Second Chance Holiday, p.6Part #4.50 of Until series by Aurora Rose Reynolds
“Well, he said that you guys are old,” Brandon says with a smile, making me smile into the beer I just brought to my mouth.
“Didn’t you just turn eighteen?” Cash asks, and Brandon nods. “You think you can run a strip club?”
“I don’t think I can. I know I can,” Brandon says, and pride fills my chest.
“You’re a kid,” Nico says.
“That doesn’t mean anything.”
“It does when there are naked women around,” Trevor says.
“So, are you tryin’ to say that Mike sleeps with the women who work at the club?” Brandon asks. “Or that Joe does?”
“I didn’t say that,” Trevor says, looking at me.
“Well, then, why would you think that I would do that?”
“You just turned eighteen,” Cash repeats.
“I think he could do it,” I say.
All eyes come to me.
“Look at it this way. Joe and I opened teasers when we were in our twenties. I have never slept with or even touched one of the women who work for me nor do I want to. It’s a job and nothing more. I think that, if he went to school, got some business classes or management classes under his belt, he could do good by the club and the girls. I know that he is young, but if he continues down the road he is on now, he will do amazing things one day,” I say and turn to look at Brandon. “If you prove to me and Joe that you really want to run the club one day, I would be honored to hand the reins over to you.”
I watch as his eyes go soft and a look I often see from his mom appears on his face before he looks away. I now know that I will do anything in my power to make sure he succeeds in whatever he chooses for his life and fully understands what my mom said to me when I told her that I wanted to own a strip club.
“All I have ever wanted was for you to be happy, son. So if this is what makes you happy and is a reason for you to get out of bed every day, then who am I judge it?”
From that moment on, my mom was my biggest ally, and I know that I will be that for Brandon.
“Thanks,” Brandon says quietly.
“How do you think Brandon would feel about you guys living with me?” I ask Kat.
We have been going strong for a few months. Most mornings, when I get off work, I just come straight to Kat’s. Even if I’m just going to be sleeping, I like knowing that Kat is in the next room. I can’t stand being away from her. The idea of her moving in with me has been floating around in my head for some time now. Her townhouse is nice, but my house is nicer. I also have more space. Brandon wouldn’t feel like we are living on top of him like he does now. I remember what it’s like to be a teenage boy, and no way would I want my mom’s room next to mine.
“You want us to move in with you?” Kat asks, her already large eyes getting larger.
“We basically live together now. I just figured we should make it official.” I shrug like it’s not a big deal even though my gut is twisting and my heart rate has sped up.
“Are you sure you want that?”
“Yes,” I say immediately.
This is the next step for us. At this point, we’re just putting off the inevitable. We spend all of our free time together and I never go home to my place anymore when I get off work unless there is something I need to do.
“I…” She pauses, looking around her place. “I wouldn’t feel good about moving Brandon. Not right now in the middle of the school year.”
Shit. I didn’t even think about that. “Okay, so we wait and I’ll move in here until the school year’s done.”
“You would do that?”
“Living with you isn’t a hardship.” I smile, crowding her against the counter in the kitchen. “Sleeping next to you.” I nip her neck. “Waking up with you.” I kiss her lips.
“So then, I guess we just need to sit down and talk to Brandon about it?” she whispers against my lips.
“You want both of us to talk to him or do you want to do it on your own?”
“I think I should talk to him first,” she mumbles, looking down at her fingers that are now playing with the buttons of my shirt.
“Are you worried?” I ask, tilting her head back so I can see her eyes.
“No. I mean… I don’t know.” She shrugs. “He’s been so good lately that I’m nervous about messing that up.”
“Look, if we have to keep things the way they are right now, I’m cool with that.”
She nods, and I kiss her on the mouth just as the front door is opens.
“Mom, Mike, I’m home!” Brandon yells.
“I’m gonna head home and you call me when you’re done talking with him,” I tell her, kissing her once more.
“Hey,” Brandon says when he walks into the kitchen. His eyes go from his mom to me then back again.
“How was school?” Kat asks him as he opens the fridge door.
“School,” he mumbles, pulling up his pants.
I don’t even understand why he’s wearing a belt when his pants are hanging off his ass anyways. I look at Kat, who blows out a long breath, looking at her son.
“I’m gonna head out,” I say.
Kat pulls her eyes from Brandon’s back before looking at me. “I’ll walk you to the door.”
“See you soon,” I tell Brandon. I know he is supposed to be meeting me at the club in a few hours. Joe has some questions for him and wants to have a sit-down.
“I’m just gonna grab some food then change. I’ll see you in a while,” he mutters, not pulling his head from the fridge.
Kat squeezes my hand, and I follow her out of the kitchen to the front door.
“Call if you need me.” I lean in and kiss her forehead then lips.
She nods when I pull away, and I can tell she’s worried about talking to him about us.
“Look, if he’s not okay with us moving in together, I’m cool with that.”
“Who’s moving in?” Brandon says from behind us.
Kat whispers, “Shit,” under her breath before turning her head to look over her shoulder.
