Life is full of challenges. Mine are varied and multiplied. First, there’s the fact that I’m in a wheelchair. Second is that it’s my own fault I’m in the chair. And third is a drunk girl on a piano. Dancing. Well, it’s more like wiggling with lots of hips and wavy arms. It’s hot as hell and I’ve never seen anything I want to sit and stare at more. Only thing is – she won’t come down.
“Star!” I hiss at her.
She ignores me and spins in a circle, her four-inch heels scratching the surface of the piano. Her sisters, Fin and Lark, are begging her to come down. I don’t know what I can do from my seated position. If I was… well… the way I was before, I’d grab her and carry her out of there. But I’m kind of not able to do that.
“Star!” I whisper fiercely.
The customers at Reeds’, the restaurant owned by former pro football player Sam Reed, are watching her. Some with interest. Some with lustful intent, because she’s fucking beautiful with her face flushed and her dark hair streaming down her back. Some are looking at her with disdain. Some with pity. It’s the pity that makes me look to her sisters. I need to get her down.
“You might want to go and get some help,” her sister, Fin, says.
I nod and roll myself into the kitchen. Sam, the owner of the restaurant, is bent over a plate full of food, making it perfect.
“Um, Sam…” I start.
Sam looks up.
“We have a little problem out here.” A beautiful problem. But still a problem.
“What is it?”
“Um…one of Peck’s sisters is dancing on the piano.” I scratch the end of my nose, because I don’t like the way he’s suddenly staring at me.
Peck, Sam’s wife, waddles her very pregnant self into the dining room, so I follow her, and she stops at the foot of the piano. “What’s wrong with her?” she asks.
Fin shrugs. “We don’t know. She showed up like this.”
“Where’s Wren?” Peck wants to know. I know Wren is Star’s sister. Her biological sister, not an adopted sister like the other three of the members of Fallen from Zero.
Fin shrugs again. “No one has been able to find Wren.”
Sam walks up beside Peck. “What the fuck…?”
“Get her down, Sam,” Peck begs, tugging on his sleeve.
He motions Star forward. “Hey Star,” he says gently. “I have something I need to show you.”
“If it’s your dick,” she replies, “the answer is no, thank you.”
I bite the inside of my lip to keep from laughing. Sam’s face turns red and he heaves a sigh.
Suddenly, he swipes an arm through the air and grabs her leg. She flounders and in my mind’s eye I can see her falling head first into a potted plant. But at the last minute, he adjusts her body so that she falls across his shoulder.
He hitches her fine ass higher and walks to the door. I scramble to wheel myself over to the table where I know Star’s purse is sitting and I grab it, stuff it into my lap, and follow them out the front door.
“Um, Sam…” Peck mutters. She stops and looks down toward her shoes. I seriously doubt she can even see her shoes. But still. There’s a puddle of water at her feet on the sidewalk and she’s clutching her huge belly. Seriously, she looks like she has a basketball under her shirt.
Sam struggles to put Star in a cab and hands some bills to the driver. “Do you want to go with her?” he asks Peck. Apparently he hasn’t noticed the fact that she’s about to have a baby on the sidewalk.
“I don’t think I can,” she mutters.
Sam looks down at her feet and his mouth falls open. “Oh, shit. It’s time?” he cries. He’s frantic all of a sudden, swinging his hand around and swiping his hair back from his forehead like he doesn’t know what to do with himself.
“Go get one of my sisters to go with her.” Peck shoves him toward the restaurant. “And hurry.”
Sam disappears inside.
Star stumbles out of the cab when she realizes what’s going on. The cab takes off, leaving us all on the sidewalk.
“Well, shit,” I mutter.
“I got her,” Peck says. But then she doubles over as a pain wracks her body.
“Oh, fuck!” Star cries. “You’re having a fucking baby!” She cups her hands around her mouth. “I’m going to be the best aunt ever!” she yells. The sound echoes in the nearby alley.
Star starts to jump up and down, and for a second, I just enjoy the sight of her boobs bouncing, because she’s got an amazing rack, but then her ankle gives out.
“I think I just hurt myself,” she says, and her eyes well up with tears. “I think I need to sit down.”
Then she plops that beautiful ass of hers right down in my lap. I lift her up a little so I can get her purse out from under her, since I’m still holding on to it.
“You’re a lump, aren’t you?” I mutter.
“Are you calling me fat?” Her voice rises to a decibel that probably has every dog in the area at alert.
I try to bite back my smile, but it’s really hard. “Only in the best possible way.”
Paul and Sam come outside, and Sam’s still frantic. Thank God he has Paul with him now, because I have my hands and my lap full of Star.
They argue for a minute about what they’re going to do with her.
“You guys should go ahead,” I say. “I’ll get some coffee into Star.” I seriously can’t believe I just said that. She wiggles her ass in my lap, and I wrap my arm around her waist to get her to be still.
“We should take her with us,” Peck says, looking really worried, but Sam cuts her off.
“Josh will sober her up and bring her to the hospital later, right, Josh?”
“Yep.” I am a fucking idiot. I look down and see boob. Oh, holy hell. Her top has come unbuttoned in the most delicious of places. I can see the edge of her pretty lace bra. It’s pink and so is her skin. And her nipple…
I swallow hard and adjust her shirt, buttoning it up to her throat, and I force my hands back down. Paul scowls at me as it’s going on but then he focuses all his attention on Peck and getting her into the car with Sam.
Star giggles “Are you getting a boner?” she asks me.
