Before jamaica lane, p.45
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       Before Jamaica Lane, p.45

         Part #3 of On Dublin Street series by Samantha Young
 
Page 45

  Jo looked up from her packing box. ‘Where is he?’

  I grinned. ‘He’s flirting his ass off with a pretty redhead. There’s no way I’m interrupting that. ’

  Her eyebrows hit her hairline. ‘Seriously?’

  ‘Seriously. And by the looks of things, I’d expect a girl to be coming around the apartment from now on, if I were you. ’

  Hannah smirked. ‘Great. Now I have ammunition. ’

  Ellie nudged her. ‘Be nice. ’

  ‘Why? He’s always taking the piss out of me. Now I finally have something to torture him with. ’

  We shook our heads at her and continued to unpack.

  Twenty minutes later, Cole strode in, a dark scowl marring his handsome face. Worry creased Jo’s brow. ‘Hey, baby boy, you okay?’

  He grunted at her and moved toward a box.

  I shared a look with his sister before plucking up the courage to ask, ‘What happened to the girl? The redhead. ’

  Cole jerked as though I’d shot him. Without looking at me he muttered, ‘She had to leave. ’

  ‘Well, did you get her number at least?’

  He lifted his head and his green eyes blazed into mine angrily. ‘What do you think?’ And at that he stormed out of the room, ignoring Jo’s shouts to him to apologize for his rudeness.

  ‘Leave it. ’ I shook my head. ‘Just let him be. ’

  Before Jo could reply, my cell rang and seeing Nate’s face on my screen lightened my mood. ‘I have to take this. ’ I ducked out of the living room and wandered toward the empty kitchen as I answered, ‘Hey, baby. ’

  ‘Hey, yourself. ’ His low, warm voice soothed me. ‘You about done at Ellie’s?’

  ‘Unfortunately not. I’ll be a few more hours. ’

  ‘Okay. Cam and I will just hang out for a bit, then. ’

  ‘You know, it might be good if you swing by the house and pick up Cole. ’

  Nate snorted. ‘Bored, is he?’

  ‘Upset. I think something happened. With a girl. So obviously he doesn’t want to talk about it with us. ’

  ‘We’ll be right there. ’

  My stomach melted. ‘You are so getting laid tonight. ’

  He laughed softly. ‘Don’t I get laid every night?’

  ‘Yes, but tonight I’ll do anything you want. ’

  ‘Anything?’ he growled.

  ‘Absolutely anything. ’

  ‘Remind me to be a nice guy more often if this is the benefit. ’

  I smiled a little goofily and leaned back against the wall, my body all pliant just thinking about him. ‘Okay. But don’t be too nice of a guy. I do like it when you’re bad. ’

  ‘Do people actually talk like that?’ Hannah’s voice ripped me back to reality, and I jumped off the wall to see her giving me a wide, teasing smile.

  My cheeks flushed and I heard Nate laughing on the other end of the line. ‘It’s not funny,’ I snapped at him.

  ‘Oh, it’s definitely funny, babe,’ he said on a chuckle. ‘See you soon. ’

  We hung up and I glared at Hannah. ‘You could have let me know you were there. ’

  Her eyes twinkled mercilessly. ‘I could have, but then I wouldn’t have overheard your delightful conversation. ’

  I narrowed my eyes on her as I moved to brush past her. ‘One day, Hannah Nichols, you’re going to meet a guy who makes you so gooey you’ll end up doing and saying things you never imagined, and then who’ll be laughing?’

  Hannah’s pretty smile widened. ‘Hopefully we’ll all be laughing. ’

  ‘You have a good answer for everything, don’t you?’

  ‘I like to think so. ’

  Chuckling, I wrapped my arm around her shoulders and pulled her with me. ‘Come on, we’ve got a house to get in order. ’

  Eighteen months later

  I glanced at the bathroom door, thinking of the thing I’d left in there.

  Okay.

  I had to tell Nate.

  After a moment I sighed heavily. I glanced at him, then at the movie he was watching, then back to him.

  Here goes.

  ‘Whatcha watching?’

  I was such a coward!

  Nate gave me a look. ‘The same movie I’ve been sitting here watching with you for the past half hour. You okay?’

  Tell him.

  I shrugged. ‘I completely zoned out. Sorry. ’

  Seeming to accept my weirdness, Nate turned back to the movie and we sat and watched it in companionable silence. Well, he watched. I stewed.

  Just a little over a year ago, Nate gave up his apartment in Marchmont to move into my tiny little apartment on Jamaica Lane. That day after he’d shown me the tattoo he’d had Cole design for him, we’d worked through everything together. My dad, Jo, Cam, and Nate’s parents were particularly happy for us. I’d go as far to say that Nathan and Sylvie were grateful to me. But they weren’t the ones who should be grateful.

  Although he wasn’t perfect – but who was, right? – Nate had tried his hardest to assure me that he was completely and deeply in love with me. He didn’t need to try so hard. When I said the tattoo and his speech did it for him, I really meant it. From that moment on, things with us fell back into their usual beautiful pattern. That included Nate spending a lot of time at my apartment. I think if we both hadn’t been scared about pushing the other too quickly, Nate would have moved in with me right away, but we didn’t broach the subject until six months into our new relationship.

