Skin of the Night

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Chapter 51: I Have Something To Say

The following Saturday, I studied myself in the full-length mirror of my bedroom. Twirling around to study my backside, I sent myself a wink. “He’ll swoon,” I proudly told myself and dropped my gaze to my perky bum – a bum he’d often told me he found ‘enticing’. Well, tonight, I was going to use that against him.

I was wearing the whole package – a black lace bustier that my black stockings were attached to, and a very, very skimpy thong. If he’d found my bum enticing before, this was going to blow his mind. He had no idea what he had in wait.

A knock on my door halted my borderline narcissistic ogling.

I steered my eyes to it. “Yes?”

Opening the door, Jason was quick to slam it shut again. “Bleeding hell, Cara! Give a poor man fair warning next time, yeah?! Jesus Christ!”

“Do I look alright?” I asked indifferently and turned to study myself again.

I loved wearing lingerie. In it, I felt capable of seducing the world. The ultimate physical power. The most deadly weapon. Never mind men’s superior strength. When used in the correct fashion, women’s femininity would render them into harmless puppets. How I loved the power of femininity. I had worshipped it for as long as I could remember. Why wish to be a man when you could have just as much fun as a woman? If not even more. Multiple orgasms? Yes please, thank you very much.

“Do you look ‘alright’?” he echoed dumbfounded. “I mean fucking hell, I might be a version of a brother to you, but I’m not your gay best mate. Show mercy, yeah?”

And there Jason proved my point. He didn’t stand a chance. “Sorry. I wanted to test the effect. I’m hopeful I’ll make Will swoon.”

“Swoon, explode, perish, eat you - depends on how you look at it, really. I almost feel sorry for him, but I’ve got a feeling he’s going to retaliate. Are you sure you want to do this to yourself? You might be setting your own trap, Cara.”

My jaw clenched. That was a valid point. Femininity was great, but so was masculinity, and especially when it was in the shape of William Night. In the end, I supposed I was no less susceptible to his allures than he were mine, and he had an aptitude for turning the tables whenever I tried to sexually torment him. Jason was right. I should not underestimate his brother’s sexual prowess.

“What did you want?” I asked and grabbed my chosen blue dress for the night off my bed to slide into it. Wearing it, I was positive William wouldn’t suspect a thing with regards to what I was wearing beneath. He might note the stockings, but surely not the bustier.

“I was going to say that I’m about to head off to meet Livy, Stephen and Giselle.”

Smoothing my hands down my dress, I said, “You can come in now. I’ve dressed.”

Hesitantly, he opened the door and barely dared to peek inside. When he had established that it was safe, he pushed the door wide open and released the handle to fold his strong arms across his chest while he sized me up.

“You trying to kill him? Has he done anything wrong – beyond that of the usual?”

I giggled. “No. I’m in the mood for some teasing.”

His lips spread apart into a shrewd smile. “I’ve made up my mind. I feel sorry for him.”

I paid him a confident wink and fetched my handcuffs off the bed. “How do you reckon I’d stand the best chance at getting him into these without too much protesting? He is stronger than me.” I dangled them in front of my face.

His smile faded. Instead, his jaw looked to unhook from its long drop. I wasn’t sure I’d ever seen his eyes quite so wide. “You’ve got to be kidding me,” he wheezed.

I shook my head. “He never lets me give him blowjobs. Says it messes with his endurance. Sorry if that’s more than what you wanted to hear, but I’ve had enough of it. This is the only way.”

Clearing his throat, he shook his head to himself, as if to shake away sinful thoughts that the sight of the handcuffs had triggered. “No way, Cara. You’re on your own. I’m not going to help you torture my brother. He might be a dick, but I love him.”

“Love dicks, do you?”

His face twisted with disgust before he shuddered at the thought. “Very funny.”

“Don’t worry, Jason. We’re in the same boat,” I continued to tease.

“Hey, make no mistake, I’m all for gay rights, but I’m not your queer best friend.”

“I’m only teasing you,” I cooed. “I know you’re not into men, Jason. You’re into hands, aren’t you?” I continued to taunt while referring to his committed relationship to his right hand.

He laughed at my joke and waved his partner in the air. “Been my loyal companion ever since I was eleven.”

“Eleven!” I gasped in horror. “Christ, that’s early!”

He smirked. “What can I say?”

“You’re no better than your brother!” I accused.

He scoffed. “Oh, I so am.”

“Not sexually, you’re not. You’re only in hiatus. A beast in hibernation!”

