instead, I just blurted out, “It’s complicated, Nina.”

I felt like an absolute prick. Imagine what she was thinking about my leading her on, trying to kick her out, touching her and now feeding her this bull.

Nina just stood there and looked at me then glanced out the window, looking lost and defeated. She was going to give up on me, and I couldn’t blame her.

Looking utterly disappointed, she shook her head and let out a frustrated sigh. “Good night, Jake.”

Game over. Well played, dickhead.

I swallowed as she backed away. Feeling helpless, I let her go, knowing I wouldn’t get any sleep tonight. My mind screamed, “I think I might be falling in love with you.” But I said nothing as she walked away and slammed the door.

No paper bat could fix this shit.

CHAPTER 11

Present

Skylar stood up from the couch to stretch. “I need a break. This story is giving me lady blue balls.”

“Seriously! Even I’m getting lady blue balls,” Mitch joked as he got up and rubbed her shoulders. “You want to watch the baby, Jake, so Skylar and I can have a few minutes alone to take care of this?”

“Imagine how it was for me, man…living through it.”

A loud knock prompted me to jump out of my seat. I flew to the door only to be crushed to find it was my sister and brother-in-law standing there with a bunch of bags.

“Crap. I thought you were Nina. You didn’t get my text?”

The smell of marinara sauce wafted in the air as they both pushed past me.

“What message?”

“I texted you that the party’s off.”

“What? Allison looked down at her phone. “I never got it.”

Cedric rolled his eyes. “I’ll put the food in the kitchen.”

Checking my messages, I scrolled down and noticed I’d mistakenly texted Albert from work instead of Allison. Showing her the screen, I said, “Well, that explains why you never responded.”

Allison took off her coat and hung it up. She walked over to hug Skylar and Mitch who were standing to greet her. My sister took the baby in her arms and conversed with them for a bit before walking back over to me.

She pulled me aside. “What the hell is going on?”

Over the next few minutes, I rehashed everything that happened last night from the Ivy visit to Nina walking out this morning.

“Geez…I’m sorry. That really sucks. I hope she comes home soon…for your sanity.” She rubbed my arm. “Let me fill Cedric in on what’s going on. Be right back.”

Allison went into the kitchen then returned and sat next to Skylar who was nursing the baby again on the couch.

Cedric was carrying a bottle of Cabernet and two glasses when he reentered the living room. He grabbed one of the dining room chairs to join us. “All the food’s put away. We have enough to feed an army, so if anyone’s hungry, it’ll just need to be reheated.”

He opened the wine, poured two glasses and handed one to my sister. “Can I get anyone else a glass?”

Mitch lifted his Heineken. “I’m good with beer.”

Cedric took a sip and looked over at Allison. “Seeing Skylar feeding the baby reminds me of the good old days.”

Skylar turned to Allison. “This little guy is attached to my boobs.”

Mitch winked. “Now, she’s got two Mitch’s she has to pry off her tits.”

Everyone laughed, and Skylar looked over at my sister. “I don’t know how you did it with twins. You nursed them both at once?”

“I did. Those days were crazy but wonderful. It was like having two little coconuts sucking on your boobs all day. They’re teenagers now. Can you believe it?”

Cedric pointed to a gray strip of hair at the front of his head that actually looked pretty cool on him. “I have the gray hair to prove it.”

Allison looked over at him affectionately. “I think your stripe is sexy.”

“I’m glad you do, sweetheart.”

My sister lit a few of the candles on the coffee table. My gaze traveled over to the window. The snow outside was now falling more steadily. It was dark out, and that was making me really antsy about Nina coming home.

I quietly texted her as everyone was talking.

Please come home, baby.

A few seconds later, she messaged me back.

I’ll call you soon.

Her brief responses today were a bit unsettling, but at least, they confirmed that she was okay. Whether we were okay was another matter.

Skylar propped the baby on her shoulder to burp him. “So, before you guys got here, Jake was in the middle of telling us the story of how he met Nina and the days before she found out about Ivy.”

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