My stomach just dropped. Did she really just say what I think she said? I stood and started to pace. When I realized I was naked, I grabbed a pair of underwear from off the floor and put them on. I was more than a tad bit turned off by this revelation, my dick had retrieved to the depths of the unknown and my balls were following. There went my dreams of ever sleeping with Riddle.
And of course I now regretted telling her my name. My heart felt like it was being torn into a million pieces.
Something? Shit, I had plenty to say. I couldn’t believe after all the shit we’ve gone through the last couple of months to make a relationship work, she goes and fucks the first guy and gets knocked up.
“Kaliq.” Riddle called out in a whisper. He eyes brimmed with tears. She had finally covered herself up with a bed sheet. “I’m sorry.”
I huffed and left the room. I couldn’t even look at her. A few minutes later she came walking out, picking up her clothes and putting them on. She left the apartment without another word. I heard a car and looked out to see a taxi pick her up.
After she left I put on some clothes, grabbed my keys and headed out to Merlotte’s with the sole intention of getting drunk. In the bar I ordered beer after beer from the bartender. He never asked questions or said anything. I didn’t tell him what was bugging me. I don’t know how long I had been there, but eventually I felt someone’s hand on my shoulder.
“Leave me alone, Case.” I grumbled.
“It’s not Case. Though, I’m sure if he knew how drunk you were he’d be here to drive you home.” Parker answered.
“Okay, leave me alone, Parker.”
“I can’t do that, son.” He slid into the next barstool and ordered two waters. “You wanna talk about it?”
“Did you lose your hearing along with you sight and arm? I said, leave me alone.”
A hard blow came across the back of my head. “That was uncalled for, Kal.” He pointed his finger at me, “Now, I know we agreed on just being friends, but if you want to act like a kid, and be an ass, I’ll start acting like a fucking parent. You’re not too old for me to kick your ass.”
“Like you could. It only takes a pull of your arm to disable you.” I scoffed, which got me another blow to the head by said arm. “Fuck, man. That really hurts.”
“I know, that’s why I did it. Now talk. What the fuck is up with you?”
“Nothing.” I grumbled.
The front of the bar opened. “Fine don’t talk, but you’re not leaving here without talking to one of us.” Parker motioned his head to the newest patron. I turned my gaze over to see Coke walking towards me. Fuck.
Parker stood and shook the man’s hand. They were fast becoming friends ever since I introduced them. Parker thanked him profusely for being a father figure to me that Coke had to shut him up and told him it was nothing. Now they were friends. “Okay, Isaac. Talk.” Coke said sitting on the other side of me.
“There’s nothing to say, okay.”
“She didn’t tell you?” I asked. That was a bit of a surprise. I thought she would try, and somehow get Coke to see her side of things. “Well, grandpa, what do you think happened?”
Both Coke and Parker stared at me. I didn’t dare look at their surprised faces. I drowned another drink. “Just so you both know, it ain’t mine.” I laughed a painful laugh, “Hell, we’ve never even fucked.” This time I felt two hands hitting the back of my head simultaneously. “Dammit! What the hell was that for?”
“For talking about my daughter like that.” Coke said over Parker’s, “For being an idiot!” They both then repeated themselves separately.
I mumbled an apology to Coke before turning to Parker, “What do you mean I’m an idiot?”
“How long have you two been going out?” Coke asked, before Parker could answer. I opened my mouth and shut it quickly. “Last time I checked you two were barely friends.”
“We were more than barely,” I mumbled to myself.
“So, you’re mad at her, because she got pregnant to someone while you two haven’t even started dating?” I nodded. “And is she still seeing the father?” I shrugged. “I see. So, what’s the issue?”
“It was supposed to be me.” I said so quietly that I didn’t think anyone heard, but they did.
Coke smacked me hard again, “Listen good kid, Riddle loves you. You two may not have the perfect relationship, but its there. If you want to fuck up this before you even get it started, then keep acting like this. But if you ever want a chance with her, you better start thinking really hard on how you’re gonna win her back. She’s heartbroken. Yeah, she had sex, yeah she and the idiot she slept with were stupid enough to forget a condom. And if I ever meet that sonofabitch I may have words with him. This is your chance to step up though, kid. Don’t screw it up.”