Apparently, I am. I pick her up and move her over so that more of her leg is on me than ass. “Be still,” I tell her.
“You are, aren’t you? I was worried all your parts didn’t work, but apparently…” She wiggles her eyebrows at me and I have to bite back a chuckle. Star is a whole lot more fun drunk than she is in real life.
To tell the truth, I wasn’t aware that my dick could get hard either. Ever since my accident, nothing has worked the way it used to. But damn if my dick isn’t proving me wrong.
“Josh, are you sure you can take care of Star?” Peck asks me.
My heart expands to about twice its size because Peck is trusting me with one of the most precious things in her life. I know that.
“You can trust me. I’ll take care of her.” There was a time when no one could trust me to do anything. But I got this. I got it. If I say that a million more times, I might convince myself.
Paul stands on the sidewalk and stuffs his hands in his pockets. “I think you might have bitten off more than you can chew.”
Star is currently kissing her way up the side of my neck. It’s kind of sloppy and I can feel her tongue lapping at my skin like a kitten with a bowl of milk. I slide my hand between her tongue and my neck and leave it there long enough for her to sit back. But she doesn’t. She lays her head on my shoulder and snuggles into me.
“You smell good,” she whispers.
So does she. Like wine and warmth and woman. I can almost taste pink cotton candy on my tongue just sniffing her.
Her sisters rush out of the building and stop short when they see her curled into my lap. She has even drawn her knees over the side of my chair. “Oh, shit,” Lark says. She motions toward Star. “Come on, honey,” she says. “Let’s get you home.”
Star grabs my shirt with both fists, holding tightly. “No. I want to stay with him.” She looks up at me and I swear her eyes cross. “What’s your name again?” she asks.
“Josh,” I grunt out.
She lays her head back on my shoulder and says, “I’m staying with Josh.”
“You can’t take her to the hospital like this,” Paul tells them.
Lark heaves a sigh. “What do we do?”
I take a deep breath. “You guys go ahead. I’ll bring her to the hospital later.”
Lark freezes. “Why?”
I shrug and Star’s head bobs on my shoulder like a dashboard dog. “I told Sam and Peck I would.”
“We’re about to be aunts!” Fin screeches. She’s the littlest of the sisters, but she’s also the loudest.
“Go ahead,” Paul says. “Josh has this.”
My gut clenches. Someone is trusting me with something precious. Lots of someones. “I’ll take care of her,” I say again. “And I’ll bring her to the hospital in a couple of hours. Just call me if something happens before we get there.”
This is a first baby. I think they’re supposed to take longer or something like that.
Paul puts the girls in a car and stares at me. Suddenly, he blurts out. “Don’t fuck her.”
I startle and every muscle in my body clenches. “Fuck you,” I bite out.
“You know what they say about guys who just got out of prison,” he says, and I realize he’s joking. Thank God, because I was about to bust his kneecaps. “Insatiable and all that shit. And you got a whole lot of really pretty woman in your lap.”
I did just get out prison, but I don’t fuck drunk chicks. I don’t fuck anybody. “I can restrain myself.”
He nods. “I trust you.” His eyes meet mine. He does. I think he really does.
I turn the chair and roll toward a diner I know is on the next corner. They have coffee. Lots of coffee. But when I look down at Star, she’s sound asleep on my chest, and I swear, this is the closest I have been to another human being in a really long time, particularly one with a vagina, and I don’t want to stop holding her. So, instead of taking her to the diner, I push her seven blocks to my apartment and into the elevator.
My arms are burning like they’re on fire by the time we get there, but it was worth it, because she keeps burrowing closer and closer to me. Her breath tickles the side of my face, and then my ear, and then she tucks her head under my chin.
I open my door and I have to adjust her body to get inside, tucking her into a tiny little space in my lap for a minute. She mumbles, but I can’t make out what she’s saying.
I could sit and hold her like this all night, but I think she’d be more comfortable if she weren’t bundled up in a ball on my lap. I roll her into my bedroom, pull my covers down, and lift her onto my bed. Her high heels are still on her feet, so I unbuckle them and take them off, and then set them gently beside the bed. Her toenails are painted pastel pink and I run my finger across her toe.
She burrows into my pillow. “I’m afraid to sleep alone,” she murmurs. “Monsters and shit.” Her blue eyes meet mine and they’re so full of something I don’t even understand that I stop breathing. She holds out a tentative hand to me, and it’s almost shaking. I give it a quick squeeze, scoot her over a little, and lift myself out of the chair onto the bed, using a special board that’s made just for me. I adjust my legs and lay on my back, so close to the edge of the bed that I’m afraid I might fall off.
She immediately curls into me and puts her head on my shoulder. She wraps her arm around my chest and tucks it under me on the other side. It’s like a hug of epic proportions and my insides start to melt a little. Honestly, I feel like something has cracked inside me and I want to pull her into my heart and let her fill up all the empty space.
I stroke a hand down the length of her hair and she murmurs at me, her lips moving against the skin of my chest.
“What did you say?” My voice is trembling. But so is my body, so that’s not surprise.
“Will you hold me?” she asks. “Do you mind?”
I don’t mind. I don’t mind at all. “Shh,” I whisper.
But I remind myself that this is temporary. When she wakes up, she’ll remember where she is and who she’s with, and she probably won’t like it.
I pull the covers over her and stroke her back while her breaths go soft and even. But I don’t sleep. Because I don’t want to miss any of this moment. If I sleep, I’ll wake up and it’ll be over, and that’s the last thing I want. I have been alone for a really long time. And in this moment, I’m not.