  The move didn’t just make us happy; it made our parents extremely happy. Because of my insistence – and also because of the heart attack scare – Nate and I visited his parents in Longniddry as much as possible, driving out there at least once a month to spend the night with them. Nathan and Sylvie thought I hung the moon. As for my dad, well, he would always be overprotective, but he’d eased up since Nate moved in with me, especially since Nate had made it clear that he felt it was now his job to be overprotective. And boy, did he do that job well.

  I wasn’t even going to pretend to find it annoying.

  I was an independent, capable, strong woman … but God, I loved it when Nate got all protective and possessive, because it was usually followed by sexy time.

  Sexy time … that had led us to our current situation …

  I was unconsciously staring at his handsome profile, the light from the screen flickering over his features as he watched a prison break.

  ‘What would you prefer?’ he suddenly asked. ‘Life in a maximum-security prison or trapped in Jurassic Park?’

  Tilting my head to the side, I pondered his question. ‘Do I have a social standing in this prison?’

  ‘No. You’re just an average Joe. ’

  I heaved a dramatic sigh as if my decision weighed heavy on me. ‘Then I guess I have to go with Jurassic Park. ’

  Nate smiled at the TV. ‘Why?’

  ‘Well, I’ll have constant fresh air, for a start, and also if I’m going to be anyone’s prey, I’m going to be the prey of an animal that’s acting out of instinct rather than psychopathy. ’

  His laughter filled our apartment and my chest with its warm richness. ‘Good answer, babe. As always. ’

  ‘You?’

  He shrugged casually. ‘If you’re in Jurassic Park, I’m in Jurassic Park. ’

  There were moments, like this moment, when sometimes what I felt for him completely and utterly overwhelmed me. ‘I love you so much – you know that, right?’

  Turning his head on the couch, his expression adoring. ‘Love you too, babe. ’

  We smiled at each other, then turned back to the movie.

  The perfect contentment of the moment was broken by the silent taunting of the object in the bathroom.

  I swallowed hard. ‘So … what would you prefer? A two-bed in New Town or a three-bed farther out of the city?’

  Confusion lit Nate’s eyes at my unexpected q
uestion. ‘Why would we want either? We love this place. ’

  My heart began to thump, thump, thump in my chest, and I could swear he would see my pulse throbbing in my neck. ‘Okay. ’ I took a shaky breath. ‘I’ll be clearer. What would you prefer? A boy … or a girl?’

  His entire body locked. Frozen.

  ‘Nate?’

  Slowly, he turned to look at me, his eyes wide as they silently asked the question.

  I bit my lip and nodded.

  With my confirmation, the most gorgeous smile broke across Nate’s face.

  Relief and excitement poured through me. I don’t know why the hell I’d been so worried. He’d made it clear in the past that he wanted this for us.

  I crawled across the couch until I was straddling him. Stunned dark eyes bored into mine as he wrapped his arms around me. ‘You’re pregnant?’

  Dipping my head, I whispered against his lips, ‘Congratulations. Daddy. ’

  His whoop of laughter filled our apartment, my relieved giggles mingling with it as he held me tight and launched us off the couch, his quick, determined strides taking us toward the bedroom. Usually when Nate was in the mood to celebrate, he’d throw me on the bed and follow me down, but today I laughed to myself as he gently laid me on it like I was fragile.

  Grinning up into his face, I asked softly, ‘Are you getting soft on me?’

  ‘You’ve got our kid inside you. I’ve got to watch what I’m doing now. ’

  ‘I hope not when it comes to sex. ’ I reached for the buttons on his jeans.

  Nate grew still, his hands braced on either side of my head.

  My heart stopped at the sudden seriousness in his expression. ‘What is it?’

  ‘I had this plan,’ he told me, his voice low. ‘I was going to wait until our two-year anniversary, fly you back to Arizona to visit your old friends, and your mum’s grave. You would tell her about us, and after we got back I would propose to you. ’

  A beautiful ache settled across my chest. ‘Nate …’

  ‘But with the baby … maybe we should get engaged now?’

  I grinned. Huge. ‘Okay. ’

  His brow cleared. ‘Okay as in “yes” ’

  I laughed. ‘Yes. ’

  And then he frowned again. ‘Shit. That wasn’t the most romantic way to propose, was it?’

  Smoothing his brow with the tips of my fingers, I promised him, ‘It was romantic to me. ’

  He smiled into my eyes, pressing a hand to my stomach. ‘This is not where I expected to be. ’

  ‘Me neither,’ I whispered.

  ‘But I’m so fucking glad that someone out there thought this is where I deserved to be. ’

  Running my fingers through his hair, I gently tugged his head down, bringing his lips close to mine. ‘Here’s to “after,” baby. ’

  Nate pressed his mouth hard to mine, wrapping his arms around me, tightening me against him in absolute agreement.

 
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