I pulled back, shaking my head at him. “Absolutely not.”
“And by ‘absolutely not’ you mean, ‘I am absolutely horrified that I dig the—’ ”
“I’m close to kicking you out of my office.”
He laughed, rocking the chair back on two legs. “Which means I’m close to unearthing the truth.”
“The truth, you sodding wanker, is it’s just a weird balance right now.” I hesitated for a moment, trying to organize my thoughts. “Yes, of course there are things about it that are surprisingly hot. But before, it was just us. Max and Sara, living together, still getting to know each other. It’s like you and Hanna now: you can stay out as late as you want, fuck as loud and often as you want, go on a weekend holiday without notice. We were deep in the throes of that, and now there is a little girl in my life who is more important than anything. And . . .” I pulled at the back of my neck. “I didn’t expect it. I didn’t expect to feel so many things at once. I feel like I’m walking around with my heart outside my body, and I know it’s even more true for Sara. I didn’t know how hard it would be to see her energy split. So yeah, the fact that I basically want to fuck her all the time but worry that I’ll . . .”
He sat quietly, listening. But when I couldn’t figure how else to explain the strange tension in me, he guessed: “You feel guilty.”
“A bit.” I slid my palm across my mouth. “I mean, look. There’s only so much I’m needed for right now. Sara feeds her, holds her. Anna wants her mum, you know? I can change her and sing to her and take her running, but she doesn’t need me yet.” I grimaced, hating how it sounded to admit: “But I still need a lot. It feels selfish to want the ‘epic shagfest’—as you so delicately put it—to be just as wild as it ever was. It isn’t just about me anymore.”
“Funny that you haven’t mentioned what Sara wants it to be like.”
I groaned. “She wants me to be a bit rougher again, I think.”
He stilled across the desk. “What the fuck is the problem? You two are on the same page, you asshat.” Will leaned in, expression deliberately neutral. “You still doing . . . the club thing? At Johnny’s?”
I’d always wondered how much Will really knew. Apparently, he knew quite a lot.
“We haven’t in a long time,” I admitted quietly, “not since she was pregnant. She wants to go.”
“But you don’t?” he asked, surprised.
“You fancy the idea of people watching you with Hanna?”
He started to nod, and then paused. “Yes, and no. I like the idea of people watching me unravel her, but I don’t really want men fantasizing about her like that.”
“See, and I don’t mind that aspect. But take your feelings, and now imagine when Hanna’s had your baby,” I said. “When she’s a nursing mum, and tired all the time and tiny the way Sara is. Yes, I fucking love her body right now but it all feels private and like if the world pushed her too hard I would break it in half with my bare hands. That it might break her. It didn’t occur to me to feel like this when she was pregnant because there was nothing vulnerable about her, even when she was ready to pop. She carried herself like she knew she looked amazing. Now, if someone didn’t appreciate how sexy she is, I would put my boot up their arse and kick out their teeth.”
Will regarded me blandly and pretended to yawn.
“So you think this is me being over-fucking-protective.”
“Like a dick,” he said. “Like you said, this is your kink. It may not be mine, but if Sara likes it, why do you think it has to be different just because you have a baby at home?”
I leaned back in my chair, shook my head at him. “This is a pretty intense heart-to-heart we’re having. Breast milk, kink, marriage, and sex with children in the mix. Can you handle it? When did you become a man, William?”
“Ha. This is nothing compared to some of the shit Hanna wants to talk about,” he said and then laughed. “I mean, look. Anna is four months old. You know when you go to a matinee and come out and it’s still light out and you’re blinded and disoriented for about five seconds until your photoreceptors—”
“Will. Fucking focus.”
“What I’m saying is, you’re still stuck in those first five seconds. You’ve walked out of the building and have no idea what it looks like outside yet.”
“Right. Good metaphor.”
“You want to see some of your life you recognize. You want barely-inside-the-door sex. You want breaking-furniture sex. You want club sex. And you want to do it with those amazing tits.”
I gnawed my lip and then admitted, “Right.”
“Let us watch the kiddo. We’re her godparents, right?” He held up a hand, keeping me from answering. “I mean, I know you haven’t decided yet, but we’d be way better than Chloe and Bennett because let’s be real: they’re assholes.”
I burst out laughing. “Bennett knows kids, though. He has a niece.”
“He’s terrified of newborns. Henry says he held Sophia at arm’s length until she could walk and then he never let her out of his sight. He’s sure he’ll break Anna with a stern glance. Which I don’t doubt, if I’m being honest. He is scary as hell sometimes. Hanna and I . . . we’ll figure it out.” Leaning forward, he winked. “We’re scientists.”
For all the ways that Max, Bennett, and Will were alike, there were even more ways they were different. Bennett’s first instinct was always to take charge, to work out the quickest way to get the upper hand and never let go. Max was the charmer—still one hell of a businessman, but a bowl of sugar—the guy who knew you caught more flies with honey than vinegar. But Will was the thinker, the one who would puzzle out a situation and figure out exactly what the problem was so he could fix it. Which was why when Max suggested that Will and Hanna watch Anna while we attempted Dinner Disaster number two, I agreed. Will and Hanna were two of the smartest people I knew; if anyone could figure out how to crack the baby code, it was them.
We were both ready to go when they showed up at the apartment the next Friday night.
Will was wearing a T-shirt from some show I’d never heard of, and a wary expression on his face. Hanna—as usual—seemed to be getting a kick out of his nerves.