First Comes Love(75)

By: Emily Goodwin



“Anything.”

“Tell me when something upsets you. Let me help you and share the burden.”

“I hate doing anything to make you upset—”

“Noah,” I stop him right there. “Not telling me makes me a whole lot more upset. Obviously.”

Noah closes his eyes. “Fuck, I’m an idiot. I should have told you and this wouldn’t have happened.”

“Live and learn, right?”

Someone knocks on the door; it’s someone from the lab to take my blood.

“Do you feel sick?” Noah asks me when the phlebotomist leaves.

“I’m tired and have had an on and off headache for the last few days,” I admit. “But I’ve been stressed.”

I regret the words the moment they leave my mouth, Noah looks so guilty.

“I’m so sorry, Lauren. And I understand if you decide not to do this.”

“I want to, and people fight and make up.” I give him a smile. “But it’s different when a kid is involved. Ella has to come first, no matter what.”

He nods. “And right now, taking care of Ella means taking care of you. I will do whatever it takes, Lauren.”

I look into his eyes, finally seeing past the walls he’s put up all these years. “I know you will.”





*





“Does your mom know I’m here?” Noah asks, sitting on the couch next to me at my house. He puts his arm around my shoulders.

“I didn’t tell her, but it’s not because I didn’t want to. She kinda freaked out when I said I had signs of pre-eclampsia.”

“Do they know what happened?”

“Yes and no. They know we broke up, but not the fine details.” I rest my head against him. “I didn’t want them to be mad at you. Even if we weren’t together as a couple, they’d still see you sometimes. Ella’s both of ours. And I didn’t want Colin to completely hate you.”

“That’s very considerate.”

“Well, you two have been friends for a long time. I don’t want to break you guys up too.”

“Fuck, I love you.” He kisses the top of my head. “You have no idea how good it feels to finally say that to you, and to hear it said back.”

“I’ve felt this way for a while, Noah. Really. I tried not to fall for you, but…”

“I told you, I’m hard to resist.”

I smile. “Most of the time.”

He brings me in closer and rest a hand on my belly. “Things can’t go back to how they were, can they? We can’t pretend this never happened and move on like normal?”

“I wish we could. I meant what I said: it’s different now. It’s not just my heart on the line. Ella’s is too.”

He turns and locks eyes with me. “That’s what scares me. I don’t want to hurt her like my father hurt me.”

“Knowing you’re scared of being a bad father makes me think you won’t be.”

He shakes his head. “That doesn’t make sense.”

“Do you think your dad worried about being a good dad?”

“Hell no. Oh, I get what you mean now.” He leans back with a sigh. “I won’t let you down again. And I’ll never let Ella down.”

Am I a fool for believing him? “Did you ever think about telling me how you felt before?”

“Many times.”

“Why didn’t you?”

He runs his fingers up and down my arm. “I didn’t want to piss Colin off. But mostly because I didn’t think I had a chance with you.”

“I had a crush on you too.”

“Seriously?”

I laugh. “I think the entire female population of that high school did. Some of the popular girls tried being friends with me because they knew you stayed the night at my house a lot.”

“Should I apologize for that?”

“Nah, it’s not your fault. It must have been hard to be so good looking and popular as a teen.”

“It was just horrible.” Noah snakes his arm around me and leans over until his lips touch mine. I missed his kisses so fucking much.

The dogs run to the door a second before the bell rings. I make a move to get up.

“I’ll get it,” Noah says. “You’re on strict orders to rest.”

I nod and settle back, watching Noah wrangle my super well-behaved dogs from bombarding my mother.

“Oh, Noah … hi.” She bustles past, too concerned to question things now. Though really, even if Noah and I were done forever, the well-being of Ella is still his concern. “Pre-eclampsia,” Mom starts. “That can be serious. Are you okay? Is the baby okay? Should you be in the hospital?”

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