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Authors: Kaylee Ryan

Unexpected Reality (26 page)

BOOK: Unexpected Reality
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“Thank you!” Dawn exclaims. “That’s what I’ve been trying to tell her for days now. She needs to get his story.”

“We’ve talked about it, but he said he wants it to be face to face. We just haven’t had the time. We both work, and he has his baby to take care of.”

“Bring the baby to us, and you two can have a night out,” Mom suggests. “It’s been years seen I’ve had a little one to cuddle.”

“Speak of the devil, that’s his sister calling now,” Dawn says, holding up her phone.

“Do we know them?” Dad asks.

“Do you remember Reagan Beckett? I graduated with her?”

“Yeah. Nice girl, that one,” he says.

“It’s her older brother, Ridge.”

“Beckett Construction?” Dad laughs. “I take it having you check in on him worked out for both of you?”

“It didn’t hurt.” I cross my arms over my chest. I really want to laugh too, but I’m biting my tongue.

“Sure, thanks for the invite. I’ll talk to Kendall and one of us will get back with you,” Dawn says, ending the call. “Reagan invited us over to Ridge’s house tomorrow night.”

“Yeah, they’re all watching the fight.”

“Did he invite you?” she asks.

I nod. “He invited both of us, but I told him I wanted to catch up with Mom and Dad.”

“Nope, not happening, sweetheart. Do not hide behind your mother and me,” Dad mock-scolds me.

“I already turned him down,” I whine.

“Yeah, but you didn’t turn Reagan down.” Dawn smirks.

“That will make me look desperate.”

“No, it will make you look interested, which you are,” my mother corrects me.

“What is this, ‘gang up on Kendall’ day?”

“No, it’s helping Kendall see what’s right under her nose. Help her see that risking getting her heart broken is worth it. It’s trying to get you to see that there is that one person out there who will love you like your father loves me,” Mom says defiantly.

“Hey, Reagan, it’s Dawn. Hey, listen. I talked to Kendall, and we’re in. We’re with her parents now, so we are suddenly free tomorrow night.” I hold my breath, waiting for what she’ll say next. “Okay, great, see you then.” She ends the call. “We’re supposed to meet Reagan at her place at seven. I guess the preliminary fights start at eight.”

Taking a deep breath, I slowly release it. “What do we need to bring?”

The three of them cheer at my acceptance of the situation.

I love my crazy family.

The next day, Dawn and I tag-team cleaning the house then just kick back and relax in the afternoon. She keeps grinning at me, more excited about this than I am. That’s when it hits me—there must be more.

“What are you so happy about?”

“I want you happy,” she says.

I watch her as she bites her bottom lip before quickly releasing it. If I didn’t know her so well, I wouldn’t know it’s a tell.

“Which one?” I ask her.

“What do you mean?”

“Which one of the guys do you have your eye on?”

She blushes, which is not something that I see my best friend do often. Hell, ever.

“Mark.”

“Nice.” I grin at her. “You didn’t have to drag me along just to hang out with them. You and Reagan have hung out a few times.”

“Yeah, I know, but it’ll be easier if you’re there. Besides, you need to stop hiding and jump in the deep end. Let life take you on the journey, Kendall.”

I think about what she’s saying and realize I kind of have, in a way. At least I thought I had. I haven’t heard from Ridge since early yesterday. I started to text him goodnight last night, but I don’t want to be that girl, the clingy ‘have to see you and talk to you all the time’ kind. Not to mention that we aren’t in a relationship. He told me he wants me, but that doesn’t mean that whatever this is will be going anywhere.

“Yeah,” I finally answer her. “We’ll see how tonight goes.”

A few hours later, we’re pulling into Reagan’s driveway. For some reason, I’m nervous knowing she and Dawn talked about me and Ridge.

“Hey hey,” she says, greeting us on the front porch. “I’m all set.” She’s carrying a huge Crock-Pot.

“What you got there?” Dawn asks.

“Meatballs. Tyler loves them and begged me to make them for tonight.”

“Tyler, huh?” Dawn grins.

“Wait a minute. What did I miss?” I question.

“I kind of sort of have a thing for one of my brother’s best friends.”

“Nice.”

“Oh, hush, you. You want my brother.”

Dawn laughs, and we both turn to face her.

“And you, you have your eyes on Mark,” Reagan points out.

Complete silence, until the three of us break out in laughter at the same time. After we compose ourselves and keep the meatballs from eminent disaster, we load up and head to Ridge’s place.

“So, I have a confession,” Reagan starts. “I didn’t tell him you were coming.” She looks at me briefly in the rearview mirror.

“Is that going to be an issue? I don’t have to go.”

“No, he wants you there. He said he was going to invite you, but you already had plans. I decided to intervene.”

“Great,” I mumble.

“Trust me on this, Kendall. He’s not going to be anything but thrilled to see you walk through his front door.”

“So, Tyler?” I ask, changing the subject, and we spend the rest of the drive listening to Reagan tell us how she’s crushed on him for years. We both encourage her to tell him how she feels, but she’s still resistant.

Maybe I need to intervene as well.

 

 

Last night and today have been . . . an adventure. Knox was up and down all night, and he’s been fussy all day. I’m struggling right now and scared as hell. I should have called Mom, but she has him every day. Reagan was working at the shop, and the guys . . . Well, they’re like me and know nothing about babies. I started to call Kendall, but I don’t want her to think I only want her because she’s willing to help me with my kid.