His laughter roared. “You’re killing me!”

“May God bestow mercy upon the poor, unsuspecting woman you first sleep with once you crawl out of your cave.”

He flashed me a grin to die for and a truly unfair wink. Damn the Night genes.

“I’ll treat her well, Cara. You know I will.”

My heart throbbed. He was such a sweet man. “Jason Night, the woman you bless with your affections will be the luckiest woman alive, and I mean that.”

“You’re making me blush,” he playfully replied. “Anyway, I’ve really got to go. I’m meeting Livy in fifteen minutes.” He looked to his Rolex, which was identical to the one William always wore. Perhaps their parents had gifted it to them? “We’re going to the cinema with Giselle and Stephen before finding a pub to grab a few pints after. Let me know if you and Will want to meet up after dinner.” He met my eyes. “I’m not expecting it, though. Knowing you, you’ll probably fuck each other into a coma.”

He could be just as vulgar as his brother. “Brutal,” I uttered astonished.

“Only calling a spade a spade.” Turning on his heel, he sent me a lazy wave.

“Take care of Livy for me,” I called after him. “I’m still worried about her, even if she says that Colin hasn’t reached out to her again.”

He froze in the doorway. Turning only his head, I was shocked at the anger that swirled in his eyes. The wrath he contained in that moment was startling.

“Trust me, Cara. If that knob dares to reach out to her again, I’ll personally deal with him.”

I sighed while my shoulders dropped with relief. “I love you.”

“I love you right back. I’ll take care of Livy, and you take care of my brother. Don’t kill him. He’s the only one I’ve got.”

“No promises.”

I heard him chuckle to himself while he sauntered down the hall toward the front door. “Tell him I said hello, and that I’m sending him strength in spirit.”

“I’ll say hello. Nothing else.”


“Hello, Garrick,” I greeted through a smile when I passed his charming person in the lobby of William’s apartment building. Touching the brim of his hat, he faintly bowed his head at me.

“Miss Darby.”

“Cara,” I corrected him amused. He had a real fondness for surnames and formality, didn’t he? I remembered he had insisted to call William ‘Mr Night’. I wondered if his days in the military were to blame for it.

“Cara,” he echoed after me. Next time I saw him, I knew he was going to address me as ‘Miss Darby’ yet again. The thought made me giggle to myself. Some things never changed.

After ringing William’s doorbell, I took a step back as I waited for him to open the door. When he did, I rushed to cover my mouth with my hands to muffle my laughter. The man was wearing an apron!

Seeming to realise what I found amusing, he gestured toward himself. “What? Can’t have the fat splattering on my shirt. It’s expensive. I might be wealthy, but I don’t squander my money if I can avoid it.”

He had a knack for finance, did he? Hot. I was no gold digger, but that did not mean that I didn’t find people with a healthy understanding of economy attractive. People who spent money solely because they could were obnoxious.

“Very sexy,” I purred and walked past him while I trailed my hand across the textile of his black apron. As expected, his powerful chest was solid behind it.

After I’d dropped my purse on the chest of drawers, I looked around myself. I hadn’t recalled it before, but on this very floor, I’d left my shredded knickers behind after our first encounter.

“What did you do with my knickers?” I asked.

“Drenched them indirectly merely by existing,” he teased and shut the door behind me.

“Ha-ha. I meant after we first met. I left them behind.”

He turned to look at me, and his expression was sharp. “Oh, those. Yes, I kept them. They’re in my nightstand. I sniff them just before I go to bed every night. Helps me sleep.”

I smacked his arm, albeit gently. “Stop pulling my leg. I’m curious!”

He laughed wholeheartedly. “What do you think I did? I tossed them in the bin. Honestly, what did you expect? I’m not daft.” Debatable.

I giggled. “I didn’t think you kept them. But how did you react when you saw them?”

His laughter died at once. “I hated it.”

My lips parted with my surprise. I hadn’t foreseen that response. “Oh. I thought it was slick.”

“It was, which was why I didn’t like it. I wanted to forget you. I told you that the same night, and I meant it.”

I blinked at him. I suppose I should have expected as much, knowing what I did now about his character. He never said things he didn’t mean.

“Right. Sorry, then.”

“Don’t be. You’re here now. Feel free to leave your shredded knickers behind any time you like,” he purred and reached for my waist. I rushed to entwine our fingers before he could, worried he’d feel my bustier. Unsuspecting, a smile formed on his sinful mouth before he dropped it to mine.

“What are you cooking?” I mumbled into our kiss.

