When Lexie met Fletcher, she barfed....but not because he wasn't attractive. Because she was already knocked up...
I watched as a tear rolled off of the end of my nose, drop on my knee, and soak into my jeans. I’d reached a new low. Someone needed to write a country song about my life.
Tap, tap, tap.
Gasping, I jerked my head up so hard, it thumped into the headrest. There, standing outside my window in a battered leather biker jacket and jeans with holes in the knees, was Fletcher.
I bit the insides of my cheeks. Couldn’t he, for once, look terrible?
I wiped my eyes on the end of my sleeve. Then forced a smile as I rolled my window down. “Fancy meeting you here, Dr. Baby.”
“Likewise, Bump.” His smile was wide and genuine, and shot a bolt of heat right to my core. “Are you stalking me now?”
Snorting, I glanced into the mirror to make sure my tears hadn’t dragged any mascara down my face. “You got me.”
“Hey.” He knelt down so we were eye level. “You’re upset. What’s wrong?”
I forced a laugh. “Me? No. I’m fine.”
He reached through the open window and put a hand on my shoulder. His cerulean eyes softened. “Nice try. Come on. I took a psychology class in college. Try me.”
I sighed, and let a few more tears fall. What did I care about looking pretty and pulled together in front of him for? He was dating Marisol, the woman who could shave her head and wear a burlap sack and still look like a lingerie model. Who cares if Fletcher made my pulse race? He was taken. TAKEN.
“It’s my mom. She…” I pressed my lips together and collected myself before finishing. “She ambushed me. She just tried to set me up with the owner of Roundtable Cutlery.”
Recognition registered on Fletcher’s whiskered face. “That medieval looking place? I went in there a few weeks ago.”
I narrowed my eyes at him. “Got a big knife collection, Fletch?”
When he chuckled, the sound had a very ‘dice in a cup’ quality. It was lovely.
“Nah,” he said. “I inherited my grandmother’s silver collection. I was having it polished and sharpened. They did a good job.” Pausing, his nostrils flared. “Wait. She set you up with the guy in the jester costume? The short one?”
“That’s him.” I rolled my eyes and suppressed a laugh of my own. “Seriously. He was sweating through his costume. It was horrible.”
Fletcher’s shoulders shook. “Satin’s not a real breathable fabric, is it?”
“Nope.” I picked at a loose piece of leather on my steering wheel. “Anyway, his name is Norman, and he’s a small business owner who will apparently forgive me for having another man’s baby. This is who my mother would like to see me marry. Preferably before my due date.”
Fletcher’s eyes flashed. “She doesn’t want you to be a single mother.”
“Not exactly,” I said, my eyes filling again. “She’d marry me off to the postman if he were willing to tolerate another man’s child.”
“Tolerate?” He winced.
“It’s okay.” I felt a reassuring flutter deep within my abdomen, and my hands went to my belly. “I know I’m capable of caring for my child alone. I’ve never doubted that. Not for a second. I just wish everyone else believed in me, too.”
The sound of a rumbling engine passed by while Fletcher scratched his chin thoughtfully. The quickening in my stomach subsided, and I suddenly felt very heavy and tired. Maybe, like my mother, Fletcher thought a baby needed to have a father, too.
Maybe he thought the way as Candace and Marisol did, like I owed it to everyone to tell them who the father was. To hold Nate responsible.
It seemed I would never make everyone happy.
Until Fletcher cleared his throat. “Well,” he said, squeezing my shoulder. His touch lingered for just a beat or two longer than what was appropriate. “For what it’s worth, I believe in you.”
I turned my head and smiled at Fletcher. My first genuine smile of the afternoon. That was good enough for now.