Beat of the Heart

Page 63

"I can get it," she argued.

I rolled my eyes. "Just tell me what you fucking want, Mia."

Instead of answering me, she gave her order to the food service worker. "A grilled chicken salad with honey mustard and a Mountain Dew."

"Mountain Dew? Are you insane? You aren't supposed to have caffeine," I countered.

Mia turned to glare at me, but then her brows rose in surprise instead. I guess she didn't think I would be one to have a lot of baby knowledge. I'd picked up a lot of my knowledge from my sister and Lily. "My doctor says I can have one a day. Trust me, since I've cut out my morning coffee, you want me to have a little dose, or I'll cut someone."

I laughed. "I can totally see you doing that."

She grinned as we edged down the line. I ordered some pie and a coffee. I followed behind her with our tray as she picked out a table far away from everyone else. Once we sat down, we fell into a silence as we ate. After what seemed like a small eternity of scraping silverware and chewing, Mia glanced worriedly at me across the table. "AJ, there's something else you need to know."

"Jesus, Mia, after telling me you're pregnant, how could there be anything more shocking?"

"I-I've been talking to Dev again."

I slammed my cup of coffee down on the table, sending steaming hot liquid sloshing over the edge. "You have got to be fucking kidding me."

She jerked her head slightly. "He came to see me the night after I got in from Jersey City."

"Are you sleeping with him?" I demanded.

"I don't think it's any of your business."

"The hell it's not. You're carrying my child."

Mia's dark eyes blazed. "Oh, are you ready to tell me about every chick you've banged in the four months we've been apart."

Hunkering over the table, I spat, "You wanna a great big surprise? Well, here it is. I haven't been with anyone since you."

After blinking a few times, she stared at me in shock. "It's been four months."

I snorted. "Trust me, cariño. My dick knows exactly how long it's been."

Ducking her head, Mia refused to look at me. Instead, she pushed some of the salad on her plate. "The answer is no."

"Excuse me?"

"No, I'm not sleeping with Dev."

Relief flooded me at her revelation. "Are you dating him? I mean, what's the fucking deal?"

Mia remained silent as she chewed a piece of grilled chicken. "No, I'm not dating him. He wants a second chance. Somehow he's convinced he can work for my affection."

"Oh yeah? And just how hard is he working?"

She pinned me with a stare. "Pretty diligently."

"He doesn't care that you're carrying my kid?"

"Dev always loved and wanted children even more than I did. He says…" Mia's gaze dropped to her lap. "He says he'd be willing to raise him or her as his own."

"Over my dead fucking body," I growled.

Mia glanced up to narrow her eyes at me. "Have you really thought about this, AJ? I mean, have you really stopped to think about what a baby means for you? You actually want to be in this for the long haul? Midnight feedings, diaper duty, teething?"

Crossing my arms over my chest, I said, "It's my kid. There's no question I want-no I will-be in its life ."

"This can't be all part of some machismo act of staking claim on what's yours."

"Don't insult the level of my love and feelings for this child-this flesh of my flesh." I drew in a deep breath before adding, "Or my feelings for you."

"And just how in the world would the baby and I fit into your lifestyle?"

I ran my hand over my face, pausing to rub the stubble along my cheeks. "I don't know right at the moment, but I'd make it work-we would make it work. Hell, Bray and Lily have two kids, and they do just fine."

"But we barely know each other."

I shrugged. "Then we'll get to know each other. You can come out on tour-"

"AJ, I have a very demanding career-one I worked very hard to get. I can't just leave it, so I can follow you around city to city on some cramped bus."

I couldn't tell if she was bullshitting me with the career thing. I mean, I knew she was serious about being a nurse, and from Frank's testimony, she was a damn good one. A part of me understood why she wouldn't want to give up her life for the rootless and crazy life of a musician, especially one who she wasn't sure she loved. Hell, I wasn't completely sold on how much I loved her-I mean, I thought I did. Regardless of the baby, I knew I cared for her more than I had any girl I'd ever been in a relationship with before. I had even gone so far as to tell Mia I loved her once-of course, I was chained to a shower head, so I wasn't sure how much she believed me or thought I was just playing her to get out.

"Do you love me even a little bit?" I questioned.


"You heard me."

Mia sighed. "Don't ask me that."

"And why not?"

"Because I don't have an easy answer for it," she replied.

"For just a second, let go of the past. Focus on the two weeks we had together." I leaned forward on the table with my elbows. "It wasn't just physical, Mia."

"I know that," she whispered.

I threw my hands up in frustration and fought not to growl at her. "Then why are you fighting so fucking hard against me? Jesus, Mia, I'm sitting here trying to make this work."

Tears welled in her eyes. "I don't know why I'm fighting you. After we…broke up or whatever you want to call it, things have been so crazy." She gave a slight shake of her head. "But you don't know how much I've missed you."

My chest constricted, and I fought to breathe. "You have?" I choked out.

She gave me a sad smile. "Of course I have. I've thought of you each and every day-even before I found out about the baby. If I'm honest with you and myself, I haven't been as happy as I was when I was with you in a long, long time."

I exhaled a ragged breath. This woman was going to be the fucking death of me. I crossed my arms over my chest. "Listen Mia, I don't know what you want me to say or do. You have absolutely no reason not to trust me because I never cheated on you. I told you before that I've never been a cheater and never will, so you should know I would never do that to you. Trust me, I want to work things out with you, but you're gonna have to give a little."

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