Look at the way he's stacking up the wood, like he's some type of macho man. Obviously trying to impress me. He's completely clueless that he's overrated in my mind. And his jeans are way too tight. You know, he's not as hot as he thinks he is with sweat dripping down his forehead. And his neck. And his chest. And- Stop it.

... News flash, Owen. We're history.


20. Twenty

I put on my slippers and shuffle to the living room. "Hey," I see Kaylin sitting on the couch. "What are you doing here?" 

"I took off of work to stay here with you." I plop next to her and toss her some of my red quilt. 

"That's sweet." she makes a kissy face and snatches the remote to turn up the volume. When Project Runway goes to commercial, she hops up. 

"I forgot!" She goes to the fridge and I hear fumbling in the kitchen. She returns with a pint of black cherry ice-cream and a big spoon. She has a pint of mint chocolate chip for herself. "James told me it was your favorite." I gasp and hold it with the fabric of my blanket so the cold won't touch my fingers.

"So whats going on with you and Owen?" She looks frozen for a second. "You don't have to answer if you don't want to." 

"No, it's okay." I shove the first spoonful in my mouth, and shiver. "That girl he was with is pregnant."

"And he's the dad?" She acts like its a total scandal -although it is- and she frowns. "What an asshole." i laugh. "Seriously, what did he think? That you were going to be okay with him cheating on you?" 

"It's not like that." It comes out with a huff at the end and I stuff another spoon in my mouth. "We weren't together." 

"He wasn't your boyfriend?" I shake my head and I know she's confused. But she nods anyway. "So how do you feel about him now?" 

I shrug. "I think I love him. I mean, I told him that."

"You told him you love him when you aren't even together?"

"He said it first!" My smile becomes big and I can't help it, and the achy feeling in my body goes away for just a minute. When the butterflies settle, it floods back in. I groan. 

"Still feeling sick?" Kaylin settles into position because the show comes back. I don't know if she sees me nod my head because her eyes are glued to Heidi Klum. "Maybe you need some more rest." she pulls me into her, and my head falls into her lap. I feel a little weird at first because I just started warming up to her. Part of me feels like this is going too far. She's taken it upon herself to treat me like I'm her little sister, and I'm trying not to love it. But she's actually really really nice. So I let her scratch my head with her long pink nails. 


My body is shifting, and Kaylin's hands leave my head. There's a soft knock ringing in my ears, and I ignore it. My blanket is pushed up to my neck with my hands. My emotions freeze when I hear Owen's voice because I don't know if I'm mad at him or not. "How is she?" 

"She's um, sleeping. Maybe you should come back later."

"I have to talk to her." 

"I don't think she wants to talk, Owen." I can hear the squeak of the door closing and my heart sinks a little bit. But then I hear heavy footsteps coming toward me. And I can smell his cologne just inches away. Owen's hand skims my forehead and his fingers find my hair. The stroking tickles and it makes me open my eyes, slowly. The warmth of his hand moves down to my cheek and his thumb glides over the area. 

"Hey, sleepy head." I start to sit up and I come to my senses. He's kneeling in front of me, his eyes are bright today. I wrap my blanket tighter around my body and look at Kaylin. 

"I'm gonna go.. Um... I'm gonna go." She disappears down the hall and into James' room (her room, I guess.) My braid from last night is fuzzy now, so I start to take it out. 

"How do you you feel?" He says it proper, like he's talking to an old woman. I tuck my hair behind my ear and press my cold hand to my cheek. 

"I'm okay." I don't feel okay, I feel like I'm gonna pass out. I just want to tell him that I love him, because I think it will make me feel better. But I contain myself. I'm supposed to hate him. 

He holds my hand and kisses it, making me blink awkwardly. Then he beats me to it. "I love you." I just look at him and his desperate eyes, but I don't speak. "Please say it back." 

"Don't act innocent, Owen." I can't seem to get this damn rasp out of my voice. I feel like I'm always choking. I stand up slowly to get away from him so i won't have to look at the sadness in his eyes anymore. 

"Pres." I feel him pressing against me while I stand at the counter. "She means nothing to me." 

"Yeah, so she was just there for you to fuck whenever you wanted." I push him away and stumble to the cupboard to get a mug. He follows after me when I reach for the teabags. 

"It's not like that."

"It is like that." I sigh. "You let her wear your jersey and hold you hand in the hallway. You can kiss her in front of everybody! You only kissed me in the janitor's closet." I get the tea kettle started and soon it starts screaming like my insides. 

"Because I don't want her to think that I'm not in this whole baby thing. She'll feel lost if I leave her now." 

"You don't have to be in a relationship with her to show her that you're in it." I cross my arms and face him with my brows furrowed. 

