It’s been a late night trying to get the kids ready to go back to school, taking care of a bunny we rescued this weekend, and of course, my son Shane’s 12th birthday so I thought that I would post this for those of you who are waiting for Irresistible with the hopes that this will help with the wait.
“I think I’m going to be sick,” Melanie mumbled pathetically even as she shoved another delicious french fry in her mouth while she once again had to question the life choices she’d made that brought her here.
“Really? I can’t imagine why,” Rebecca, her best friend since elementary school and ex-roommate, said innocently with an equally innocent expression as she sat across the booth from her, clearly enjoying herself. Melanie considered kicking her beneath the table, but right now that seemed like a lot of work. So, she settled for taking another bite of her delicious french fry instead.
“I ran,” Melanie said in a daze, still trying to figure out how everything had gone so horribly wrong so quickly.
One minute, the nurse was calling her name and the next she was in her car, tearing out of the parking lot, and debating the pros and cons of taking Rebecca up on the suggestion that she’d made last year and moving to Switzerland.
“I believe waddled is a more fitting term,” Rebecca, always helpful, added as Melanie absently dipped her fry in ketchup and popped it in her mouth with a tragic groan.
“I panicked,” she said, sighing heavily as she stared down at the half-eaten burger on her plate.
“Yes, yes, you did,” Rebecca said absently, and Melanie didn’t need to look up to know that her best friend was probably licking her lips as she watched her husband do something that caused his insanely large muscles to bulge.
Her best friend had it bad for Lucifer and unfortunately, Melanie couldn’t say that she blamed her. Not that she wanted Lucifer for herself, because she definitely wasn’t into guys who loved to glare, but she couldn’t help but notice just how much Lucifer adored Rebecca. It was something that she would probably never have, she thought, popping another delicious fry in her mouth only to decide that she was actually okay with that.
“You can try again,” Rebecca pointed out.
“I know,” she said, wondering how she was going to be able to go back to that office and face his staff after today.
She already knew that she wouldn’t be able to do it, which was probably for the best. Telling Aidan, the asshole that she’d had a one-night stand with that the Morning After Pill hadn’t worked after all wasn’t exactly something that she really wanted to do at his office.
Then again, it also wasn’t something that she wanted to do when she was six and a half months pregnant, but she didn’t have much of a choice in the matter. She’d wanted to tell him sooner, had actually planned on telling him sooner, but things changed when she’d almost lost the baby and the doctor was forced to put her on bedrest.
She’d never been sicker in her life than she had in the last five months. Every day had been pure hell as she’d tried to get through the day without ending up in the emergency room, terrified that she was going to lose her baby. It had been touch and go there for a while, but eventually, they’d been able to get her nausea under control and she’d started putting on weight.
Five days ago, her doctor announced that her weight was good, her numbers were up, and that the baby, a very active little boy, was exactly where he should be, and that it was now safe to leave the confines of her bed. It had honestly been the best news of her life even though it meant that it was time to face the music.
She had to tell Aidan Bradford, the man that had made it clear that he didn’t want children that he was about to have one. She’d waited until she knew that the baby was going to be okay before telling him, because she honestly couldn’t think of anything crueler than telling a man that he was going to be a father when there was no certainty that the baby was going to survive.
She wasn’t supposed to be telling him now, but she didn’t want to put this off any longer. She didn’t want to be one of those women that tried to keep her child away from their father, which was the reason that she was ignoring her Doctor’s orders to hold off until after she had the baby. He was concerned about what the stress would do to her. She didn’t want to do anything to risk her baby, but she had to do the right thing.
She had to tell Aidan.
“I can go with you if you want,” Rebecca suggested with that same worried look that she’d been giving her since this whole thing started.
She shook her head and said, “It’s better if I tell him by myself,” even though it was tempting to bring Rebecca along as a buffer. Aidan liked Rebecca and probably wouldn’t start yelling if she was there, but he would still be angry. She wasn’t sure that she wanted Rebecca around when it happened, mostly because her best friend would probably take it upon herself to beat the crap out of him. Melanie also wasn’t sure that she would be able to come up with enough money to bail her best out of jail.
“When?” Rebecca pressed, which was something that she’d been doing a lot this past week.
“I’m going to tell him,” she promised as she popped another fry in her mouth.
“Better do it soon,” Rebecca said with a pointed look at the plate in front of Melanie, which just happened to be the third cheeseburger platter she’d ordered in the last hour and something that would give away the fact that she was carrying a Bradford, “before Lucifer figures it out.”
