“Jesus, Jay…did you spring an actual leak somewhere?” I asked, shoving paper towels into his shirt to sop up the drool and then tucked a few more into his collar to fashion a makeshift bib.
Maybe Pam had been onto something about him leaking all the time.
But at least we matched.
Both of us were sporting wet shirts because I’d had no choice but to rinse mine out in the sink.
That sort of counted as doing laundry, right?
I had a hair dryer in there I could’ve used to dry it, but I didn’t want to risk upsetting Jason now that his cries had lessened to something akin to the pitiful whimpers that always accompanied those SPCA commercials.
And I may have let out my own pitiful whimper thinking he would probably have been better off if I’d given him up for adoption.
Shaking the thought free, I focused on him and held him to my chest, kissing the top of his head when I said, “I’m sorry, buddy. I’ll do better. I promise.
He let out a hitched breath, which I took to mean that he forgave me. So I let out one too and nuzzled him closer. Holding him that way only served to press the damp cotton of my shirt against my skin more, but at least I’d had the forethought to take off my bra before it became soaked too.
If only I’d thought to remember that Pam’s brother would be coming by.
A thought I only remembered when I finally exited my bathroom about fifteen minutes later.
Seeing the blush rise up on his face, his eyes took us both in before he quickly focused them upwards, while addressing me with, “Ma’am. I uh, I hope this is okay? Pam said to wait in here for you?”
Sweet Mother of wee baby Jesus.
Pam hadn’t been kidding.
Her brother was Captain America.
Only instead of the innocently-wholesome-looking-with-a-dash-of-secret-sexy-troll-like persona of Steve Rogers, Brother Doofus was rocking more of a not-so-innocent-I-could-find-your-g-spot-blindfolded-with-both-hands-tied-behind-my-back kind of aura.
I could very well be staring at the Houdini to my Hoohah.
I bet I even knew where he’d hidden his key to unlock my neglected lady box.
The fact he’d sent Pam a box full of sand for her birthday told me he already possessed the sexy troll-like personality trait I admired.
Overall – Mama likey.
Still busy ogling him, I forgot the girls were still swinging footloose and fancy free under my wet t-shirt. It wasn’t white, not even when I’d bought it new at the store, so I wasn’t a complete tramp.
At the moment, anyway.
But since I’d bought it back when I was still in college, it was threadbare enough now to be a tad see-through.
More than a tad now that it was wet.
A fact I still wasn’t really focusing on, when he kind of waved his hand in their general direction – still not looking my way – and asked, “I take it this is the little guy you need me to take care of?”
This was a pseudo job interview.
Not a right swipe on Tinder.
Like he’d understood he was now a part of the conversation, Jason picked that moment to remove the fist from his mouth he’d been using to stifle his cries and let out an impressive wail.
That was all it took for Captain Orgasm to bring his eyes forward and he seemed to study Jason for a moment, with a slight tilt of his head, before disappearing out the door.
Some hero he was.
Afraid of a little baby screaming banshee.
Reappearing moments later, it only took him three strides to reach us on those sex sticks he called legs and he held out his hands, asking, “May I?”
May he what?
Was he into playing some sort of kinky sex-play Mother May I game?
If so, I could be talked into it.
The last time I’d had sex was when Jason was conceived, so it had been a long fifteen months for me.
A long fifteen months.
I blamed the lack of sleep – and the sex on a stick in front of me, smelling like he’d just arrived from a fresh Irish Spring – for taking as long as I did to figure out he was asking to hold the baby. But guessing that would be the ultimate job interview test, I handed him over to see what would happen.
You know what happened?
I came a little.
A tiny orgasm flitted across my body watching him use his superpowers for the first time.
He was the Baby Whisperer.
Jason was hardly settled in his arms when the cries died off, with him staring up at him, trying to figure out what was going on.
I couldn’t exactly blame him.
I knew I would be doing the exact same thing in his position.
But then Captain Climax produced a carrot out of thin air and gave it to Jason to gnaw on.
“Big on vegetables, are you?” I asked, with my eyebrow hitting my hairline, hoping my filter was turned on – like the rest of me – and would block the want to ask about any other big vegetable-sized things he might be hiding on his body.
