“Nat, would you please stop.” Tuckers annoying voice comes through again, but I just grunt as I keep working on my own quiz for the next chapter.
“Natalie Turner, my patience is getting thin.” He warns, again, but I feel so close.
“Just one more minute.” Why do I feel like that came out as a whine?
“No, you said one more minute an hour ago. Let up. Now.” Tucker says, but I growl, not happy.
All of a sudden, the book is ripped away, and i snap my head up. Tuckers eyes are tight as he closes the book, and puts it in his bag.
“Let’s go.” He orders.
“No, give it back.” He glares at me, and leans forward on the table, his face getting close to mine.
“Were having a baby. Stop being one, and get your ass up! Let’s go!” He says, straightening, and pulling my chair out. He helps me up.
I glare at him as he leads me to the front door of my apartment.
“Shoes!” I say, and he bends down, putting on my slip on shoes for my feet on me.
He gets up, touching my belly along the way.
“Thanks.” I mumble, and he just grunts as he leads me out of the apartment and to my truck. My new truck. Well, my pa and I compromised and I got his Cummings while he got a new truck.
Tuck helps me into the passenger seat, and we start driving. As we drive, he looks like hes calming down more and more. He looks to me warily.
“You need to let up on the school work. I know you want to get it all done since its January, but you need to think about little pig.” He says, and I look away.
“I’m five months pregnant, and I have pregnancy brain. I cant retain anything. I used to be a sponge, and now I feel like a rock. Nothing going in, nothing coming out.” I rub my head, and he nods, reaching his hand over and squeezing my thigh comfortingly. That doesn't help. I jerk away slightly.
He frowns but brings his hand back. He and I don't talk about dating or the future of us.
Its been two months since the fiasco with Beau, and beyond that day, besides Christmas, I haven’t seen him. On Christmas I brought Tucker with me and I remember everything that happened.
“Do you need help with the presents?” Tucker asked easily as we get out of the truck, and I nod. He comes over to my side. We pause as we huddle by the backseat, and Tucker looks to me.
“You haven’t brought it up, but he’s going to be here. How could he not? He’s part of your family. Are you going to be okay?” Tucker asks, and I nod, looking up to him.
“I’ll be fine. Are you going to be okay? You’ve been silent on coming to the Christmas. If you want to go, and don’t feel comfortable - ” He shakes his head.
“This is technically our first Christmas as a family. I wouldn’t miss it for the world, I’ve told you that, and I’m not going to just leave you to the wolves with Rhodes.” Tucker says easily, but I know the inner turmoil he has over Beau.
When never told anyone that I ended up in the hospital, because what good would it do to tell every one other than scare them? Tucker and I both decided not to say anything, and it’s for the best. But I know Tucker, and he’s holding a grudge. He’s blaming someone for the visit, and he’s most likely going to be in the house tonight, and Tucker doesn’t want to leave me alone with him after everything.
He says he doesn’t trust him. Frankly, I don’t care anymore. Or I try not to.
He carries the presents in, his hand on my back as we go.
When we make it inside, Tucker holding on to me so I don’t fall in the snow, everyone meets us at the door.
We get huge hugs, and comments about how much more weight I gained and how big I look, and then we head over to the living room, pa taking all of the gifts in my hands, and shooing me to the kitchen.
They waited on us to have dinner, how nice.
Tucker and Pa talk all of dinner, Beau and Lyle talking to themselves, and ma and I just give each other looks, and small talk under the boys.
Beau won’t stop looking over as we get through with dinner, and as I stand up, I feel Tucker’s arm wrap around me possessively, his wide hand spreading over my stomach. I felt the need to jump but suppressed it, knowing what he’s doing.
“You want to sit in the living room?” Tucker asks me lowly in my ear, and I nod.
“Sounds good.” I say back easily. He basically holds me all through opening presents, never once letting his grip go.
“Oh my gosh, Nat, Tucker!” Ma yells as she opens her present last, her clamping a hand on her mouth as she looks down into the box. Everyone looks into the box to see the gift we got them, and pa actually starts sniffling, and looks away, clearing his throat.
“You’re havin’ a girl?!” Lyle asks, and I feel Beau’s eyes, and I glance at him to see his eyes glazing over as he stares down at the gift in the box.
“Yeah, a little girl. Just what you were hopin’ for ma.” I say back, looking back at ma as Tuckers hand caresses my four month belly.
As soon as the night’s up, ma and pa follow us to the door.
“It’s so late though, you really should be stayin’ the night! It’s Christmas!” Ma says, grabbing my hand. I smile smally.
“We have to get back, we don’t want to be stuck here if the snow comes down hard like it usually does in the next few days. We best be gettin’ on. Thanks for the gifts though mama. I’ll try all the maternity clothes on.” I say, and she nods, and pa hugs me and Tucker.
Lyle hugs me tight.
“Be careful, okay?” I nod, and Tuck keeps his arm around me as he follows me out with out gifts, pa and Lyle bringing the gifts out and helping us put them in the truck.
