No Such Luck

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Chapter 7 - Help me

Brady

It was 8 am on Saturday morning and Eliza and I were already arguing via text. Well, not exactly arguing but she was being difficult about me picking her up. She mentioned her sister living in the suburbs and I saw no reason for her to drive back and forth when she was the one doing me a favor.

Eliza : Really, it's fine. I don't mind driving back.

Me : There's no need. I'll be there in thirty minutes.

I was leaving her with no room to argue back. Or so I thought.

Eliza : What about Penelope's car seat. Will it fit in your car?

Well, shit. That was true. Lucky for me I had no shortage of vehicles.

Me : I'll drive my truck, there will be plenty of room.

Eliza : You have a truck?

Eliza : Never mind, that's not my business


I loved how she said, and texted, whatever popped in her mind. It was refreshing. Most people spoke to me like they were walking on eggshells and it got old. I liked that she didn't care if she offended me or not. Or at least she didn't care enough to apply a filter.

I didn't reply, instead, I swapped out my Audi key for my Ford and grabbed my hat before walking out the door. I got so tired of the suits and other clothes that I felt like I couldn't breathe in. I made it to my truck and turned my hat around backward as I typed the address Eliza reluctantly gave me into the GPS.

The drive there made me crave getting out of the city even more. I didn't grow up as a city boy but I'd had no choice to become one after graduating college. My family's whole business existed there so, therefore, I had to as well.

But I couldn't wait until I had the opportunity to take a nice long break and get out to my ranch. It had been way too long.

My phone rang and I pushed my truck's screen to answer.

"Good morning, mom."

"Good morning, honey. Are you on the road? It's early for a Saturday."
My mother was always too perceptive. Especially with me. And I was a chicken shit for avoiding her at all costs since I'd found out about the baby.

"Yeah, just running some errands. Can I come over tomorrow?"
It was time, I didn't need to prolong it anymore.

"Of course you can, come over around five. I'll have your favorites ready."

"I'll be there. Did you need something?"
I didn't mean to rush her but I was turning on Eliza's sister's street and I really didn't want to have to explain that too.

"No, honey. I just haven't talked to you in a while. I was just checking it."

The guilt I'd been pushing away began to seep in. I was a bit of a mama's boy. Not in the scary "I still live in my mom's basement and she washes my clothes" sense. But in general, she was my favorite person. I normally called her frequently throughout the week, took her to lunch a lot, and spent Sundays with her when I could. And ignoring her felt wrong.

"I'm fine mom. I'll see you tomorrow. I'll come over early to help with dinner."

"See you then, sweetheart."

After telling my mom bye I disconnected my phone and pulled into in driveway right behind Eliza's car. I hopped out of the front seat and opened the back door about the same time Eliza came out of the house with Penelope on her hip. I watched as she opened her car's back door and tried to pull out the massive car seat while balancing the toddler on her hip.

I smiled to myself as I walked closer.

"Need some help?"
I asked as I leaned against her car.

She sighed as she stood up straight. I directed my attention to the little blonde in her arms.

"Good morning, Penelope. Is your Aunt always this stubborn?"
I asked as I reached my arms out toward her. I wasn't exactly used to babies but I figured it couldn't be all that hard. She grinned and leaned closer, letting her body fall in my hands and trusting me to catch her.

I held onto her while Eliza wrestled with the car seat and cussed in hushed tones. I managed to hold in my laughter until she freed the contraption and about half a box of Cheerios spilled onto the driveway.

She glared at me and I watched her lips twitch as she fought against the urge to join me.

"I guess it's better than them falling out in my car."
She shrugged as she tried to lug the heavy thing to my truck. I grabbed one of the straps and set it down beside my truck before handing Penelope back to Eliza.

"Does it hook somewhere?"
I asked, hoping it was going to be easier than I was thinking.

"Yeah, they are right under here."
She said as she snaked her arm behind the car seat. I did the same with mine and grabbed the strap with my other hand and clicked it into place than did the same with the other side. I tightened them and got out of the way so that Eliza could fasten Penelope in. I slid into the driver's seat the same time Eliza shut the back door and walked around.

