Authors: C. M. Stunich
Beth will be fine,” I promise as I use the slippery lather of the shampoo to run my hand back and forth along Ty's shaft, feeling with my fingers, exploring, caressing. We don't do stuff like this often, so it's nice. I'm getting to know Ty's body in a way I've never known anyone else's. I like that. “Now shut the fuck up and kiss me,” I say and Ty makes a small clicking sound in the back of his throat.
Not until – ” he begins, and I'm forced to increase the strength of my grip until he moans and presses into me, wrapping his long fingers around my biceps as he sucks in a massive breath and lets his head fall back. “Just say it,” he groans, and since I don't know what he's talking about, I continue my journey, stepping in and running my fingers through his hair, pulling his face to mine and kissing him hard and fierce.
Say what?” I ask as Ty's eyelids flicker closed and his breathing relaxes into a slow, heavy pant.
Fuck Noah Scott,” he whispers as the muscles in his arms and shoulders tense and he gives fully into the pleasure of my hand, the touch of my lips as I press them into the hollow of his throat. “Say it.”
Fuck Noah Scott,” I tell him and mean it.
Later that night, I wake to find Ty missing from bed, leaving this warm, empty place where his body had been resting. It's a strange feeling for me to process, but the thought that I now have a 'side' of the bed makes me unbelievably happy while at the same time, I stress because I am so positive that Ty McCabe has run away that by the time I find him smoking on the porch, I have tears in my eyes.
He's shirtless and pretty standing in the bright moonlight that reflects off the snow like a mirror, highlighting the bright butterflies on his hands and arm, turning them neon, spots of color against all of that white. When he hears the screen door, Ty McCabe turns around and finds me with wet cheeks and puffy eyes.
Babe,” is all he says as he opens his arm and I step into it, comforted by the smell of cigarette smoke and the faint glow of the cherry. Ty drapes himself over me and rests his hand on the porch railing, cig clutched between two fingers. His bracelets are missing so all is strangely quiet when he lifts his smoke up to his mouth for a drag. I miss them already.
Thought you'd run away,” I say because guys like Ty, well, that's what they do. When he smiles sadly, eyes locked onto the far away and the has been, the past and the positively painful future, I know that I'm still living with that old cloak of shame and doubt draped over my shoulders. Ty is not the same type of man that he once was, and I'm not the same type of woman. We have both come a long way in a short while, and I need to remember that.
I'm tired of running,” Ty says as he passes the cigarette to me and draws another out of his pocket. I raise it to my lips, but I don't smoke it, just brush it along my mouth until I'm salivating and my heart is pumping a hundred miles an hour. Addiction. It's the second most powerful emotion there is. There's only one that can trump it, and that, that is love. I close my eyes and try to feel Ty's presence, his warmth, his belief that we are worth more in one another's eyes than we were in our own. Love. Love. Love. The only emotion that ranks first in both the pain and pleasure categories on the tumultuous scale of human feeling, the only one that can both start wars and end them, that can kill but that can also make new life. I touch my fingers to my belly and know that this is a good time to tell Ty about our baby. “I guess to move forward, I have to go back?” he asks and I nod.
Sometimes, the only way to go forward, is to take a few, careful steps back,” I say, echoing the very lesson that Ty taught me before with his patience, his confidence, and his trust. “There's something I want … ” I pause because the words aren't right and they need to be. They need to be just right. “No, something that I
to tell you,” I say and the change in Ty is immediate. Behind me, he tenses and his cigarette falls from his hands, tumbles end over end and hits the snow with a hiss. Ty curses and moves away from me, leaving me shivering in the icy cold starlight. “Ty?” I ask as he moves down the steps and into the snow barefoot, retrieves the cig and comes back with a frown on his face.
What?” he asks and his demeanor is completely different from before, like he's just turned a 180, gone off in the opposite direction and lost touch with reality.
What the hell?
I shift my feet nervously as I look at him and notice that my cigarette has burned down to a dangerous nub. I deposit it into the ashtray next to the porch swing and try to convince myself that there will be no better time than
to tell Ty. If I keep waiting for a certain ambiance, a certain facial expression, a specific tone of voice from Ty, then I might be waiting a long, long while. The past few weeks, he's been perfect, but then, he's been focusing on me and my problems, not on his, and despite his calm, quiet strength and reassuring attitude, he has a lot of them. Maybe living vicariously through me has cured some but not all. There are things living inside of Ty that even I don't understand. After all, I never worked as a prostitute, never saw my worth in dollar signs and making ends meet. I'm not saying that I'm any better or any less damaged than Ty, only that I don't always understand what he's thinking or why. What I can say and that I do know for sure is that Ty McCabe has not gotten snippy with me in a while, and I know, know, know that at least ninety percent of his attitude is because of his mother. I have to remember that, so I can work gingerly with him, take him under my wing and show him the same love and consideration that he showed me.
Sit down with me?” I ask as I hold out my hand to indicate the porch swing. Ty looks at it and then at me, and he stares for a long time, eyes shadowed by his position against the moon. I can't see what he's thinking and it makes me nervous. He smiles but there are no dimples, and shakes his head.
My feet are cold. Let's go back to bed.” Ty holds out his hand and I take it though I don't move. Instead of him pulling me forward, I hold him back and try to look him straight in the face. Once again, like a frightened dog, he won't look at me, turning this way and that like he doesn't want to hear what I have t say.