“You get her home safe, you hear? You run into any problems, just call.” pa says easily, clapping Tuck on the shoulder.
“Of course.” he nods, and he gets inside the truck. We look over and wave, and Tucker frowns when Beau is standing outside, staring at us hard.
" I can’t stand him, I really can’t. How long can a person stare, without saying a damn word? Honestly.” Tucker growls, and I look over to him, raising my eyebrows.
“Simmer down hulk, it’s done with.” I say gently, and he stays quiet for a moment as we stay on the open road, me fiddling with the temp and the song selection.
“I just don’t see how he could be so stupid. Honestly.” Tucker grumbles, and I look out of the window and sigh.
“I don’t know what to say Tuck. You’re usually not like this, so I don’t know how to handle it.” he looks over to me.
“I’m not, that guy brings it out in me. It’s one thing that he loved you. Whatever, I get that. But just how he went about it all. He knew you were pregnant, it’s almost like he was asking for something bad to happen.” Tuck says, and I look over to him.
“I’m not defending him, but I don’t think he thought his actions would lead us to the hospital. It’s my fault for reacting to it how I did. Can we just let that go? I’ve learned my lesson with it, and it’s not happening again.” Tucker glances over to me, but nods.
“Yeah, I won’t bring it up again.” he says back after a second.
I remember that night, when Beau came around, Tucker put his arm around my waist and held my stomach like it was normal for him to be doing it. Like he wasn’t being possessive or protecting the baby we almost lost because tuckers still blaming Beau. Hes never held me like that, and he hasn’t since.
I never told him how much I appreciated it. It made beau have a dark look, but he just clenched his jaw and ignored us while we ignored him the rest of the night.
Tucker never brought it up again, and we don’t talk about him anymore after that night But I know tucker’s worried.
He’s worried I’ve dug my heels in with school because I’m grieving the loss of love in a way I feel like I can.
He’s wrong though, I’m not. I’m just trying to work, but my brain wont let me so it takes more time.
“Do we need to talk about the touching thing? Am I making you uncomfortable?” He asks, and I feel my cheeks pinken so I turn my head sharply toward the window.
“What? I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I mumble, bringing my finger up to bite my fingernails but Tuck grabs my hand again, and I jump, whipping my head around to him, and he puts his hand up as if in surrender, his eyebrows scrunched like he doesn’t understand what’s going on.
He must not have read about pregnancy hormones.
“I don’t want to talk about it.” I say straight out, eyes wide as I look away from him again, clenching my fingers together in my lap.
“Well we need to. You’ve been doing this for the past two weeks. What have I done? Just tell me and we can fix it.” He says calmly as we park. I glare at him.
“It’s not you.” He stares at me.
“You don’t flinch when teddy or Kylie or sierra touch you.” He says, and I bite my cheek because he’s right. But I’m not attracted to them, and I hate that I’m attracted to Tucker right now. I don’t want to mess up what we have.
“Its nothing.” I mumble, moving to unlock my door and get out. Tucker growls, getting out and coming to my side, helping me out. We take my truck because I feel claustrophobic in his car, since my belly touches the dashboard almost.
I flinch when my body slides against his.
“We need to try your car again.” I say, and he gives me a glare.
“If you’d just tell me the problem I’d fix it.” I feel my cheeks pinken again, and I look away, heading towards the restaurant.
“Its nothing.” I say, but he grabs my arm, and I chew on my lip as he looks down at me, exasperated.
“Nat, I’ve been letting this go for weeks! Just fucking talk to me!” He says as I yank my arm out of his hold.
“I’m- I’m- im horny..” I go from yelling to whispering the last part. I cringe as he looks at me openly astonished.
“What?” He asks, dumbfounded. I groan, looking away from him.
“Don’t make me repeat it. And it’s not something that can be fixed by you or anyone right now, so just drop it.” I say, and he sighs, rubbing his face. He looks me over one more time, and he and I head into the restaurant without another word, where the whole group are watching us with amusement.
“You guys are so funny sometimes.” Kylie says, and I roll my eyes as Tucker pulls out my seat for me. He and I have honestly been closer than ever, but also further away than we ever have been from another. It’s weird, our position were in.
“How is that?” Tucker asks, sitting down beside me and we share a menu. I just look down at the food, looking for something to order.
“Because you act like an old married couple now, and you’re always with each other. Without fail. You used to always spend time together, but I feel like this is on a whole other level.” Tucker smiles a wry smile.
“Well when a baby’s thrown in the mix it’s hard not to be.” He says, and I nod, agreeing without looking up. He doesn’t touch me but usually this is where he casually puts a hand to my stomach, waiting for little pig to kick wherever he puts it. She doesn’t do that for anyone else but him, and hes ecstatic over it.
But right now hes giving me a little space, and even though I keep smelling him discretely like a creep, I feel fine for the moment.
We all start to talk and when we order I finally look up and then join the conversation. When tucker casually puts an arm behind my chair, I cringe and move forward slightly, and he sighs and brings his arm back just a little so he doesn’t rub his arm against me. I need to get a grip on myself. I feel like a bitch In heat, but don’t know how to stop it.