So here I am, a half hour before everyone is supposed to show up, and the house is a wreck. Knox and I are both tired and cranky, and I don’t know how I’m going to get through the night. The guys don’t want to hang out with me being in a pissy mood, with a baby who’s unhappy as well. Not exactly what they would call fun times.

I’m just about to call and cancel when I hear a car pull up in the drive. Of course, today of all days someone would be early. Knox cries, and I gently bounce him and pat his little butt. “Shhh, Daddy’s got you, bud. I don’t know what’s wrong. I’m sorry. I wish you could tell me what you needed. I’m failing you, and I’m so fucking sorry.” Instead of soothing him, he cries harder. I begin pacing the floor again, surprised I have carpet left as many trips as we’ve made today.

“Anyone home?” Reagan calls out.

“Hey, bud. Aunt Reagan’s here. You want to say hi?”

He continues to cry.

“Hey,” she says, coming to stand next to me. She places her hand on his little back. “What’s up, sweet boy?” she coos, and he quiets a little. She looks up at me. “How long has he been like this?”

“He barely slept last night, and he’s been fussy all day. I was just getting ready to call and cancel.”

“Why the hell didn’t you call me or Mom? You know we would have come over to give you a hand.”

“Because he’s mine!” I yell at her, which causes Knox to cry harder. “Shhh, Daddy’s sorry, bud. Shhh,” I try to soothe him. “He’s my responsibility. I have to learn how to do this, Reagan. What will I do if you or Mom isn’t there to bail my ass out, huh? Then what do I do? This is my fucking life now. I have to learn how to do this, to deal with my son when he’s fussy.”

“Let me have him.” She holds her hands out.

I would love the break, just a minute to rest my arms, but I’m stubborn as hell. “No, I got this.”

“Ridge, let me have him.” She’s pissed off now.

“No, I got him. Just call the guys and tell them tonight is off.” I turn away from her and that’s when I see them. Kendall and Dawn are standing in the doorway, watching me unravel.

Perfect.

Knox is still crying. I bounce him, pat his butt, but it’s not helping. Kendall hands the bag she’s holding to Dawn and addresses Reagan. “Hey, can you two give us a minute?”

“Good fucking luck.” She stomps over to pick up a Crock-Pot, Dawn hot on her heels as they take everything to the kitchen.

“Hey,” Kendall says softly, her eyes on me. “Rough day, I see.”

“Yeah, you could say that.”

She pulls my hand from his back and replaces it with her own. Moving in close, she begins to run slow circles on his back. “He can tell you’re tense. He can feel it. Babies are smart, and he’s upset because you are,” she says in a low, soothing voice.

“I don’t know. He’s been fussy all day, and even last night. He didn’t sleep well.”

“Yeah,” she coos, and I feel myself relax just at the sound of her voice. “You’re exhausted, and he senses that.” She steps closer and places her other hand on my back, begins to gently rub there as well.

I can literally feel the tension melt away at her gentle touch. “I’ve missed you,” I whisper in her ear.

She laughs softly. “I was wondering why I didn’t hear from you, thought maybe you changed your mind.”

“Never. I just need to learn how to do this.”

“I agree,” she says, surprising me. “However, you need to remember that even two parents in one household need help and a break every now and then. You don’t have to do this alone, Ridge. You could have called Reagan, your mom . . . Hell, you could have called me.”

“I almost did,” I confess. “I just didn’t want you to think that’s what this was. That I was only pursuing something with you so you could help me with my son. I’m doing it because I want you.”

“I know that. Can I hold him?” she asks.

I nod and slowly transfer him to her arms.

“Shhh, little man, it’s okay. Daddy’s just really tired. He needs some sleep, and I think you do too,” she coos to him.

Instantly, he starts to calm.
She’s bewitched me too, son.

“My own kid hates me.”

“Hey,” she scolds me with a whispered voice. If I weren’t so tired, I’d tell her how fucking cute she is right now. “You’ve both had a rough twenty-four hours. How long since he ate?”

“He’s due anytime.” I should have tried to get him to eat. Maybe that was the issue, but I tried that several times today. Nothing worked for long, until she took over. Can’t say I blame him.

“Good. You need to go upstairs and take a shower. Take as much time as you need. I got this little guy.”

“Kendall, I can’t ask you to do that.”

“You didn’t ask me, Ridge. I want to. You need help, and that’s okay. Please, for me. Just trust me, okay?”

I lean in and press my lips to hers. I have to; there’s no other way to explain it. It’s quick, but the meaning behind it is no less than what it is. A ‘thank you,’ plus an ‘I don’t know what I would do without you in this moment’ kiss. Sure, my sister offered to do the same thing, but we butt heads; my sweet girl moved right in before I knew what hit me. That’s what she’s done since the day I met her.

“Thank you,” I murmur next to her ear before dashing upstairs. I rush through a shower; even though I would love to stand under the hot spray, the need to be near her trumps that. The fact that she’s downstairs, in my house, taking care of my son . . . Yeah, I take the quickest shower known to man. Regardless of how fast it is, I still feel revived, but then again, that’s probably just Kendall.

BOOK: Unexpected Reality
8.88Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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