Weekend CollisionBy: C.A. Szarek
A Crossing Forces
The toddler’s giggle had Mel pausing in the doorway, her palm hovering over her lower stomach. Envy made her ache from the inside out.
Or is that just cramps?
She frowned and forced her feet into the living room.
Jared’s deep chuckle had her grinning, despite the dark thoughts.
Her husband’s long muscular form lay stretched out on their couch, his partner’s two-year-old perched on his middle, as if he was the sofa. He didn’t seem to mind as the little boy played with a large stuffed red airplane, waving it back and forth.
Shiny silver fabric sewn in the front ‘windows’ caught the light of the lamp behind them. Micah made engine noises as he ‘flew’ the plane, tugging on the soft wings.
“Buddy, if people are on that plane, you’re rattling their brains.” Jared laughed.
“No!” Micah announced.
His mother had assured them the word was his new favorite.
Seeing her man with the child hurt in a way it never had before.
The toddler’s dark hair curled at the ends, and could have him passing as Jared’s kid, if it wasn’t for Andi’s eyes. Then again, Mel had blue eyes, too. Just lighter in hue.
Her husband was great with kids, especially Cole and Andi’s little boys.
He’d make a great dad.
Her chest burned and her heart skipped.
When they heard her, both males grinned up at her, and it was hard not to be sucked into Micah’s big sapphire eyes.
Jared’s smile faded as he gave her a onceover. “What’s wrong, baby?”
Mel plastered on a return smile. “Nothing.” She took her previous seat in the recliner facing the TV and pretended not to feel his gaze. Forced a breath and glanced at the man she loved.
Her husband’s dark eyes reflected disbelief.
She never could lie to him and get away with it.
“Aunt Mel, look.” Ethan, the elder of the two brothers, at six, scrambled off the floor, a tower of Legos in both hands. “I made a castle.”
Saved by the kid, thank God.
“That’s awesome!” She paid proper attention and inspected the multi-colored blocks, smiling and commenting until the little boy returned to the pile of scattered toys on the floor.
The Minions Movie played on the TV, but neither child seemed interested.
She sighed and slid back into the microfiber chair she loved. Then reached for her cup of hot cocoa on the end table and took a sip. Needed to drink it before it got cold.
The boys and Jared had already finished theirs.
Suddenly, the weight of Mel’s trip to the bathroom crashed down on her shoulders and made her heart stutter.
She’d started her period.
She didn’t want to tell Jared. Didn’t want to see disappointment in the dark eyes she loved so much.
I’m still not pregnant.
They’d only been trying a few months, and she’d been on birth control for years, so it wasn’t abnormal. Only natural it might take a while. There was nothing wrong. Rational, as well as medical answers floated in her head.
Dr. Hayes, her OBGYN, had told them how everything worked. Google and WebMD had verified.
Andi, the boys’ mom, and a police detective like Jared and their dad, Cole, had told her she was worrying too much. Told her to take a breath, stop trying to try so hard.
Mel hadn’t shared the extent of her worries with her husband, because she was embarrassed.
‘There’s nothing wrong with you,’ Andi had told her just that afternoon when they’d dropped their sons off for a rare weekend away.
She was having a hard time believing it.
That was before she’d answered Mother Nature’s knock.
Mel loved the boys; she really did. Loved kids, in general. They were her job, her life.
She’d had Ethan in her kindergarten class last year. Missed him this year, though she enjoyed her new students like always. She was lucky to still have Ethan in her life, although in a different capacity. She was Aunt Mel, not Miss Nash—Mrs. Manning—this year at school.
She and Jared had been married nine months now, and the school year had been going since the second week of August.
Thanksgiving was just around the corner—in two weeks.
They were supposed to have waited until the previous June to marry, but after getting engaged Christmas Day, they’d impulsively flown to Vegas when the wedding planning had become too stressful.
Valentine’s Day weekend—when everybody and their brother had had the same idea.
Couples had been lined up in all the chapels.
When it’d been their turn, Mel hadn’t seen anyone but Jared.
His voice pulled her from memories and her eyes locked onto his.
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