Nicole sat on the edge of heir bed. Corey was pacing. She had gone through all the logistics of baby care in her mind, and she couldn’t see a reason that cause Corey to be nervous.
“Come over here.” She opened her arms to him.
He walked into an embrace, her legs wrapping around his. “What are you thinking about?”
“What do you think? The only model I had for parenting was Roger Porter. How in the hell am I going to figure out what to do, with that as my father figure?”
“What age was toughest on you with him?”
“Fourteen, same age Tanner is.”
“How many times have you hit Tanner?”
“I’ve wanted to a couple of times.”
“That doesn’t matter, how many times have you done it?”
“Never,” he said, dropping his eyes.
“I’ve wanted to slap him a few times myself, so stop looking like your thoughts make you a horrible person.” She slipped her hands under his shirt to caress the muscles of his back.
He slipped his fingers through her hair, staring into her eyes. After a moment, he bent his head to touch his lips to hers. “I love you,” he said, before kissing her.
She kissed him back and like every time before it was magic. Their clothes slipped away and his hands caressed her in the places that made her crazy. And then their bodies were joined and she was flying with him.
Even the crash was pleasant, right into his arms. In their bed. “We were going to sit in the tub first,” he said.
She stroked her hand against his arm, up and down. “I love you. It was a long week away.”
“It was. I missed you. The trip was good, though. We’ll probably edge into the play-offs.” Maybe his last year. It was his last year with Kip, who would retire this year. Corey figured the team would want to trade him at the end of the year. If they wanted to trade him, he decided to retire. Of course, he’d said that the last four years they’d been together. And it hadn’t come to fruition. Maybe one more. Maybe not, if they were going to have this baby.
She dropped her hand to her belly. He sat up a little. “Something wrong?”
She smiled at him, caressing his cheek. “No, I just sorta forgot for a few minutes. You distracted me.”
His face turned into a deeper frown. “We can’t hurt the, the, the, baby can we? Sex I mean? It’s okay right?”
She swallowed hard to keep from laughing. “No, sweetie. Sex can’t hurt the baby. It’s barely the size of a grain of rice. I’ll show you online. Mandy showed me once, long time ago.”
“She’s going to flip.”
“We should keep her in the dark a bit longer, at least until we do the ultrasound.”
Corey relaxed back onto his pillow. “So I guess I probably will retire. Otherwise I’ll be gone so much the baby won’t know who I am.”
“Glad to see you’ve moved past the shocked stage.”
“It’ll come back around. For now, how do you think that will work if we are both home? Will we drive each other nuts?”
She smiled. “I don’t know. I doubt you’ll retire, retire will you? You’d find something. And I’d only be off my year of leave. Then I’d go back. I’ve only been in loans for a couple of years. I like it. I’m doing this new training.”
“Nic, come on. I have more than enough money, we can live comfortable for the rest of our lives. You don’t need to work.”
He had been after her for two years to stay home if she wanted. She didn’t want to stay home. She did that once. It didn’t turn out too well. She liked knowing she was self-sufficient. She had let Rick take the reins and it ended so badly. She didn’t want to take the chance again.
“I know I don’t need to work. I like to work. I like to know I could take care of myself and the kids if something happened to you.”
“If something happened to me, you’d get all my money.”
She wanted to scream at him and shake him. Instead, she rolled away. “I want to shout at you. I can’t explain. It’s not that I need to work. I like working. I like feeling like my own person. I let Rick own me, I let him decide everything. I let him work and when he left I was so scared. You have no idea how scared I was that I wouldn’t be able to support my kids. That he’d take them away.” She blinked back the tears. “I never want to feel like that again.”
He reached out to hold her as he moved closer. “All right, love. I think I understand. Just know that if you change your mind, everything mine is also yours. Except what I’m giving to Tonya for school and the money I gave Mom for a house.”
“I don’t anticipate anything happening, by the way. I just need to know. My money is for Tanner and Jessa, and this one, for college and maybe even to help them buy a house someday. They aren’t that far away. Speaking of mothers, yours called yesterday, she thought you were home. I meant to tell you earlier, but I felt so yucky. You can call her tomorrow and give her the news. Anyway, Tonya still refuses to talk about paying for college.”
Corey groaned. “She’s going to drive me fucking insane.”
“I was thinking, Mandy is going to be looking for a new nanny come summer. She could move here and we can keep an eye on her that way. It’s only part-time, she could go to school part-time here while she considers her options. Just a thought. There’s that room in the basement still.”
“It’s not a bad thought. But here’s a thought for us, we need a bigger house.”
The kids’ bedrooms had been a bone of contention between them for a year. She liked the kids close by so she could keep a closer eye on them, especially with Tanner’s rebellious phase. Corey wanted them further away, so he was better assured they couldn’t hear their lovemaking and conversations.
This baby was going to need his or her own room at some point. When her kids were small, they shared a bed or least a room with her and her ex-husband.
That was a discussion for another day. She couldn’t put too much on him at once.
“You are right. We do need more bedrooms. Potentially Tonya, a guest room for your mom because you know once her grandchild comes she’ll want to visit.”
“It Tonya moves out here, she might want to move out.”
“Oh god,” Nic groaned, throwing her arm over her eyes dramatically. “Would she really?”
“It’s possible.” He laughed. Saying his mother and Nicole differed was putting it mildly. They got along for short periods, but their ideas, styles and personalities were night and day.
“I guess we need to start looking for a place. To find one in the kid’s school distract, with enough bedrooms, at a reasonable price might take a few months. Then closing and moving before I’m a giant.”
“We’ll hire movers Nicole,” he said dryly.
She made a face at him. “Not to mention any renovations that need to get done. I’m not living through another bathroom construction site so you can have a giant jet tub, even if it’s really awesome to have and so relaxing. We can either renovate before we move, or we can put a hot tub in the backyard.”
“Both,” he decided, with a shit-eating grin.
She shook her head, but leaned over when he said, “Kiss me my love.”
After a quick kiss, she pulled back. “You never know, since you have all this money to spend on me, I’ll probably want a new kitchen, to tear down some walls and make it open concept and the perfect house will have an unfinished basement we’ll have to do.”
“Maybe I will have to keep playing. All this house stuff you want to spend and a baby to raise.”
“If you do retire you can stay home.”
He kissed her and lay down on his pillow. “Maybe.” He looked thoughtful.
She looked down on him for a few moments before stretching beside him. “If you do decide to stay home, I will not miss road trips.”
She closed her eyes and drifted into a dream about a baby with Corey’s smile and her eyes.