I rub her shoulder gently. “Did you and Steven want a lot more kids?”
Her brow furrows slightly. “Well . . . no. We’d always planned on two. After Thomas was born, I’d even talked to Steven about getting a vasectomy. He wasn’t keen on the idea.”
I try to understand the problem. That fails, so I ask, “But, if you don’t want any more kids—then why are you so devastated about not being able to have any more kids?”
“Because I’m a woman, Drew! Creating life. Nurturing—that’s what we do.”
Nope—still don’t get it. “But that’s not all you do. I mean, Jesus, Alexandra, it’s not like you’re a Handmaid’s Tale breeder here. So the egg basket’s empty? Big deal. You have two beautiful children—be happy with them. Maybe this is nature’s way of telling you that you shouldn’t have any more. I’ve seen what pregnancy does to your body. It ain’t pretty.”
Now she’s glaring at me. Which is a good sign. Pissed-off Alexandra I can handle.
“I am happy with the two that I have. It’s just . . . having the option to have more was nice . . . even if I never did. I feel . . . cheated. And old. I have the insides of a sixty-year-old woman, Drew. How long before the outside reflects that? And have you looked at Steven lately? Every year he gets more handsome—more distinguished looking. Soon some gold-digging bimbo is going to try to get her claws in him, and he’s going to be saddled with a wife who looks like Barbara Bush!”
She buries her face in the shirt again, and I can’t help but laugh. Just a little. “Lexi . . . you’re hardly Barbara Bush. I’d say you’re more of the Christie Brinkley variety. And besides—Steven loves you. You. Not your goddamn ovaries. You’re the bitchy-boss center of his universe. You always have been. When the rest of us were jerking off to thoughts of Sister B, Steven was jerking off to thoughts of you.” And don’t think I’m comfortable knowing that. “He’d never trade you in for some skinny-legged twit who’s only interested in the size of his bank account. Steven is too smart for that.”
She looks up. Almost hopefully. “How would you feel if Kate told you she couldn’t have any more kids?”
I take a moment to ponder. To imagine the possibilities. “If Kate told me I could bang her all I wanted and I never had to worry about knocking her up? I’d do the Irish jig down Fifth f**king Avenue. It’d be like Christmas every day. No more PMS, no more abstaining for three to five days every month . . . unless you let Steven go wading in the crimson tide? Which, if you do, please lie to me.”
Period sex is a deal breaker for Kate. No matter what I say, no matter what I do, she’s not interested. Which I will never understand. We’re hunters, ladies. We like blood. It’s part of the reason action flicks and war movies have so much of it. We don’t think it’s gross. We don’t think it’s messy. It’s just . . . more lubrication.
Don’t look at me like that. I’m just being honest.
The tears have almost dried up. Alexandra sniffles and hiccups. “But don’t you want more children?”
“Sure, I want more. James is the best. I’d have twenty with Kate. In theory. Reality’s a different story. Kids are hard.”
“You need to talk to Steven. You’re torturing the guy. It’s cruel and unusual punishment.”
“What if he looks at me differently?”
“How can you be sure?”
I lean forward and try to find the right words. “Because . . . because when Kate was pregnant with James? She was as big as a house—and I still wanted to f**k her every bit as much as I want to right now. Because when I look at her? I just see Kate . . . the woman who walked into my life five years ago and screwed it all up. Who shook me out, turned me upside down, and made me . . . more. So even when she gets wrinkly or gray? She’ll still be Kate. She’ll still make me laugh and make me crazy . . . and she’ll still love me more than I will ever deserve. And I know that Steven feels the same way about you.”
Alexandra wipes her eyes with my shirt one last time. She starts to look more like herself. “So . . . you’re saying I’m making a bigger deal about this than it is?”
“I’m saying if you tell Steven, it won’t feel so big anymore.”
She gives me a small smile. “You’re right. I know you’re right. I’ll talk to him tonight.”
Alexandra stands up, leans in, and hugs me. I squeeze her back, letting her know that I’m here for her. To listen, and to kick her in the ass whenever the rare opportunity presents itself.
“And don’t go making a habit out of this falling-apart thing,” I chastise. “I have an exclusive on self-destructive behavior in this family.”
She chuckles and heads toward the house. Then she pauses and turns toward me. “Hey, Drew?”
“When did you get so smart?”
That’s an easy one. “About five years ago.”
After I finish my sandwich, I head back to the bedroom to wake Kate. But when I get there, she’s already up and in the shower. Washing the body I obsess about and singing.
Nobody does it half as good as you
Baby, you’re the best
Her voice floats around the bathroom and echoes off the tiles. It’s a cheesy song—Carly Simon—from some seventies James Bond flick. But pleasure still rises up from my gut and spreads out through my chest at the sound. Because as sure as I know Delores will one day be committed to a home for the criminally insane, I know Kate is singing about me. I fold my arms, lean back against the door, and watch her through the steamed glass. She tilts her head back under the hot stream of water. Her rack juts out high and proud—more tantalizing than any Vegas showgirl’s set. Her long hair brushes against her ass, playing peekaboo with the butterfly tattoo on her lower back.
Kate turns off the water and steps out of the shower. She smiles when she sees me. “Hey, you. Where’d you go?”
I should probably hand her a towel. It would be the nice thing to do. The bathroom tiles are cool, and if her pointy ni**les are any indication, she’s a bit chilled. But you don’t really think I’m going to do that, do you?
Like I would ever pass up the chance to eyefuck Kate Brooks in all her wet, bare-ass beauty. And pointy ni**les are awesome. So, like the giggly, perverted schoolboy part of me still is, I don’t move an inch as Kate scurries across the bathroom and grabs a robe off the hook on the far wall, then covers up my favorite viewing pleasure.