“Got enough for me?” he asked.
He smiled his cocky smile, but I saw the tightness around his mouth. “Yep.”
“Then I’ve got enough, if you pour the wine.”
“You got yourself a deal.”
Joining me in the kitchen, he looked over my shoulder and into the pot. “White or red?”
“White it is, then. Where’s Cross?”
I watched him head to the wine fridge. “With his trainer, working out. How was your day?”
He shrugged. “Same shit as always.”
“Cary.” I lowered the heat and turned to him. “Just a few weeks ago, you were so happy to be here in New York and getting jobs. Now . . . you’re so unhappy.”
Pulling a bottle out, he shrugged again. “That’s what I get for f**king around.”
“I’m sorry I haven’t been here for you.”
He glanced at me as he dug out the bottle opener. “But . . . ?”
I shook my head. “No buts. I’m sorry. I will say that you’ve had company most nights I’m home, so I figured that’s why we weren’t talking as much, but that doesn’t excuse me from not reaching out when I know you’re going through a difficult time.”
Cary sighed, his head bowing. “It wasn’t fair to dump everything on you last night. I know Cross has got his own shit to wade through and you’re dealing with that.”
“That doesn’t mean I’m not here for you.” I put my hand on his shoulder. “Anytime you need me, just let me know and I’ll be there.”
Turning abruptly, he caught me up in a powerful hug, squeezing the air out of me. Sympathy did the rest of the work, squeezing my heart.
I hugged him in return, one hand stroking the back of his head. His dark brown hair was as soft as silk, his shoulders as hard as granite. I guessed they’d have to be to hold up the weight of the stress he was carrying. Guilt made me hold him even tighter.
“God,” he muttered. “I’ve f**ked this all up to hell and back.”
“What’s going on?”
He set me down, then turned back to the bottle to open it. “I don’t know if it’s hormones or what, but Tat is a raging f**king bitch right now. Nothing is good enough. Nothing makes her happy, especially being pregnant. What shot has the poor kid got with me as a father and a self-centered diva who hates him as his mother?”
“Maybe it’s a girl,” I said, handing over the wineglasses I’d pulled out of the cupboard.
“Jesus. Don’t say that. I’m panicked enough as it is.” He poured two hefty glasses, slid one over to me, and drank deep from his own. “And I feel like an ass**le talking about the mother of my baby that way, but it’s the truth. God help us, it’s the damned truth.”
“I’m sure it’s just the hormones. It’ll all settle in, and then she’ll get that glow and be happy.” I took a sip, hoping like hell everything I was saying would come true. “Have you told Trey yet?”
Cary shook his head. “He’s the one sane thing I’ve got going on right now. I lose him, I’ll lose my mind.”
“He’s stayed with you so far.”
“And I have to work for it, Eva. Every day. I’ve never worked so hard. And I’m not talking about f**king.”
“I didn’t think you were.” I pulled two clean bowls out of the dishwasher, along with spoons. “What I think is that you’re an amazing guy and anyone would be lucky to have you. I’m pretty sure Trey feels the same way.”
“Don’t. Please.” His gaze met mine. “I’m trying to be real here. I don’t need you to blow smoke at me.”
“I’m not. Maybe what I said wasn’t deep, but it’s true.” I paused in front of the rice cooker. “Gideon doesn’t tell me what’s going on with him a lot of the time. He says he’s trying to protect me, but what he’s really doing is protecting himself.”
And it took saying the words aloud to really make them sink in for me.
“He’s afraid that the more he tells me, the more reason he gives me to walk away. But it’s just the opposite, Cary. The more he doesn’t say, the more I don’t feel like he trusts me, and that’s hurting us. You and Trey have been together as long as Gideon and I have.” I reached out and touched his arm. “You have to tell him. If he finds out about the baby some other way—and he will—he might not forgive you.”
Cary sagged against the island, suddenly looking so much older and so tired. “I feel like if I just had more time to get a handle on things, I could deal with Trey.”
“Waiting isn’t helping,” I said gently, scooping rice into the bowls. “You’re backsliding.”
“What else have I got?” His voice came hard with anger. “I don’t f**k around anymore. A monk gets off more than I do.”
I winced, knowing Cary was a man who exemplified what Dr. Petersen had talked about. When Cary had sex, he could turn his brain off and let his body make him feel good, if only for a little while. He didn’t have to think or feel beyond the sensory. It was a coping mechanism he’d had to perfect back when he was the one being f**ked, long before he was old enough to even want to.
“You’ve got me,” I countered.