Where I Belong (Alabama Summer #1) - Page 37

I climb into my truck after folding up Nolan’s drawing and slipping it into my back pocket. “I’m sorry about that. She won’t talk to you like that again. I promise.” I reach for her hand and she places it in mine with a smile. She seems completely unaffected by the hate she just had directed at her.

“It’s okay, I get it.” She links her fingers through mine as I pull out of the apartment complex. “She loves you and she’s hurt that the two of you aren’t together. I’m sure it isn’t easy for her.”

Jesus. She doesn’t even have a negative thing to say about Angie after that bitchy encounter. She actually feels sorry for her. “I don’t think Angie loves me. I think she’s just desperate for attention. We had one night together and neither one of us remembers any of it.”

She shakes her head in disagreement. “She definitely loves you. I can tell.” Her head rests back on the seat and she turns it toward me. Our eyes meet briefly before I have to put them back on the road. “Did you ever try to make it work with her?”

“Yeah, after Nolan was born. I knew Angie wanted us to be a family and I owed it to Nolan to at least try. They moved in with me after the two of them were released from the hospital. But it only lasted two weeks.” Her hand tightens in mine. “We fought constantly about everything and I was fucking miserable all the time. Having a baby at twenty-three was stressful enough and then throw in the fact that I couldn’t stand my son’s mother. It wasn’t good. When I told her it wasn’t going to work she freaked out, threatening to keep Nolan away from me. I took her to court to make sure I’d at least get my time with him and that only pissed her off even more.” I park the truck in my usual spot at my parents’ house. I help Mia out on her side, keeping her hand in mine as we walk toward the pool. “Sometimes I wish I would’ve never slept with her that night, but then I wouldn’t have Nolan. And I can’t imagine not having that little maniac.”

She laughs softly against my shoulder as we round the pool. “I can’t imagine you not having him either.” I slide the door open, placing my hand on her back and moving her ahead of me into the house. Tessa is sitting on the couch, her lap completely covered in used tissues and her face in her hands. “Tessa? What’s wrong?” Mia goes straight to my sister, sitting down next to her.

“Are you alright?” I ask, moving in front of her. I haven’t seen Tessa cry since we were younger, and back then, I was usually the cause of it. The older she gets, the less she lets things get to her. If she had balls, they’d be made of steel.

She looks up at me and then back to Mia. “Oh my God. Are you guys together now?” Mia nods and Tessa begins to cry harder. Not the reaction I had been expecting. Tessa was my biggest supporter when it came to winning over Mia. “That makes me so happy. You have no idea.” She sobs, prompting Mia to wrap her arms around her.

“Do you need a girls’ night?” Mia asks, giving me a knowing look over Tessa’s shoulder.

I pick up on the message loud and clear. The two of them don’t need me here for this. Nor do I really want to be here for whatever the fuck happens at a girls’ night. I lean down and kiss Mia’s forehead. “I’m gonna head out. I’ll see you after work tomorrow.” She winks at me and nods against Tessa. I place my hand on my sister’s shoulder. “If you say this is because of Luke, I’ll go find him right now and beat his ass.” She whimpers against Mia, and I would’ve taken that as a yes until she begins shaking her head. Fucking women and their mixed signals. A simple yes or no would’ve been nice. I exhale loudly in annoyance. “Just call me if you need me.” I smile once more at Mia and get the hell out of there before I get any more cryptic responses.

* * *

Chapter Sixteen


“See, it’s a good thing I stocked up like I did yesterday,” I say, carrying over two bags of chips and the box of cookies that Nolan and I had made a dent in yesterday. Girls’ night can’t exist without some sort of junk food. I drop them onto the coffee table and settle in next to Tessa, turning my body toward her. She isn’t crying anymore but she looks emotionally drained. I tuck my legs underneath me and place my hand on her knee. “What happened with Luke?”

She sniffs, leaning her head so it rests on the back of the couch. Her eyes are puffy and bloodshot and her nose is bright red. I’ve never seen Tessa cry before. Not even when we were younger. She was always the stronger one out of the two of us.

“I didn’t know where Luke stood on the whole kid thing. We’ve never talked about it and I didn’t want to just drop the baby bomb in his lap without being somewhat prepared for his reaction.” She reaches up and wipes a tear from her face. “I was anticipating him saying that he’d want to wait a few years to start a family and then I’d say something like instead of waiting a few years, how do you feel about waiting a few months? But he didn’t say that.” She looks down into her lap and begins picking at her nail polish.

“What did he say?”

“He said he didn’t know if he wanted kids. He said that every time he saw Ben and Nolan together, he never once thought that was something he’d want someday.” She lifts her head and looks at me. “I got so angry. I pushed him away from me and started screaming at him. I told him I was tired of whatever the hell it was we were doing together and that I didn’t want to see him anymore.” She starts crying again and I grab her hand before she continues. “I don’t even know if he was fully committed to me. He could’ve been fucking every girl in Ruxton for all I know, and then the thought of him getting all those girls pregnant pissed me off even more. I was yelling and crying. I don’t even know if I was making any sense. He tried to calm me down but I couldn’t even look at him. I told him never to call me again and I left.”

I grab a tissue out of the box and hand it to her. “So you didn’t tell him you might be pregnant?” Even if she and Luke weren’t together anymore, I still thought he should know about it.

She chuckles softly which completely throws me off. Ending things with the father of your unborn child doesn’t seem humorous to me. “The timing of this whole thing couldn’t have been more fucked up. After I got home, I went to the bathroom and low and behold, there was my stupid period. That bitch really took her sweet ass time making an appearance.” She shakes her head and drops it to the side, leaning it against the couch. “I keep thinking that if I would’ve just waited a day, that whole conversation wouldn’t have happened and we’d still be screwing around. But I’m glad I didn’t wait. I want a family someday. I want to get married and have kids and I wouldn’t get that with him. I’d just be wasting my time.” Her words are certain but she seems saddened by the loss of whatever it was that she and Luke shared. I tighten my grip on her hand.

“I’m really sorry things didn’t work out. With Luke and the baby. I know you were excited about being a mom.”

She shrugs. “It’s probably for the best. I see what my brother has to go through raising a baby with somebody he isn’t with. And I’m sure Luke would’ve ended things once I told him that I was keeping it.” She grabs a few cookies and rests back on the arm of the couch. “I am going to miss the sex though. My God.”

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