"I really don't think this is one of your better ideas, baby," I told Teagan with some trepidation. I hung back as we approached the restaurant; I was sure it was going to end in a disaster much worse than when I met his friends the first time. It didn't help this was the same place, either.
He shot me a look as he reached past me and opened the door for me. "I don't care if it's a bad idea or not, Aislinn." He waved me through the opening. "I'm not going to let her set a precedent of telling me what to do where you and our relationship is concerned." As I stepped past him, he ran a hand down my hair, over my back to settle at my hip. "Yes, I'm anxious about being there for my daughter. But, you're my number one priority. So while this may not be a brilliant move, I'm going to let her know where I stand one way or another."
At that statement, I felt myself fall even deeper under his spell. Not that I wasn't already deep within it. That statement let me know just how invested he was with me. The smile that broke out on my face was huge and was still there when we approached the table that a blonde woman sat at with a young girl. The smile that the woman dropped as quickly as mine did when she saw me. She stood from the table quickly with a glare.
She wasn't stunning like Renee. But she was beautiful. She was tall; that was the first thing I noticed. She definitely had a few inches on me. Her blonde hair was wild and wavy, styled in a 'couldn't care less' manner. She had blue eyes from what I could tell, and the smoky-eyed makeup around them was heavier than I was used to seeing. Based on what he'd told me, Lauren was definitely the bad girl to Teagan's old bad boy player.
It was a tad intimidating to see his real past come to life. Renee was one thing. But Lauren? She was a whole other story.
Teagan stepped past me and held out a hand to her with a small smile. "Lauren, I'd say it's good to see you, but given the circumstances..." he trailed off with a wry smile. "Well, you know what I mean."
She took his hand while cutting me a glance. "I thought I said it was just supposed to be us tonight, Teeg."
He reached over and pulled me closer to him. "And I told you that she was as much a part of this as I am.
At the noise that came from her, I decided that it would be best to avoid eye contact. It felt like I was dealing with a wild animal all of a sudden. Therefore, my attention was drawn to the little girl that sat at the table in silence.
I instantly fell in love.
The moment my eyes met her gray ones, there was a connection. I decided then and there that Teagan would play hell getting rid of me because this little girl owned me. Looking at her, something told me she would be worth all the effort that Lauren was going to put us through.
As if sensing my thoughts, Corinne flashed me the sweetest smile. It was then that, despite her blond hair, she was the spitting image of her father. That smile was pure Teagan, and I had a feeling that their personalities were similar, too.
"–and I don't want some chick that won't be here more than a few weeks around our daughter! It's going to confuse her!"
You have to love that awkward moment of tuning back into a conversation at the exact time that you're insulted. My jaw dropped in disbelief, and I stiffened. Just as I got ready to say something, my eyes snapped over to Teagan. As insulted as I may have been, he was more so.
"I'm sorry. What?"
"I was pretty clear, I thought," Lauren responded.
"No, I don't think so," he snapped back. "Do you really think I'd bring just anyone here with me?"
She snorted. "Why wouldn't you?" she argued. "It's what you usually do, isn't it? Screw around with someone for a couple of weeks and then take off," she finished, her tone bitter and biting.
I glanced at Teagan and saw that while he was less than pleased, he also appeared to be ashamed. That pissed me off! Her little guilt trip was affecting my man, and not in a good way. That was unacceptable. I opened my mouth to defend him when he cut me off. I glared at him; twice now he'd deprived me of my chance to set the wench in her place. He studiously ignored me.
"This isn't the time or the place, Lauren." He glanced meaningfully at Corinne. "But just so you know, Aislinn has been here for more than 'a couple of weeks' and will be here for a lot longer," he finished, his voice strong and confident.
The look on her face spoke volumes, at least, to me. That statement hadn't been part of her plan. The sense of impending disaster I then experienced trampled the surge of triumph I felt at being right. If menacing glares could maim and kill...
I wasn't the woman's favorite person just then. Not that I much cared. I wouldn't be out of my way to cause problems, but I wasn't going to be a doormat, either. I reached out and took Teagan's hand in mind, making sure to smile at her while I did so. The bitch needed to know he was mine, he was taken, and he would be staying that way.
"Mommy? I'm hungry," Corinne announced. "Can we eat now?"
My stomach grumbled in response, and I hoped that the answer would be yes. The thought having to wait until we got home to eat had me eyeing Teagan's arm as a possible meal. The very thought of eating earlier had made me want to yak and, therefore, I hadn't eaten since last night.
With a put upon sigh, Lauren flopped down into her chair and waved at the other seats. "Yeah, I guess so," she said, he expression petulant. She glared at Teagan. "I don't appreciate this."
"Duly noted," he said. "But know that I don't appreciate you thinking you'll dictate everything. That, however," he added as he pulled out a chair for me to sit down in, "can wait until later."
Lauren opened her mouth to reply, her face red.
"Later." He looked over at Corinne and sucked in a breath before he let it out in a whoosh. "Wow," he whispered.
I grinned and nodded. "I know. She looks just like you!"
I saw the dazed look in his eyes and warmth crept through my heart. The sight of this man meeting his child for the first time was something that I'd be forever thankful I'd witnessed. And it strengthened the bond that existed between us, especially when he reached over and grabbed my hand tightly.
Despite the warm glow that enveloped the moment, I wasn't stupid. I knew this wouldn't be easy. A quick glance toward Lauren proved me right. The clenched jaw crossed arms and narrowed eyes as she glowered at me said that we had a long, hard road ahead of us.
"I can't get over how much she looks like you!" I squealed yet again. "She's so beautiful, baby." I rolled to face him in bed, snuggling close.
