I take a breath and lay my head back against the seat of the cab.
“It’s probably nothing,” she says quietly.
“You really think so?” I whisper, more to myself than to her.
“Of course.” She smiles at me and covers my hand with hers on top of Benji’s belly. “Do you know where your sisters are?” She takes out her phone and starts to tap.
“No, I thought they might be with you.”
“I left early to come back to the apartment.”
Her face colors ever so slightly and she doesn’t look at me. She left them to come back to the apartment with a man.
“Was that your boyfriend?” I know it’s not. But I want to hear about it. It’ll take my mind off Benji.
She snorts. “God, no.”
“Who was he?”
She shrugs. “Just a guy.”
“Just a guy?”
She nods. “Just a guy.”
She shakes her head and heaves a sigh. “Someone I met tonight.”
“You brought a guy home you just met?” I blurt out. I hate it as soon as it comes out of my mouth.
“Yes. Don’t judge.”
She finally looks at me. Her brow furrows. “Why what?”
“Why did you bring home a guy you just met? And why were his hands all over you, if you just met him?”
“Because you spent two months inside my fucking head, Tag. And now you’re back and I’m ready to move on. So let me move on, will you?” Her eyes stare into mine and I can feel an electric hum move between us like a live wire.
“Oh,” I say. “I see.”
“Don’t judge,” she warns.
I hold up my hands in surrender. “I’m not.”
“Yes, you are. Stop it.” Her voice is biting and cold all of a sudden.
“No, really–” But in my head, I am. I am. I really am. And I hate that I am. I don’t want her to want anyone else. I want her to be mine.
She startles me when she grabs my chin and turns my face toward hers. “I like to have sex, Tag. Get over it.”
“It’s perfectly all right for a woman to like to fuck men. I like sex. I don’t need to defend it, particularly not to you, seeing as how you couldn’t resist me either.” She lets my face go, but she doesn’t stop looking into my eyes. “Don’t judge,” she says quietly.
“I wasn’t judging,” I say again. I groan inwardly. I shouldn’t say this out loud, but I will. I can’t help it. “I’m…jealous.” I squeeze my eyes shut tightly.
She startles. “Why?”
I might as well be honest. “It bothers me.”
“What bothers you about it?” Her words drip venom and ice.
I choose my words with care. “Because once will never be enough.”
The cab stops at the emergency room entrance and I get out, taking Benji’s car seat with me. She grabs the base and follows me into the hospital. We go to the desk, and very quickly they have us in triage and then they take Benji from me completely, promising that it’ll only be a moment and I’ll be with him again.
He’s gone, and I’m left with Finny and she’s looking at me like I’m going to shatter. And I think I might. But she’s also looking at me with a question in her eyes. And I don’t know the answer. I know nothing except that I’m scared senseless.
“Come on.” She takes my hand and pulls me toward the bathroom. She glances furtively left and right and then pulls me inside. “Sixty seconds,” she says.
She opens her arms to me and I don’t even think before I pull her against me. I need this. I need her. I need for someone to take away the helpless feeling I have.
This time when I hold her, my dick doesn’t get hard. But I do use her. I use her warmth and her softness and I listen to her sweet voice as she counts to sixty. It’s over too soon. She steps back from me and I’m at a loss.
“Let’s go wait for Benji,” she says. She threads her fingers through mine.
“I wasn’t judging,” I say quietly as we sit side by side in the waiting area.
She sighs. “Okay.”
“I really wasn’t. I was thinking that I can understand why you get so many flowers.”
Her brow puckers. “What?”
“Because you’re pretty awesome,” I say quietly. “If you were all the way mine, I wouldn’t want to give you up either.”
She strokes a hand up her arm when goose flesh erupts. “I don’t do relationships.”
“I don’t do one-nighters.”
“Then it’s a good thing we’re really good friends, isn’t it?” she says.
The nurse comes out and calls my name. We get up and walk to her. “Are you the mother?” she asks Fin.
Fin starts to shake her head but I say, “Yes.” I don’t want to go back there alone. Not right now. I want her with me to soften the blow of whatever is wrong with Benji. I can’t lose Benji. And I need Fin to help make it all right.
I want to explore why sixty seconds holding Fin was better than a single moment I ever spent with Julia, but I can’t do it right now. Now I have to find out what’s wrong with my son. When he’s better, I’ll deal with the rest.