Something cucumber shaped, perhaps?
“He’s teething,” he smiled.
Down at the baby.
Not at the baby’s idiot mother who didn’t even consider the possibility Jason’s Omen act had been because he was teething.
Then glancing up at me, he shrugged, “A guy in my unit talked about his kids all the time. I guess I paid attention and I knew Pam would have a cold carrot in the little refrigerator she keeps by her desk.”
And then quirking his lips up on one side, my imaginary panties disintegrated when he smirked, “I didn’t know she would have so many bags of chocolate in there. I’m going to blackmail her with it. She will comply or be subjected to our mother’s wrath.”
Those were for me.
Not that I was gonna tell him that.
I was too busy imagining other scenarios where he was issuing orders where you either complied or else risked being subjected to other sorts of…punishments.
But seeing how good he was with the baby already, I knew I was running the risk of huge complications if I let my naughty nookie fantasies get away with me.
This was supposed to be a job interview.
Not a Match dot com commercial.
“I see you’ve met,” Pam’s amused voice filtered into the room.
As did the rest of her a second later.
And I could guess at what amused her when she added, “Good thinking, whipping out the tata’s right away. He would pay you to work for you now.”
“Pam!” we admonished in unison.
“What?” she innocently asked and then turning to me, she added, “If you let me fondle them for a bit, I would be willing to forego my annual Christmas bonus.”
Captain Climb Aboard had turned his body away from us, so I had no idea what he might be thinking.
About my more visible than invisible tata’s or his sister’s want to get up close and personal with them.
Then again, I wasn’t thinking much about those things either.
Not now that I could see the way his black tactical pants encased his mouthwatering ass.
Like. A. Glove.
Thankfully I didn’t have time to think about anything else that might lead to me messing up any kind of arrangement we may have just silently agreed to.
I needed someone to take care of Jason and keep him safe more than I needed my g-spot stroked.
So I tried to focus on that, when Pam quickly added, “We have ninety minutes to get you courtroom ready and with the way you look, we’ll need all of them.”
My interview had ended a long time ago.
I’d gotten the job.
Now I had to do it.
Now that I had an actual goal I could strive for – to not look like a tornado had just tossed me from my trailer park – I strode forward with purpose to my bag.
Not quite a purse.
Not quite carry-on luggage.
It was somewhere in between.
Fishing my keys out of the bottom, I was talking to Captain Caregiver, even if it appeared as though I was speaking to the room at large, when I said, “I’m sorry we don’t have more time to go over the details right now, but I promise I will make the time when I get home tonight. If you want, just make a list of any questions you have and I’ll answer all of them.”
“Aha!” I exclaimed finally finding them in the bottom of my bag and turned around to hand them over to him, saying, “You can take my car, since you’ll need the car seat. I’ll just grab a cab tonight. It has a GPS, so just hit the home button and it’ll take you there.”
Captain Confused only stared back at me.
“What? You don’t have a license or something?” I asked, dropping the hand with my keys still dangling in them.
“I do,” he replied and then ran a hand through his dirty blond hair and smiled, adding, “You know what, it’s fine. I’ll just come back later on for my motorcycle.”
Shivering from the tiny orgasms his confession had just produced, I ended up stuttering out, “You…you drive a motorcycle?”
“Yes,” he smiled shyly, but his expression quickly shifted and he hit me with the full power of his Captain Concerned face, when he said, “But don’t worry. I would never take the baby out on it.”
That wasn’t what I was worried about.
“Are you okay?” I asked, seeing the look on her face.
At least, trying to figure it out made me focus on her face.
It was hard enough trying to keep my eyes above her shoulders.
My concentration wasn’t the only thing hard enough either.
I’d felt the immediate twitch in my pants the moment she’d stepped out of the bathroom, but thankfully I’d managed to keep it to nothing more than that.
Pam’s presence in the room helped with that.
I don’t know what I’d been expecting – someone older, more matronly perhaps – but it certainly wasn’t the blond I’d been confronted with.
She barely looked old enough to be out of college.
But she had to be if she was Pam’s boss.
There was no ring on any of her fingers – attention to detail was one of my strong suits – but that didn’t mean anything.