“He’s going to be mad,” she said slowly exhaling and trying not to think of all the times he’d taken care of her over the past few months, checked in on her, brought her food, sat with her, and occasionally carried her to the bathroom when she was too weak to do it herself so that she could hug the toilet for a few hours.
He had no idea that his brother was the father because they hadn’t told him and when he found out that they’d kept him in the dark he would probably never talk to her again. This was really turning out to be the best day ever, she thought dryly even as she had to wonder where her order of pancakes with extra butter, syrup, and bacon was.
“No, he won’t,” Rebecca promised her with a shrug. “He’ll just decide that gives him even more rights to be the godfather.”
That was true…
He did seem rather determined to be the baby’s godfather, she mused, glancing in his direction to find him sitting at the bar, glaring down at a stack of papers, which brought up a completely different question.
“Aren’t you supposed to be writing a paper?” Melanie asked, returning her attention back to Rebecca to find the other woman shrugging.
“I finished it, but he wasn’t happy with my choice of font and felt that my introduction wasn’t exciting enough to capture the reader’s attention.”
Frowning, Melanie absently ate another fry as she glanced back at Lucifer, who was still glaring. “What was your paper on?” she couldn’t help asking.
“Time management,” Rebecca said with a shrug.
“I see,” Melanie murmured thoughtfully, wondering how Rebecca handled Lucifer’s OCD without killing him.
Then again, since she’d benefitted from his OCD over the past few months, she wasn’t exactly in a position to talk. Thanks to Lucifer, everything in her apartment was now organized and she meant everything. From the frozen peas in her freezer to the extra pack of floss in her bathroom, everything was organized by expiration date, size, likelihood of use and, in the case of her kitchen, by flavor and texture in addition to all the aforementioned categories.
She’d felt bad at first that he was doing so much, but that quickly changed when she’d realized that he was actually enjoying himself. Whenever she tried to help him, he would glare at her, point towards her bedroom, and wait until she went back to bed before continuing with his hobby and if she didn’t move fast enough the bastard would call her mother. She still wasn’t sure how he’d gotten her mother’s phone number, but she suspected that Rebecca had something to do with it.
“How did you end up spending the night with Aidan?” Rebecca asked, and Melanie had to give her credit because she’d held off asking that question again a lot longer than she’d expected.
With a shrug, she said, “A lot of tequila, some beer, and a few shots of unidentifiable alcohol.”
She decided not to mention that she could barely remember what happened when she’d left their apartment with Aidan after Lucifer threw them out. She remembered going to a bar, ordering a drink, the feel of Aidan’s hands on her as he pushed her up against the wall and kissed her, and flashes of what happened once they made it to the hotel, and…
That was it.
The only thing that she remembered with perfect clarity was what happened the next morning when she woke up to find Aidan sitting across the room, glaring at her as he informed her that the condom broke during the night. The conversation that followed was definitely something that she wasn’t likely to forget anytime soon.
There was really nothing like struggling with a hangover while the first guy she’d slept with in years made sure that she knew just how much he regretted sleeping with her before she’d flipped him off, mumbled something that she hoped pissed him off, grabbed her clothes and left, more than ready to forget him.
Unfortunately, that’s not how things turned out.
“Fine. Don’t tell me,” Rebecca grumbled as she glanced at her husband and groaned miserably, “He’s getting out the red pen.”
“Sounds like you’re going to have a fun night,” Melanie said absently, not really in the mood to torture her best friend tonight.
Rebecca shrugged. “He’s easily distracted.”
From the sounds that she heard whenever she walked past their apartment, Lucifer’s office, or the supply closet, she had to agree. As she sat there, absently nibbling on another fry, she couldn’t help but wonder if Rebecca would be willing to distract Lucifer when he found out about Aidan.
“Do you think Aidan knows?” Rebecca asked, making her stomach turn, because she honestly didn’t know.
“I left before he could see me, and I doubt the nurse is going to make a big deal out of a patient ditching an appointment.”
She’d probably just mention it to the receptionist, who would make a note of it and send her a request for a cancelation fee. They’d probably just tell Aidan that his eleven o’clock canceled and that would be the end of it.
At least, she hoped it would.
Feeling exhausted from her first real trip out in months, she popped another fry in her mouth, tossed one at Rebecca who was back to ogling her husband, and made her way to the door in the back that lead upstairs to her apartment. Once she put her code in, the door unlocked with a loud clickand she was making her way upstairs and praying that Mojo, the large mastiff with a slight weight problem and a love of naps that she’d adopted with Rebecca a few years ago, wasn’t waiting for her at the top of the stairs.
