**This is unedited. If you see errors, there is no need to tell me. It’s never getting published, and I’ve moved on. ;)
#1 The Stick
“I can’t do this.”
Sydney hugs my back as I stare at the pregnancy test on the counter, waiting for little lines to dictate my future. “Can’t do what? Be utterly, unimaginably, beyond words happy? Because that’s what this is. When you make tiny humans with the man you love, with your entire being, it’s a beautiful life.”
“What if he doesn’t want this life?” I suck in a shaky breath.
She chuckles. “He does.”
“You don’t know that.” I close my eyes, afraid to face my future.
“I do. I know what forever looks like. And it looks like you and Jake with a dozen babies—little boys drawing on themselves with permanent marker to look like Daddy, and little girls singing ‘Hot Stuff’ with their mom while dressing up in fancy dresses.”
I turn. “How did you know about that?”
She shrugs, sharing a sad smile. “I came home once, because I forgot my sleeping bag, and saw you and Mom. I was so envious.”
Tears burn my eyes. “You were envious of me?”
Sydney nods. “Envious that she gave you something that no one else saw.” She clears her throat of the building emotion. “It’s time.”
The tears slip out, making wet trails down my cheeks.
“What do you want?” Sydney asks. “Before you turn around, decide what you want, not what you fear. If it’s negative, will you let him go? Because if the answer is yes, then don’t choose him just because it’s positive. Tell him, but find the life you really want. A baby isn’t glue.”
I wipe the tears, only for more to overflow. “I choose him. No matter what … I choose him.”
“Why didn’t you fight for me?”
Jake drops bags of clothes we picked up along our way to Milwaukee. It’s my first time in his Milwaukee loft. It’s been a long trip, filled with nausea, vomiting, and rethinking my ability to be a mom—to make it through nine months of giving my body to uncontrollable forces.
Just me, him, and the little peanut in my belly. It’s still not fully registering with my brain.
He turns as I slip off my shoes. His eyebrows draw together.
“I …” I shake my head “…I’ve been thinking about it since we left L.A. You’re a fighter. It's in your blood. You sent men away on stretchers for a title, for a ranking, for money. Maybe even to feel some sort of control over the things in your past that you couldn’t control. Yet … you let me go. Again and again … you let me go. I just want to know why?”
He slides his hands into the front pockets of his jeans. His answers won’t change my love for him. I just want to know.
“I told you I’d be back for you.”
“But you didn’t fight for me!” I cringe at my outburst.
Jake’s eyebrows slide up his forehead as he suppresses a grin.
“I wanted you to fight for me. I wanted you to carry me away, over your shoulder, with blood, sweat, and tears dripping from every inch of your body. I wanted to be the prize.”
“Ave …” Jake closes in on me until my back is against the door. “Prizes are meant to be given, put on a shelf, and over time … thrown in a box. I don’t want a prize. I want you. I don’t want to fight for you. I want to fight with you.” He smirks. “You needed space in your corner. I was going to give it to you. But the fight wasn’t over—we weren’t over. I have no doubt every single day of the rest of my life that I spend with you will be filled with blood, sweat, and tears. There will even be times that I carry you away over my shoulder.”
I avert my gaze. Damn him! Why does he have to be so irritatingly perfect?
“If you ever stop irritating the hell out of me, I’ll feel dead inside.”
I shove his chest. “That’s terrible! I am not irritating.”
He bends down, grabs my legs, and throws me over his shoulder.
“Jake! I’m pregnant! Stop!”
“You’re pregnant. Mouthy. Irritating. So high-maintenance. Bad at sex. Beautiful. Sexy.” Jake tosses me on his bed and straddles my body with his legs. “But…” he shrugs off his shirt “…I used to need to beat people up and push my body to its limit to feel any sort of life.” He cages my head with his forearms on the mattress and kisses my neck. “You are life. Everything before you was just an imposter, a space-holder … mere flashes of light.” He sucks on my pouty bottom lip until my grin matches his. “You’re my fucking sun, Avery Montgomery.”
**Author note: I wrote the previous scenes before I fell hard for my current WIP. Then I tried to add a third scene, but I have no idea where this next scene was going. So I’m just going to leave it here for you to imagine what happens next because I’m SOOOOO engulfed with Jersey Six, I can’t go back to Naked Love and give it my heart.
#3 (ish) Snip. Snip.
“Condoms are pretty effective. I’m just saying … you should give them a try.” I grin at Sydney while feeding avocado to my fifteen-month-old son, Tyler. Sydney mashes banana on a blue plate for Owen while wrinkling her nose. The intensity of my sister’s nausea grows with each pregnancy.
“Yeah, well …” Sydney leans to the side, peering out the back window at our husbands with Ocean and Asher in the pool. “He’s getting snipped.”
“Snipped?” I stop mid-spoonful and gawk at what I think I just heard. “A vasectomy? You can’t be serious.”
Her lips twist as she nods, her gaze back on the bananas. “Four is enough.”
“Is that what Lautner thinks?”
“No. He thinks six. I told him to send me Christmas cards of him with his new wife and babies five and six. Or … I told him he could stay my husband, but we won’t have sex after this next baby comes until he’s shooting blanks into a plastic cup.”
**Okay … going in a new direction.
#4 (ish) The Deedy
“Oh, Deedy … I expected a call from you.” I tossed the phone on the counter while I finished scrubbing the stainless steel sink in my loft before heading back to Milwaukee.
Her chuckle through the speaker filled the room. “Yes, Jake. We need to talk.”
“Avery needs time. I’m giving her time and space.”
“You need to apologize.”
“For what?” I rinse the suds down the drain. “Loving her? Wanting her? Needing her?”
“Lying to her.”
I shake my head. “It was nothing.”
“You made her think you were sleeping with some girl when in fact it’s a dog.”
“A harmless white lie. I just wanted to know if it mattered to her—if I mattered to her. And before you go getting all pissy about it, the answer is clearly yes. I matter to her, which means she’ll come back.” I mostly believe my own words, but a tiny part of me, that I won’t admit to anyone, fears I pushed her too far.
“You’re stubborn. You’re going to lose her to chronic stubbornness. And I call BS. If you didn’t know how she felt about you, then you’re blind and stupid.”
“She can give it as good as she can take it.”
“You’re being insensitive.”
***Author note … not sure where this is going either. Can it be like the Mueller report where you draw your own conclusions? Great! Thanks. I’m off to write more Jersey Six.