Owen, wait! She sped after him, speaking to his back. I want us to be able to talk to each other. You don’t have to like me, but let’s at least get to the point where we can be in the same room. We’ve got a new niece or nephew coming in seven months. I’d like to welcome the baby without feeling like I’m hated at family gatherings.
When I headed to the negotiation table, Anna already had ten cups set up on her side, forming a pyramid, and was working on setting up the ten cups for my side. Anna’s cups were filled with seltzer water, since she was preggers and couldn’t drink. It took some of the fun out of the game, but it couldn’t be helped. Baby Hancock would have to wait at least fifteen years to play the real beer pong. Anna had won that negotiation too.I helped Anna fill up my cups with a tasty chocolate stout; it was more like dessert than alcohol, but I had a massive sweet tooth. Once everything was set up, we flipped a coin to see who went first. Heads, I told her with a smile. If given a choice, I always chose head, although tail wasn’t bad either.
Anna tossed the coin up, caught it, then smacked it on the back of her hand. When she lifted her fingers, we both leaned in to see who would be first. Predictably, it was tails. Me first, she said with a grin.Not a problem. I prefer going second anyway. I pinched her butt. Ladies should always come first.Anna laughed in that low seductive way that made my dick twitch. Then she grabbed her ball and lined up her shot. Here’s to a short visit, she said, before she let her ball fly.
It expertly splashed into one of my cups, and I nodded in approval. My girl had skills; it kept the game interesting. Game on, babe. Game on.It was official. My family was staying for twenty days. Anna had accepted the outcome of our game, but she wasn’t happy about it. A deep frown was fixed on her face as we packed Gibson into our family car—a bright yellow Hummer; I wanted people to see us coming a mile away. For safety reasons, of course.
Anna glared at me as she buckled Gibson into her car seat. I can’t believe you made that last shot, she murmured.
Still feeling buzzed from the game, and my admittedly lucky toss that had won me the argument, I huffed on my knuckles, then rubbed them against my shirt. Never doubt the master, babe.You’re jumping two steps ahead instead of buying yourself time.
I’m giving myself an 85 percent chance at a normal life with you! Tears stung my eyes, hot and volatile.You’re giving me a 15 percent chance of losing you instead of a 98 percent chance of a happily ever after.
The space that separated us was far more than the few feet it measured. I’m done with people in my life telling me they know what’s best for me. I can’t control my heart, but I can control this choice, and I will. Peyton didn’t get a choice, and I’m not going to let mine be taken away because you think you know what’s best for me. I’m not a child. I could be fierce.He laced his fingers behind his neck and looked at the ceiling. I’m not going to pretend that I knew Peyton, but I can’t imagine anyone who loves you wanting this for you.