“Lamb. Lydia’s recipe - my maid from childhood. Excellent chef.”

“Mm, I’m looking forward,” I cooed and pecked him repeatedly.

“You should. Speaking of that, I need to check on it,” he murmured and released me to head toward his kitchen. I trailed after him with a smirk on my mouth. Surely he was husband material.

I hopped onto a stool by his kitchen island and watched him scurry about, seemingly in control. “Anything I can do?”

He shook his head. “Would you like a glass of wine while you wait? It should be ready in a few minutes.”

“Sure.”

As I watched him pour red wine into my glass a few breaths later, I asked, “So... How did meeting Francesca go last night?”

He sighed. “As expected.”

“That means?”

“She cried like a fucking newborn.”

I pouted up at him, feeling upset on her behalf. “I’m sorry,” I mumbled through protruding lips.

“I was quite gentle, if I can say as much myself,” he insisted and searched my eyes for judgement. I believed he’d been as gentle as he – as William Night – could manage, but truly, that had probably made it all the more painful for her.

“Where did you do it?”

“At hers. I wanted to be able to leave when I saw it appropriate. Having her here would stall things.”

I nodded to myself, unsurprised by the fact that he had thought of things like that beforehand.

“Used to breaking up with people, are you?” I muttered and raised my glass to my mouth.

He leaned across the island to stare into my eyes. “You’ll never have to find out.”

My whole body froze. He could be unbelievably sweet when he wanted to. I was trying to calm the rising heat of my face, feigning nonchalance, as I said, “Smooth.” But truthfully, his words had struck straight through my heart.

He chuckled and leaned away again. “Thanks.”

“So she’s totally out of the picture now?”

“As good as dead to me.”

I spurted into my glass and immediately lowered it. “Brutal, William!”

With his back turned to me, he shook his head back and forth to himself. “It’s a figure of speech, Cara. Calm down.”

“Yeah, usually containing resentment! Do you hate her?”

He groaned and looked despaired up at the ceiling. “I meant that she doesn’t exist to me anymore. Obviously I wish her all the best.”

“So brutal,” I whispered to myself, pitying Francesca.

“Now that we’re on the subject, I have something to say,” he murmured and glimpsed me across his shoulder. From the look on his face, I realised I had to strap up.

“Wait,” I said and raised my glass to my mouth again. After an inappropriately large mouthful, I lowered it onto the island and exhaled loudly. “Okay, I’m ready.”

Since he wasn’t amused, I prepared for something proper serious.

“Robby,” he said, and it prompted my loud, long groan. Tossing my head back, my eyes rolled into my skull in my despair.

I didn’t want to ask, but, “What about him?”

“Has he reached out to you since he confessed to his feelings for you?”

My head whipped forward again. Keeping my pout away was a conscious effort, because in truth, I did hope Robby would reach out to me. For his sake, I hoped he would get over me sooner rather than later, and I hoped we could build a platonic friendship in the wake of that. I missed him terribly. It felt like a limb of mine had been cut off now that we weren’t speaking anymore. Aside from the men I’d slept with on the side, he knew all my secrets. I trusted him implicitly, and while I still had Jason and Olivia for that, it didn’t help the gaping absence of Robby.

He hadn’t been my boyfriend, but he’d surely been a version of a partner. We’d studied together, slept together, and shared a profound, irreplaceable friendship as well as mutual friends. In all honesty, we’d shared every aspect of life together, aside from romantic love. He’d even met my family on several occasions, and I his.

“No,” I finally said.

He turned to face me entirely, and the heat of his glare was sizzling. From it, I could tell that I was not going to like where this was going. Couldn’t he have postponed this fight until after we’d had sex?

“Do we have to discuss this now?” I enquired through a pleading pout.

“Yes,” he responded resolutely and switched off the oven behind him, presumably to let the lamb rest before serving.

“It won’t take long. Hopefully.” He folded his arms and continued to hold my eyes under arrest. Meanwhile, he gritted his teeth. “My demand is quite simple,” he started. “I don’t want you anywhere near him. I understand you’ll be studying together next term, so I get that you can’t avoid him there, but in any circumstance where you are able to avoid him, I expect you to.”

I gaped at him. This was outrageous. He wasn’t even going to allow us to be friends? “What?”