He and Parker left me to think about what he said. I drank until the bartender called Casey. Thank god this was the one bar that everyone knew me and Casey by name and I didn’t have to worry about finding a way to pay for a cab. Casey picked me up and drove me home where I passed out before I even made it to the bedroom.
The next day after I woke, drank a butt-load of coffee and had a nice cold shower, I headed to my parents house. Parker answered and let me in. “What do we owe the pleasure this time?”
“I need to talk to you.” I answered. “Do you think I could raise another man’s baby and love him or her like my own?”
Parker smiled, “I do.” He gestured for the sofa, “Sit. Lets talk.”
I sat and looked at Parker, “How can I even think about doing this. I mean, I’ve always wanted a family, but I wanted the woman I love to have my babies, not another asshole’s. What if I can’t love this kid, because I know it’s not mine?”
“I can’t tell you what you’ll feel, kiddo. However, I can tell you how I felt. When I first met your mother I was sixteen. The next time I saw your mother was a few years later. I was in Egypt and I saw her holding a little toddler in her arms and holding a little girl’s hand. I followed them, and it tore me up to see her walking into the arms of another man.
“A few years after that I found myself injured in an Egyptian hospital, and your mother was my nurse. After getting to know Hana for almost a year I learned about her kids. I was certainly jealous that they weren’t mine. I wanted them to be mine since the day I saw the three of them.
“When Hana came to Bridgeport not long after I left, I couldn’t believe it. It was hard at first for Jahi and Oni to accept me, and I was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to be a good enough father to them. However, I knew I wanted to be their dad from the minute I held Oni and the minute Jahi asked me if I was a pirate.”
“What happened after I was born? Did you still love them?”
“I did. Just because you were born, didn’t mean I felt less like a father to the other two. Sure you’re mine by blood. But as I learned a long, long time ago, blood means shit. It’s who you choose to love that makes a family, not by DNA.”
We heard a small sniffle behind us and together we turned to see Jen wiping her eyes. Parker stood up and waked over to hug her. “Besides, in the end, Kaliq, it’s really worth loving them.” He kissed my sister on the forehead. “All three of you and your mother have always been the best thing that have ever happen to me. This baby, she or he could be the same for you if you let it.”
Jen sobbed. “I love you, daddy.”
“I love you too, princess. Now where’s that child of yours?”
“School. I came to drop some stuff off for mom. What are you two talking about that’s making me cry like this?” Parker went on to tell her about Riddle and Jen walked up to me and smacked me in the back of the head. “Idiot! Go get her, you dumb ass. Dad’s right. And let me tell you something, that baby will need a father. Now, I don’t care if this baby isn’t your blood. She won’t care if you’re not her biological father. All she will ever know is that you are her daddy, and that you love her. Don’t be an idiot, Kaliq.”
Maybe they were right, but how on Earth could I raise another man’s child? I loved Riddle, but she seriously fucked up my plans. I wanted us to get married, have those three point five kids and have the perfect life. Already, my idea of a perfect family was gone to shit. Seeing Parker’s arm wrapped around my sister in a protective embrace made me wonder though. Could I really do this for Riddle? Is it what she wants?
I sat there with my head in my arms crying. “I can’t do it.”
“Sure you can.” Parker said. “You just have to have faith. I was adopted, you’re brother and sister were adopted. You can do this. It’s in your blood.”
“What if I fuck it all up and the kid resents me for not being his or her real dad?” I cried
He laughed, “Kaliq, you can’t be as bad as a father as me or your grandfather. Just as long as you actually stick around, you’ll be a million times better a father than any other Rain man. Now, go back to Riddle before she heads back to Hollywood and you’ll never see her.”
“So, all I have to do is be around the kid, and the kid will love me?”
“Yes!” Both Jen and Parker yelled together. Dad pushed me out the door, “Now go talk to her before I kick your ass for being an idiot!”
“Please?” I begged.
“Why do you want to see her?” Coke asked, he crossed his arms and glared at me. “If you come here to break her heart even more, I’m not allowing it.”
“I need to apologize. I royally fucked up, Coke. I love her, and I just need to know why.”
“Does it matter, it happened. It’s done.”
“Yes. In order for me to figure out what I want, I need to know. I love her, but I’m not about to raise another man’s kid, without thinking it through. I need to know why.”
