The universe had a twisted sense of humor when it came to Daniel and I. We could be tied to trees in the middle of a storm and still find a way to spring ourselves loose, and find each other just in time to face the mayhem together. Substitute those trees with resentment and pain, and those ropes tied around our wrists with tenacious love and gritty passion, and you had yourself a couple of adults who loved beyond madness and sanity. None of it made sense. Maybe it wasn't supposed to. All I knew was the universe was up to its old tricks again, because I was now staring down at a pregnancy test, and the word positive kept flashing on the screen, as if I needed to be reminded over and over again I had no self-control when it came to that man.
I'd taken a moment before we went out to get some dinner to take this test, and now I didn't even feel like I had much of an appetite anymore. What if it was a false positive? Those things happened all the time, right? Either way, I had to get through tonight without spilling the beans about this pregnancy. Things were still tense and they were only going to get worse once Marley and Michael came back from their honeymoon next week.
I wrapped up the pregnancy test and threw it into the trash bin before I washed my hands and headed out. Daniel met me by the front door, dressed in a black buttoned up shirt, sleeves rolled up, dark jeans and his favorite pair of boots. I could smell his aftershave from here and my knees suddenly buckled when I stepped onto the last step. He caught me just in time, the devil inside him greeting me with a sly grin as he held me steady against his body. The man was incorrigible and picked the worst time in the world to be charming.
"You didn't have to get all dressed up for me, but thank you," he flirted unabashedly, admiring the long sleeve black sheath dress that hugged the curves I worked so hard to get back after the boys were born and I rolled my eyes at him, stepping out of his embrace as we headed out of the house.
I was beginning to think wearing this dress was a mistake when Daniel couldn't keep his eyes off me all night. We managed to get through dinner just fine, talking about work, avoiding any heavy topics that involved what happened between us at Marley's wedding reception. And then the dessert came. He'd ordered my favorite kind of cheesecake, vanilla bean topped off with whipped cream and caramel drizzle. I had no idea how he managed to get the chef to bake this when we were dining in a Mexican restaurant, but who was I to question miracles?
"I haven't had one of these since I left New York," I mentioned, excitement washing over me as I reached for my fork as soon as the waiter set it on the table. I reached to take a stab at it but Daniel took my fork away from me, taking the stab himself, making sure the piece had both whipped cream and caramel on it before he lifted it up towards my mouth.
"Go ahead, tell me what you think," Daniel urged and I raised an eyebrow at him suspiciously as I closed my mouth over the fork and moaned deeply when the richness of the dessert melted onto my tongue. The sugar high made my body shiver with delight and made everything else pulsate with anticipation.
"Delicious," was all I could say as I licked the remnants of the dessert from my lips. His eyes traveled with each movement of my tongue and I swear the air in this restaurant had risen about a million degrees by the time I was finished.
"I'm glad you think so. I paid him enough to make it just for you," he explained, smiling coyly as he took a stab at the dessert again, taking this piece into his own mouth. I swallowed hard when I noticed his tongue ring was still planted in there and the memories of all the times he'd brought me to orgasm with it flooded my mind.
"How's Jesse doing?" I decided to kill this moment by bringing Jesse up, but only because I was close to dragging this man out of this restaurant until we ended up in the backseat of his truck. His face grew serious when I mentioned her name and I wondered what exactly I was supposed to do if something was going on between them and I had managed to get pregnant in the process. Daniel and I used to magnify messy situations and push them towards worst case scenarios. Would it be that way this time around?
"She's fine. Dating around from what I heard. And no, I still haven't fucked her. Not yet anyway," Daniel answered crudely and I questioned if he was pushing my buttons for the same reason I had brought Jesse up to begin with. Was he just as turned on as I was? There was only one way to find out.
"So you've thought about it, huh?" I added, baiting him as I scooted my chair closer against the table, so my foot would be able to reach right in between his legs. The second he felt my pedicured toes rub up against the front of his jeans, his gaze caught mine, holding it hostage as he washed down his dessert with more water.
"Is that a trick question?" he countered, as he held still while my toes continued to rub up against the bulge forming in the front of his pants. My lips lifted into a smirk as I shrugged and turned to look away.
"I'm from New York. We don't need tricks to get our men," I corrected him and his grin resurfaced as he signaled for the waiter to come over. He ordered for the remaining of the dessert to be packaged so we could take it home and when the waiter was gone, he dragged my chair closer to his and cradled the back of my neck with his hand, bringing my lips barely an inch away from his.
"Are you saying you're trying to reign me in? Because it's working, preciosa," he resumed our conversation, but was adamant about being the biggest tease of the night by not kissing me when I knew he wanted to. The man drove me crazy, and he knew it too, which only made it worse.