Teagan wrapped an arm around me and pulled me tight, burying his face in my hair. He took a shuddered breath that told me the evening had caught up with him. While he'd appeared calm and in control, I'd had to stop the bouncing leg several times. He'd also kept a grip on my hand or thigh most of the night, his anxiety known only to me. It made me feel good that he took as much comfort in my presence as I did his. He needed me, and I was able to be there for him.
After several quiet moments, he kissed the side of my head and pulled back. He gave me a wry smile before he sighed. He raised a hand to trace his fingers with a light touch across my cheek and along my jaw. The whole time I watched, as he seemed to study me closely.
My brow furrowed in concern. "What's wrong?"
Teagan shook his head. "Nothing," he said as he exhaled. "I'm just wondering how I got so lucky to find you. I think I'd be lost right now without you."
I snorted in disbelief. "No, you wouldn't."
He took my hand and placed it against his chest. I felt the steady thump of his heart beneath my palm. I looked at him in question.
"This belongs to you, Aislinn," he told me quietly. "And it makes me stronger because of it."
Yeah...I might have melted into a puddle of emotional slush. Tears pricked the back of my eyes, and I blinked to keep them from falling. "I love you, too," I whispered, my voice thick.
"It means everything to me that you're standing by me through all of this. And how you handled yourself this evening was great." He paused and swallowed hard before he looked at me with a brightness in his eyes. "Corinne is beautiful, isn't she?"
I nodded. "I know I keep harping on it, but other than her hair, she looks exactly like you."
"It was such a shock, seeing the resemblance," he mused. "I wasn't expecting it. Lauren didn't say anything."
I huffed a laugh. "Shocker, that one."
"Yeah, I shouldn't be too surprised, huh?" he drawled. At my look, he chuckled, but sobered just as fast. "I'm serious, baby. Thank you."
I reached up and placed a hand on his cheek with a soft smile. "You're welcome."
The moment had passed in silence before I noticed his eyes begin to darken. My heart sped up as they dropped to my mouth before snapping back up to mine. Lips suddenly dry, I licked them, and that seemed to set something off in him. Before I could react, he had me on my back.
"I love you," he growled before his mouth covered mine as he kissed me deep.
His kiss turned hungry before he broke it and traced along my jaw to my neck. His mouth created a fiery path as he made his way to my breast. He took the peak in his mouth and sucked strongly while toying with the other between his fingertips. The sensations were overwhelming, and all I could do was sink into them, allow them to overtake me.
Suddenly, he released my nipple and looked up at me with a hooded gaze. His eyes were dark, desire clear in them. "Do you trust me?" he asked.
I nodded without hesitation.
He sat up and ran his hands down my sides to settle at my hips. Curling his fingers into the waistband of my panties, he slowly pulled them down over my legs. His eyes never left mine as he removed them and tossed them off to the side. My breathing picked up, and my heart began to race faster at the heat I could see in them.
"Okay?" he murmured as he smoothed his hands over my thighs, his thumbs brushing the creases where they met my hips.
I nodded jerkily. I was definitely okay, and more than a little turned on. I wanted whatever he was about to give me. I shifted restlessly on the bed beneath him.
He leaned forward and pressed a soft kiss against my stomach before slowly stretching out. Keeping his eyes on mine, he used his broad shoulders to spread my thighs. The sight of him there was too intimate and with a blush I closed my eyes, turning my head to the side.
The soft nip on the inside of my thigh had me yelping and jumping slightly. I glared down at Teagan and found him giving me a stern look in return.
"You're beautiful. Don't ever be shy or hide away from me again, Aislinn." He pressed a kiss to the abused spot. "Understand?"
I nodded and forced myself to settle back and relax against the sheets, trusting him. He would lead me where we needed to go. What I didn't know, he'd teach. And it was an experience I looked forward to.
"I could do that forever," he murmured. "That was amazing."
I finally gained enough control of my muscles to raise my arms up around his neck. "God," I breathed, my heart still racking wild in my chest. I lifted my head up and pressed my lips to his.
The kiss once again started to heat up, and Teagan lowered himself to settle on top of me. Instinct prompted me to wrap my legs around his hips, and the friction of his sleep shorts against my sensitive center ripped a moan from me.
Teagan answered with a groan of his own as he wrapped his arms under me, a hand cradling the back of my head. He tilted his head down toward mine and my eyes closed as I felt his lips trace along the side of my jaw. Next he began to press hot, hungry kisses along my collarbone and I whimpered as I felt the now familiar need begin to build again.
Just as I lifted my hips up to his in a silent plea for more, we heard the front door open. We both froze as we listened to the heavy footsteps as Connor made his way past the door and into his room. At the sound of his door clicking shut, I let out a breath I hadn't realized I was even holding. Looking at Teagan, I caught his eye. We had stared at each before we dissolved into quiet laughter.
"Wow. That was close!" Teagan choked out. "That could have been awkward."
I tightened myself around him. "A little," I agreed. "But still..."
He pushed himself up until his arms were fully extended and he looked down at me with a gentle smile. "I know, baby. But now's not the time."
I sighed and pouted.
"Don't," he chided and then gave me a quick peck on the lips. "How about this? This will happen, Aislinn. Look at tonight. Just be patient. Okay?"
I nodded. "Okay."
He lowered his head and kissed me passionately before he shifted to the side and onto his back. Once settled, he pulled me into his side and tucked my head into the hollow of his shoulder. "I love you, angel," he murmured to me.
"I love you, too," I whispered. I was beginning to feel the exhaustion of everything catch up with me and yawned. It had snuck up on me and was making itself known. I wrapped myself around him and allowed myself to drift off, satisfied and feeling very well loved.