“Then I dunno,” I answered. I hadn’t even thought about that. Surely, if Riddle wanted us to be together, she would want me to help with the baby. “Then maybe this was never meant to be.”
“Okay, but so you know, you’re skating on very thin ice, Mr. Rain.” Coke said slowly, taking his time to decide weather or not I could redeem myself to him and to his daughter.
I nodded, I didn’t want to say or do anything that would ruin my chances to see Riddle again. He walked away in the house and I could hear him call Riddle’s name. I waited patiently, hoping that Riddle would give me one last shot. Why did I always screw up where Riddle was concerned?
A few minutes passed until Riddle came to the door. “What?”
“Can we talk?” I asked, praying and hoping she would say yes. “Please.”
“Fine.” She closed the door and walked out with me. We sat in the grass and she started to pick at it while she waited for me to speak.
“How long?” I blurted out.
“About eight weeks or so. I’m still in the first trimester.”
This got my blood boiling. After our first phone session, I’ve been nothing but celibate. Sure, I hadn’t had sex with anyone for almost a year now, but still. I now didn’t even try to go look for a tail. Thank God Rose and I were mere friends without the benefits of sex. She had a few flings I knew about, but I also knew that she wanted Casey more with each passing day. Why we still held up this farce between us, was beyond me. It was just a comfortable agreement made between two friends.
“So you mean to tell me, that while I’ve been waiting for you to come back to be with me, you’ve been fucking around with whoever you can? Was I. . .” I paused, “Yesterday, was I just going to be another string added to your collection of fuck buddies?”
Riddle slapped me hard, real hard before walking away. She stopped halfway up to the house and turned. Tears were falling recklessly down her face. “I thought out of all the people in the world I could tell, you would at least be here for me. You have no idea what I’ve been going through these last five days, not to mention these last eight weeks. I’ll never forget what happened to me, and now I’ll never forget the feeling of being called a whore because of it! Fuck you, Kaliq, get off this property and hope to hell I never run into you again!”
Wait, what? What the hell did she mean. . . . Dear God, please tell me that this, this baby. . . I didn’t even want to think about it. It tore my heart to shreds if what was in my head was true. How could she forgive me now? I stood there stun while she ran into the house. I didn’t even realized she was gone, I was just too stunned.
It wasn’t until Coke came out that I realized that I was standing there speechless. “GET OFF MY PROPERTY!”
“I said, get off my property Mr. Rain!”
Oh shit, he was pissed. No, beyond pissed off. I took a step back, “Please, Coke, let me see her.”
He took me by my sweater, “I said get off my property, and it’s Mr. Moss you ungrateful bastard.” He shoved me and I fell to the ground, I was stunned. Not only did I lose someone I loved in the matter of minutes, I just felt like I lost my own father.
I stood and started to walk back towards the gate, “I’m sorry, Mr. Moss. I really am sorry.” I begged. “Please.”
“Get going kid, before I call the cops.”
For months I camped out at the bars and drank to forget. Casey tried to talk to me, but at that point I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I wanted to die. I wanted to just jump off the Newspaper building and die. I had no reason to live now. The Moss family was my everything and I allowed my mouth to ruin the only true relationships I had ever had. I lost Riddler, I lost Coke, and I lost my heart.
Casey tried everything to keep me from going into a depression. He and Parker were always there when I didn’t want them to be. Parker tried telling me that I still had things to live for. He said he understood my pain. I told him to go fuck himself. He didn’t understand me. He left ma, his pain was his own doing!
The only thing I had going for me was all the entertainment news. For months in between my trips to the bars, I watched the news expecting to hear Riddle’s exciting news and how the father and her would be stupid to get married, and be that typical idiotic Hollywood couple. The marriage would last all of a year and then she’d find someone else to bone on set and marry him. What the hell was I thinking falling in love with a Hollywood Starlet?
Nothing ever came on the news though. There was no announcement that she was engaged to Mr. Daddy. There was no news about her getting knocked up. Nothing, it was like the biggest name in Hollywood just fell off the face of the planet. This made my heart break more. If there was no news on Riddle, then there was no pictures or interviews of the woman I love. I hated not seeing her on TV or in all the magazines.
My magazines were getting to the point that they had to be thrown away. My Playboy issue especially. I still couldn’t believe that she did an issue in Playboy. I remember how furious Coke had been, but in the end all the money for the magazine went to her charity. That issue was the last magazine I had of Riddle, and it was covered so much stickiness that when I opened it today the picture tore. I threw it across the room and screamed. “NOOOO!”
