Cooper moves closer, keeping his hand on my stomach. Before I realize what he’s doing, he’s moved the comforter off of us and is eye level with my stomach.
“Can he hear me?”
He looks at me with a devilish smirk. “Of course.”
“What if he turns out to be a she?”
His smirk morphs into fear, and it sort of matches what I’m feeling. I don’t want to get my hopes up that he’s into this baby thing. That he wants us to be a family because that is what I want. When Daisy asked if I was staying in Boston and I told her no, I didn’t like how I felt not having Cooper in our child’s life. I grew up without a dad and he without a mom. Why would I do that to this baby?
“Honestly, Ainsley, I don’t mind if it’s a boy or girl. Obviously I’m partial to boys because of baseball, but if we had a little girl that looked just like you, I have no doubt she’d have me wrapped around her little finger like her mother does.” As he’s saying this, he’s slowly moving up my body. He kisses me softly, locking our fingers together.
“I have to ask if this is real. Do you really want this?”
Placing his other hand on my hip, his thumb moves back and forth slowly along my skin. “I’ve thought about this a lot and what it means. This isn’t something that either of us can walk away from. We both have to be responsible for the life we created, but it’s more than that for me. I’ve told you how I felt about you, and that hasn’t changed. Shit, up until two months ago, I was calling your office phone every day so I could hear your voice. And that day you called me, I didn’t even hesitate to come meet you.
“But when I saw you pregnant, I thought I had lost any chance at being with you. I was shocked and scared when you told me the baby was mine. I don’t know how to be dad or a husband. Hell, I’m probably not very good at being a boyfriend, but I’m going to fucking try until I get it right.”
“Husband?” I squeak out.
“Yeah, husband.” He gets off the bed and pulls me to the edge, helping me sit up, even though I can do it myself. When he gets down on his knee, tears well in my eyes.
“Ainsley, I’m going to make a lot of mistakes. I’m going to be gone a lot and you’ll feel like you’re doing it all, but when I’m here…when I’m lying next to you at night, you’re going to know that you own me. You’re going to know that I’m in love with you. I don’t have a ring, but I don’t want to wait. Will you marry me?”
I nod frantically and blurt out a blubbering “Yes.” Cooper pulls me into his arms, kissing me with abandon. We scoot back onto the bed, and once again, I’m cradled in his arms. Cooper makes me feel safe. Feel loved.
“I asked Wes for permission to marry you last night.”
“You did?” I don’t think I could hide the shock on my face if I tried.
He nods. “I know he just found out, but I thought it would be important to both of us to have his blessing. We talked, and he’s not going to tell anyone that he’s your father.”
“And that will make things easier for you?” I know he’s worried about his career, and if we’re going to be a family, I should worry as well.
“Yeah, I think this is how it has to be. I’m not saying you can’t have a relationship with him: you can. And I want him in our child’s life. I just don’t want to broadcast it that he’s your father.”
“I can live with that.”
* * *
After we shower and dress, I tell Cooper about my doctor's appointment and ask him if he wants to come. He agrees, even though I can see the fear in his eyes as we sit in the office waiting to be called back.
Today, he looks nothing like the Cooper Bailey I’m used to. Instead of his usual Renegades gear, he’s opted for track pants and a hoodie, doing everything he can to hide who he is. I get it—he doesn’t want our news spread all over the tabloids—but people are bound to find out sooner or later.
When my name is called, I grab his hand and drag him behind me. The nurse is laughing and says that she sees this all the time. The big macho men can’t handle baby stuff and usually end up in the corner, away from everything.
In the room, the nurse goes over everything in my medical history from my doctor in Florida and asks Cooper some questions. When he brings up his mom, he pauses and shakes his head.
“I’ll have to ask my father,” he replies to the question about the type of cancer she had. When our eyes meet, we both see the same thing: worry. We’ve both lost parents to cancer. What does that mean for us, for our baby? Cooper kisses me on the tip of my nose, trying to ease my mind, but it doesn’t work.
The nurse leaves, instructing me to change into the robe.
“I can see your ass,” Cooper says, grabbing my cheek.
I climb up onto the table and Cooper stands in front of me, playing with the stirrup. “Cooper, sit down before the doctor comes in.”