“Andre!” I jump into the bakery, feeling happy and light. “Guess what?”
He finishes up with a customer before turning to me. “You found a powder blue glitter suit.”
“Hah, I wish!” Not even a joke. I really do wish that. “I got the house.”
“Really?” Andre looks excited for me as well, but I can tell he’s not over the moon about it. To him, me getting the house means I’m one step closer to the whole becoming a father thing, and while he’s trying very hard to be okay with it, I know he’s not there yet. I hope he’ll get there, but there is no knowing if it will ever happen.
“Yeah, Nate just called me. My bid got accepted. Apparently, the couple living there were two moms with their two adopted kids, and they’re big on keeping things LGBTQ, and they love that I’m going to have a baby with two lesbian friends. Nathan talked me up to them, since an older couple with two teenage kids put in a bid as well, but…” I can’t stop grinning. “I won! No idea if that’s what you say when you get to buy a house, but I fucking won!”
Andre’s smile is definitely genuine now. “When can you move in?”
“I need to take care of some paperwork, and the place needs two new toilets and new carpets upstairs, but other than that it doesn’t need much work. I can get the key in an hour to get in and start measuring things, and take some pictures, so I can start buying furniture.” I can’t help but do a little excited dance. “My own place again! Do you want to come with me to go furniture shopping this weekend?”
“Erm… shouldn’t you pick that out by yourself?” He looks unsure again.
“Going furniture shopping by myself? That’s sad. No way, I’m not doing that.” I get his reluctance though. “If you’re busy, that’s fine. I will ask Mila. If she wears a low-cut top, we can get some wicked discounts.”
“Do you want me to come?” he asks while he makes me a coffee.
“Yes, that’s why I’m asking.” I roll my eyes at him. “Of course I want you to come.”
“Okay,” he breathes, still sounding unsure. “I’ve got Saturday afternoon off.”
“Perfect.” I lean over the counter to give him a quick kiss before he has to get back to work. The kiss is short and sweet, and just not enough for me.
Honestly, I’ve been aching for so much more than just a kiss this past week. We’re together now. He’s my boyfriend. We haven’t said I love you yet, but we got really fucking close, and Kian is definitely out of the picture. There has been no contact since Silas was allowed to go home, and Kian texted me to let me know that Silas would be okay. Andre and I sent them a fruit basket, Kian thanked me, and that was that. I did the honorable thing, I think, being the better man, but I don’t feel like talking to him ever again. I’m so over that asshole.
I thought that me and Andre getting together would mean finally having hot sex all over the place, but it hasn’t worked out that way so far. We’ve been hanging out and kissing, but he seems to get tense whenever I try to kick things up a notch, so I’ve been taking things slow with him. I suspect it’s because of the kid thing. I had my sperm check-up the past week, and he was awkward about it all day. I’ll get the results next week, but I’m not sure he wants to hear about it. He’s trying, but he’s not completely on board with the kid thing yet.
I hope he will be soon, though. It’s happening one way or another, and I’d prefer to have him on board sooner rather than later.
I’ve already bought a bunch of stuff by the time Andre joins me and Mila that Saturday afternoon for lunch. I show him pictures on my phone of everything that I ordered, happy that he seems more relaxed today than he did the past week. I think it helps that he knows I’ve been shopping with Mila for hours already and didn’t wait to buy furniture for him to join us. I did that on purpose. He’s scared I’m making all my decisions based on others – Imani, Deidra, the baby we’re having, and of course Andre. Sure, some of my decisions are based on them, but I am truly trying to make the house my home.
“Are you done already?” Andre asks, swiping through the pictures. “Why did you even need me to come?”
“First of all, eye candy.” I press a kiss to his cheek and pull off his backwards baseball cap, putting it on myself.
“Hey, you had me to look at all morning.” Mila pushes her breasts forward so they strain against her flimsy top and she purses her lips.
“You don’t hold a candle to Andre.” Believe it or not, I actually mean it. Sure, Mila is a beautiful woman, but there is something about looking at the man you love that no one can beat. He looks a little flustered when I kiss him again, and it’s the cutest thing ever. “Besides, Mila is great at helping me pick out stuff like a new dining table, but she’s not much for décor.”
Andre laughs softly. “I don’t think I’m gonna be much help in that department either.”
“Please, your apartment is incredibly cozy.”
“It’s the books and the plants.” He steals a fry off my plate and pops it into his mouth. “So it’s just decorative stuff you need to buy?”
“And a bed,” Mila adds, her eyes twinkling. “We figured since you’ll be the one sleeping in it, you should get to try it out.”
