He nodded. “I was expecting you to rip into me, and I was ready for it. I had all these great arguments, but basically, I was going to say, ‘Fuck you. You deserve the best.’ And this is what you’re saying to me.”
“You love Taylor. If you’re waiting for permission to be a husband and a father, consider this it. I didn’t know Nova existed, and I’m pissed that I lost out on those months before, but I have her now, and I have to move forward. I have to do right by Valerie and be the best father I can be.”
“You’re already a great dad.”
“I know. And you will be, too.”
Logan drew in a ragged breath, then that emotion was gone. It took some effort before the old Logan was smirking back at me. “Are we good? Is our Soul Brotha Connection couples therapy session done?”
I wanted to laugh, but I stared at him long and hard. “I love you. I love Mason. But I’m going to say this once. If you or anyone else ever pulls something like that on Quincey again, there will be a rift between us, and it’ll be one that won’t get healed.”
I was dead serious.
Logan saw it, and he straightened. The amusement left him. “I know. That’s why I had to see if she’s worth it.”
I wasn’t going to ask if he thought she was. I knew he did. He threw down for her at the dinner against her sister. So did Taylor. Quincey didn’t know what it was like to have a family like I did, but she would.
I clapped him on the shoulder, and we both headed upstairs.
He went upstairs to Taylor, and I headed to my room.
Quincey wasn’t in it, so I poked my head into Nova’s room. She was sleeping. Not wanting to risk waking her, I headed back and around to the other side of Quincey’s room.
Her bathroom light was on, her door closed.
I let out some tension that I hadn’t known I was carrying and went over to her bed. I sat and waited.
When I heard her shower start, I stood and crossed the room.
Opening her door, she was standing under the spray of water, her head down.
Did I love Quincey?
I didn’t know.
But I cared about her, and that was strong enough for me to know this was worth it. What the ‘it’ was, I didn’t know myself, but I was willing to find out.
That decision made, I headed inside.
I was stripping when she saw me, and she gasped, but then her eyes darkened as I stepped inside with her.
“Was it a good talk?”
“Yes.” And then there was no more talking.
I hoisted her up and pushed her against the wall the same time my mouth dropped to hers. Then it was just her, me, and a whole fuckuva lot of sex.
“Girl. You have been busy.”
That was an understatement. I was meeting Ricci for coffee because the few phone calls we’d had weren’t doing the trick. She slid into her chair across from me. We were holed up at a table in the far corner, the coffee shop bustling on a Sunday afternoon, and I gave her a look.
“You’re telling me.”
Ricci cupped her hands around her mug and leaned forward. “No. I want you to tell me, please. You’re in the new production?”
“I’ve seen the pictures on the gossip blogs. I want to know everything.”
I frowned. “Gossip blogs?”
She sat back, her eyes widening a bit. “You don’t know?”
What could be on a gossip blog? They never cared about Seattle dancers, and Nate was known, but he wasn’t famous.
“There are pictures of you at dinner with your baby daddy and a whole bunch of speculation about the both of you. You didn’t know? For real?”
I shook my head, dazed. “Why would they care?”
“Because Nate is gorgeous, and young, and wealthy. A friend of mine reached out. She knows one of the bloggers, and she was told that they started getting more traction every time they posted a picture of Nate. I’m assuming it’s the same for the other sites. Sometimes you get famous just by knowing famous people, and your baby daddy knows some famous people.”
“I wish you would stop calling him that.”
“Oh.” She winced. “Sorry, but honestly. What’s the scoop? You guys were at a dinner, and the way he was looking at you? It was making me all hot and bothered.” Then her eyes bulged out. “Oh my God. Your dad. He must be going crazy. You know how he is, thinking he owns you and can control you.” She edged back, frowning to herself. Her finger began tapping against her mug in a distracted and absentminded way. “Wait. You said he backed down from the court thing against you. You think he’s letting you go?”
I sat there.
“No.” She answered her own question, her gaze falling down to the table. “That doesn’t seem like him. Anyway.”
I wasn’t a part of this conversation.
She flashed me a smile. “How’s it going? Also, I had a date last night.”
“Ricci!” I lunged for her, my excitement more because I needed a break from the questions, and I grabbed her wrists.
She squealed, letting go of her mug, but she caught my hands in hers and squeezed. “Yes?”
I laughed. “Tell me about the date.”
She laughed, letting go of me and sitting back.
I sat back, too, finally feeling some tension easing when she started talking.
She met him online. He seemed nice. His name was Marshall. They went to dinner and had drinks afterward, and she ended with, “I slept with him, but he was gone this morning, and I’m pretty sure I’ll never hear from him again.”
She was looking at me as if I was supposed to say something.
“I have no experience with online dating or dating in general. It’s been years since I went on a date.” I wasn’t including Nate because I hadn’t told her about the “us” that was happening, so I wasn’t counting him.
“He wasn’t that good.”
“Nate?” I frowned.
Right. “Your date.”
“Wait. Why were you thinking about Nate just then? Is there something going on between you two?”
I drew in a breath. Ricci always knew me the most out of everyone.