I don’t mind that I’ve been missing more things. It’s something I knew would change if I followed through with having a baby, but I wish he would see that I’m giving too. That he’s not the only one making sacrifices to make whatever this is between us work.
“Of course.” Calder pulls out his phone to make it happen.
“Can I come with you?” Maria asks with hopeful eyes. “I’d love to see Dallas.”
“Pilot said give him ten and he’ll be ready,” Calder says.
“Is what I’m wearing okay?” Maria stands from the table.
“It’s perfect,” Birdie answers, making me laugh. Maria came with pretty much nothing, and Birdie has been dressing the girl every day like her own fashion doll and taking a million and one pictures of her. “You’ve got pockets in a dress. You can wear that to anything.”
“She’s right,” I agree.
“I don’t know, this is Texas. I don’t mean to be rude,” Maria rushes to say.
“She’s teasing. Grab your purse if you need it and we’ll be on our way,” I tell her before she leaves the room.
“Can’t wait for Tucker and Sterling to get back and see you two are gone.” Calder leans back in his chair, smiling.
“Don’t smile over other people's distress.” Birdie smacks him in the chest.
“Don’t hurt yourself.” He grabs Birdie’s hand, kissing it before lacing his fingers through hers. “You have delicate fingers, and my chest is hard.”
“You want to come with us?” I ask Birdie.
“The hell did I do to you? I got you the chopper and now you’re trying to steal my woman?” Calder sits up straighter in his chair, acting as though I asked Birdie if I could set her up on a date instead of inviting her to brunch.
“Helicopters are not for me. They make me hurl more than this baby.” She rubs her tiny baby bump with her free hand.
“Thank you for the chopper.” I shake my head at Calder fighting a smile. “You’ll let Tucker know when he gets back? I know they have patchy cell service when they’re out there on the ranch with the horses.”
“I can do that,” he agrees before Maria and I head out.
“I’m so excited. I heard you have a yacht.”
“My yacht is likely a pontoon compared to your father’s.”
“I wouldn’t know. He never took me on it.” She dips her face to try and hide the sadness I’m sure that’s in her eyes.
“How is your father?”
“I don’t think he knows I’m gone yet. I’m sure he thinks I’m tucked away back home, and whenever he returns he’ll notice then.”
“You want to drive the gator over?” I offer her the keys.
“Really?” Her whole face lights up. I’m starting to think Maria has been locked away more than any of us realized.
“Yep.” I drop the keys into her hands. She says something excitedly in Italian that I don’t catch as she jumps into the driver seat. I barely make it into the passenger seat before she’s taking off toward the helipad on the east side of the property.
It’s not until I’m on the helicopter and heading toward the city do I realize part of me is secretly wondering what Tucker is going to do once he finds out I’m gone.
It’s not him running or asking me to leave the ranch. I’m the one that’s pushing away and running after all.
“What the hell do you mean she’s gone?” I slap my work gloves against my jeans.
I’d come up to the main house to see if Cam wanted to go for a ride only to be informed she’d taken the copter into town.
Birdie folds her arms across her chest and frowns at me. “She said she had forgotten about a meeting with her mama. You’re not mad at her for leaving, are you?”
Hell, yeah, I like to know where Cam is at all times. She should be sitting on my porch in one of my rocking chairs drinking sweet tea and not flying into Dallas, but I have some sense of preservation, and that’s telling me to watch what I say to Birdie. I take a look at my watch. I had heard the bird going up in the air about an hour and a half ago, which means it’s halfway back here. “Tell the pilot to make sure the tank is full. I’ll be back.”
I head inside and power up the stairs to the room Cam’s been staying in. I kept my mouth closed when she said she wanted to stay at the main house to help Maria settle in, but I can’t help but think that was a mistake. I should’ve taken her back to the cabin, taken Maria too if need be, but I wanted to show Cam I could bend—that I wasn’t always dictatorial trying to get my way all the time.