When she finally made it to the second floor, and she refused to think about how long it took her to walk up a flight of stairs, she opened the door, made sure that there weren’t any large puddles of dog drool waiting for her, and went into her apartment.
Her sad, lonely apartment…
Sighing, she tossed her bag aside, grabbed a small bottle of apple juice and walked towards her bedroom, forgoing her comfortable couch and settled for the bed that she was sick of looking at. It was only for a little while longer, she reminded herself, hating that she was going to have to move soon, but what choice did she have? Renovations were set to begin on the Fire & Brimstone soon, she had a baby on the way, she could barely make it up the two flights of stairs now and really wasn’t sure how she was going to manage it with a baby in her arms, but most importantly, she couldn’t afford the rent by herself anymore.
Grabbing her iPad, she sat on the bed, picked up where she left off with the two-gallon sized bag of peanut butter M&Ms that she kept for nights like this, and settled in for another night of trying to find a first-floor apartment with two bedrooms, a garden tub, a gourmet kitchen, a huge backyard with a hot tub, and a landlord who was willing to rent it to her for a thousand dollars a month or less.
Preferably less, she mused with a handful of M&Ms and a wistful sigh
A lot less.
“I’m dying,” Aidan announced dramatically to the large bedroom filled with unpacked boxes, dirty clothes, and empty junk food wrappers that should fill the medical professional in him with shame, but sadly, it didn’t.
After a few minutes of staring aimlessly at a stack of boxes that he’d been meaning to unpack, he found the motivation to move. With a small sigh, he managed to roll over onto his side so that he could stare at the alarm clock blinking three p.m., reminding him that he still needed to set the time. Groaning, he reached over and grabbed his phone, or at least, tried to.
Instead, he ended up knocking over several empty energy cans, discarded junk food bags, and a half-eaten burger that had somehow escaped his notice, onto the floor. When he finally managed to grab his phone, he released another sigh and tossed the phone over his shoulder.
He was running late, again.
It was six-thirty in the morning, and he was already running thirty minutes behind, which meant that he was going to have to choose between taking a shower or grabbing something to eat on his way to work. Since he’d spent last night helping his cousin Trevor gut a house that he was planning on flipping, skipping a shower wasn’t really an option this morning.
He was going to have to forgo his usual stop at Dixon’s bakery for a “Bradford Breakfast,” and get his ass to work on time or be forced to skip lunch and spend the rest of the day trying to catch up with patients. Pretending that his muscles weren’t screaming in agony, he got to his feet and decided to move his ass.
He headed towards the small bathroom that he’d been meaning to renovate and rolled his shoulders, trying to work the stiffness out of his muscles. He needed to stop pushing himself, but he knew that wasn’t going to happen anytime soon. Thinking about that half-eaten burger that was waiting for him, he flicked the lights on and yawned when the overhead light blew out.
For a minute, he simply stood there, staring up at the busted light before he shrugged, grabbed his toothbrush and headed right back out the door, making a mental note to add the busted light to the ever-growing list of things that needed to be done. He walked into the large living room, opened his apartment door and crossed the small hallway that separated the two first floor apartments and walked into the other apartment, which he’d planned on renovating when he’d bought the place, and walked into the large living room that he was using for…
Well, he wasn’t really sure what he was using this room for since there didn’t seem to be a theme amongst all the shit that he’d thrown in here. Yawning, he stumbled around the old mini fridge that had once kept his beer cold during med school and headed for the bathroom. A few minutes later he’d relieved his bladder, brushed his teeth, and was shouting several obscenities when he was reminded that the water heater for the first floor still needed to be replaced.
Concerned that he was going to lose his balls to hypothermia, he stumbled out of the small bathtub, grabbed the towel off the floor that didn’t look like one of his, and wrapped it around his waist. Ignoring the disturbing odor that was coming off the towel, he headed back to his apartment, tripping over a laundry basket full of what appeared to be clean clothes that his mother must have brought over at some point, and couldn’t help but wonder what had possessed him to buy this apartment building in the first place when he’d had a perfectly good apartment to keep all his shit in.
Ten minutes later, he was rummaging through that basket of clothes to find something decent to wear after the search of his apartment had resulted with him adding laundry to the list of things that needed to be done. After scoring a clean shirt and a pair of slacks, he hurried back to his apartment, yanking his clothes on along the way. Once he was dressed, he tore his room apart until he found his cell phone and was then forced to do the same thing for his briefcase in the living room.
