A loud groan escapes my lips, and I curse whoever is at my door, thus denying me a much-needed orgasm.
“Hey, don’t frown, babe,” Jack breathes on the skin of my neck. “We’ll continue this later.” And with one last scorching kiss, he removes his hands from underneath my clothes and pushes me off the couch.
With another groan, I walk over to the door, still cursing under my breath. When I open and see who my visitor is, I freeze in shock. My eyes widen, and my breath hitches in my throat. “Mom!” I gasp. “What are you doing here?”
“Emma, darling!” She rolls her eyes. “I wanted to see you. I’m sorry for showing up unannounced,” she says reproachfully, “but you never returned my call from the weekend. So your father and I decided it was time for another visit.”
“Dad is here too?”
“Yes, he’ll be up in a minute, he had to answer an important call. Now, are you going to let me in?” Without waiting for a response, she steps into my apartment and turns to me.
Little drops of cold sweat form on my forehead, my palms are clammy, and my heart pounds against my ribs. Shit, as soon as she takes a good look at me, she will notice my baby belly. This is not how I wanted my parents to find out, and I am, without a doubt, not ready yet to tell them.
I close the door and keep my back turned to my mom, trying to buy myself some more minutes before the imminent confrontation. I need to think of something fast, but after the activities I just engaged in, my mind is a complete blank.
“Sweetheart, is something wrong?” my mom asks when I don’t turn around. And for a split second, I thought I heard a hint of concern in her voice. But when I turn around, I know I must have imagined it. The look on her face shows anything but concern.
“No, nothing’s wrong, Mom,” I tell her and nervously tug at the hem of my shirt. “I’m just surprised to see you here.”
And that’s when she eyes me up and down, and of course, her gaze lingers on my belly. Wearing this tight shirt tonight was a genuinely dumb idea.
“Emma Louise Knight!” my mom gasps. “What is this? Please, tell me you’ve just gained weight!”
“Mom–” I give her a pleading look. I wish she would, for once, act like a loving and supportive mother, but I know I hope in vain.
She groans and dramatically puts her hand on her forehead. “Oh no, don’t tell me you were stupid enough to get pregnant! Is this why you have been avoiding me? Why you refused that excellent job offer?”
“Mom,” I sigh with an eye-roll. “This is exactly why I haven’t told you yet. I knew you would freak out instead of being understanding.”
“Understanding?” She snorts and crosses her arms in front of her chest. “Emma, you can’t be serious! Wait until your father finds out.”
Before she goes on, she notices that my gaze is fixed on something behind her. She turns around, gasps, and puts her hand on her chest when she sees Jack, who walks past her with a look of pure disgust on his face. He comes to a stop next to me, and I relax instantly. His soothing presence gives me the strength I need to face my mother.
I grab Jack’s hand and intertwine our fingers. I feel the tension leave my body when I look at him, and he gives me a reassuring smile. We both look back at my mother when she clears her throat. She eyes Jack up and down, and her gaze falls on his tattoos. The look of unappreciation on her face makes me groan. And as expected, she draws her conclusions and doesn’t hesitate to inform us about her displeasure.
“Emma, darling. Are you serious?” She quickly looks at our joined hands before her gaze meets mine. “Why not Robert? He’s such a sweet young man. And he’ll be able to provide for you—both.” She points to my belly with a frown.
With every breath I take, I try to keep calm, but I’m getting angrier with every hurtful word that leaves my mother’s mouth. I’m close to crushing Jack’s hand, but he doesn’t even flinch. “I can’t believe you’re saying this,” I tell my mom through clenched teeth. “I don’t choose a man because he can provide for me, or for convenience. I’m an independent woman, and I can take care of myself—and a baby when that time comes. The only reason I choose a man is that I love him.”
Another knock on my door stops me from saying more, and for a few moments, my mom and I stare at each other. Jack gently nudges my side to get my attention. I look at him, and he tilts his head toward the door. I nod slightly and let go of his hand to open it.