Casey and Parker ran in the room, “What’s wrong!” they both asked over each other. “Kaliq, what’s wrong? Are you okay?” Parker hesitantly walked towards me.
“My magazine is ruined!” I pointed to the Playboy. “It’s ruin and now I don’t have anymore pictures of Riddle to look at.” I collapsed on the floor in a fit of tears.
Casey left and Parker picked up the issue and tossed it in the trash. “You can’t go on like this Kal. You need to go out there and live a little. Go out to a club, get a little action. Stop thinking of her, and for god sakes, use a condom. It’ll make the magazine last longer.”
That got a laugh out of us both. “I don’t want to just bang just any woman, Parker. I want my Riddler. She was everything to me. Coke, he was my father, and now every time we see each other he ignores me like I’m not there! I have no one now and it totally sucks. I need Coke in my life just as much as I need Riddler. What kind of person does this to someone they love!”
“Coke has a right to be mad, son. And you do have a father,” He took me in his arms, “If you just let him in. I love you, kiddo, I really do, and I’d never shun you out of my life.”
“It’s not the same, Parker. He took taught me everything a father teaches their sons. He was the one that taught me how to ride a bike, go fishing, he taught me how to write a novel, he did EVERYTHING!”
I didn’t mean to hurt Parker’s feelings, but when I saw him, his face. . . Well, I clearly had hurt him. “Sorry.”
“No, Kaliq. You’re right. He was everything I wasn’t. I should be sorry. I’m sorry that this whole mess made you lose more than the girl. You really lost the man you saw as a father. I can’t ever be what Coke is to you, but give me a chance kid. Let me help you with this.”
I nodded, “Okay.” Casey walked in soon after and threw me a bag. “What’s this?”
I opened the bag and saw a new Playboy magazine with Riddle on it, “My copy. It’s never been used. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve jacked off to some of the pictures, but this is a clean copy bro.”
Enraged, I yelled at him, “YOU JACKED OFF TO RIDDLE!”
Casey held his hands up, “Easy Isaac, easy. I jacked off to Heidi Middle. She may not be the centerfold, but she sure is a damn fine piece of woman.”
I wanted to believe him, I did, but Casey was Casey. I thanked him for the magazine and slugged him in the arm. I headed for the bathroom and I could hear both Casey and Parker laugh at me. So what, this was as close as I could get to ever be with Riddle, and I took it.
A week later, Casey was channel surfing while we both waited for Web of Lies to come on. It was the only reason I didn’t drink Monday nights. I knew this was the closest to seeing Riddle that I would ever get, and I didn’t miss a second of it,
Casey abruptly stopped his channel surfing and went back a few channels. I sat upright after seeing Riddle’s face on TV. “Turn it up, Case!.
“. . . Leaving the show.” Casey and I both had our mouths dropped at this new development after Mark Steines on Entertainment Tonight broke the story. I quickly grabbed a pen and notebook during the stupid commercial break, while Casey just sat there in stunned silence. I was a reporter after all, and this was huge!
“Reports have been confirmed that Riddle Moss is stepping down as lead role after this season for Web of Lies.” Mark started, “She says that though she loves the cast and the crew, she just needs a change. She hopes that someday she could come back as a guest to reprise her role, but for now she just wants to see what else is out there.”
“She will be missed.” Nancy added.
The show continued and I just sat there. That was it. There was nothing about why she really was leaving the show. I only had to guess it was because of the pregnancy. Casey slapped my arm, “YOU IDIOT!”
I slumped deeper into the couch as he began to berate me more. “She wouldn’t have left if you hadn’t been such a fucked up friend! What the hell possessed you to call her a whore? Have you even tried to call her and apologize?”
I nodded, “She didn’t answer when I called the first couple hundred times and now when I try it says the number has been disconnected. I’m still surprised I haven’t been served papers stating she has a restraining order against me.”
“You even try to talk to Mr. M?”
“No, Mr. M doesn’t want to have anything to do with me. You know I saw him in the library the other day while Parker and I were discussing the novel. He didn’t even acknowledge my existence. Parker called out for him. The two talked, and I could tell Parker was trying to get him to just say hi, but Coke shook his head, shot a glare back at me, and pissed off Parker.” I began to cry, “Parker’s now losing his only friend in Neverglade because of me. I’m such a fuck up!”
