The Roommate's Baby

By: Penny Wylder

And, admittedly, the thought of her actually caring about someone else did unpleasant things to my gut.

It's not that Rina isn't hot. She's drop-dead gorgeous, believe me. Fiery red hair, pale blue eyes a guy could get lost in, curves for days. But she never gave any hint at being interested in me, and anyway, I don't do attachment, and I didn't want to risk fucking up our perfect roommate relationship by hooking up and ruining it all.

Suddenly, though, her crying had me thinking all kinds of new things. Who hurt her? I'll kill him. Why does she like that guy and not me?

I shake myself back to the present, though, to her response when I finally got her to tell me what the hell is going on. "You want a baby?"

She sucks in another deep breath and sighs at the ceiling. Her eyes are still red from crying, but even with that, she's as gorgeous as ever, her mouth pursed in the sexy little pout I love, her forehead just the tiniest bit creased, the way it gets when she's stressed at work. Nights like this I'd usually suggest we go bar-hopping and blow off some steam by finding hookups. But she's clearly not in the mood for that right now.

A baby?

"You know my mom had me by herself," Rina's saying.

"Of course, same as my mom did," I reply. Who isn't raised in a single-parent household in this day and age?

"And your mom was fine with it, wasn't she?" Rina asks.

"Well, it's not like she had a choice. My dad was a total deadbeat. But she never complained about it. Well, except when she had to pay for childcare while she was at work," I add, remembering.

Rina huffs out a sigh. "I want to have a baby. I'm already the same age Mom was when she had me, and I'm only getting older, I don't want to be an old mom. But you know me, I don't really... do relationships," she points out.

"As we were just saying," I agree.

"So... I tried to go to a clinic. I found a donor and everything."

"When were you going to mention this?" I ask, bewildered. Normally Rina and I talk about everything. Or so I thought.

"I didn't want to tell you yet, not until I knew if it worked. I didn’t know when I'd need to move out or anything. I figured once I was pregnant I'd start to shop for a new place."

Move out? My stomach rolls again at the thought of it, and I have to tense my muscles to keep from visibly reacting. But I don't want to live with anyone else.

Focus, Cannon. Rina's hurting. That's what matters now. "So, er... you got a donor then? At the clinic?" I ask, not sure how these things work.

She shook her head. "I had one picked out. I was supposed to go today and get inseminated. But..." She swallows hard. I can see this is really taking a toll on her. It makes my chest hurt in weird, confusing ways to see her like this.

I reach out and catch her hand again. Twine her small, narrow fingers between mine, in the one small gesture of comfort I can offer.

She shoots me a sad half-smile. "Some guy, one of the donors, came in and was freaking out at the woman who used his sample. He didn't like the idea of having a kid out there in the world he didn't know, but he was totally crazy. And then I thought, what if the donor I picked did something like that? What if that stranger turned out to be a total nut job?"

"That wouldn't be ideal," I agree with a frown.

"So I didn't go through with it. But now..." She sucks in another deep breath. "Now, no baby. And I'm back to square one."

"I'm sorry, Rina." I tug her hand, pull her toward me. She leans over and lets herself fall against my chest, her head pillowed on my pecs. I close my eyes when her soft cheek touches my chest. I can't help it. Just feeling her there, pressed against me, has me thinking improper thoughts. Thinking about how fucking incredible she smells. She uses the same jasmine soap every day, this stuff she gets from the corner store, or actually, makes me pick up when I go on beer runs. I secretly don't mind because I love the smell of it and the way it mingles with her scent.

I close my eyes, savoring having her in my arms, if only for a moment.

That, and praying that she doesn't notice the way my jeans are getting tighter, as all the blood in my head starts to rush south. Not now, I try and tell myself.

Rina pulls back with another deep breath, and I tense, thinking she's about to say something, call me out for getting too touchy or something. But instead, she stares at me with a frown, eyes assessing in a way I've never seen before. Then her gaze drops to travel along my body, and I lift a brow.

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