Home Run Page 33

“I’m okay.”

He was going to seal this. He was going to make sure she knew how he felt.

Christian leaned in and pressed his lips to hers. At first her lips were tight, but as his hands slid around her back they became more pliant. The kiss could have gone on all night, but when he heard Ali’s, “Ewwww,” he knew it was time to drive back home.

After all, he had a lot of planning to do. He was asked to wait a week before they talked about making plans. That gave him a week to find a new ring—a bigger better ring. He should think about selling—or renting—his house. She’d want to stay in Ashley and David’s house for the kids and he would agree with that. And, he let out a long breath, he needed to look into T-Ball leagues. It looked like he was going to coach after all. The majors couldn’t hold a candle to the home run he’d just hit.

Chapter Nineteen

The drive home that night had grown quiet. The only noise was Sam babbling about baseball.

Christian’s head was a million miles away. There were a lot of plans to make in a week.

They all left their shoes on the front porch and walked into the house—as a family.

“Time for baths,” Tori announced and two grumbling kids threw themselves on the couch. “C’mon. We had fun now we have to get our baths.”

“Do we have to go to school tomorrow and day care?” Ali was taking each step sluggishly.

“School is fun.”

“Nu-uh. Peyton says that I’m dumb since I have Poppy.”

Tori shook her head. “I’m sure Peyton has something just a special to her as Poppy is to you. She must really be having a bad day if she makes fun of you. Try to understand, ask her if she’s okay. Then if she’s still mean you can tell your teacher too.”

That seemed to suffice for Ali.

Christian walked behind her up the stairs. “You think that’ll work?”

Tori turned and her eyes were angry. “Would you rather me tell her to punch the girl in the nose?”

“No.”

“Why do you think kids are mean?” She’d stopped walking and stood a step higher than he was, looking down at him. “It usually starts at home. Peyton might be having issues with her mom. Her dad moved out last year. And if I remember right,” she stopped and looked for Ali who had gone into her room, “he left to be with his girlfriend.”

Christian nodded. He remembered when his dad left; he too had gotten into some trouble. And a few months later when his mom remarried his dad’s best friend, it had gotten worse.

“Imagine what she’s going through. She doesn’t even know how to talk to anyone. So what does she do? She takes it out on the little girl who doesn’t even have a mommy and daddy anymore. This is how they think, Chris. You have to teach them to be the bigger person. Find out what is bothering her and maybe you’ll be the friend she needed.”

He’d been that kid, that was for sure. It was a teammate who, after punching Christian in the nose for being so mean, asked what was wrong and they had become friends.

“And if she’s just a mean girl?”

“Then I guess you punch her. But there is a time frame.”

She turned back around and headed up the stairs. Christian followed behind shaking his head—and admiring the view in front of him.

Baths were drawn in separate bathrooms. Ali enjoyed her privacy and Sam still liked to play in the bubble with all of the tub toys he could find.

When Ali was finished Tori came back to help with Sam just as Sam took a bucket of water and dumped it on Chris.

He could see Tori trying not to laugh as she scolded Sam.

“I guess this would be a good reason for me to bring over some clothes,” he said and her eyes widened.

“I’ll get you a shirt.”

She walked out of the bathroom and Christian finished rinsing off Sam and wrapping him in a towel. When she came back she had the old T-shirt she’d been in the day after Ed’s wedding. The day after he’d made love to her all night.

Christian ran his hand over the stubble on his chin. “Are you sure you want to part with that?”

The air was thick in the room and Sam must have felt it too. He wiggled out of the towel and ran down the hall, naked to his room.

Christian stood up and looked her in the eyes.

She licked her lips. “How about I lend it to you.”

“You’re going to lend me my own shirt?”

She nodded slowly. “And maybe you could bring it back with a few other things.”

Christian took another step toward her. “That just said a lot.”

She lifted a shaky hand and rested it on his chest. “I missed you.” Her eyes scanned him and then met his. The blue staring back at him had grown darker. “I don’t just mean missed having you around.”

To steady himself, he placed his hands on her hips. “Are you sure you know what you’re saying? The last time we got into this situation it didn’t end so well.”

“I didn’t think you’d show back up the next day.”

He took another step closer, wrapping his arms around her waist. Tori lifted her arms and draped them around his neck.

She wiggled slightly when the wet T-shirt pressed against her. “Maybe you should change now.”

“I wouldn’t want to get you all hot and bothered when I take off my shirt.”

“Chris, when I said wait till next week, it meant a lot of things. I have some things I need to take care of. But, after that,” she brushed her forehead against his lips. “Will you move in with us?”

It certainly wasn’t what he thought she’d ask, but he couldn’t have been happier that she did. If he was in the house and they were a family, there was no way she’d turn down his proposal.

“I would love to do that. Are you sure?”

She pressed her head to his chest. “I’m very sure.”

Christian stood there holding her pressed to him. One week. He could live for one week knowing that after that, he’d have unlimited time for hugs, kisses, and love making.

But there was one more thing. Only one thing he needed from her and that part was killing him. He needed to know if John was right about the baby.

He kissed the top of her head. “Tori, is there anything else you want to tell me? Anything you’ve been keeping from me?”

She didn’t look up at him and she was silent for what seemed to him a very long time.

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