Casey sat down and rubbed my back. “I love her Casey, I love her so much and I was just so mad!”
“I know,” Casey whispered. “Still, I can’t believe she left the show.”
“It’s what it is.” I cried. I finally stood up and headed out the door. I didn’t want to see the show anymore, now that I knew that I wouldn’t even have it in a few months.
I left the apartment in tears, I didn’t care anymore. Casey tried to stop me, but I didn’t want to be a crying idiot. I went to Merlotte’s and drank heavily that night. Sam, the owner, tried to be supportive as he poured me beer after beer. Yet, nothing he said to me was going to make me feel any better. I lost my Riddler, I completely fucked up my entire future with the only woman I ever loved.
I felt a hand on my shoulder and turned to see Rose standing there. “I’m not much company, Rose.”
“I know. I just thought I look for you and see if you were okay.” She sat next to me.
I looked over at her. Why was she here instead in Casey’s bed? I know it’s because we were “dating” but really, we weren’t. She deserve someone way better than me for a boyfriend, hell, she deserved a better friend. “Rose. . .”
She smiled and held onto my hand, squeezing it. “It’s okay. Drink and just let me take care of my heartbroken boyfriend.”
I shook my head. No, I wasn’t going to keep her down while I sulked my last days as a human. “I can’t hide behind you anymore. I want you to be happy, and I really think that if either one of us deserves happiness it’s you. Do me a favor and tell Casey.”
“And what about my boyfriend?” She had a sad smile on her face.
“I’ll try, and live out my life as a bachelor and hope to hell that someday I can forgive myself enough to be happy again.”
“I love you, Isaac, you know that right?”
“I love you, too, Rose. Thanks for being my best friend. But really, I’ll be fine. Sure, I won’t see Riddle on TV, but at least I have the series on DVD.”
I don’t know how I got back home, but I can tell you the headache wasn’t remotely close to how my heart felt. I stirred out of bed and looked around. I wasn’t home. I was, hell, I was in my old bedroom at ma’s house. I could smell waffles coming from the kitchen. I crawled out of bed. I wondered who dropped me off at the house? And more importantly, how the hell did I get undressed!
I walked in to Parker eating his breakfast with a coffee on the side. Ma wasn’t anywhere around. “Hey there sleepyhead.”
“Where’s maaaaaah?” I asked in between my yawn.
“Work. How’s your head?”
“Okay.” I said. I went to the kitchen and poured myself a cup of coffee and grabbed a plate of food. I sat and ate slowly.
Wait, what? Surely Sam Merlotte would have called Casey or Parker. “I drove?”
Parker nodded, “Almost crashed into my new car, too. I saw you staggering out and was about to give you an ass beating when I realized that you weren’t very coherent. Do you remember anything at all about last night?”
“Nope. Just that I talked to Rose for a bit. I don’t even remember getting into my car.” I gave Parker an apologetic look, “Sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you last night.”
“Yea well your lucky you didn’t scratch my Austin Martin.”
“It’s not like you won’t scratch it on your own, Mr. Bond.” I joked and he kicked me under the table. We shared a small laugh, before he squeezed my hand. I finally broke down and cried, “What the hell am I going to do?”
“I don’t know.”
“I love her. I want to be with her.” I sobbed. “Why am I such an idiot when it comes to love. Even you didn’t screw up this badly with ma.”
“I wouldn’t say that. I did leave her.”
I shrugged, “So, you left her to protect her. Riddle left me because I called her a whore. I didn’t even give her a shot. I just called her a whore after I found out that she’d been sleeping with someone when I thought we were more than friends. We weren’t even dating!”
“Son,” Parker squeezed my hand more, “I don’t know what I can say to make everything okay. I do know, though that you reacted just like any sane jealous guy would. I’m sorry you didn’t get to have your perfect dream girl, or the life you’ve always wanted with her. But I think you need to move on.”
I shook my head, “I can’t. Dad,” Yes, for the first time I called Parker, dad. “I loved her since I was ten. I’ve been through so much with her. Yes, the two of us have had our issues, but I can’t stand to be away. It was too much the first four years we were away from each other. Now, I had my shot, and I fucking blew it because I didn’t listen to you. Please, tell me that I can get her back. You got ma back! Why can’t I have Riddle?”
