She was stunning, as usual. She wore a pair of short white shorts with a blue tank that was bigger than her. It hung off her thin shoulders, and he could see the branches of the tattoo he was just thinking of. Her blondish brown hair was up in a mess of a bun. Her eyes looked wider, and a brighter blue than he remembered. Her lips looked plumper, too; inviting. And when she gave him a sneak peek of the gap in her smile, he swore his heart skipped a beat.
God, what was wrong with him?
Clearing his throat, he said, “Hey.”
“Hey,” she said, looking everywhere but at him. “Sorry to just pop in. I’ve tried calling you over the past few months but I can’t seem to get ahold of you.”
That was because he was ignoring her.
“Oh, no big deal. Everything okay?”
Finally her eyes met his, and he could see that something was wrong. Erik was pretty sure that Phillip saw it, too, because he coughed, then said, “Hey, I’m gonna go in the other room. Piper, it was nice seeing you again.”
She gave a little wave as she said, “You, too.”
Something felt off. The hairs on Erik’s arms felt like they were standing on end, and the air was crackling around them. Piper wouldn’t look at him, which he didn’t understand. She always looked right into his eyes. He liked when she did that. This was the first time since their night together that he had even talked to her. The last time he saw her was four months ago, at Harper’s house. She only stayed for a little bit, though; she was sick, if he remembered correctly. He did remember wishing she hadn’t left. Even if he didn’t want to talk to her, he still wanted to look at her, and wished for the millionth time that he wasn’t so f**ked-up.
“How are you?”
Piper smiled as she looked away from him again.
“Fine. I’m surprised to see you, though.”
“Yeah, sorry again. I know it’s late.”
Erik shrugged his shoulders.
“Like I said, no big deal. So what’s up? Do you want to sit down?”
She shook her head. “No, thank you. I came over because we need to talk.”
Erik nodded. “Okay? About what?”
Piper looked up again, her eyes meeting his, and he saw how tired she looked. Her face was fuller than the last time he had seen her. She looked different but she was still the same gorgeous girl he had bared his soul to. That alone was dangerous and the sudden need to run rushed over him. He had never told a girl about his parents, only Phillip knew, but he told Piper while lying naked against her small, delicious body.
“We haven’t talked much since that night.”
Why was she bringing up that night? He might think of her and that night, but he didn’t want to talk about it.
“Nope, and I like it that way. Is that why you’re here? It’s been a while since then, Piper, and nothing has changed. We can’t be together. I’m sorry about that but that’s the way it is.”
“Actually, a lot has changed and we need to talk,” she jeered.
He was confused. What did she mean? Nothing was said for a moment, until finally he asked, “Like what?”
Erik choked, “Yeah? That sucks.”
He watched as Piper’s shoulders dropped, her face flushed with anger. She took in a deep breath as she muttered the words that for some reason he knew she was going to say. “It’s yours.”
Erik paused. His body stiffened as a sudden coldness filled him completely. He felt dizzy and his body felt like it was tingling everywhere. What the hell was going on?! This was a joke, a cruel, funny joke. Erik let out a loud nervous laugh and with a shaky voice said, “Yeah, right. We haven’t been together since December.” Man, he was feeling like he might pass out.
Piper nodded. Erik then watched as she pulled her shirt tightly against her, revealing a bump in her middle, and Piper didn’t have one of those before. His eyes were wide as he looked down at her.
She rolled her shoulders back and said, “I know, I’m almost six months.”
Suddenly, Erik wasn’t sure he was breathing.
Piper nodded. Her heart was pounding, and she could feel her hands shaking against her growing belly. She looked at a wide-eyed Erik. “Yes.”
“You’ve been to the doctor? It’s a baby, right? Not like cancer?”
She blinked a few times. Was he serious?
“Yes, a baby, not cancer. Why the hell would you think that? I’m twenty-three weeks.”
“Twenty-three weeks,” he whispered as his eyes fell back to where her hands rested. “With my baby.”
Piper looked up at him again; she could see that he was freaking out. She had been doing the same thing since she had found out. She had no clue what she’d expected from this conversation, but it sure wasn’t going the way she had hoped it would.
“Yes,” she answered.
“Are you sure?”
Piper looked up at Erik incredulously. How dare he ask that?
“Yes, you’re the only one I’ve been with. For months and even longer than that.”
He stood there, his hands holding his waist so tight that she could see the white of his knuckles. Not that she was really paying attention to his knuckles, since he was only wearing boxers, for goodness sakes! Even with the severity of the situation, she couldn’t help the fact that her body still sung for him. It didn’t make sense and she hated herself for it. This man had dumped her, then had not even answered her calls or acknowledged her existence for the last six months. How dare he steal her heart and run. Then, he has the gall to question her about the paternity of their child?