I practically sped to the coffee shop. Deidre wouldn't answer her phone and I was getting scared.
I had to take a few back roads but eventually I turned to the road. I immediately turned my headlights off. There were even more people outside the coffee shop. I turned into the parking lot and around the back. No one paid me any attention. They were expecting me to pull up front. I slipped in through the back.
Deidre was wiping down the kitchen counters and I pulled her into a hug. She hesitated but hugged me back.
"It's a lie," I said. "I swear on my life, it's a lie."
"I know," she whispered but she was crying.
"I would never tell someone to get an abortion."
"I know," she repeated in a tight voice. "But-" She gulped. "Have you gotten a girl pregnant?"
"No," I said immediately. "Never. I always used protection." I held her at arm's length so I could look into her eyes. "I. Swear."
Her lower lip trembled and she nodded. I held her again as she cried. Larry walked in but I shook my head and he backed out.
"Let's go home," I whispered.
I helped her into my car and went the way I came. I turned on my headlights as we drove. Deidre was still crying a little and I held her hand tightly. More people were at my house but I pulled into the garage and closed the door, waiting until it was down all the way before getting out.
Deidre immediately went into the kitchen and started pulling food out of the fridge, including onions.
"Will you cook with me?" she whispered and I smiled.
When our moms got back, my mom looked harassed.
"I can't go anywhere without them asking me about it," she grumbled.
"My lawyer is working on it now," I said, putting down the plates of Italian chicken with cheesy rice and corn.
"And Larry is writing up a statement to give for us," my mom said. "This smells wonderful."
"Thanks," Deidre said. "I didn't have to use an onion for it so there's no blood."
We laughed. She had gotten out random ingredients then decided what to make. While we cooked, I felt the air around her start to relax. I was glad she was feeling better. Our moms cleaned up and she excused herself to bed.
I watched her go with a sad sigh.
"I don't know what else to do," I said. "I've talked to her but I feel like I should do more."
"There's nothing more to do," Janine said. "Trust me. Deidre was upset before but she's fine now."
"Okay." I yawned. "I'm probably going to go to bed myself, though. It's been a long day and I know tomorrow will be worse."
The nodded and I stopped by Deidre's room. She wasn't there and I started to panic. She wasn't in the bathroom, either. I rushed to my room to grab a warm shirt and sighed in relief. She was sitting on my bed, playing a game on her phone.
"You scared me," I accused.
"Sorry," she whispered. "Have you looked out my window?"
"Take a look."
I kept the light off and looked in. My stomach flipped unpleasantly. Someone had a ladder. They didn't see me looking and I resisted the urge to open the window and push him over. I sighed and went back into my room.
"I'm sorry, Deidre."
"Can I sleep in here?"
"Yeah, of course you can. Just let me call the police."
"I though you couldn't call police on the paparazzi."
"I can when they turn into peeping toms," I muttered.
I called them and they promised to send a squad car. Deidre was undressing into her underwear and I took a second to admire her body. She blushed then got into my bed, moving over so there was room for me. I put on a pair of pajama pants then slipped in with her. She put her head on my chest and sighed.
"I'm sorry, babe," I whispered.
"It's not your fault," she whispered back.
"Yeah it is. I picked awful women to date."
She kissed my chest, just under my left pectoral and I shivered. I know she noticed but she didn't say anything. She placed a cold hand on my stomach and I shut my eyes, trying to restrain myself. I had to remind myself she wasn't doing it on purpose.
"You're not the only one. It's like I said, everyone makes mistakes but it's in the past."
I put my hand on hers.
"I love you," I whispered.
"I love you, too," she whispered back and looked up at me.
I kissed her gently and she responded by running her hand up my chest and into my hair. I groaned and rolled on my side to face her. I slid my hands down her bare back and she shivered. She broke from the kiss, though, her eyes shut. She was about to speak when someone knocked on the door.
"Artemis?" my mom asked and we jumped.
"Did you call the police?"
I got out of bed and made sure my pajama pants were hiding everything. I opened the door.
"Yeah. They're peeping through her window."
She looked enraged and rushed to Deidre's window. Her jaw dropped and she pounded on the window. The man jumped and the ladder nearly fell. The police officer got out of the car and she stormed out.
"I'm going out there," she snarled.
I laughed. "Let them take care of it, Mom."
She sighed. "Is she staying with you?"
"Yeah," I nodded. "It was her request but I didn't want her to sleep in a room where people would stare at her while she slept. That's my job," I added without thinking and blushed.
She laughed. "Sure, Artemis. See you tomorrow."
Artemis came in laughing but stopped when he saw me crying.
"Hey," he said and sat beside me. "Hey, what's wrong?"
"I'm going to be a terrible wife," I sobbed.
"What are you talking about?"
"I want you," I whispered, "and I know you want me, too. I can't bring myself to do it, though, because I keep seeing...."
"Oh sweetheart," he groaned and pulled me to him. "Don't do that to yourself." I cried into his neck. "Are you saying you're afraid of me?"
I nodded, sniffling. "Tonight, I was going to.... But then... when you went to talk to your mom... I though about...."
He started to rock me. "Shh, baby."
"But I got in my underwear and I know it makes you- and you've been so good to me- and all I can do is cause trouble with the media."
He sighed and had me get under the blankets. I covered my face with my hands but he pulled them off. I looked at him. His face and eyes were sad.
"Is that really what you think you're here for?" he whispered. "So that I can have sex with you?"
My lower lip trembled. "They said you need an heir and... and the other day we-"
"Deidre, I don't care if we never have children," he interrupted. "I don't care if we never have sex until a year into our marriage."
He kissed me and I sobbed into his lips. All my life all I experienced with men is sex. That's all they wanted. Now I had a man who that was his last priority.
"You've helped me mature, Deidre," he said suddenly. "I know you don't believe in fairy tales, but I want to show you that some are real. I want to live happily ever after with you."
I laughed through my tears and he kissed them away.
"I'm sleepy," I mumbled.
"So sleep. The police are out there now dealing with the peeping toms."
I nodded and closed my eyes, putting my forehead on his chest.