"I want to have a baby."
"C-come again?" David managed to stutter out. Overall, it was a better response than she'd anticipated to the announcement.
Robin took a calming breath and prepared to explain. Despite how many times she'd rehearsed the speech, it deserted her in the heat of the moment, just as she'd feared it would. Just as it often had with Zach.
"Well...Zach and I had planned to have a baby right away."
He nodded, setting his beer on the table between them. "He mentioned it."
That would make things easier. I hope. "I still want to."
Robin hesitated and then nodded. He thinks I'm insane. Then again, she thought she was insane some days. How many weeks had she argued this with herself? How many times had she reversed course? More than Robin cared to count.
David gulped down another few mouthfuls of his beer, seemingly steeling himself for something unpleasant before he answered. "Robin, I know you love Zach."
And she loved David for phrasing it that way. Anyone else would have said "loved Zach," marginalizing her feelings, dismissing them. Putting the nails in the coffin of her love for him. She winced at the pun.
"But, baby... Much as we both love Zach, he is gone."
Anyone else would have ended up with a faceful of red wine at that blunt statement, but David had always been honest with her when no one else would.
"I know," she replied with all the dignity she could muster.
"The plans you made together..." David sighed. "They were meant to be carried out together. I'm not saying you're incapable of doing this without him," he hastened to add.
"What are you saying, David?"
He darkened a notch. "Be sure, before you do something this...big. Be certain you're not doing this just to hold onto a piece of what you and Zach planned."
She stiffened, offended that he'd think her capable of it. "I'm not."
"Just be sure," he insisted. "Holding onto the past just to--"
A couple at a nearby table slid a glance at them at her outburst. Robin pretended not to notice it, and they went back to their conversation.
David took her hand, stroking his thumb over the back and his fingers in the bowl of her palm. With that little provocation, her body responded.
It seemed to be happening more and more often. Touches he intended to soothe her aroused her senses. Shared looks made her heart pound in excitement. Whispered words had her wet and aching.
His voice dragged her back to the present.
"You've thought this through then?"
"For months." That was no exaggeration.
David raised her hand and pressed a chaste kiss to her knuckles. "Then I'll help you."
Her breathing hitched. That simply? I ask the seemingly insane, and he agrees nearly without question. David was a rare man. Zach would have demanded weeks of negotiation on the subject. She pushed that thought away before she started second-guessing herself again. "Thank you."
"So what's it going to be? A sperm bank?"
Her face burned in embarrassment. Now comes the moment when he says I'm insane. Robin didn't doubt that his offer to help was about to be rescinded.
"Robin?" There was an edge of steel in that question, and he stopped stroking her hand.
"I was hoping..." She couldn't form the words. Damn! Why did I spend all that time practicing the logic if I can't speak coherently enough to say it?
One dark brow arched at her hesitation. "Hoped?" he prompted her.
"To have...ah...a donation from someone who shared chromosomes with Zach." She knew she was pleading with him with her eyes. Not so much for his agreement; it was unlikely she'd get that much. Robin would be lucky if he didn't walk away and wash his hands of her.
The beer came up in David's free hand, and he drained it. He closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and set the empty glass back on the table. After a tense moment of silence, his eyes opened, and he forged on.
"You want me to... What? Leave a sample with your doctor or something?"
It sounded horrid, when phrased that way. Besides that, it wasn't what she wanted. She tried for humor, her heart aching. "If that's the only way you will." At least, she'd get the baby that way, which was better than not, she supposed.
His eyes widened, and dark patches of color bloomed in his face. "If... If...?"
She stared to speak, uncertain what would spill out. It had been too much to ask. It was time to let him off the hook and get therapy for her fascination with him.
He put up an index finger, an unmistakable order for a moment of silence.
Robin snapped her mouth shut while cursing herself for not dropping the whole idea. She'd argued it was crazy at least a hundred times. Why had she bothered to pursue it?
David dragged out his wallet and tossed a twenty on the table. A whirlwind of a moment later, he was ushering Robin out of Mik's and into the crisp winter air outside. She zipped her jacket and, averting her eyes, anticipated the lecture to come.
He turned to her, and she looked up against her better judgment. His face was all harsh lines. Oh, yes. The lecture was coming.
"If that's the only way I will?"
There was something manic couched in his tone, but he wasn't shouting at her or suggesting a shrink. To her surprise, he seemed to want answers, so she organized her thoughts, seeking out the reasons she'd so carefully prepared.
"I've investigated every--"
"Robin," he warned.
She stared at him, confused. What had he been asking, if not the reasons why he should consider a more intimate donation to the cause?
"Are you saying you'd prefer another option?"
* * * *
David was already rock hard--a fact hidden by his untucked quilted flannel shirt--and he wasn't sure Robin was offering anything...or why she was.
Her mouth worked as if to form words, but nothing emerged. Just when he would have prompted her again, she found her voice.
"Yes. I am." Robin shifted from foot to foot in a fit of nerves. But was she unsure of herself or worried about his response to the bold statement?
David looked heavenward, seeking divine guidance. Surely, the Almighty would take a dim view of David screwing his brother'sâ€”
Look who I'm talking to! There are Bible stories about this subject. It was practically expected in biblical times, when a man died without producing heirs, that his brother would step in and do it for him.
As if in confirmation, David spied the sprig of mistletoe hanging above them. How serendipitous.
"David?" The edge of tears in her voice was unmistakable.
"You want to have my baby?" He wanted to hear her say it.
No. You want me to give you Zach's baby. The thought tortured him.
If I don't, someone else will. That tortured him worse.
He tipped his head down and, closing on her lips slowly, gave Robin every opportunity to back out. She didn't.
Robin rose on tiptoe, parting her lips under his. He tasted her and moaned at the mixed flavors of red wine and willing woman.
In a few fevered seconds, her hand was buried under his flannel shirt and T-shirt, her skin hot against his. It was a dream come true, the culmination of hundreds of wet dreams and shower fantasies about Robin.
The jingling of bells went largely unnoticed. The catcall that followed broke them apart. The interloper didn't tarry, probably fearing a knuckle sandwich to come, based on the way David's body tightened in response to the abrupt wake-up call. Silence fell again in the wake of the stranger's departure.
Robin stared at him with half-lidded, angel blue eyes, her lips deliciously kiss-swollen, her dark hair windblown and sexy. "David?"
"I need to..." Get my head examined! "I need to think...about this." He eased his hands away from her, and she did the same. "Promise me you won't do anything without talking to me first."
She shook her head slowly. "Not a thing." It was low and breathless, and his cock hardened fully at the stark invitation.
"Good. Let me walk you home."