Hell, from the way Pam had been sexually harassing her, she might not even be playing on my team.
Not that I should be thinking about her playing on or with me at all.
Not that I could stop myself from doing it occasionally anyway.
“I…I’m good,” she stuttered and then forced a small smile onto her face. “Just tired, I guess.”
Then looking at Pam, her eyes narrowed into a glare, before looking back at me and saying, “Why don’t I walk you down to the parking garage so you don’t have to scare the bejeezus out of Jason by hitting the panic button to find the car.”
That was one name down.
One to go.
But at least I now had a better understanding of why Pam always called her Cookie Brick Shithouse.
She was certainly built like one.
So did that mean she was as sweet as a Cookie too?
Turning to look at her Mini-me, I picked up the diaper bag she’d made a move towards and slung it over my other shoulder, before dutifully falling into step behind her. The silence wasn’t uncomfortable…
Just a little…tense.
Me, more so because she’d been absentmindedly pulling her damp t-shirt away from the front of her body and fanning it to dry, inadvertently allowing me to see flashes of her bare skin.
Hoping it was just a case of nerves – hers at sending her baby off with a virtual stranger and mine at hoping I could keep my interest in her well-hidden – I hoped to give myself an added barrier by asking, “So, uh…is your…partner aware I’ll be taking the baby back to your house?”
“Bill?” she asked with a scrunched face.
It was cute.
She was cute and it wasn’t helping matters.
Nor was the fact that Pam hadn’t come along with us to help temper the twitch in my pants.
“Why would Bill care about that?” she asked.
Shrugging made the baby rise up with my shoulders and he used the carrot in his hand to smack against my cheek in retribution, just as I said, “Well, as the father, I figured…”
“You take that back, right now!” she demanded with a full body shiver and then laughed at the look on my face, explaining, “When you said partner, I thought you meant my co-counsel. I don’t have any other kind of partner.”
How was I supposed to keep things completely professional now?
“Okay,” I quickly added.
It was no wonder she seemed overwhelmed. Being a single parent had to be hard. And considering the little guy had only just started teething and his size, he likely wasn’t more than six months old.
She was probably still getting used to being away from him now that she’d gone back to work.
It was that thought that made me say, “I’m sure it’ll get easier. You know…being away from him all day now that you’re back to working fulltime again.”
“Huh?” she asked, turning to look up at me.
“I assume you’ve just recently gone back to work?” I added in explanation.
Shaking her head, her eyes dropped to her feet and she sighed out, “Yeah, uh…no. I uh…was back at work when he was two weeks old.”
That seemed…a little…soon?
But not knowing the circumstances behind her decision – and having absolutely no right to judge her for them anyway – I just nodded and said, “Okay.”
Then hoping to change the subject – and remind myself why I was really there – I asked, “Do you have any idea who was behind the threats from yesterday?”
Seeing the immediate fear in her eyes, I hated knowing I was the one that put it there with my reminder. But her eyes went straight to the baby, while she said, “No, and the vague description I got from Maxine won’t be much help.”
Moving her eyes to meet mine, I watched them roll into the back of her head, as she said, “He was white, young, and scary. But at her age, she thinks anyone not old enough to subscribe to AARP is young. So basically, he could be anywhere between the ages of 10 and 54.”
Taking in her unhelpful explanation for a second, I then asked, “Have you received any recent threats or are you working on any cases you think might be connected to what happened yesterday?”
“I get threats all the time,” she remarked flippantly, with a wave of her hand. “It could be any one of them on my caseload, but I called the head of the detective bureau, John Flood, last night and let him know what happened. He said he would look into getting the security footage from the grocery store and go from there.”
At least she had useful contacts in that regard.
But I didn’t like how unconcerned she appeared to be about her own safety.
I get threats all the time.
Like it was no big deal.
But she wasn’t hiring me to protect her. My job was to protect her son.
I wasn’t comfortable enough with her yet to know how far I could push her, so I only asked, “Do you think it might be a good idea to have protection for yourself?”
Pam was my sister.
I’d long ago learned to give suggestions – not orders to any strong-willed females in my midst.
Even females named Cookie Brick Shithouse.
For now at least.
On both fronts.
