Free Spirit

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Chapter 22

Paddy

I leaned back in my chair, scrubbing my hands over my face as I released a heavy sigh. The pandemic wasn’t over. People were still dying of Covid. And when I had to arrange a service for a thirty-year-old single mother with five small children, it really rattled me.

The past month was rough. I worked sixteen hours days while my parents were overseas. When they returned home, we had a huge surge of business, and the long days and nights continued.

I hadn’t spoken to Alexis since we parted ways at the airport. My parents’ unexpected trip was a blessing in disguise. I needed some time to process everything that happened in Alaska. And I knew Alexis wasn’t ready to have the conversation that needed to happen between us if there was any hope of salvaging our friendship.

She turned down Osk’s proposal. But that didn’t mean she chose me. She was confused. Alexis didn’t know what she wanted. I knew her better than she knew herself.

I missed having her in my bed. The sound of her breathing, her soft warm body, the smell of her hair. Making love to Alexis was everything I dreamed it would be and more. The feel of her body underneath me, the taste of her sweet pussy, her unique feminine scent and her moans of pleasure replayed in my head every night.

And the memory of being inside her? Unbelievable. I went instantly hard every time I thought about it. Which was every minute of every day that first week. I had to force myself to stop, because I couldn’t walk around the funeral home with a constant boner.

A light tap on my office door interrupted my train of thought, my dick returning to its flaccid state when I pushed thoughts of Alexis’s pussy to the back of my mind.

“Come in!” I called out.

My administrative assistant opened the door, her strong perfume overwhelming the room and triggering my allergies. I would have to remind her again about our no scent policy.

“What can I do for you, Christy?” I asked when she closed the door softly behind her.

Christy had only worked for me for about a year. She was very efficient, but her flirting had escalated lately. It was getting to the point where she might need to be transferred to another chapel. I wasn’t interested in her, and even if I was, I’d never get involved with someone who worked for me. That was a recipe for disaster.

“Alexis is here,” she informed me with a sigh of annoyance. “I told her you weren’t in, but she didn’t believe me. She said your mother told her you were here.”

“Why would you tell her I wasn’t here, Christy?”

“Well,” she sputtered. “You know why.”

“No, I don’t. Please elaborate.”

“You guys had some kind of falling out in Alaska.”

“Where did you hear that?”

“You know. People talk.”

“What people?”

“Never mind.”

“Can you please bring her in?”

“Sure,” she grumbled, spinning on her heel.

I stood up and walked around my desk, my heart kicking into high gear at the thought of seeing the woman I loved. My cock perked up, twitching in anticipation.

When she came through the door, I knew immediately that something was wrong. Alexis couldn’t hide her emotions from me.

I moved around her to close the door. Christy was lurking in the hallway. “Hold all my calls, please,” I instructed her. “Ralph is here. He can take any service calls that come through.”

“Yes sir,” she huffed.

Yep. Christy definitely needed to go.

“Can I get you anything?” I offered.

“A water would be great,” she replied, collapsing into one of the chairs in front of my desk.

I grabbed a bottle from the mini bar and handed it to her. “Are you okay, Alexis? You don’t look well.”

“It’s a long drive out here. Lots of traffic.”

“How did you get here?”

“I borrowed Hannah’s car.”

I sat on the edge of my desk, studying her closely. Her hair was her natural blonde, without the usual pink or purple streaks. She was wearing a thin layer of makeup, but it didn’t hide the dark circles under her eyes.

“You look tired,” I said.

“We need to talk, Paddy.”

“I know. I’m sorry I haven’t called you. It’s been crazy around here since I returned from our trip.”

“We never had a chance to talk about what happened between us that night in the treehouse,” she said.

“I was hoping we could talk that last night, but then Osk proposed to you, and things kind of went sideways after that.”

“Yeah. You and Osk got drunk together.”

“I was upset that he proposed to you. And I was afraid you might say yes, until he showed up at the bar and told me you turned him down.”