It’s my dad who greets me with a wide smile which falters immediately when he sees the expression on my face. “Sweetpea!” he exclaims, and at once, the corners of my lips lift a little. “What’s wrong?” He loses no time to wrap his arms around me, enveloping me in a warm and loving hug. ”Aw, I missed you so much,” he says, and I let out a long, shuddery breath when he gently strokes my back.
My relationship with my dad has always been the complete opposite to the one I have with my mom. He’s been the calm one; the one who would reassure and support me in making my own decisions—contrary to my mom, who was demanding at all times and told me what I should and shouldn’t do. Nothing has changed until this day.
“Sweetpea,” he says again, and his voice and the nickname he’s had for me ever since I was a little girl have the same soothing effect on me as Jack’s presence. He hugs me tight before he takes a step back to eye me up and down, just like my mom did a moment ago, but his gaze is soft and affectionate when it lingers on my baby belly. His eyebrows shoot up before a huge smile spreads on his face. “Emma, is this what I think it is?” He gently strokes the bump and lifts his gaze to meet mine. “Are you making me a gramps? Why haven’t you told us?”
He looks past me at my mother and gives her a questioning look. “Mary, what’s going on here?” He puts his arm around my shoulder and moves me a little to the side so he can finally close the front door. Then he spots Jack, who took my hand again. My dad’s eyes widen slightly in surprise. “Oh, hi. Didn’t see you there,” he says as he stretches out his hand with another big smile. “I’m Charles.”
Jack lets go of me, takes my dad’s hand, and returns his smile with a genuine one. “Jack,” he says. “Nice to meet you, sir.”
My dad snorts and waves him off. “Please, drop the sir. Any friend of my daughter’s is a friend of mine. So, what did I miss?” He looks at me. “What’s that look on your mother’s face?”
“Charles!” my mom grunts. “I can’t believe this. It’s just—this is–”
“Mary,” my dad interrupts her in a voice that you would use to calm down a child that’s having a temper tantrum. “Our Emma here has finally found a man that makes her happy. And she’s giving us a grandchild. So this is wonderful!” He turns to Jack and me. “Congratulations you two!”
“Oh, I’m not–” Jack starts, but he’s cut off by my father, who already has his own opinion on the nature of the relationship between Jack and me.
“I’m thrilled!” he says. “This calls for a celebration. Do you two have plans for tonight?”
I laugh when he looks at me expectantly. “No. No plans.”
“Good. We’ll invite you for dinner then. You can tell us everything we want to know. Mary?”
My mom takes a deep breath and pinches the bridge of her nose. “Fine. Dinner it is.”
My dad checks the time on his watch. “Shall we say half past seven? Your mom and I will check into our hotel, and in an hour, we’ll meet at our favorite restaurant.”
“Sure,” I say with a nod.
Before my mom can say anything, my dad grabs her hand and pulls her after him out of my apartment. “Bye, Sweetpea. See you later, Jack!”
Okay, wow. That was—something. A little stunned, I stare at my closed front door.
“I like your dad,” Jack chuckles.
I take a deep breath and turn to him. “Yeah, he’s great,” I say with a smile.
Jack takes my arm and pulls me into his chest. He wraps me up in a hug and kisses me on my forehead. “I’m proud of you for standing up to your mom. She’s even scarier in person.”
I laugh and bury my face in his shoulder. Jack tightens his arms around me, and the last bit of tension leaves my body. My heart beats slowly and steadily, and I breathe calmly and evenly.
We stand like this for a few moments before Jack releases me from our hug and rests his hands on my upper arms. “So—uhm—are you going to tell your parents this is not my baby?”
I run my hand over his chest and fist his shirt. “No.”
“No?” He looks at me with raised eyebrows.
I shake my head. “Jack–” I start, but what I’m about to tell him makes it hard to talk for a moment. I look up into his eyes that stare at me expectantly. I tighten the grip I have on his shirt before I finally say, “I wish this baby was yours, Jack, so much. Can we pretend it is?”
He gives me a soft smile, puts his hand on my cheek, and gently runs his thumb over my lips. “I’ll make it mine, Peach,” he whispers as he lowers his head.