“Cara, he’s got feelings for you. That makes him a hard limit for me. You know I’m territorial. I don’t trust him not to try and take you away from me. In his shoes, I would have done just about anything to persuade you to choose me over him. In fact, I’ve essentially already proved that. You used to be his, for lack of a better word, before you agreed to go on a date with me. And I know you’re weak for him. Don’t you even dare try to deny it. He’s special to you, Cara. There’s a reason you’ve shared beds with him for bloody three years. You might not have loved him romantically, but some love is undoubtedly present. You are definitely weaker for him than I find acceptable. I don’t trust you with him. At all.

“Knowing how fickle you can be, I seriously don’t trust you not to run into his arms the instant we come across a rough patch. And I can’t stand that idea. I really can’t. It makes me nauseous, and honestly, fucking furious. And I especially can’t stand it when I know he’ll just be waiting for it to happen, patiently anticipating the moment I might fuck up. Strategically, that’s when he’s going to strike, when we’re at our most vulnerable. You can try to convince me that you aren’t going to do that all you like, but I am never going to believe you. Your prior behaviour has made it abundantly clear that you’re extremely indecisive, and I am not going to build a relationship with you on such a shaky foundation. I fucking refuse. Either you’re in, or you’re out. If you’re in, Robby isn’t included. I mean it. I do not feel secure in you yet, and I most certainly won’t feel secure in you if Robby is around.”

Speechless, I could only stare at him. Was that the impression I’d given him? That I wasn’t fully invested in this? Sure, I knew I could be indecisive, but once I made up my mind, I always saw it through. In fact, that was the very reason as to why I could be indecisive about things. I didn’t want to commit to something without doing it fully. So obviously I would be fastidious about my choices. I needed to be absolutely certain before I decided.

Finally, my brain connected with my mouth. “William, I’m not going to-”

“I don’t believe you, and I’ve explained why,” he cut me off uncompromisingly. “You haven’t done anything to prove yourself worthy of my trust. Bloody hell, Cara, you were about to fuck him right after our night out together. You had slept in my arms that night and essentially woke up beside me. And yet you still managed to bring yourself to invite him home with you. Were you going to change the quilts first? I’m curious.”

Pale in my face, I could only watch him.

Realising the same, he continued, “So easily, you abandoned even the thought of me. You fucked up when you did that. Monumentally.”

“William!” I yelled, horribly frustrated. “You and I weren’t together back then!”

“We still aren’t,” he reminded me, and my mouth immediately drew shut. Hearing that hurt more than I’d expected.

“See my point?” His brow arched. “You should have thought of this before you dragged him home with you. It was a severe mistake on your end, and now you’ll have to deal with the consequence, which is that I do not trust you with him. You’re clearly capable of pushing thoughts of me aside when it comes to him. I’m sorry if I’m upsetting you, but like I said, he’s a hard limit for me. I can’t build anything with you if he’s going to be part of your life. It will drive me mad with jealousy and worry, and I am not going to subject myself to that. I don’t deserve it.”

I chewed into my lower lip for a beat, desperately searching for a way to counter him. My eyes widened when I recalled Violet.

“What about Violet? How would you like it if I made demands like that-”

“Violet never had feelings for me,” he interrupted again, seeming to have thought of this already. “She’s not a threat to you at all. No one is. And don’t forget the fact that I ended my arrangement with her the same day you voiced your disapproval of it. By contrast, you kept fucking Robby even though you knew I hated it. And I know you fancied me at that point, even if you were in denial. Cara, that speaks volumes as to what you’re capable of with him. Clearly, your feelings for me do not prevent you from sleeping with him, and I don’t trust that that’s changed, and least of all when you’re angry with me.

“And let’s face it - you’re going to get angry with me every now and then. To think anything else would be naive. We’re both hotheads. Already, we argue like it’s our livelihood, even if it’s just part of who we are. I need to be able to have a fight with you without fearing that you’re going to seek shelter in another man’s bed. It’s about trust. All of this is about trust, and you do not have mine.

“What’s more, you’re not much of a jealous person. It’s both silly and unrealistic of you to think that we should treat this as if our needs are identical. They aren’t. I’m a jealous man, and we’re going to have to facilitate it. It’s part of the bargain. Everybody’s got flaws, and that’s probably my biggest. I’m sorry if that seems unfair to you, but realistically, my jealousy is an actual concern of ours. I’m constantly working on it, but fuck me, Robby isn’t something I can overlook. That’s asking too much of me.

“Let me say it like this. Had you been the jealous lover in this scenario, I would have cut him out in a heartbeat for you. And you know I would. I could easily still have been friends with Kate, Cara, but I chose to cut her out because I didn’t want her to be a matter of concern in my future relationships. She was my best friend, too. I know how hard it is, but it’s necessary pain.”

