The Billionaire's Unexpected Baby(78)

By: Kira Archer


Leah…

Brooks shut that down immediately. Dwelling on her and whatever idiotic fantasies he might have briefly entertained did no one any good. He was an irresponsible asshole and always would be. She and the baby were both better off with a guy like Marcus, no matter how irritating the guy was. Hell, he’d probably treat them both like queens every day of their lives just to prove to everyone he was a better guy than Brooks.

Brooks, on the other hand, might make everyone laugh for a few minutes, but no one went to him with serious problems. He wasn’t the guy you turned to when shit hit the fan. He was the guy throwing the shit at the blades in the first place. He had no business around a new mother and an innocent baby.

It probably would have been better for them all if he’d kept driving when he’d left the hospital that night. But there was no way he could have just left her there. So he’d gone back. And brought them home. Because there was really nothing else he could do at that moment. And maybe he wanted to steal a few final days with her. With them. But he knew it couldn’t last.

It’s what they’d planned to do from the start anyway. Things may have gotten a little muddled over the last few months, but neither of them had ever intended to stay together. And now with Marcus in the picture, it would be better for everyone if Brooks bowed out gracefully. And it should be easy. Bowing out was what he did.

He took a minute to compose himself. No one had ever seen through him the way Leah did. He didn’t want her reading anything that wasn’t there. Or shouldn’t be there. Wouldn’t be there once he got his life back.

Finally, he took a deep breath and opened the door.

Leah glanced up. When she saw him, her eyes lit up and for a second he savored that sweet addicting warmth that always flowed through him when they were together. She finished laying the baby in her bassinet and then sat back on the couch, one leg tucked under the other.

“Hey,” he said.

“Hey.” She took a deep breath. “Do you think you and Marcus will ever get along?”

Brooks straightened, stung that the first words out of her mouth would be about the other man. “Yeah, that’s what we need to talk about. I don’t think that’s ever going to happen.”

She raised an eyebrow. “Why? What happened with you guys before…that’s all in the past, isn’t it? Marcus is a good guy.”

Brooks swallowed hard. “Yes, he is. When he’s not around me. We don’t bring out the best in each other.”

She snorted. “I’ve noticed.”

He rubbed his hand over his face. “Look, I know this whole thing is one big complicated mess. But Marcus is here and seems to be planning on staying and he is the baby’s father.” Saying those words was like spitting out acid, but it didn’t change the truth of them. “Seems to me like we’ve got one extra person in the mix here. I think you’ve got your job at the school pretty secure now. They love you, and we’d always said that I traveled a lot so I don’t think they’ll notice if I’m not there. And with Marcus and I having issues that don’t seem like they are going to be resolved anytime soon…”

Her eyes looked a bit brighter but if she was on the verge of tears, she thankfully held it together. “So what?” she asked. “Now that he’s here you’re going to bail?”

“Bail on what, Leah? Our fake marriage that wasn’t supposed to last more than a few months? Isn’t it time we both got back to our real lives? I know staying with me wasn’t something you were planning on. Do you want to be tied to some irresponsible idiot for the rest of your life because I couldn’t keep my mouth shut around your boss?”

“You’re not an irresponsible idiot, Brooks. I mean, yes, you have your moments, like this one. But there is more to you than that.”

“Not really.”

“Oh, come on, Brooks. At least give me the real reason you’re doing this.”

“That is the real reason. I care about you, Leah. A lot. And I care about the baby. And you deserve a hell of a lot better than what I can give you. And I’m sorry, but there’s no way I can deal with Marcus being in my face trying to get under my skin day in and day out. He’ll drive me insane. We’re already barely speaking and the baby is only a week old. What kind of environment is that to raise a kid in?”

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