But before his mouth touches mine, I murmur, “There’s something else.”
Jack pulls back a little and raises one eyebrow. “Hm?”
I nod. “What I told my mom—about the reasons why I choose a man–”
My poor heart is beating frantically again, and I’m so nervous that I can’t breathe. Is this the right moment to tell him? But I get my answer when I look into his eyes, and I realize how my feelings for him have changed into something much more than just a crush. I take a deep breath and find my voice at last: “I love you, Jack.”
He stares at me silently for a moment. The most agonizing moment of my life. Why doesn’t he say anything? But then he smiles—really smiles—and I let out the breath I was holding.
He cups my face with his hands and strokes my cheeks with his thumb. “I love you too,” he finally breathes and presses his lips on mine for a short but sweet kiss. “And I love that goofy grin on your face,” he adds.
“It can’t be goofier than yours,” I chuckle before his mouth is back on mine, and he loses no time to deepen the kiss.
I think back to the way he kissed me at Ben and Amy’s wedding. I thought that was the best kiss I ever experienced, but I was dead wrong. This right here, this is it. I could think about so many things right now. About how amazing the progress is that Jack has made, how he worked on his issues just because of me, or how overjoyed I am to be here with him like this. But the fact is, I can’t think at all. I can only feel. Feel his lips on mine, feel my whole body tingle when he runs his hands over my skin, eliciting sounds I’ve never heard coming from myself. With every second that passes, this kiss becomes more heated, turning into a continuation of our make-out session from earlier, right here in my tiny hallway.
“Oh, Jack,” I moan when his lips wander along my neck over to my earlobe. “We need to—stop—leave soon—Jack!” I call out when he slides his hand inside the waistband of my shorts.
“We still have one hour,” Jack breathes on my skin. “Enough time for me to bend you over something.”
“Damn, Jack!” I pant as his hand finds its way inside my panties. “Yes, please, bend me over something!”
A very low growl slips out from deep within his throat, which vibrates through every fiber of my body and makes goosebumps erupt all over my skin. Desire rushes through my veins, and the need to feel him grows more intense with every stroke of his tongue against mine and with every touch of his hands. Especially the one hand which strokes along my wet heat and that one finger he slides inside me. “Oh, Jack,” I moan again and again. “Yes, right there!”
I’m so close to the release I need so badly that I groan in frustration when Jack suddenly removes his hands from my body and grabs my hand. But it doesn’t take long until we’re in my bedroom where he comes to a stop next to the dresser. He turns to me, kisses me with a passion that, once again, leaves me breathless. He opens my shorts, and with one swift movement, pushes them down my legs, along with my panties, and I step out of them. With the next swift movement, my shirt and bra go flying, as well as his shirt. Luckily, Jack is just as much in a hurry as I am, so after caressing my breasts for only a moment or two, he turns me around and bends me over the dresser. I hear him undoing and dropping his pants, and I open my legs for him because I’ve never been more ready to feel him deep inside me, and I gasp when I finally do.
“Damn, Peach, you feel so good,” Jack mutters as he grabs my hips and starts his steady thrusts. I gasp and pant and moan while I hold onto the dresser and meet his every thrust with one of my own. My whole body feels electrified; all my senses take him in: the sounds he makes while he buries himself deep inside of me, his delicious scent, the feeling of his hands on my skin. I even remember his taste on my tongue and the heated look on his face before he kissed me.
With all the sexual tension from earlier and certainly also because of our declaration of love for each other, it doesn’t take long before Jack pushes us both over the edge. I scream his name in a powerful climax that is unlike anything I’ve ever felt before. One thing is certain: Jack has captivated me in so many ways, like no man before him, and probably no man after him ever will. I love him with my whole being.
Once we caught our breath, Jack slides out of me and turns me to him, and instantly, his lips are on mine for a kiss so tender that it makes my heart race all over again. “I love you,” he says with a satisfied smile.
“I love you,” I respond with the same satisfied smile.
He takes a step back and takes my hand. “Now let’s get ready to face your mom.”