“Honey, I’m home!” I called out, dropping my bag on one of the teakwood bar stools at the breakfast bar. My mom had decorated the entire apartment in a modern traditional style. I probably wouldn’t have gone with some of her choices, but I liked the result.
“I’m right here, sweet cheeks,” Cary drawled, drawing my attention across the open floor plan to where he lay sprawled on our living room sofa in board shorts and no T-shirt. He was lean and tanned, his abs as beautifully defined as Gideon’s. Even off duty, he looked like the super hot male model he was. “How was dinner?”
“Good.” I headed over to him, kicking off my heels on the way. I figured I should enjoy doing that while I could. I couldn’t picture myself leaving shoes strewn around Gideon’s penthouse. I thought it might drive him a little crazy. And since I was sure there were other things I’d drive him crazy with, it was probably best to pick my vices carefully. “How was yours? Smells like you cooked.”
“Pizza. Semi-homemade. It’s what Tat was craving.”
“Who doesn’t crave pizza?” I said, plopping gracelessly onto the couch. “Is she still here?”
“Nah.” He glanced away from the TV to look at me, his green eyes serious. “She left all pissed off. I told her we wouldn’t be moving in together.”
“Oh.” To be honest, I didn’t like Tatiana Cherlin. Like Cary, she was a successful model, although she hadn’t yet attained his level of recognition.
Cary had met her on a job. Their purely sexual relationship had shifted drastically when she’d found out she was pregnant. Unfortunately, she’d discovered she was expecting around the same time Cary found a great guy he wanted to work on a relationship with.
“Big decision,” I said.
“And I’m not sure it’s the right one.” He ran a hand over his gorgeous face. “If Trey weren’t in the picture, I’d be doing the right thing by Tat.”
“Who says you aren’t? Being a good parent doesn’t mean you have to live together. Look at my mom and dad.”
“Fuck.” He groaned. “I feel like I’m choosing myself over my child, Eva. What does that make me, if not a selfish bastard?”
“It’s not like you’re cutting her off. I know you’ll be there for her and the baby, just not in that way.” Reaching over, I twirled a lock of his chocolate brown hair around my finger. My best friend had suffered through so much in his life. The twisted way he’d been introduced to sex and love had left him with a lot of baggage and bad habits. “So Trey’s going to stick?”
“He hasn’t decided.”
“Did he call you?”
Cary shook his head. “No. I broke down and called him before he forgot about me altogether.”
I gave him a little push. “As if that could ever happen. You, Cary Taylor, are utterly unforgettable.”
“Ha.” He stretched out with a sigh. “He didn’t sound too happy to hear from me. Said he’s still working some stuff out in his head.”
“Which means he’s thinking about you.”
“Yeah, thinking he dodged a bullet,” Cary muttered. “He said it was never going to work for us if I was living with Tat, but when I told him I’d fix that, he said that would just make him feel like an asshole for getting in the way. It’s a no-win, but I laid it all out for Tat anyway, because I have to try.”
“It’s a tough spot to be in.” I couldn’t imagine it myself. “Just try to make the best decisions you can. You have a right to be happy. That’s the best thing for everyone around you, including the baby.”
“If there is a baby.” His eyes closed. “Tat says she’s not doing this alone. If I’m not going to be there, she doesn’t want to go through with it.”
“Isn’t it getting a little late for her to say that?” I couldn’t keep the anger out of my voice. Tatiana was a manipulator. It was impossible not to look ahead and see that being a source of misery for an innocent kid.
“I can’t even think about it, Eva. I lose my shit. It’s all so fucked up.” He huffed out a humorless laugh. “And to think I once said she was easy to deal with. She’s never cared that I’m bisexual, and she didn’t care if I slept around …. Part of me feels good that she cares enough now to want to be exclusive, but I can’t help how I feel about Trey.”
He turned his troubled gaze away. It tore me up to see him so down.
“Maybe I should talk to her,” I offered.