Stone nearly tripped and broke both their necks when he hauled ass to Sol’s house. Karen tried to tell him that the pain in her knees wasn’t that serious, but the sentence entered one of his ears and promptly exited the other.
The man was determined to slap some expensive ointment on her. It slightly terrified her to imagine how he would react if he knew about the war between her legs.
He set her down before knocking on the door. Sol answered with a frown on his face and baby puke on his shirt. The owner of said puke was on his hip.
“Hey,” he greeted.
Stone gave him a single nod before looking at Light. “Hi, little alpha.”
Sol lifted Light and pressed him against Stone’s chest. The beta’s arms remained by his side, refusing to pick up the baby. He had avoided carrying Light for two years and was not going to start now. He was already granted the title of a pedophile. He didn’t want to be labeled as a baby-breaker as well.
“Hold him. You’re on babysitter duty,” Sol ordered.
The only person he was interested in carrying was Karen.
“Stone,” Sol sighed. “I know that you haven’t touched the kid because you’re afraid of shattering him, but I promise that he’ll likely do more damage to you.”
Stone looked down at his chest. Light was chewing on his hands, not at all concerned about his father’s shenanigans.
Stone reached a hand toward the baby, dropping it with mortification when he saw that it dwarfed the child’s head.
“I’m going to release him in three… two…” Sol lied.
Stone instantly secured Light against his chest.
“Good! Now hold him on your elbow. By the way, if he ruins your clothes, I’m not responsible.”
Sol began his how to not break babies lesson, and Stone listened as if his life depended on it.
Karen stepped into the house, letting the men have their bonding moment. She found Arabella on a couch, typing on her keyboard as if she was on a mission to destroy it.
“Hey,” Karen called out.
“Oh hi! Sorry, I was in the zone. Sit down.”
Arabella’s curls flew around as she scrambled to place her paperwork and laptop on the coffee table. Karen eased herself beside her, shifting around to ease the maddening discomfort between her legs.
“Are you alright?”
“Yeah!” Karen rushed. “Well, actually…”
She tossed a look at the door. “Could we go upstairs for this?”
Stone scowled, refusing to look down at the baby puke on his shirt. Apparently, Light wanted him to make him match his father.
He walked up the stairs, wanting to rinse his chest free of the baby’s dinner.
“Hmm no, I can’t really say. Sol never leaves me in pain. Are you sure you don’t want to go to the doctor?”
He immediately recognized Arabella’s European accent.
“No, because then Stone will get all upset. This ointment should do. Thanks, and sorry for the awkward request.”
He kept walking, figuring that they were talking about Karen’s knee irritation.
“Don’t mention it. I was very sore after having Light, so this helped. You will still feel a burn when you urinate, though.”
The comment of urination rendered Stone a statue. The women were definitely not discussing knee scratches.
Discomfort, anger, and sadness ganged up on him, bringing mayhem to his mind. He had hurt Karen. He had taken her like a brute during her first time and thrashed her around to wring out his pleasure.
With agility that betrayed his tall frame, he sneaked back downstairs and sat on a couch which he prayed would swallow him. He looked at the floor as he placed his elbows on his knees, trying to lock away that thing between his legs.
“You need to go to sleep already,” he heard Sol tell his toddler in the background.
Light blabbered something back.
“No, bro. This isn’t up for argument. You either go to sleep or wash my shirt.”
Stone stood and walked outside, not wanting to risk Sol noticing his sour mood. His steps sounded heavier as he walked away, and he figured it was because they were carrying both his body’s weight and emotional shame.
He paced until a trail of his impatience could be seen in the dirt. Karen appeared after fifteen minutes, walking with a limp in her step that he hadn’t noticed before.
She smiled at him, hiding the damage he caused. She then walked to his side with arms stretched as if he wasn’t the guy that put her in need of pain medicine.
He was unable to reflect her happiness, but he picked her up without question. With a sigh, he began to carry both his mate and his self-hatred home.
The ointment worked like a charm.
Karen stretched in the bed, glad that her southern burn finally disappeared. She rubbed the sleep out of her eyes as she stepped off the bed. Stone was nowhere in sight, so she figured that he was working.
She stepped out of the bedroom, and then into the scare of her life. Stone was out in the hallway, quietly pacing.
“What are you doing out here, big guy?”
The endearment made his skin crawl. “I was thinking.”
“Well come think in bed. You look like a creep out here.”
She smiled, looking beautiful even in his wrinkled shirt and sloppy ponytail.
“Are you staying?”
The words fell out of his mouth like the vomit Light had drooled on his chest– unconfined and obnoxious.
Karen’s smile faded, and confusion took its place. “Stay? As in here with you?”
He nodded, holding his breath and waiting for impact.
Karen’s smile returned. “Of course I’m staying. I already asked my parents to ship my stuff over. I expect Sean to sneak himself into a box just so that he can come along.”
Her assurance brought him little peace. She will stay for now, and then reconsider her options when he keeps disappointing her in bed.
Then she’d leave. It was a guarantee. Everyone eventually left. Something as unnatural as him wasn’t meant to be loved. He was a mutation, an outlier.
“Why aren’t you whooping, kissing me, and spinning me in circles yet?”
He forced a smile before picking her up and spinning her in circles. “Thank you,” he murmured against her hair. “I don’t deserve you.”