He was being perfectly rational, and I hated it. I hated his damned solicitor mind. All his arguments were unbearably solid. It exasperated me to the extent that tears prickled my eyes. He was giving me an ultimatum. I already knew who I was going to choose, but I truly hated the fact that he was forcing me to do it – that I couldn’t even keep Robby as my friend.

Thankfully, the choice was made a little easier when I took into account that Robby probably wouldn’t reach out to me again anytime soon. Moreover, I reminded myself of the fact that as time dragged on, losing him was going to hurt less and less. Besides, I had the opportunity to build something profound with a man I was in love with now. I wasn’t about to cast it aside.

And frankly, I could understand where William was coming from. None of my prior behaviour had solicited his trust. It didn’t matter if I knew in my heart that I’d never choose Robby over him. That was an irrational argument. I couldn’t back it up. William had rational arguments, based on concrete evidence. I stood no chance in this trial. I could do nothing but rest my case.

“Okay,” I meekly said, though it bordered a whisper. In all fairness, I sounded utterly defeated. Dropping my gaze to my hands in my lap, I nodded faintly. “Okay, I get it. No Robby.”

He released a breath that was so loud that my eyes shot toward him. I hadn’t seen him this relieved since I’d agreed to go on a date with him. “That was much easier than I’d expected,” he stated slightly shocked.

“Yeah, well, forgive me if my mood is shite for the next hour or week,” I sulkily retorted and looked away from him while I reached for my glass of wine.

“Take all the time you need, darling. I know I’m asking a lot of you. But I’m extremely grateful. Truly, you have no idea how much I appreciate this. With him out of the way, I don’t really have any concerns.”

I glowered at him, still petty. “You have better treat me like a fucking queen,” I grumbled.

He blew his cheeks out, but it didn’t help what came next. Laughter burst out of him as he doubled over. “You are such a sassy little brat!”

“Fuck you and piss off, cheeky prick,” I muttered and looked grudgingly away from him.

He laughed and laughed, completely oblivious to the fact that it only increased my level of irritation. “Okay, you can shut up now,” I barked. “I’m sincerely upset, Will. He was my best friend. I’ve just made a huge sacrifice for you, and you dare to bloody laugh?”

He fell silent immediately. It would seem I’d managed to put him in his place.

“So much for compassion,” I snapped and finished my glass of wine.

While sighing, he stretched up again. “I’m sorry. I didn’t realise... Yeah, I’m sorry.”

I reached for the bottle he’d opened and refilled my glass. “Worst date ever.”

“Oh, Cara, don’t be nasty with me. You’re being mean.” He frowned, visibly irritated. “I get that it isn’t ideal, but at least you’ve still got me.”

“Yeah, well, you best be worth it.”

He flashed me a gorgeous grin, as if to remind me. “I am.”

So self-assured. I nearly retched.

“On another note,” he said and opened the oven. “Alex wants to meet you.”

I stiffened. I’d almost forgotten he’d been spending the day with his millionaire best mate. Just another day in the world of William Night, I supposed.

“What?”

“Yeah, I’ve mentioned you. He’s impatient about it, actually.” After placing the lamb dish onto the counter, he turned toward me. “I said I couldn’t make any promises, but I’d really like to introduce you to him. He’s a great man. Incredibly intelligent and remarkably patient, as well as placid and mild.” That was quite the rich description. It made me smile against my will. He was obviously fond of him. “I think you’ll like him. Though, hopefully not too much.”

I rolled my eyes at him. That bloody jealousy of his was getting on my nerves.

“What have you told him?” I asked.

“That we’re seeing each other.”

“And he’s that impatient to meet me already?”

He faced the counter again, and I wondered if it was because he didn’t want to look me in the eyes. “I may have told him about you a couple of months ago,” he muttered and reached for a knife to slice up the lamb. My heart jolted as my breath left me. He had?

“After our first encounter?”

He merely nodded. I gaped at him. I knew he’d revealed that I’d made quite the impression on him back then, but this was concrete evidence. Again, it shocked me.

“Wow.”

“Will you meet him?” he pushed in another mutter.

I smiled besotted and rested my head in the palm of my hand while I admired his backside. “Sure.”

He tensed, head slowly lifting. Turning, he watched me surprised. “Really?”

“Sure,” I repeated with a faint nod of my head. “I’ve already met your parents, brother and Andy. What’s one more relation going to hurt?”

He pointed at me with the knife he was holding. “Do you see the blatant imbalance?”

