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“’Kay,” I agreed but I did it on a moan because the fingers on both his hands moved.

I crossed my legs in the Camaro, studying my shoes at the same time adjusting my bracelet on my wrist for no reason except I liked to remind myself it was there.

“Okay, well, we have to come up with an excuse. You needing to work and me needing a makeup change isn’t going to cut it. We’re seriously late,” I said into the car.

“Babe, we don’t need an excuse. Anyone who sees you in that dress and those shoes will know exactly why we’re late.”

I felt my face pale, actually felt it, and turned my head to look at him. “That isn’t true.”

“Okay, I’ll amend my statement. Any man who sees you in that dress and those shoes will know exactly why we’re late. Including your Dad.”

“Ack!” I gagged then put my hands up to my ears and chanted, “La la la.”

Through my chanting I heard Hawk laugh.

When it seemed it was safe, I stopped chanting and dropped my hands.

Hawk started speaking. “Got an interesting call today.”

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“Yeah?” I prompted when he said no more.

“Developers,” he replied and I turned to look at him again. “This is their fourth call in as many months. They want the warehouse and the space around it, all of which I own. They’ve been offering bullshit but their offer today got motivating.”

“What?” I whispered.

It had been four months since Hawk and I went back to us. Four really good months. It was the beginning of July. The weather was nice. The days were long. Our passion (obviously) hadn’t cooled. But things had changed.

Now I was tied so tight to him I was certain I’d never get loose and I didn’t want to. The same with being in so deep, I’d never surface.

But, even drowning in Hawk, I didn’t lose a hint of me.

I lived my life, edited my books, met my girls, went shopping, went out to dinner, went to movies, sometimes alone, sometimes with my friends and sometimes he was a part of that.

Hawk worked and he worked a lot. But when he was with me, I had his total focus. We’d seen several movies together and we went out to dinner often, mainly because I didn’t eat like he did (and wasn’t going to) and he could order food like he liked and I didn’t have to cook two meals (though, on occasion, I did this too). When he had time, he’d hang at mine or I’d hang at his.

No matter if our days took us separate ways, we slept together every night. Sometimes he’d be with me and we’d go to bed together. Sometimes I’d feel his warm hand on the small of my back in the middle of the night. Sometimes he’d call and tell me he wanted me at his place and I’d go. I had a key, though he didn’t have one to mine (that I knew of) but he didn’t need one.

Our relationship wasn’t easy. It wasn’t mellow. It wasn’t comfortable and sedate. He was too bossy and I was too much of a smartass. We bantered and sometimes we fought. But I’d learned I was completely unable to endure Hawk being mad at me and then I’d noticed that Hawk felt the same. No grudges were ever held. We created sparks but those sparks never caught the kind of fire that could do damage. Instead, we got over it and moved on.

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And I liked this. This was good. I liked him in my space and I liked to be in his. I had sweet pea lotion and bath wash at his. My own stick of deodorant was in his medicine cabinet. He had one in mine, it stood next to his razor. I’d bought a sweet frame for Simone and Sophie and at the same time I bought two more. One had a picture of Hawk and me that Tracy took at Leo’s birthday party. I was pressed against Hawk’s side, my arms around him, my head tipped back, my nose pressed to his jaw and I was laughing. Hawk had his arm around my shoulders and he was looking slightly down and to the side, also laughing. That picture was on Hawk’s fridge. The other frame was on mine and it had a picture in it that Elvira took. We were walking through the surveillance room at his base, my arm curled around his back, his around my shoulders. Hawk’s head was turned to the side and he was looking at and listening to Jorge. I was looking over my shoulder at Elvira and laughing at something she said. I loved that photo, I didn’t know why, maybe the fact it was a candid that captured the casual way we were together, holding each other, walking together, Hawk’s profile so handsome, my face looking happy. And, of course, I was having a really good hair day.

He couldn’t sell the warehouse. We were settled. We had a system. We had a way that was our way.

And where would we set up the air hockey table (when he bought it)?

“You’re thinking of selling?” I asked.

“Yeah, they got that kind of cake, they want it so they’ll offer more. They offer more, seriously, babe, be a fool not to.”

“But I thought you liked the warehouse. I thought you needed space. There’s not a lot of places you can get that kind of space, Cabe.”

“Findin’ I don’t need that kind of space anymore, Sweet Pea, and you can’t raise kids in a place like that.”

I sucked in so much air it was a wonder Hawk didn’t immediately pass out due to lack of oxygen.

“Gwen?” he called.

“Kids?” I choked.

He was silent. So was I mostly because I was struggling for breath as visions of dark-haired, dimple-faced baby commandos wearing miniature cargo pants danced through my head.

Finally he muttered, “Fuck.”

“Fuck what?” I asked.

“Shit, babe, saw you with Crisanto and Javier, thought you liked kids.”

“I –”

“Thought you liked ‘em so much, you’d want ‘em.”

“I –”

“Fuck, Gwen.”

“Fuck what?” My voice was rising mainly because I was freaking out but also because he wasn’t letting me talk.

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He pulled to the side of the road, stopped, turned to me and his eyes caught mine.

Then he muttered again, “Fuck.”

“Fuck what!” I almost shouted.

“It isn’t a good time to talk about this.”

“Hawk, you need –”

“It’s your parents’ anniversary.”

“Hawk!” I snapped. “You need to tell me what’s flipping you out.”

“I want kids.”

I stared at him, my heart beating so hard I could swear my dress fluttered.

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