"She's been pregnant since the beginning." he sounds strained and stressed. "She just didn't tell me." 

"Maybe you should stay with her." I starting to give up on him because I can't just give in. 

"I want you, Pres." He's close to me now. And when I blink for a second, his lips are on my neck. "Not her." I grab his shoulders to steady myself, and the tea pot is shouting louder and louder. The squeaking sound muffles my moan but I know he hears it. He goes for it harder and stronger, there will be red marks on my neck after this. 

"I'm sick." I say in a groan. I don't know if I'm contagious or not but it's a good excuse to get out of this. I still feel numb, all I know is that this feels good. 

"I don't care." it comes out like a growl and he squeezes my backside tenderly. I moan again and that triggers him to pick me up by my legs. My thighs are wrapped around his waist within the next second and I'm going with the flow. I make him kiss me on the mouth even though I feel like crying. It only takes a brief amount of time before I lose my breath and I have to gasp. I dive in again and squeeze him with my legs to make him groan. My eyes open to see that his are closed and Kaylin shows up in the doorway. I loosen my grip around him and fall to my feet. I turn to my mug and wipe my mouth while Owen steps away. I use this awkward moment to pour hot water into the cup. 

"Oh sorry. Go, go ahead. I'll go to the store." She's nervous and fidgety, and I only see that when I look at her. "Do you want anything? More ice cream?" She looks around for her keys. "Okay." And she jogs to the door to give us privacy. And I'm back on him. 

I'm so weak, but I feel strong in the moment. I'm afraid I might throw up when his tongue goes too far in my mouth. I find it weird that I get nauseous but I know it's only because I'm sick. I don't want this illness to get to me, I just want to keep kissing him. After several minutes of sucking my lips are numb. I can't even feel his mouth anymore. And I can feel his beige cargo pants getting a little bit tighter. The thought of it makes me cry out in a moan. But then I realize that I don't want this anymore. I mean, I do want it, I just can't get the thought of him being a father out of my head. It's ringing like the siren of a firetruck. This fire is just growing and growing. If I keep kissing him I'll break a family apart. He'll stay with me and Ava will be alone. But I'm not worried about Ava. The kid is my concern. The baby needs a dad to be there, not frolicking with someone who isn't his mommy. He should be with Ava, or at least try. 

I can't believe I'm doing it, but I eventually I begin to push him away. I use the rest of my strength to get myself off of him and shove him against the wall. "I can't do it." I'm heaving so hard it hurts, and I have to hunch over to catch my breath. My forehead feels like its stuffed with cotton and my nose is burning from extreme dryness. Owen is catching up for air too. 

"What? What can't you do?" I know he's surprised because he's still on the wall and its written all over his face. 

"I can't." Huff, puff." "You have to stay with Ava." 

"No I don't." he shakes his head and I look away at the sight of his torn expression. 

"You were right. The kid needs a dad."

"I'll be there for-"

"No, no. It's better if you're together." he keeps shaking his head and I stand up straight. 

"I'm not breaking up with you." Tears get into my eyes and I make a fist as tight as my strength will let me. 

"We can't break up if we haven't been together." He makes a fist too when he hears my words. 

"I don't want to be with her. I don't even wanna have this kid with her." he sighs. "She just wants so much. She acts like we're married adults with money and experience. I have to quit baseball to get two jobs so i can pay for all the shit. The crib, the stroller, the diapers, the clothes." 

"Then do what you have to do, Owen. You can't leave her hanging to do it all herself." 

"I don't want this." he's frustrated like he doesn't know the definition of calm. I want to hug him but I won't let myself be sappy. I know he wants to cry, and so do I. 

"Just face it, we can't be with or without each other. There's always something getting in our way. We fight and we scream at each other ninety percent of the time. We've been right since the beginning." I choke on the next part but I don't full-on cry. "This-us, it's history." 

He slowly walks to the door and I follow. I want him to talk but I know he won't dare to speak. At the door, we both go to kiss each other on the cheek, and it's quick. I slam my hand over my mouth to stop a sob and hold the door open while he walks out. Kaylin is standing there.

She doesn't see my crying yet, so she speaks. "I never really went to the store. I've just been sitting here." She looks at Owen's distraught face and her eyes flicker to mine. He keeps walking and I can feel my face starting to contort. I know she feels stupid for saying that, but she comes to hug me without saying anything and the door closes.

I let myself go and cry, even though I'm not supposed to like her. But she holds me without judgement and her loving gesture crashes down the rest of my stubborn nature towards her. I hold her back as she squeezes me to hold me up, and she watches me break down to my weakest point. Sick and broken-hearted. 

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