I was positive my responding smile matched that of The Cheshire Cat. “Yes.”

His eyebrows drew toward the middle of his handsome face. “And what are you going to do about it?”

“I said I’d consider introducing you to my parents if you make it to ten dates, Will. This is our second, and counting.”

He groaned and faced the counter again. “So slow,” I thought I heard him complain, but I couldn’t be sure.

“When do you want to introduce me to Alex?” I asked.

“Friday. There’s a charity event I’m invited to, hosted by a renowned doctor named Wallace Lakewood. Jason declined, because he can’t stand anything that involves the ‘elite’.” His voice spilled of sarcasm when he uttered the word ‘elite’. “Neither can I, but I RSVP’d for the sake of the family, since Dad can’t make it either. Alex is going, and so are Andy and Chloe. I’d like it if you were my plus one.”

I bleated, “Ugh. Couldn’t we make it a dinner? I’ve never fancied the idea of prestigious balls. I don’t belong there.”

“Cara, I’d really appreciate your company. I’ll be suffering enough already, and your presence would make it tolerable.”

I pouted. He always knew how to stir my sympathy. “Fine. I can’t believe I’m agreeing to this. Alex ought to be worth it.”

He sent me a grin. “He is. Speaking of Alex, I think he’s in love.”

A ridiculing laugh leapt out of my mouth while my eyebrows climbed up my forehead. “I’d hope so, since he’s got a girlfriend.”

He cringed. “Yeah, it’s not with his girlfriend.”

Appalled, I leaned backward. “What? What a bastard!”

A nervous laugh escaped his mouth. “Don’t be so quick to pass judgement, love. There’s a long story to this. His girlfriend, Abigail, is a bloody psycho. I’m certain.”

I was intrigued. “How so?” My head tilted.

He sighed long and loud. “I’m not going to go into too much detail, because I’m not in the habit of sharing secrets, but he was never in love with her. There have been a few complications along the road that has made Alex feel forced to remain with her. He’s feeling a lot of guilt. Just trust me when I say that the complications I mentioned are legitimate concerns. I warned him against her from the very start, but he didn’t listen to me. We actually fell out at a certain point because of her. First proper fight we’ve ever had. I was a bit too blunt with a very serious allegation regarding her, and he lost his patience with me. He’s forgiven me now though, mainly because he started to see what I was already seeing.”

“Will you tell me one day?” I wanted to hear this, but I refused to pry.

“I’ll have to ask for his permission first.”

His loyalty and reliability turned me on. His jealousy might be a serious flaw, but he surely compensated in other departments.

“I respect that,” I replied and had another sip of wine. “Whom do you suspect him of being in love with then?”

“His new personal assistant. A lovely girl named Ivy. She reminded me a bit of Olivia with her innocence only she’s much quirkier. I think you’ll like her, too. She seems delightful from what I gathered. Humble. I met her just today.”

“Oh, I adore humble. She’s not posh?”

“Not at all. She arrived by longboard.”

I applauded. “That’s it. She’s going to be my moral support on Friday, aside from you and Andy. How old is she? Do you know?”

“Twenty-two, Alex said. So a year younger than you.”

“Brilliant! I’ll make sure to invite her and Chloe over for tea one day, so that we may bitch and moan about our men together,” I teased.

He laughed.

I studied him while he searched the cupboards. He hadn’t as much as stirred when I mentioned Chloe, and he hadn’t expressed any signs of knowing anything about her potential pregnancy when he’d mentioned her himself. “Have you had a heart to heart with Andy lately?”

“What – about the fact that I might become an uncle in the near future?”

I grinned. So he had told him. “Yes. Are you excited?”

He faced me with a dashing smile on his face. “I’m very happy on his behalf, but I saw it coming. As for being an uncle, yes, I am looking forward. I’ve always liked children.”

I ignored his comment about children, determined to stay on the subject. “You did see it coming. That why you haven’t spoken to me about it yet?”

He frowned. “I wouldn’t have been able to speak to you about it sooner. He told me today, when we were hanging out with Alex.”

“Oh.”

His head tilted. “How long have you known?”

“Since Wednesday.”

“You’re good at keeping secrets,” he commented, but he didn’t sound impressed. On the contrary, he sounded alarmed. “I haven’t sensed a thing.”

“I’m not going to have sex with anyone else, William,” I grumbled, seeing straight through him. “I’ll have nothing to hide.”

“If you’re wise you won’t.”

Again, I rolled my eyes. He could be so suspicious, and intolerably so.

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