I held onto Parker with all my strength as he soothed me. I hadn’t broken down like this since the day Riddle kicked me off her parent’s property. I would still be in his arms if the door bell hadn’t sounded. Parker pulled off of me and opened the door.
I looked and watched as Mr. Moss walked in with Casey. Mr. Moss looked pissed. I got up, and started for the bedroom down the hall. “Isaac, wait.” Casey called out.
“No thanks, Case. I don’t need to be kicked while I’m down.” I answered back. I closed the bedroom door and fell against it.
“I thought you never wanted to speak to me again, Mr. Moss.”
“I didn’t, and I still don’t. But Casey said that you were reaching rock bottom, and thought I could help.”
“Yea, he told me you’ve been drinking more and more. He felt that maybe I could stop you before you did something stupid like try to get yourself killed.”
Casey saw right past me. I did want to kill myself. I don’t know why I hadn’t yet, maybe it was because whenever I got to thinking about it Parker or Casey were there trying to help me. No one knew how much I wanted to off myself, and be done. If they did, I’m sure I’d be locked up and I didn’t want to be reported as a crazy loon. That would go over real well with Riddle.
“Yeah, well, Casey shouldn’t worry.” I lied. “I’m fine and you can go forgetting that I was ever someone you loved.” I knew he could hear the hurt as I talked. I was crying. “If you ever see Riddle, tell her I’m sorry I wasn’t around when she needed it.”
It was then that I chose that I would kill myself, I wasn’t gonna lie to myself anymore. This was it. I was too heartbroken to keep going. Riddle would never forgive me. I still wasn’t sure how she got pregnant, but I’ll never forget her face when she yelled at me. This wasn’t something she expected or wanted. And she went to me, because she trusted me enough to help her. I shattered that trust the moment I let my anger speak for me. Now, I was going to do everything I could to end my pain and hers.
“With all my heart.” I sobbed. I might as well say this now, before I die.
“If you had the chance to talk to her, would you take it.”
I nodded, forgetting he was behind the door and couldn’t see me. “Yes.”
“Then let me see what I can do. Don’t be stupid, Isaac. I don’t know if Riddle will ever forgive you, I know I won’t. Not yet anyway, but. . . It looks like you need to at least talk to her before you try and do something stupid. Just promise me you won’t till I come back.”
It took over a week before I heard from Mr. Moss. He came over and handed me a ticket. “It’s a plane ticket to see Riddle. This is your last chance, Kaliq. Make it count.”
I took the ticket. “Does she know I’m coming?”
“Yes. She also wants you to know that even if you do show, that she’s not willing to forgive you. She’ll hear you out though, but once you get it out of your system she wants you gone.”
I nodded. Why was I even going if I didn’t have a chance?
“Make it sound good. I love you, kid, and I know if anyone can get Riddle to change her mind, its you.”
Parker drove me to the airport. I was in Hollywood in just under three hours after leaving home. After hailing a taxi, I headed to the address Mr. Moss gave me. As the taxi drove downtown LA, I kept pleading in my head that Riddle Moss would forgive me and we would be a family after this.
A family. That’s what I wanted with Riddle. I had that taxi stop, “Can you take to a jewelry shop first?”
The man looked behind him, and nodded. He stopped at a local shop and I ran in. It was a little dainty store with tons of rings and necklaces. One of the workers came up to me as I stared down into the glass case with a ton of rings in it. I wasn’t sure what I wanted for Riddle. Hell, I didn’t even think she’d say yes, but if she just gave me the chance, I would go for it. I would ask her to marry me and show her everyday that I loved her and that we were always meant to be.
“Can I help you?”
“I don’t know what I want, but I need a ring.”
“Any particular ring?”
That I had no answer to. I didn’t know what I should get. Riddle loved green, I knew that much. Would she be happier with an emerald than a diamond? Or was she one of those girls that thought diamonds were a girl’s best friend. She was a Hollywood Starlet, so I figured on the later. Yet the more I stared at this emerald diamond ring, the more I thought it was perfect for her.
“Can I see that ring?”
