“What are you doing?”
“I’m going home,” I tell him as I take my clothes out of the drawers.
“So you’re just going to leave? You come here to fuck everything up, and now that you’ve done that, you’re going to bail?”
“What else was I supposed to do, call you?”
“You’re not supposed to leave because I’m questioning whether or not the baby is mine. Jesus, Ainsley, we haven’t spoken in months nor have we seen each other. Give me a break and let me process all of this. Fuck!” he yells, running his hands through his hair. “And the fact that you went to Wes…Do you even have any idea what that is going to do to me?”
“I don’t understand what the hangup about Wes is,” I tell him honestly. Shouldn’t he be happy that I found my dad? That I have someone I can count on when I need a parent? When his baby needs a grandparent?
Cooper shakes his head and groans. “If I don’t marry you, I’m on his shit list. Right now I can’t even ask for a trade because I only have a few months of stats accumulated and they don’t match my salary. If I marry you, I become his fucking pet, and the team hates me. Everything I earn won’t be because of my hard work but because I married the skipper’s daughter. You have no idea how completely fucked I am right now.”
“It’s not like you knew when we were together. Surely the team can’t blame you?”
“It doesn’t matter, Ainsley. They’re not going to see it like that. My name is forever going to be linked to Wes and this baby.”
“Then just bail, Cooper. I don’t need you. This baby and I can cope fine on our own.” I throw my hands up and start taking my clothes out of the dresser.
“You think that’s the answer? To just fucking bail because that’s what your father did?”
“He didn’t bail. He didn’t know about me, so he can’t really be blamed for being an absent father, but if you…” I take a deep breath. “If you don’t want this, fine. I can do it by myself. My mother did.”
“Is that what you want?”
“Is it what you want?” I throw his question back at him. Even if Cooper doesn’t want this baby, I do.
“I don’t know.”
“Well, that’s just fucking great, now isn’t it?” I scoop up my pile of clothes and toss them into my suitcase. I don’t care about folding them. I just want to get the hell out of Boston and forget everything that has to do with Cooper Bailey.
“Stop,” he says, grabbing a hold of my arm. When he touches me, it feels as if the chaos and anger around us calms down and everything feels right in my world, even though it isn’t. I can’t hold back the tears and find myself covering my face with my free hand to hide from him.
“Come here.” He pulls me toward him, enveloping me in his arms as he sits on the edge of the bed.
He feels warm, safe, and like I’m meant to be here. I want to be closer, but my growing belly keeps us apart.
“I’m sorry,” he says.
He laughs, but I’m not sure why. “For that night you came over and saw me talking to that woman, and for questioning whether this is my baby or not.”
“I should’ve never said the things I did.”
“Yeah? Then why did you?” he asks.
“Because I felt like my mom falling and dying was karma. She told me not to date you and I did anyway.”
He holds me to his chest, rocking us back and forth. I try not to, but I can’t refrain from nuzzling his neck. The way he smells draws in me and brings back the memories we shared, even though they were brief.
“I don’t want you to leave,” he whispers against my skin, igniting my desire for him.
“I don’t want to leave, either.” My fingers play with the ends of his hair as he sighs against me. “I’ve missed you.” I know I’m opening myself up to more hurt when I say this, but I need him to know.
“I’ve missed you, too.” That is when I feel his lips press against my collarbone. I bask in his feather-light kisses, needing more. “I have a road trip starting tonight, lasting six days, but then I have a day off. Stay, if you can?”
I pull away from him and sit on the opposite bed. “You want me to stay?”