If Andre’s complexion wasn’t so dark, he’d be blushing right now. I’m sure of it.
“Doubt we’ll get much sleep,” I whisper to him, unable to help myself.
He makes a low sound in the back of his throat before going in for a hot, hungry kiss. Finally, he seems to be on board with taking things to the next level. Gone is that awkward timidness from the past week. I fucking love it.
After lunch, Mila makes up an excuse about needing to meet up with Scarlett, winking at me before she leaves the two of us alone. She knows all about my plans to kick things up a notch with Andre, and she’s on board in a way she never was when I was dating Kian. In fact, all my friends adore Andre. I haven’t introduced him to my father yet, but I already know he’ll love him too. How could he not? Of course, my dad also liked Kian, and he was surprised to hear we’d broken up, but he didn’t make a big deal about it. He accepts that Kian and I have both moved on, and he was offended that Kian cheated on me. As he should be.
“Where to first?” Andre asks as we walk out of the restaurant.
“Lights. I need lights.”
Turns out Andre and I have very similar taste in pretty much everything. Sure, I like things a little more extravagant than he does, but he seems to find that adorable rather than annoying the way Kian always did. He’s even on board with me buying a chandelier for the bedroom.
We go to the store with bedroom furniture after, and I make him try out at least ten mattresses with me. He keeps telling me it doesn’t matter if it’s comfortable for him or not, but that’s just crap. Of course that matters to me. I end up getting a bed we both love, with matching nightstands. The wardrobe is way too big for all my clothes – which is saying something, because I do own a shitload of clothes – but that’s perfect. He’ll need space in my closet eventually, right?
Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself again. I can’t help it. All these items I bought will be perfect for me alone, but they will work for when he moves in one day as well. That prospect makes me happier than anything ever has.
“We need to buy one more thing,” he tells me when I decide we should head to the car.
“What?” I frown, trying to figure out what I forgot. “I’ve got everything I need for the bedroom, some paintings, lots of throw pillows, a table with chairs, a side table for the hallway…”
“You’re missing the most important thing,” Andre insists. “You can’t possibly live without this particular item.”
“What are you talking about? I already own a box of condoms, Andre.”
That makes him laugh. He laces his fingers through mine as we walk, pulling me in for a kiss. “Good to know you’ve got your priorities straight.”
“So we’ll need condoms soon?” I check, already getting turned on.
“I don’t know,” he says in a low, sexy voice. “Did you get tested after Kian?”
I shudder at that name. “Sure did. I’m clean, no thanks to him.”
“As you know, it’s been ages for me, and I got tested after my last time too.” He looks up into my eyes with a smile. “So maybe we don’t need that box of yours after all.”
“Let’s go home,” I beg, in no mood to shop anymore. “Or the car. The car will do. Hell, an alley will do right now.”
Andre stops walking, and I think for a moment he’s taking me up on my offer, but then he points to something behind me. “We’re here.”
I turn to see what he’s talking about, and I laugh. “Of course. Perfect.”
It’s a store called Ruggable, and they sell rugs in all shapes and sizes. I can’t believe I didn’t think about that. I drag Andre inside and start touching stuff right away, trying to find the softest one.
“Can I help you?” the sales woman asks when she comes over to us.
“I need a rug for every single room of my new house,” I tell her, already knowing I will be spending a fortune here. “They need to be soft enough to comfortably lie down on them for hours on end.”
“You sell washable rugs, right?” Andre asks, sounding way more serious than I feel.
“Washable?” I repeat. “How dirty do you think I am?”
He rolls his eyes. “When you’ve got a baby crawling around getting their spit and poop and drool everywhere, you will thank me. That’s why I picked this place. All the mommy sites say to get your rugs here. They have two parts, right?”
“Right,” the saleswoman agrees. “There’s a non-slip rug pad, with a lightweight cover that goes on top of it. You can take off the top and throw it in the washing machine. They’re very durable, and soft too.”
I’m not even truly listening to her. I stare at Andre, overcome with emotion. “You looked up what rugs are best for kids?”
He meets my gaze head-on. “Of course I did.”
Fuck that we’re in a store. Fuck that the saleswoman is staring at us. I grab his shirt and kiss him hard, needing him to know how much this means to me. He puts his arms around me and squeezes me tightly. This. Right here. This is love. This is what I thought I had before, but I didn’t. I definitely didn’t.
“Our plush rugs are softer than the cuddliest teddy bear,” the woman says when we break apart. “Want to see them?”
“Yes,” I breathe, my arm still around Andre. “I do.”