Breathe with Me / Page 43

Page 43


Nat laughs and hands me baby wipes.

“I should be wearing a hazmat suit,” I mumble and clean the baby’s butt, powder it and under Nat’s supervision, wrap him back up again.

“You’re a natural,” she says with a smile.

“I might need therapy now.”

When we return to the family room, everyone is laughing and watching us walk down the hallway.

“What’s so funny?” I ask and settle back on the couch with the baby in my arms.

“You are,” Mark replies and kisses my temple. “We could hear you through the baby monitor.”

“Yeah, well, Keaton’s parents should reconsider his diet.” Keaton, wide awake now, is chewing on his fist, watching me talk. He grins a wide, toothless grin, and I fall even more in love with him. “You’re too handsome to smell like that. Yes you are.”

“Sam, tell Meredith the story of you and Leo babysitting Liv when she was a baby and you had to call Meg to come change her diaper for you.” Luke is laughing now, holding his stomach. “It was so classic.”

“It was the first time we babysat her by ourselves,” Sam begins.

“First and only time,” Mark adds, earning a glare from Sam.

“And she filled her diaper. I had never changed a diaper before, and neither had Leo.”

“I still say it’s unethical for a man to change a little girl’s diaper,” Leo says, holding his hands up in surrender. “It’s not appropriate.”

I giggle and watch Sam and Leo take turns telling the story of waiting forever for Meg to show up and change the screaming baby’s diaper. They’re so great together, finishing each other’s sentences and looking at each other with so much love in their faces it’s blinding.

“It worked out in the end,” Leo says as the story comes to a close.

“That’s hilarious,” I reply and gaze down at the baby blowing bubbles in my arms.

“We should go put the kids to bed,” Luke says and kisses Nat’s cheek. “I’m ready for some alone time with my wife.”

“Ew,” Sam says and wrinkles her nose. “We don’t need that announcement.”

Luke just smiles smugly and kisses his wife again, making Sam gag.

“You guys are funny,” I say, not realizing I said it out loud until Sam laughs and shrugs.

I lay Keaton in his car seat and step aside as Luke buckles him in and lifts him off the floor. Nat is carrying Liv and we all walk outside to say goodbye.

“We should go too,” Mark says.

“I have some work to do,” Sam says and smiles up at Leo. “Ready?”

“I’m ready.”

There are many hugs and promises of calling soon as we all climb into our vehicles and wave at Lucy and Neil before pulling away from the house.

“I’d like to go home, please,” I say and stare out my window.

“I was going to take you to my house.”

“I’d rather just go home.”

Mark sighs next to me and drags his hand down his face. Now that we’re alone, the anger is back. I’m tired and honestly, my feelings are hurt.

And I don’t really care if that’s irrational.

“Mer—”

“We’ll talk when we get there, Mark.”

I close my eyes and settle back in the seat and let him drive to my apartment in silence.

***

“I’m going to change,” I announce as soon as I get inside my apartment, but Mark stops me.

“No. You’re going to sit and we’re going to talk.”

I turn on him and cross my arms over my chest. “Really? This is the moment you’re going to choose to be bossy?”

“Sit down, Meredith.”

“Fuck you, Mark.”

“Are we going to do this again? Do you honestly believe I’m fucking those women?”

I pace away and fling my arms out at my sides.

“No, I don’t believe that, Mark! That’s ridiculous.”

“Then why are you so angry?”

I stop and stare at him as if he’s just grown a second head.

“Because,” I begin and take a deep breath, “two women obviously think they can text you, crook their finger, and you’ll come fuck them at a moment’s notice.”

“But they can’t. You know that.”

“I do. They don’t.”

He frowns and scratches his fingers over his scalp in agitation. “So?”

“We’ve been together long enough for you to let your fuck buddies know that you’re no longer available, Mark.”

“I haven’t even thought about them since you and I have been together, Meredith. Why would it occur to me to text and tell them I’m in a relationship when you’re all I fucking think about?”

I shake my head and pace away.

“Look. Clearly you had a healthy sex life before I came back into your world. But I didn’t need it to blindside me while I was sitting at your mother’s dining room table. Your sister saw it. It was humiliating.”

“Meredith, listen to yourself. You were at my mother’s table. None of those women ever met my family. I don’t give a flying fuck about those women and you know it. How many times do I have to tell you that I love you?”

“I don’t question your love for me, damn it!”

“I’ll make it clear to them and anyone else that contacts me that I’m happily unavailable, Meredith. I don’t have a problem with that. I do have a problem with this jealous streak you’ve developed in the past ten years.”

I open my mouth to respond, but he holds up a hand, shutting me up.

“Lena,” he begins, “and I have been friends since our freshman year in college. She and Colin, her now husband, were the closest friends I had for a long time. They knew about you.”

I cringe when he raises a brow.

“For years we helped each other through classes and labs. I was the best man in their wedding, Mer. Lena is a very good friend, and she’s looking forward to meeting you.”

“Okay.”

“If you have a question, ask me. Want to go through my phone?” He tosses his phone at me, but I toss it right back. “I don’t care if you go through it. I haven’t done anything wrong.”

I sigh and deflate onto the couch. “I don’t think you’ve done anything wrong, Mark. I’m not accusing you of anything.”

“But you don’t trust me.”


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