"When did you turn into a stallion?" I jested and he laughed, resting his forehead against my own as he closed his eyes, sighing in relief. I removed his hand away from my face as soon as the waiter returned with our dessert and check. Daniel stopped me from reaching into my purse for my credit card before I had the chance and gave the young man a hundred dollar bill, sending him on his way.
"I'm no princess. I can pay for things too, you know." I reminded him as he stood up from his chair and helped me get out of my own.
"You can't let me be nice, can you?" he ended his question with a short laugh, while taking my hand and the to-go bag and escorted me out of the restaurant and into the chilly night.
"We don't do nice remember?"
"Ah, that's right. We tease each other until we get so turned on that we end up sweaty," he paused, and pulled me into him as we got to his truck, "and naked," he continued, whispering the words into my ear as he opened the passenger door, "and moaning into the night," he finished, hoisting me up onto the seat, stepping in between my legs as he reached for my neck and pulled me in for a kiss. I could still taste the sweetness of the whipped scream and caramel on his tongue and I couldn't get enough, which made me pulled him closer, tugging at the hem of his shirt. He snatched my hands away and kissed them both, looking up at me with his usual cocky smile.
"Asshole," I cursed him and his sex appeal and glared at him as he swung my legs into the truck and closed the door.
We didn't end up where we usually would have given how hot we'd been for each other all night. Daniel and I had taken a detour and parked the car out on Lover's Lane, a cozy spot near the hills that overlooked the quiet town. The local kids used to come out here to make out and party back in the day. Since the technology wave swept over the town, the kids stopped coming up here. Or so Marley had told me. We were all close to the same age now, thirty-two, and considered old to the kids under twenty-five. I'd like to think there was still a bit of reckless youth in all of us, even if we were supposed to be wiser, with everything figured out.
"You remember the first time I took you up here?" Daniel asked, as he handed me a cherry flavored Jolly Rancher from his pocket, while we looked up at the night sky from the hood of his truck. It was completely out of character for him, and I guess that was the point he'd been trying to make all night.
"The day after we met," I recalled, popping the Jolly Rancher into my mouth, as I raised my hand and began to trace the constellations with my index finger.
"You made me so nervous, I almost took the wrong exit," he replied with a chuckle and I smirked, turning towards him.
"Could it have been the goth ensemble I was rocking?" I teased and he grinned as he handed me an unwrapped piece of candy and I popped it into my mouth as well.
"I don't care about that shit. You know that."
"Then why were you so nervous?"
"Promise you won't make fun of me?" he pleaded and I shrugged, holding a smile as he covered his eyes with his forearm.
"No promises. I'm waiting," I urged, shaking him until he made a face and closed his eyes.
"I remember sitting beside you, thinking to myself; how the hell am I gonna keep her around? I'm a dumbass and she's too good for me," Daniel confessed, opening his eyes, turning to face me as his fingers touched my cheek and I wondered why he had never mentioned it before.
"I was just as damaged as you were, Daniel. Two moths attracted to the same destructive flame sort of thing," I explained, reading his face carefully as he stared at me intently.
"Fifteen years later, and I'm still wondering how I'm going to keep you around for fifteen more," he answered, making it that much harder for me not to tell him we might be expecting again.
"Daniel, I—" he stopped me with his lips again and I indulged myself with his intoxicating kiss, melting into him when he pulled me on top of him and held me steady against his chest.
We didn't make it to the old farmhouse until dawn, and by then, we were too exhausted to go pick up the boys from Freddy's farm. So Daniel gave him a call, asking him if he could keep them for a couple more hours as we both collapsed into bed, his arm draped over my stomach. When Daniel gave me the thumbs up that Freddy had agreed, I raised my hand in victory as I nestled into my side of the bed and closed my eyes, feeling the heaviness of sleep consume me.
My eyes were drooping as I heard Daniel pick up another phone call beside me after hanging up with Freddy. When I felt his arm tense around me, I turned to look at him. His expression quickly changed to a subtle sorrow as he listened to whatever it was the person on the other end was saying.
"What is it?" I asked him, worried it might be the boys who'd gotten hurt or worse. His gaze lowered as he shook his head and rubbed his tired face. I took a hold of his hand and squeezed it for comfort, and he placed a small kiss against it.
"Thanks, Jerry. I'll stop by when I can," Daniel informed the person on the other end, then ended the call, remaining pensive as he placed the phone on the nightstand and returned to me, placing his arm over my stomach.
"Well?" I urged and Daniel closed his eyes as he yawned.
"Pablo Martin died in his sleep last night. That was one of his employees calling," Daniel mumbled in his drowsy state and I combed through his trimmed hair as I wondered why he wasn't as upset as he should've been, considering he'd known the old man his entire life.
"You're not going to go find out what happened?"
"Why? People drop dead around me all the time. I'm used to it by now."