Ty, I'm – ”
Never,” he interrupts and he moves forward, lifting both of his hands so he can take my face between them, kiss my lips with hot fire and draw me into his dark orbit. “I am on overload already, baby. I'm not thinking clearly. I know that, and I'm not afraid to admit it, but whatever you have to say, I won't be able to take it seriously if you tell me now. Can it wait?” My stomach spins and flips and turns over, almost like that bit of Ty that's inside of me is as anxious as he is. I pull away from him and he chases after me, like he thinks I'm trying to run. When I stop at the toilet and throw up Beth's over salted Christmas dinner, Ty breathes a sigh of relief and slumps to the floor in the hallway. “I'm so sorry, Never,” he says, and it almost sounds like he's apologizing for something other than his attitude, like he knows. Like he knows. He knows. I pause and raise my head up, turn slowly to find my lover's head back and his eyes closed.
Ty McCabe knows. He has to know. My eyes widen and I'm glad his are closed because if he saw this expression, he'd know that I was onto him.
You fucking idiot, Never,
I think to myself as I swallow hard and flush the toilet to keep Ty from hearing any sounds that may or may not escape my throat. When did he find out? How does he know? Did Beth tell him? I don't know, but at least things make sense now. His wanting to quit smoking, his refusal to hear what I had to say, his proposal …
I turn back to Ty and see that he's not paying attention to me. He is all up in his head, so buried in that shit that he can barely see what's right in front of him. Normally, the man has little to no difficulty reading me like an open book. As of right now, the book is closed and sitting shelved. Ty McCabe is thinking about his mother and his childhood and his dead cousin and his clients and whatever else it was that made him he way he was. He does not see the look of pain and anger that flashes across my expression as he glances up at me and smiles sadly.
Get me through this?” he asks, and the plea is too genuine for me to ignore. On shaking hands, I crawl across the floor, touch my fingers to the purple bruise around Ty's dark eye and slump against him. He tugs me against him nice and tight, rings digging into my arm while my hands lay limp in his lap and the blue ring glints at me like a warning.
Did Ty McCabe ask me to marry him because he wanted me or because he knew I was pregnant? I won't know until I ask him, but I can't ask him until he lets me. Right now, Ty is shutdown. If I press the point that he so obviously does not want me to bring up, then I'll only be asking for heartache.
Of course,” I say to him and then silently, I add,
and then after, I'll find out what you know and how, what your intentions are and how you really feel.
Ty McCabe loves me, but love alone does not a child raise. I have to figure out what's going on, so I can make some decisions. Tough ones. After all, that's what life's about: hard choices and the way we deal with them.
I promise then and there to prove myself not just to Ty, not just to this baby, not just to this family, but to a person long neglected who is overdue for a bit of respect: myself.
I wake on Christmas morning to the sounds of children shouting downstairs, racing up and down the halls, pounding on doors and begging India, Jade, and me to get our butts up. Ty is already gone, but on his pillow sits a small box wrapped in silver paper. It's topped with a green bow and there's a small note tucked underneath. I pick this up with a smile, my mind clogged with the happy feelings of sex and sleep, both of which I got in droves last night, and then remember that Ty knows. Ty knows that I'm pregnant but hasn't said a thing, so he's lying to me, too, in a way. I frown and unfold the note.
The words are in Ty's handwriting, small and scrawled, heavy and dotted with ink splotches because he presses too hard when he writes. Ty tells me he's broken his fair share of pens in his life, and I believe him. I read the words carefully, searching for McCabe's true feelings for me in the text.
it begins with a carefully placed date and time in the upper right hand corner.
I'm no Noah Scott in the poetry department, but I know you like guys with words of their own, so here it goes. P.S. If you make fun of me for this, I'll never forgive you. xxxOxxx Ty.
I peel the top page of the note back and tuck it behind the bottom.
Untitled Poem for the Love of my Fucking Life
by Tyson Monroe McCabe
Roses are red
Violets are blue
Never Ross, I heart the fuck out of you.
I snort with laughter as I reread the three simple lines that Ty has penned for me and decorated with flourishes. There are swirls, hearts, lips and even a few naughty bits drawn with careful precision.
Now open your fucking gift,
it says on the bottom. I fold the page up and know that although Ty is not a master manipulator of the English language, that his poem is my favorite if only because he wrote it.
I think as I put the box in my lap, untie the ribbon and find a dog collar.
Shit,” I say, but already there's a smile on my face. “Shit, fuck, Ty McCabe,” I say as I swing my feet out of bed and fight back a wave of nausea.
Look at me,
I think as I finger the purple and pink polka dotted collar with my fingers.
I'm your all American girl now. I've got a fiance, a baby, and a dog. Goddamn.
I finally give into my nausea and head to the bathroom, but I don't stay long. I have to see what my tatted bad boy has done, what stupid decision he made based on a few choice words from me. At least it's proof that he listens to what I say. I've only told him about my wishes for a dog offhandedly, and it certainly isn't anything we've talked about. Somehow though, Ty knows. Ty always knows.
I put some slippers on my feet, check to make sure my hair isn't too terribly mussy, and head down the stairs to find bitch-Never playing with a gray and white pit bull. Noah and Ty both supervise from the archways to the kitchen and living room respectively while the little girls gaze at the new dog with awe and a bit of raw jealousy in their faces.
Tyson McCabe,” I say and my bad boy cringes, switching his gaze over to me with a guilty expression of pleasure turning up the corners of his sexy lips. “What on earth have you done?”
You said you wanted a dog,” he tells me with a gentle shrug, and I have to avoid Noah's eyes because he's looking at me with
that I don't like. Zella comes out of the kitchen and he moves aside to let her pass, but the way she looks at him and the way he's looking at me, I know she's told him. I try not to let a frown grace my mouth and move down the stairs so that the dog –
dog – can sniff my crotch.