"So where to?"
She asked as she clicked her seatbelt into place.

"I believe it's called Bellini Baby? I'm not sure, it was the first place that came up when I googled baby stores."
I told her and she nodded.

"It's a good store. Expensive, but good."
She nodded again.

Her cheeks turned red and I rubbed my hand over my mouth, hiding another smile. I wasn't sure why something like that would embarrass her, it was without a doubt an expensive store so why would she be embarrassed by stating the truth?

We rode the rest of the way in silence, even Penelope was quiet and it sort of amazed me. The only kids I'd ever been around were wild and ran around everywhere. I assumed that was how all children were.

We arrived at the store and Eliza cursed under her breath again.

"What is it?"
I asked.

"I forgot her stroller."

She shook her head as she unclipped the car seat's straps.

"We're at a baby store, I could buy her a new-"

"No."
She said immediately. She had made it clear that she was not a fan of me buying things and I had to agree that it was slightly inappropriate.

"I'll just hold her."
She smiled as she shut the back door and secured Penelope on her hip.

"Okay."
I nodded as I walked next to her and into the store.

"So an entire nursery huh?"
She asked as she ran her slender fingers over an ornate white crib.

"Yes, for a girl by the way."

"Oh wow, get ready to spend some money Daddy."
She smiled, no trace of anything but innocence in her voice and I had to force myself to breathe.

I turned around to adjust myself. If there was any place for me to not have a hard-on, this was it.

What the hell was wrong with me?

"This one is beautiful."
She said and I turned around to see her admiring a natural wood crib. It was pretty modern as far as cribs went. Not nearly as elaborate as some as the others and I had to admit it would look nice in my apartment.

"I like it. That was easy."
I said and she laughed.

"We just walked in, we need to look at more before you decide."

"Why? You said it was beautiful, and I agree."

"You asked me here for a reason, right? You need more help than me telling you it looks nice."
She sat Penelope down and I watched as she played with the massive stuffed bear in the corner. I wondered if I could get away with buying it for her?

"Besides. You need a lot more than just a crib."

"Yes, I do."
I couldn't argue with that. I was in the dark when it came to all of the baby stuff. I knew what looked good but I had no idea what I actually needed.

I pointed at the giant bear.
"Hey, can I buy her-"

"No."
She said as she walked into the next room. I scooped Penelope up off of the floor and followed Eliza.

"I'm gonna buy it anyway."
I whispered in her ear and she giggled.

Close to three hours later we had covered every inch of the store and had successfully put together and ordered a nursery that fit perfectly with the rest of my place but was still just the right amount of elegant and girly. And I knew there was no way in hell that I could've managed it without Eliza.

We walked back to my truck and my stomach growled.

"Let's grab some lunch."
I said after Eliza was buckled in the front seat with Penelope secured in the back.

"Are you sure? You could just drop us back off at my sister's."
She shrugged and I was almost offended.

"Are you trying to get rid of me?"
I teased.

"What? No, I just assumed you'd have other plans."

"Nope. No plans. So, lunch?"
I looked at her out of the corner of my eye while still focusing on the road and she was grinning it was small but it was there.

"Lunch sounds great. I'm sure Penelope is hungry."

"You hungry, P?"
I asked as I looked at her in my rearview mirror.

She smiled as she bobbed her little blonde head up and down.

"P? That's cute."
Eliza said turned her body toward mine. I was making progress. Little by little but still.

We ended up at a Mexican restaurant and I was amazed as I watched Penelope eat her weight in cheese dip.

"Slow down little girl."
Eliza said as she pushed her niece's hair away from her face. She treated her as if she was her own baby and I found it so damn attractive.

"Park! Park!"
Penelope shouted as we left the restaurant.

"Not today, okay? I'll take you next weekend."
Eliza tried to reason with her but when she stuck her little lip out I was a goner.