Using that as her name and not pushing her.
“I do,” she replied with a smile. “His name is Gunner.”
“Gunner,” I repeated, feeling my eyes narrow slightly.
There was something in the way she’d said it that made me ask, “Does he work for the prosecutor’s office?”
“Sort of,” she answered with a mischievous smile.
Seeing it made my dick twitch again.
So I swallowed hard and gave her my tell-me-the-truth-Pam thousand yard stare, which had her adding, “He’s my Glock 26 9mm pistol. Since I work for the prosecutor’s office – and he’s mine – he’s more of an employee through osmosis.”
Then giving me a cheeky grin, she added, “All of the work, none of the payroll taxes or overhead costs. And he was considered a tax deduction. It’s a win/win, really.”
Not even knowing what to think, my mouth decided for me by asking, “You named your Glock, Gunner?”
“What?” she asked, a little indignantly. “I got him after spending the day in Ikea. I was feeling the Swedish love. It only felt right to pay it forward.”
It was no wonder her and Pam were good friends.
And I would be in deep trouble if I didn’t find something about her that would turn me off.
Because I was feeling anything but turned off.
So it was a good thing we’d finally gotten to her parking space. Unlocking the doors with the key fob, she opened the rear driver’s side door and took the baby from my grasp to strap him in, saying, “There’s an open can of formula in the fridge and the rest are in the pantry. It’s the readymade stuff, so no mixing required. There are stacks of diapers and wipes all over the house, but the majority of them are in his room. Feel free to snoop to find anything else you need and if you get hungry, there’s a stack of takeout menus on the kitchen counter. I have accounts with all of them, so they’ll put whatever you order on my tab.”
Once the baby was strapped in, she took the diaper bag from me and tossed it onto the floorboard before shutting the door.
Then turning to face me, her eyes got held up on something at my back, so I turned to see what it was and smiled saying, “Isn’t she sexy?”
My Harley Davidson was the one thing I’d given myself permission to keep. The only possession I allowed myself to take with me all across the globe.
Clothes, furniture, and every other material thing didn’t matter to me. But that bike had been my only lifeline more times than I cared to admit.
Climbing on and getting lost in the breeze wherever I happened to be had been my preferred form of therapy for years.
Having gotten lost in my memories for a split second, I was brought back to the present hearing her say, “I uh…yeah. She’s a real beauty.”
Turning back around, I saw her swallow hard and add, “I should be home around seven tonight and we can talk more then?”
Knowing she had to prepare for court, I nodded and agreed, “I’ll see you tonight.”
Visibly shaking off wherever her thoughts had wandered to, she gave me a small smile and a little wave before turning around to go back the way we’d come.
I hated seeing her go.
But I loved watching her leave.
Those yoga pants she was wearing weren’t doing me any favors in keeping my thoughts – or dick – in check.
Opening the driver’s door to her SUV, I cursed out loud and forced myself back out of it, then taking the time to hold the lever that would move the seat back as far as it could go, saying to no one in particular, “Idiot.”
Hearing the baby babble, what sounded like happily, I heard myself adopt a foreign tone when I said, “I am an idiot. For so many reasons. But don’t tell your mother.”
Cookie Brick Shithouse had enough to worry about.
Me and my ridiculous crush shouldn’t be one of them.
Getting into the SUV, I took a quick glance around to familiarize myself with it and saw that it was cluttered with papers and tissues and…
Was that a tampon?
At least it was still new and in the wrapper – small favors – so I started the engine and moved the rearview mirror so that I could see out the back window, but noticing a familiar looking pink slip tucked into the visor, I pulled it out to read it.
After all, she did say I could snoop.
Seeing it was a dry cleaning slip with a pickup date of almost two weeks ago, I felt myself grinning like an idiot reading the name printed at the top.
Wonder Woman’s secret identity
Like her yoga pants, her sense of humor wasn’t doing me any favors either.
Punching the address printed onto the front of the slip into the GPS, I looked at the baby’s reflection staring back at me through the little mirror hanging in front of him that allowed me to see him in mine, and said, “We have a stop to make before we get you home, little guy.”
It was the least I could do.
Cookie Brick Shithouse had enough to worry about.