The Roommate's Baby

By: Penny Wylder

"Hello? Earth to Rina." He nudges me again and I blink, startled back to reality. To our living room, to the couch we've shared for a million and one movie nights since moving in here. To my roommate, who I've walked past every day for the last four years, but who I'm suddenly seeing through whole new eyes.

He's hot, he's smart, he's responsible. And he's uncomplicated, just like me. He doesn't develop feelings for people, same way I don't. He'd be the perfect donor, so to speak.

Maybe I don't need a clinic's help after all.

"Are you going to explain what all that was about?" He waves toward the door in general, then at my face. I wipe my cheeks again, sure that I still look a complete mess. Really attractive. Great way to bring up this topic.

"It's... kind of a long story," I admit, biting my lower lip. Then my eyes snag on something I hadn't noticed before. A bra hooked over the back of the couch. I laugh and lift an eyebrow at him, nodding with my chin. "Another souvenir?"

"Part of the down side of NSA. Girls never come back for their things." He groans and reaches for it. "I'll add it to the donation bin downstairs tomorrow."

"NSA?" I say, frowning.

"No Strings Attached, you know. My MO."

I laugh and roll my eyes. "Didn't know it had an acronym."

"I'm thinking of trademarking it."

"What, in your forthcoming novel, How Not to Get Attached?"

"Hey, pot calling the kettle black, much? You can co-author it with me. Nothing wrong with this lifestyle." He stretches his arms over his head, which draws my attention somewhat confusingly to his abs once more. What's wrong with me? I know what Cannon looks like. I've seen him every day for years. But suddenly the sight of those washboard abs are turning me on in new and confusing ways.

Must be the hormones.

"We like sex," he's saying with a shrug. "We don't do relationships. So no strings attached makes the most sense, to get us what we enjoy without leading anyone on or giving anyone the wrong idea about things potentially getting serious."

I feel myself nodding along, and forcefully drag my gaze from his chest back up to meet his eyes. "Exactly..." I hear myself saying.

A furrow appears between his brow. "Unless you were just crying your heart out on my shoulder over some guy I don't know about. What happened, did someone break your heart? Need me to go rough him up for you?"

I laugh and swat his shoulder. "I cannot imagine you roughing someone up."

"What? I've been in bar brawls before."

"I just mean you're so chill all the time. When have you gotten into fights?"

"When people fuck with my friends," he answers calmly. "I don't let anybody do that. So come on, Rina, spill, why the tears? What's going on?"

I swallow hard and lean my head back on the couch, eyes on the ceiling. I can't quite make myself meet his eyes when I say this. "It's about a baby."

He's quiet for so long that I have to steal a peek at him. His eyebrows have shot up to his hairline nearly. "You're pregnant?"

"No," I say, and that nearly makes the tears start up all over again. I bite my lower lip. "But I want to be."



"I'm not sure I follow." I frown at my roommate. Rina has always been the calm one, the chill one, the one I can relax with and be myself around. The one friend I trust above all others—or hell, I'd never have lived with her for as long as I have. There aren't many people on the planet I could spend this much time with—working together, co-habitating—and yet, with Rina, I never get sick of having her around or tired of her presence.

Today, though, when she walked into this apartment and broke down crying, I thought my heart would rip out of my chest in panic. The sight of her in tears made me want to simultaneously hug her so tight she'd never feel hurt again and it made me want to punch a hole in whoever hurt her.

I assumed it was some guy. One of the dweebs she hooks up with maybe. I've never seen her get attached before, never seen Rina be into a guy enough to show much emotion beyond occasional annoyance. It's one of the many ways in which we're so similar. But I couldn't think what else would make her cry like that.

Top Books