Finally ready, or at least secure in the knowledge that he had his keys, he headed out the door, noting that it was trash day and that his tenants had remembered. Putting his shit down, he quickly grabbed the trash cans spray painted with the number one on them and dragged them to the curb to join his tenants’ trash cans. Deciding that he was making good time, he stopped on the way to work for gas, day-old hotdogs, and an energy drink to help him start his day.
Ten minutes later, he was pulling into work and stealing his father’s parking spot. When he reached for his briefcase a bright yellow stain on his tie caught his attention. With another yawn, he yanked the mustard-stained tie loose and tossed it on the floor to join the others.
Grabbing his briefcase, he got out of his car and headed for the backdoor of his family’s practice. Before he had a chance to open the door it was thrown open and Raven, a nurse who’d been with his family’s practice for over twenty years, came stumbling down the stairs, looking absolutely terrified as she shoved a patient folder in his hands.
She didn’t say anything as he opened the file, but then again, she didn’t need to when the name on the file told him everything that he needed to know.
“Pancakes or waffles, Edmund?” Melanie asked the large belly that made it impossible to see her feet as she contemplated this morning’s choices.
When the baby kicked his displeasure, she couldn’t help but smile. “Not a big fan of Edmund, huh?” she asked, deciding against pancakes and opted for the donuts that she’d picked up last night during her impromptu visit to the grocery store when her craving for Cool Whip had compelled her to put on her bunny slippers and hit the store before it closed.
While she was there, she’d decided that it was a good time to go grocery shopping for the third time this week. It had taken her an hour and two trips, but she’d managed to fit two hundred dollars’ worth of junk food into her car. Thankfully, Lucifer had been outside walking Mojo when she’d pulled into the back parking lot so she didn’t have to worry about carrying all those bags up two flights of stairs.
Once the bags were brought upstairs and Lucifer had put them away, he’d joined her on the couch with a bag of cookies and Cool Whip and kept her company until sitting up became too much and she had no choice but to go to bed. After that she’d laid in bed for a while, trying not to think about everything that she wasn’t supposed to think about and failed miserably before finally falling asleep sometime around three this morning.
Now, she was awake and determined to have a productive day, one that didn’t end with her taking ten naps before dinner. She’d been off bedrest for a week now and needed to get some things done before the doctor overreacted and put her back on bedrest. Four months had been more than enough, she thought as she took a bite of the delicious powdered cinnamon donut and thought about all the things that she needed to do today. She really wasn’t looking forward to spending another day checking out apartment listings and trying to figure out a way to stretch her budget a little further.
It had been four months since she was able to work, which meant that it had been four months since she’d collected a paycheck and was forced to live off her savings. Even though her savings account was decent, four months of paying copays and tests, buying expensive medicine to combat nausea, countless emergency room visits, and the normal costs of living had done some serious damage. She had enough to cover a few more months and hopefully the delivery, but that was pretty much it and that was only if nothing else happened and she was really hoping that nothing else happened.
Normally, she paid her bills with the money that she made from the bigger projects, like creating programs and databases, and used the money she made from designing websites and apps to pad her savings account, but right now the big projects were out of the question. She couldn’t handle the eighteen-hour days that she usually put into her projects and there was no way that she could guarantee any deadlines right now.
Smaller projects would be easier to handle and thank god, those jobs were easier to come by. Five or six small projects a week should be enough to keep her going until after the baby was born and she had more time for work. Until then, she was going to have to do her best to make this work and be careful about her spending.
Unfortunately, she couldn’t seem to control how much she spent on food, she thought with a wistful sigh as she took a bite of the delicious powdered cinnamon donut that she was going to have to get more of. She really didn’t want to think about how much she was spending on food. The only thing that was stopping her from a nervous breakdown over her food bill was Lucifer.
He was always cooking for her, checking on her to make sure that she had enough to eat, and refused to let her pay when she ate at the Fire & Brimstone. She wasn’t sure if he was doing this because of her relationship with Rebecca, his lovely bride who lived to torment him, or because they’d become friends in the last few months. The only thing that she knew was that without him, she probably wouldn’t have made it this far.
She probably would have-
“Open the fucking door!” a terrifyingly familiar voice suddenly demanded, startling her, which of course resulted in her dropping her delicious donut on the floor and realizing that there was a very good chance that she was going to have to make another trip to the grocery store.
That is, if the man pounding on her door didn’t kill her first.
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