“Why didn’t you come find me at that point?”

“I was already half in the bag, and Osk said you told him you needed time to find yourself. So, I decided to give you some space.”

“Do you remember anything else that happened that night?”

“Bits and pieces,” I said, smoothing out the crease in my pants with my thumb. “I didn’t touch Eliza. Osk said he pulled her off me when she tried to take my pants down.”

“I know.” She tilted her head, studying me thoughtfully. “Do you remember me crawling in bed with you?”

“No. The last thing I remember was sitting at the table. Then I woke up the next morning with you in my arms.”

“I don’t wanna lose you, Paddy,” she whispered, her voice catching on a choked sob.

“Come here,” I said.

She threw herself into my arms, sobbing uncontrollably. Alexis rarely cried. She was a tough cookie who kept her emotions close to the vest. I’d never seen her so upset. Not even when her parents died.

“I’m not going anywhere, baby,” I murmured, pressing my lips to the top of her head. “We can figure this out. I’ll always be your best friend. And if that’s all I’ll ever be, then I’m okay with that.”

“It’s not that simple,” she whispered, pulling out of my arms. Her eyes darted nervously around the room as she put some distance between us.

“Alexis, what’s going on?”

“I wanted that job so bad. It was gonna be my big break. My foot in the door in Hollywood. It probably would’ve led to other gigs. It’s not easy to break into show business. I’ll never get another opportunity like that again.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Chester Leemington? Remember? He approached me at the wedding. He’s filming a movie in Vancouver next year.”

“Did you have an interview?”

“Yes. But I can’t take the job.”

“Why not?”

“Because I’d be required to be on the set from March until July, fifteen-hour days sometimes. And some location shoots on deserted islands and stuff like that.”

“Why can’t you do that?”

“I had to turn down the job because I’m pregnant!”

I blinked rapidly, all the air leaving my body like I’d had the wind knocked out of me. Alexis flopped into the chair, her arms crossed while she watched me process her bombshell.

I grabbed the desk for support, my mind going in fifty different directions. “How did this happen, Alexis?” I demanded, my voice coming out more stern than I intended.

“You put your dick inside me and blew multiple loads of your sperm into my womb. One of those little fuckers fertilized my egg.”

“You’re on the pill.”

“I was late taking my pill the next day, because I was stuck on that stupid fucking island.”

“There’s no way birth control pills are that sensitive.”

“Well, apparently they are. Pregnancy tests don’t lie. And I saw my doctor yesterday. She confirmed it with a blood test.”

“You must’ve forgotten to take your pill when we got back to the lodge.”

“Oh my God, Paddy! I didn’t forget! You should know me better than that. The last thing I want is a baby. I’ve never forgotten a pill. Ever.”

“You don’t take them until you get up in the morning,” I said, shaking my head. “First thing in the morning is noon for you. We were back by six o’clock. That’s only six hours late.”

“What does it matter?!”

“I guess it doesn’t. What’s done is done.”

I was on a merry-go-round of emotions. The initial shock and anger subsided, reality settling into my rattled brain. Alexis was having my baby. I was going to be a father.

Holy shit!

My face broke out in a wide smile.

I was going to be a dad!

“Are you okay, Paddy?”

“I am more than okay! I’m fantastic! This is amazing! We’re gonna have a baby!”

You’re gonna have a baby,” she corrected.

“Excuse me?”

“I don’t want a baby right now, Paddy. I’m not ready to be a mother. I don’t know if I ever will be.”

“It’s a little late for that, Alexis.”

“I want you to raise it.”

“Come again?”

“Are you willing to let me have an abortion?”

“Absolutely not.”

“Then I’ll carry the baby and give birth to it, and miss out on the movie job, but you will raise it.”

“Are you insane?”

“No.”

“Let’s take some time. We’ve got lots of it. You’ll change your mind. I know you, Alexis. You would never abandon your own child.”

“I won’t change my mind, Paddy.”

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