The man took it out of the case and I examined it. It was stunning. I tried to imagine it on Riddle’s hand in twenty years time, and I could still see her smile and her laughter. I could see it shine in her hand as she and I made love. Possibly biting her knuckle. It turned me on in a flash. This was the ring. This had to be the ring. “I’ll take it!”
I hopped back into the taxi and told him to go to the address I originally gave him. The small velvet box was heavy in my pants. I looked down at me and I knew that there was no way I wanted to ask her for her hand looking like the loser I was. I had the man stop again at a name-brand store I recognized just down the street. I ran in and looked at the expensive clothes. I wanted to look respectable to her when I got there.
After much searching through the clothes I finally picked a new outfit. I quickly changed into the dressing room after buying the clothes. I pocketed the ring and even ran my hand through my hair a few times, to make my long shaggy mop, look somewhat decent. There was no time to get it cut, let alone to go and shave my overgrown beard. How did I let myself get to this point?
After the ten minute drive from the store I finally arrived at the apartment complex Riddle lived at. I took deep breaths as I walked towards the door. The guy in the black suit stopped me. I told him I was there to see Riddle and he checked a list. When he found my name he let me proceed into the building. I took the elevator up and held my breath. This was it. This would be the start or the end of Riddle’s and my relationship. There was no turning back. We would either be together, like I prayed we would, or . . . We would never see or hear from each other again.
I knocked on the door and when Riddle answered I was stunned into silence. My God, she was huge! I totally forgot the will to talk. Not only was she huge, she was absolutely gorgeous. “My God, Riddler! You’re stunning.”
“And you are such a charmer, Mr. Rain.”
Ouch. This wasn’t going to be easy. “May I come in?”
She led me through the room. The place was amazing looking. It was true to Hollywood, with a splash of the incoming baby jitters. She had baby crap everywhere, just waiting for the new arrival. “Nice place.” I said as I picked up a stuff bear. “Looks like you have everything for the new baby.”
“I’m getting there. My friends have been helping me.”
“And the father?” I asked as I swallowed hard. After the last thing she said to me, I knew it was already a touchy subject, but I needed to know if what she was hinting at was true, or if it was my imagination. Maybe it was just a one off and I’ve been overreacting to her sorrow for months.
“No, he’s not in the picture.” She narrowed her eyes, “No one is, and no one will be.”
Another low blow. “So, you’re gonna do this alone?”
“Ben’s doing alright himself with Beckett, I don’t see why I can’t do it alone.”
Because all kids need two parents, I thought. I knew how I felt having one parent and I hated knowing that Story’s child couldn’t be around her. I hated thinking Riddle parenting on her own. I wanted to be there for her. “You know you don’t have to.”
“Look.” I held out my hands and dealt all my cards to her. This was it. This was the moment I was dreading and looking forward at the same time. “Riddle, the last time we saw each other I was more than hurt, I was angry. I love you, and hearing you were pregnant hurt like a son-of-a-bitch.
“You meant so much to me, and yet I let my mouth get in the way. I said some things that I will regret for the rest of my life. When you yelled at me and I saw your hurt I wanted to take everything I ever said to you that day back. I should have listened to Parker and Casey. I’m an idiot, and I know you’ll never forgive me, but I am sorry. I’m sorry that I shattered your heart. I’m sorry I wasn’t the friend I’ve always thought to be, and I am really sorry that these last few months you’ve been going through this alone. You shouldn’t be alone, Riddle. You should have the love and support of a partner, who will be there during everything. I wish it to be me, but I know I’ve lost that chance of ever being with you and being a parent to your children.”
I took a deep breath, “But if you ever forgive me, I’ll be your friend and will help you with anything you need.”
“Thank you, you can go.”
She really wasn’t going to let this go. Why did she even let me come here, if she was going to give me the cold shoulder and be so formal about everything. I held my heart and fought the tears. I got the door, and turned to see her one last time, “Riddle, I love you. I will love you to the ends of the Earth. I know that’s not enough, and I am sorry.” I took out the velvet box and placed it on the bookshelf, “I know now that this was a waste to buy, but I still want you to have it. You were the best thing that ever happened to me. Thanks for being a friend.” Then I left.
Author’s Note: Sorry this took so long to get out. I promise the next chapter won’t take as long. My husband is about to embark on an eighteen month tour in Cuba, and I’ve been trying to spend as much time as possible with him. Once he leaves I will be updating a lot regular. Thanks for being patient!