The Not-Outcast

Page 81

He asked to use my season ticket again. I said no.

He’s asked a few more times. I always enjoy saying no. My whole ‘setting him up’ had been a one time feat, and I was glad that I never had to do it again.

Then we met his girlfriend and Dean’s new attitude made more sense. She was the sweetest thing. When she walked into Come Our Way, she was a child and animal whisperer. Where she went, they followed in a line. Literally.

Her name was Sunny.

Beep! Beep!

I was in Melanie’s favorite place in the world, the bathroom. Since she and Cassie got married, she swears she likes it even more. It’s her new Zen place. Though, I wasn’t on the toilet. I’d already done that business. Hearing my phone’s alarm, I turned it off and looked up at the counter. I was sitting on the floor.

The house was quiet, for once. All the kids were at Mama Alice’s house. They bought one three houses down from ours as their second home, which was really their main home since Dylan and Jamison both were living in states close to us. I didn’t understand why they kept their first home, but Mama Alice said it had something to do with not giving up any area to a Kathryn Moomoo Lady. The Etsy business was fierce.

I was digressing because I needed to get up. I needed to look at what I didn’t want to look at, and I needed to get ready for the wedding.

I couldn’t move.

I had a few years until I was forty, and this was the first time I’d ever taken this test.

I shouldn’t be nervous. I was.

I shouldn’t be excited. I was.

My heart was fluttering everywhere in my chest cavity.

My palms were sweaty.

I had to do some deep breathing exercises before I pushed myself from the floor.

One step.

I smoothed my hands down my pants.

Two steps.

I was there.

The bathroom wasn’t that big.

I was standing just over the counter, and—I just had to do it.

I looked.

The pregnancy test was right there, staring up at me. Positive.

Holy shit.

My legs almost gave out, and I grabbed for the counter.

I was pregnant. We were pregnant. I didn’t know how it happened. I mean, I knew how, but we’d taken measures so I wouldn’t get pregnant. We had many conversations and I’d been torn. Cut hadn’t. He wanted a child with me, but me—I didn’t want to bring someone into the world that would suffer how I did.


That was the operative word, because it was better. It had been better since Cut.

But then we got Benji. Then Amelia…and our own pregnancy talk got pushed aside.

But another Cut.

That’s where this test came about because the world needed another Cutler.


My throat was tightening up and I was crying. My lips were trembling.

I was full-out sobbing.

I was going to have a baby, one that came from my blood and Cut’s.







And repeat because… you guessed it. Fuoway. My new word.


A small knock before, “Shine?”


If we had a little girl, her middle name was going to be Shine. If we had a boy, Cutler. I was making the decision now.

“Cheyenne? Babe?” He was getting a bit more concerned now. “You’ve been in there a while, but we gotta go if we’re going to make pictures in time.”

Right. Because we were going to Hendrix and Sasha’s wedding. Finally, their wedding because those two dumbasses took forever to get hitched. They kept getting together, breaking up, getting together, breaking up. I was sensing a pattern with Sasha, but then Hendrix almost died from a car accident and Sasha declared he wasn’t allowed to die without her. They got engaged the next day.



The door opened and he stuck his head inside.

I moved, blocking the test, and I smiled.

His eyes narrowed. “You’ve been crying, but you’re smiling at me. You’re giving me that smile.”

I was giving him that wide smile, the one I gave him every time I was going to tell him we were about to foster another child or rescue an animal.

His eyebrows pulled in, lowering. “No. We already have a full house.”

I was scared. Of course I was scared, but I had faith, and hope, and love, and I really only needed his love to know we’d get through anything.

He was shaking his head now. “Seriously. Come on. Shine. No way. We just found a home for the pet raccoon.”

Oh, crap. I forgot about Rocket One.

And about that phone call I got today. He didn’t know that we had Rocket Deuce coming.

I’d tell him later.

“Cheyenne. Come on.”

He was breaking.


Now was the time to tell him.

I swallowed my lump that was nerves and happiness and I breathed out. “I didn’t get a phone call for this.”

He relaxed.

“But…” I reached behind me, grabbing the test. My hand closed around it. “I got a test.”

I showed it to him.

He stared at it, his eyes wide and he jerked his head up. “You’re—”

I nodded. “I am.”

Ten years.

But it’s been so much longer than that when I first fell in love with Cutler Ryder.

“Fuck, Shine.” He swept me up, his hand grabbing my neck, and his mouth was over mine. “Fuck.”

My legs wrapped around his, but then he turned me around, his hands going to my pants.

His eyes were dark, smoldering. Hungry.

His hands were rough. Needing.

Now wasn’t the time to talk.

His pants were pulled down. Mine.

He nudged my legs apart, and he lined up.

No one was home.

We needed to leave.


“Put your hands on the mirror.”

A thrill raced through me.

We needed this more.

His voice was low and raw, and as our eyes held in the mirror, he thrust inside of me.

I lied. We so had a happily ever after.

We had a second one before getting to Sasha and Hendrix’s wedding.

And we had another one before we both had to give our best man and matron of honor speeches. Though, I shared mine with Melanie.

Almost nine months later

Hunter Jamison Dylan Ryder was born.

All three uncles were his godfathers.

Alice was now Grandmama Alice.

Melanie was now Auntie Mel.

Sasha was still Sasha.

We lived happily ever after.

For realster real.

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