“If Mike’s moving in, then I want to move to his house.”
“What?” Kat asks, looking at him.
“His place is bigger.” He shrugs. “Can I have the downstairs apartment?” he asks, taking a drink of his Coke and looking at me.
“That’s up to your mom,” I say, looking at Kat.
“I… Well… I guess that’s something we will have to talk about,” Kat says, stunned.
“Okay,” he mumbles before walking up the stairs. “I have to head out to meet Asher before going to the club. Is it okay if I use the car?” he asks from the top of the stairs.
“Sure, honey,” Kat tells him then looks at me when he is out of sight. “Okay, so that was weird.”
I put an arm around her waist and pull her closer to me. “Looks like you’re moving in,” I tell her.
She looks from where Brandon just disappeared to me. “We are.” She smiles.
“So what’s your day like?” Mike asks, crawling into bed next to me.
I close up my computer then look over at him. “I’m going to shower. I have to go to the school to meet with Brandon’s teachers. Then I have a doctor appointment at two,” I tell him, smiling when he pulls me closer to him.
“Why do you have to go to the doctor?”
“Just a checkup.” I shrug like it’s no big deal.
I don’t want to tell him that I’m going through menopause. I hate getting old or older. It’s not something you want to admit is happening when it’s happening, but I can no longer pretend like I’m not going through the change.
“You sure?” he asks.
“Yes, I’m sure,” I say, laying my head on his chest so that he can’t read my face and figure out that I’m lying.
“What about Brandon?” he asks after a few seconds.
“His guidance counselor wants to meet about college.”
He nods then leans back looking up at the celling.
I continue. “I know that he is adamant about not wanting to go away for college, but I really want him to hear all the choices before making a decision.
“Want me to come with you?” he tilts my face back to look at me.
“No.” I shake my head while fighting a smile. I love him so much, and knowing that he cares about my son only makes that love grow even deeper.
“If you change your mind, let me know. I’m going to sleep while you shower,” he says sleepily.
As much as I want to lie in bed with him, I know that, if I stay, he won’t sleep. Since we’ve moved in, it has been getting harder and harder for him to go to the club in the evenings, and when he gets home in the morning, it’s hard for me to leave him in bed alone.
“Get some rest and I’ll see you when I get home.” I kiss his jaw then roll out of bed and hurry to the bathroom without looking at him. I know that, if I see him in bed, I won’t be able to help climbing back in with him.
“You’re pregnant, Miss Mullings,” the doctor says, stepping back into the room.
I look at him then shake my head. “There has to be a mistake,” I say, trying to see the papers he’s holding. “I’m going through menopause,” I say, feeling another hot flash as soon as I say the word.
“You’re not. You’re too young. Normally, women go though menopause in their early fifties.”
“I’m too old to be pregnant.”
“You’re healthy. You’re not overweight. You don’t smoke. Your blood pressure and vitals are all perfect. You have nothing to worry about.” He smiles. He obviously has no idea what he’s talking about, because Mike is going to freak out. “You’re approximately eleven weeks along. We will need to keep a closer eye on you, but I expect things to go well. We will do an internal ultrasound to make sure that everything looks right, but I’m guessing, with your hormone levels, that everything is fine.”
“Okay,” I mumble. I have no idea what else to say. My brain has shut down.
I stay silent though the procedure. Even when I hear the heartbeat and see the little baby on the screen, it still doesn’t feel real. When everything is done and I have discussed with the doctor what I should expect, I’m still in a daze. Then I wait for him to fill my prescription for prenatal vitamins before following him out to the front desk, where I make another appointment.
After my meeting at Brandon’s school, all I wanted was a large glass of wine—now, I wanted the whole bottle.
I shake my head and head out to my car. I have no idea how I’m going to tell Mike this news. Things have just settled with us. We’re at a good place in our relationship. I know that he didn’t want a relationship after what had happened with November’s mother, but I didn’t know if he ever thought about having more kids.
A million thoughts race through my mind and I feel my stomach bubble with anxiety when I pull up in front of the house and see Mike’s car as well as his mom’s. I sit in silence for a few minutes, working up the courage to go inside. When I finally make it up to the front door, the sound of a little girl laughing greats me from the other side, and I take a deep breath before walking inside.
“Hey, babe,” Mike says when he spots me standing in the hall watching him. He’s sitting on the floor in the living room wearing one of his many band tees with a pair of jeans. June is standing between his spread legs, holding on to his fingers. “How was everything?” he asks.
I look from June’s sweet face to Mike’s and take a deep breath. “It was good,” I tell him.
His eyes draw together. “What happened?”
“Nothing,” I say, smiling when his mom walks into the room.
“Hey, girly,” Emma, Mike’s mom, says, walking across the room to me.
I meet her in the middle and give her a hug. My parents both live in Oklahoma, so having Mike’s mom here in town along with the Maysons has made being away from family much easier.
“Where’s my boy at?” she asks as the front door opens and Brandon walks in.
“Gran,” Brandon says, giving her a hug. Then his eyes go to the floor where June is.