“Kylie, can you take Nat back to the apartment? Teddy and I have something we've been planning on doing.” Tuck asks, and kylie agrees right away. I look to Tucker, curious. He shrugs.
“Hes going on a date, and I told him I’d take him to get new Jean’s at the store I go to.” He says lightly, and I look to teddy who has his brow furrowed but hes nodding.
“Yup. I need new Jean’s.”
“Okay. Did you shit in all your other ones?” I tease, and he smirks.
“Technically yes, unless you get completely naked every time you shit. Is that something you do, Nat?” He asks, a sparkle in his eyes. I bite my lip and nod my head to the side a little.
“I have to always shit when I shower, so I just go and wash it down the drain.” When his face contorts I laugh, kylie and sierra already giggling. He throws his straw at me.
“Not fair! I thought you were serious for a moment.” He says, wide eyed. I roll my eyes.
“Girls aren’t as nasty as guys are.” Kylie says, and Tucker rolls his eyes
“I think that’s bull shit. Nat, tell them that’s bull.” Tucker looks to me, and I roll my eyes.
“Just because you’re not as gross, doesn’t mean the majority aren’t. Its bull for you, not for most other guys.” He nods.
“I can accept that.”
“Hey, you’re letting a brother down!” Teddy says and tucker shrugs.
“I’m with the girls. That’s where you always wanna be Ted. On the right side. Which is always girls.” He says, and teddy goes to argue, then stops, and nods.
“Okay, that’s actually kinda smart. You’re right. You’re probably getting sex for this later, and I’m getting nothing out of going against. Hey Si, if I agree will you have sex with me?” I feel my cheeks pinken. No one really knows if Tucker and I are together, but since he’s basically moved into my place, teddy and everyone suspects we’ve at least gone back to our original agreement. Which couldn’t be further from the truth.
Tucker looks to me, and he leans in.
“Are you okay?” He whispers, and I shiver as his warm breath touches my ear. He freezes, even stops breathing, and he backs up a little.
“Okay, I’m not helping. Got it.” He eyes me, concerned, but we go back to the conversation.
When we’re through eating, Tucker let’s me get up first, and we all head outside in a group.
“I have to study, so I’m heading out.” Si says, waving at all of us, and then heading out.
“I rode with Teddy, so how do you want to do this?” Kylie asks, and Tucker and Teddy look at each other.
“Kylie can take my truck, and will you take Nat home? I don’t think Tucker and I will be too long, so if you wait for me there, I can take you home, or Nat can drop you off at yours, and Tucker can bring me to my truck wherever.” Teddy says, and Kylie shrugs.
“I haven’t really had time with Nat anyway since Tucker’s been hogging her, so I’ll just wait with Nat at the house. That good with you?” She asks me, and I nod.
“Yeah, of course.” Tucker nods at me and tells me bye, but he makes a point not to touch me, or look at me too long as he gets in the truck, Teddy getting in on the other side.
Kylie takes me to the apartment.
“What is going on today? Usually Tuckers always touching you in some way, but the past few weeks I haven’t seen much. Are you two okay?” She asks, and I shrug.
“Were fine. Just baby hormones make me not want to be touched or I get agitated.” I say, and she glances to me.
“Why didn't you tell us? Teddy and I have been touching your belly non stop. If you need us to back up-”
“No, it’s fine. I’m fine. It will pass soon enough, it’s just a phase. Enough about me. Hows it going with my brother?” I ask, and she shrugs.
“He doesn't ever get time off to come see me, so if we want to see each other I have to go out there, and it gets tiring.” She says, rubbing her forehead. She glances to me.
“I like him a lot, but I just don't know how much longer I can do it. I mean long distance is hard, and it’s harder when only one of us can travel.” She says, getting out and we walk towards my apartment.
“I get that. But you talk every day?” I ask, and she nods.
“We text, talk.” She says and I grab my keys and open my apartment door.
“But it’s not enough, and I get that.” She sighs.
“Would you stop being friends with me if we broke up?” She asks, and I send her a look.
“You’re my best friend, of course I’ll still be your friend. Beau and I stopped dating, and he and Lyle are still best friends, and beau still goes over to dinner every night with my family.” She bites her lip but nods.
“Speaking of beau, are you going to tell me how that all ended? He obviously didn't take tucker being dad very well if he’s not here anymore. I mean you and I were guessing it wouldn't be tucker, so it was really shocking for me.” She says, and I chew on my cheek. I haven't told anyone. Not my parents or brother or anyone what I said or what had happened that day, other than Tuckers the father of little pig, and we’re gonna try to be our own dysfunctional family. No one commented on it, not even Lyle who just nodded and walked out of the farm house.
He came back fifteen minutes later with hard eyes and didn’t say a word to anyone. I think he went to Beaus, and figured out what I had. That he moves on quick.
“I haven’t told anyone, so only tucker, beau and I know.” We sit down on the couch, and I tuck my feet under me to get comfortable.
“Oh my, spill. Spill.” And so I do. I spill everything, and leave no detail out.