"We could take her. I don't mind."

Eliza looked up at me and paused. At first, I thought I was in trouble but her sweet smile took over her face and I forgot what we were even talking about.

"Okay, park it is then."

We walked across the lot and sat down on the bench while P played on the toddler side.

"Thank you, for being so kind I mean."
Eliza said as she crossed her arms over her chest.

"No problem. Thank you for your help today."
It was only half of what I wanted to say and I tried to keep my mouth shut, but it was no use.

"I know today was supposed to just be you helping me out, but I've had fun with you two."
That also wasn't all that I wanted to say but I couldn't allow myself to tell her the other type of fun I wanted to have with her. Not yet at least.

"Me too. I think Penelope has booted me as her best friend though."
She grinned as she looked at P playing.

"I doubt that."
I continued staring at her because I couldn't stop.

I was screwed.

I think Eliza dozed off during the drive back and when I pulled into her sister's driveway I realized that P had too. Why did I like the idea of both of them comfortable enough to fall asleep with me? That was a new feeling.

Eliza sat up straight and tried to play her nap off and I allowed it. She got out and I followed.

"Could you hold her while I get the car seat out?"
She asked and I nodded. She handed me a sleeping Penelope and I waited patiently as she took the car seat out of my truck and put it back in her car.

I followed her up to the house and didn't even think twice before looking for Penelope's room.

"It's right in here. I'm going to use the restroom while you put her down if that's okay?"

"Sure, go ahead."

I looked down at the sleeping toddler in my arms and was amazed at how much she favored Eliza. They had the same downcast eyelashes and similar eye shapes. And the slope of their noses was identical. It made me curious what my own baby would have of me but with any luck, she'd look just like her mother.

I thought about laying her down like Eliza had asked but I wasn't convinced that I could do it without waking her up. So I sat down the glider and started rocking.

"I think you'll be just fine."

I looked up at the sound of Eliza's voice. She was propped up against the door of Penelope's room. She pushed off the doorframe and stood beside the glider. I stopped rocking and she carefully lifted Penelope out of my arms. She looked considerably bigger up against Eliza's tiny frame and I wondered how she would lift her into the crib even with one side lowered. But she did it with ease and without so much as waking her. I stood for a second and admired her as she slept peacefully. Eliza wrapped one hand around my bicep and tugged me out of the room.

"Thanks again for bringing her in."

"It was no problem. It's good practice."
I said and she sighed as she looked down at the floor.

"What is it?"
I asked and she raised her eyes to mine. It was an unfamiliar feeling to want to know exactly what was wrong with someone that I hardly knew but that didn't change the fact that it was true. If something was bothering her I wanted to know.

"I get the feeling that you have this idea in your head that you aren't going to be a good dad. But just the fact that you're worried about something like that means that you already are. I watched you with Penelope and the way she reacts to you. You're going to be a great dad, Brady."
She smiled at me and the urge her kiss her was so strong.

Too strong. All the time I'd spent today trying to keep my hands off of her was for nothing.

I leaned my head down at the same moment she tilted hers up and I brushed my lips across hers. They were impossibly soft just as I suspected they would be. I wanted to restrain myself and I really tried. I raised my hand and stroked her cheek lightly then wrapped my fingers around her jaw to test the waters. She moaned into my mouth and I pressed my fingertips harder into her flesh and her body responded almost instantly. She arched her back and I wrapped my free hand around her back and pulled her closer to me. Then slid it into her hair and tugged at the strands from the roots as I moved my other hand slightly down her throat and squeezed at the same time.

She pulled back and gasped as I squeezed harder. I saw the heat increase in her eyes and I knew she liked it as much as I did. Her body craved a little pain mixed with pleasure as much as I craved giving it to her.

And if I needed any more of a confirmation, Eliza tilted her head back slightly giving me even more access to her slender neck and I didn't waste any more time trying to confirm what I already knew. I pressed my lips back to hers and threw away any other hesitation that I had about sleeping with my employee.
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