The moment June sees him, she starts gurgling and bouncing. She and July both love Brandon, and he loves both the girls.
“June bug,” he says, getting down on his knees and holding out his hands.
June has been trying to learn to walk for a few weeks now. The farthest she has gotten when I have been around is two steps before giving up and crawling.
“Come here,” Brandon says, holding out his hands, and June immediately lets go of Mike’s fingers and walks four steps to Brandon before falling into his arms. “You’re getting so good,” he says, standing with her in his arms.
She laughs, looking into his face.
“You sure you’re okay, baby?” Mike asks, coming to stand next to me.
I nod and lean into his side, and his mom smiles at us then looks at Brandon with June. She laughs when June grabs Brandon’s hair and pulls his face closer so she can gnaw on his chin.
“He’s really great with kids,” Mike’s mom says. Then she looks at me and smiles. “So, do you want to go shopping with me this weekend?”
I immediately shake my head no and start thinking of something I need to do this weekend. Shopping with Emma is like pulling teeth. I don’t even know why she calls it shopping when we’re never in the store for more than a few minutes. I think she was happier than anyone in the world when online shopping was invented.
“I think Susan needs my help this weekend getting ready for the Halloween party that they are putting on downtown,” I answer.
“Good. I’ll call and see if she and November would like to go with us to pick up some stuff in Nashville. Then we can head over to the local warehouse store and pick up the stuff for the Halloween party.”
“Okay, that would be nice,” I tell her and feel Mike’s body shaking behind me.
He knows that his daughter and I both hate shopping with his mom. November was actually the one to warn me about shopping with her grandma.
“I’m going to take June home before it gets too late,” Emma says.
At the sound of her name, June turns her head in our direction, and when she sees me, she gets a huge smile on her face and holds out her hands towards me. I step away from Mike and take her from Brandon, and she immediately snuggles into my chest.
“Hi, June Bug,” I say, rubbing my cheek over the top of her head.
The smell of her and feel of her in my arms causes me to tear up. Thinking about having this feeling while holding Mike’s and my child in a few months is absolutely crazy. I lift my eyes and look at Mike—his eyes are pulled together like he’s trying to figure something out. I smile and he smiles back, but I can still see the concern in his eyes.
“Are you going to come back for dinner?” I ask Emma.
She shakes her head no, running a hand over the top of June’s head. “I have to go help November out tonight with the girls because Asher has some job he’s working on and won’t be home until late, and November is pregnant again, so Asher is on edge with leaving her alone.”
“What?” I whisper in shock.
“Oh crap. There I go again, letting the cat out of the bag,” she says, looking between Mike and me.
I can honestly say that I’m not even a little surprised that Asher and November are pregnant again. I know that they both wanted to have their children young and that Asher really wants a boy.
“Don’t say anything until they announce it,” Emma mumbles, walking over to the couch, where she grabs the diaper bag and June’s sweater.
“Jesus,” I hear Mike mumble.
Brandon laughs. I just stand there silently watching Emma gather all of June’s belongings while trying to understand what I’m feeling. I will be pregnant at the same time that my boyfriend’s daughter is pregnant. How in the world does that even happen? How awkward was it going to be when we both sho
“You okay, Mom?” Brandon asks.
I look at my son and do the only thing I can at this moment—I plaster a fake smile on my face. “Just great. So, what are you doing tonight?” I ask him.
He narrows his eyes but answers anyway. “I’m going to help a friend study for a test we have coming up in history.”
“What friend is that?” I ask because he hasn’t been hanging out with any of his old friends lately. If he’s not working, he’s at school or at home.
“Just a girl from class,” he says.
Mike coughs behind me, so I swing my head to look at him before looking back at Brandon.
“A girl that is my friend, yes.” He smiles.
“Should I be worried?”
He rolls his eyes at me. “No, Mom.” He sighs.
“Will you be home for dinner?”
“No. I think were going to get something from the diner,” he says and his cheeks brighten slightly, making me wonder who this girl is. “I have to go change. I’ll be home by ten at the latest.” He kisses the side June’s head and then mine before disappearing downstairs to his room.
“Do you know who she is?” I ask Mike after a few moments.
“Nope, and if I did, I wouldn’t tell you anyways.”
“You wouldn’t?” I ask, feeling my eyes narrow.
“Nope. Dude code, baby. We don’t gossip with women about women.”
“You don’t gossip with women about women, but you gossip about women to men?”
“Men don’t gossip.”
“Then what do you call it?”
“Exchanging valuable information.”
“So…gossiping,” I state.
“Nope.” He smiles, leans in, and kisses me once.
“All right, June Bug. Come to Great-Grandma so Grandma and Grandpa can get some alone time,” Emma says.
I almost blurt out, “Holy shit!” because I never thought that I was a grandma and I definitely never thought I would be a pregnant grandma. A grandma pregnant by a grandpa. Could my life get any more ridiculous?
Second Chance Holiday by Aurora Rose Reynolds / Romance & Love / History & Fiction have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes