How About No
Page 13

 Lani Lynn Vale

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That was directed at Wade, who was staring at the mess on the floor like it only amused him.
“I’d give my right leg to have a kid of my own, Ridley,” Wade said, breaking my heart all over again.
And there was the other reason I’d left.
I couldn’t have kids.
One infection after a donation I’d given had left me infertile. So, I would never be having kids of my own—or giving Wade any of his.
Not only had the infection fried my reproductive system, but they’d taken my ovaries with the infection. To put the icing on the cake, I’d learned at the age of fifteen that my parents really didn’t care at all about me, because instead of trying to save my reproductive organs, my parents took the easy way out and just had them removed in case things went wrong in the future.
Because what if I got too sick, and couldn’t give their favorite daughter bone marrow if she may need it?
I’d, of course, known that my parents were pieces of shits from a very young age, but I hadn’t realized how far they’d stoop until they’d taken a piece of me that I hadn’t realized that I wanted until it was gone.
I felt something like a lead weight settle in my stomach, and I smiled at the crowd that was now gathered around.
“You ready, Wade?” I asked softly.
Wade’s gaze met mine, and I saw something there that was really close to understanding.
Wade had seen my reaction and didn’t understand it.
But he’d try to figure out why, and I had a feeling I wasn’t going to like the conversation that followed if he did find out.
But at this point, if he asked, I just might tell him what was wrong.
Which was exactly what he did the moment we got back into the car.
And, still feeling the heat emanating from the man beside me, I decided that it didn’t matter.
So what, if he knew why I was so sad?
“What’s wrong?” he asked. “Why did you get such a long face when I said I wanted kids?”
I laughed softly under my breath.
“I’m sad because I want kids, too,” I told him truthfully. “It makes me sad that I can’t have them.”
He was silent for a few long seconds.
“We could have them,” he said, sounding as if he was gentling a skittish horse. “If you wanted to.”
I laughed, and that laugh turned into a sniffle as the tears started to prickle my eyes. “If it was only that easy.”
He shifted into fourth gear as he started to merge onto the freeway, and my breath caught like it always did as we rushed into traffic at breakneck speeds.
I closed my eyes and breathed through the terror.
“It’s that easy if we make it that easy,” he said, sounding confident. “We could share them.”
I swallowed past a lump in my throat. “If it were possible to have kids on my end, Wade, I might very well take you up on that offer. But I can’t. I had that possibility ripped away from me at fifteen.”
Understanding dawned in his eyes, and I felt the lowest of lows at seeing the look there.
“When we met, you said you didn’t want kids. You made it very clear before we married that you didn’t.” He paused. “You lied. You want kids, you just can’t have them.”
I nodded. “Correct.”
“Explains the no period thing…” He frowned. “Why lie about that?”
I looked down at my hands. “Because I hate thinking about it? Because had I told you that I couldn’t have kids, I would’ve then had to go into detail about why I couldn’t have kids. About how I donated bone marrow to my sister against my will, and that I got an infection that spread to my reproductive organs, which then were taken out of me instead of trying to correct the infection with antibiotics.”
Wade’s free hand clenched into a tight fist, while his hand on the steering wheel tightened until his knuckles were white.
“You’re saying they just took them out instead of fighting with antibiotics?” he clarified.
I thought about that for a second. “They tried antibiotics. But, unlike with you, they didn’t keep on top of them. I just kept getting sicker and sicker until the infection had spread to my fallopian tubes. Taking my ovaries was precautionary, however.”
He blew out a breath. “If I’d known…”
I shrugged. “If you’d known, you wouldn’t have done anything differently because you’re not the type of person that would leave a person like Lina hurting if you didn’t have to.”
I was, though.
I would have…had Wade not made me see things I didn’t wish to see.
Kind of like the day he’d found out about Lina, and how he’d encouraged me to donate to her because I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if she died.
He was right.
As much as I hated donating to her, I’d still do it if she absolutely needed it. Regardless of my feelings toward her, she was still my sister.
Even if my sister hated me.
“Can you open my sunflower seeds?” he asked, gesturing to the unopened bag that was still in the large sack that held the rest of our food.
I picked the sack up and reached inside, smiling widely when I saw the Snickers bar.
“This yours?” I asked.
He rolled his eyes. “No. Yours. You know I don’t like caramel.”
I did know that.
I also knew that he hated the smell most, and it got to the point where I couldn’t even eat the Snickers in front of him because he could smell the caramel.
I was fairly sure he was full of shit, but that argument was so old that I’d gotten to the point where I just did what he asked because it was easier than listening to him moan and whine for an hour.
But, since I loved Snickers so much, I still ate them. I was just hyperaware of where I ate them and brushed my teeth immediately afterward.
“You’re going to let me eat it in front of you?” I asked, spotting the second one underneath his seeds—which I opened for him and handed over.
He took the bag and reached inside, pulling out a small handful which immediately went into his mouth.
He sucked them all to one side and then reached for the cup that was in the center console. An Icee one that he’d stolen from the gas station.
I’d always been curious about how he held so much in his mouth while also opening the seeds with his teeth and tongue. Then there was the fact that he could also talk and hold conversations while he had his mouth full.
“Why are you looking at me like that?” he questioned.
I smiled. “You know I’m watching you and trying to figure out how you’re opening those while you have a mouthful of seeds, and you’re still talking to me.”
He spat an empty shell out into the cup and looked at me. “I’m just talented. What can I say?”
I rolled my eyes.
Though, Wade did have a point.
He was very talented with his mouth. I knew that firsthand.
On our first date, he’d tied a cherry stem with only his tongue, and had given it to me by way of his mouth kissing mine.
My eyes had widened when he’d transferred that knotted stem into my mouth by way of his tongue sneaking in.
I had melted right then and there, and the memory still made me hot as hell.
“What was that look for?” he asked.
I bit my lip and looked away. “Well,” I hesitated. Did I really want to tell him what that memory was for? Then I decided, why the hell not? “I was thinking about our first date and the cherry stem you tied into a knot with your tongue.”
His lips quirked up at one side. “I remember that. Vividly.”
I flushed hotly and turned my head down to my lap. Then I busied myself with searching through the mountain of snacks we’d gotten at the convenience store.
“How did you know that couple and their kids?” I wondered, choosing a bag of corn nuts and ripping into them.
“Ridley is a biker. Bikers know the bikers in their area, though Uncertain is a little far from Bear Bottom. We do run into each other a time or two during the year. We mainly know each other from the Toy Runs we run each year right before Christmas. About six or seven clubs from the surrounding three states meet up and make a run. All the donations we collect and toys go to children in need,” he explained.