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Chapter Twenty Five

March 25

I woke up as a vampire. Okay, probably not since I didn't dissolve into ash or anything, but my eyeballs protested so loudly that I felt like I was going to vomit. I hadn't felt this bad since college.

Or at least since my bout of morning sickness with Rielynn.

But as I lay there, ready to die, I knew one thing for sure. My ailment was not caused by pregnancy.

My husband wore panties.

And bras.

And God knows what else. Maybe even panty hose. Or bustiers. Or makeup. Shit, maybe he'd been using my makeup. I hadn't checked it in forever.

Busy moms don't have time for makeup.

I chanced opening my eyes again, but the damn sun sent my lids shut again. I moaned.

"Open your mouth."

The voice wasn't Charlie's, I couldn't even imagine what a command like that would mean from him now. I opened my mouth slowly and felt a tiny round circle hit my tongue. A cool glass pressed against my palm. I wrapped my fingers around it and the good samaritan brought it to my lips. I drank greedily, my body uncoiling with some relief. The saint took the glass from me and I heard movement around the room. There was a little clatter and then what sounded like a little chuckle.

"Try opening your eyes again."

Slowly, untrustingly, I pried them open a fraction. Dark. I brought them open the rest of the way.

I was in my bed. I didn't know how I got there.

Hell, I didn't know how Nick had gotten in the house but there he was standing by the bed, looking tired, amused, and in need of a shave.

"You were right," he said. "Drunk Macie is amusing."

I was about ready to ask him what he meant when my memory finally started to return. I felt the heat rise to my cheeks even as he sat down on the edge of the bed.

"I'm so sorry," I said.

"About what?" His lips twitched.

"Anything," I replied quickly.

He laughed, but quickly grew serious. "Midge, if I found out what you did, I would have drank myself under too."

I didn't answer right away. My heart rate quickened as I thought about Charlie's freaked out face and him running from the room, the sight of the red lace bra burning into my retinas.

"Where's Rie?"

"Both the little shits finally went down for a nap. I may or may not have let them cry it out. I may or may not have already been awake twelve hours."

I glanced at the clock. Two. From the amount of sunlight, I gathered that meant afternoon. Which meant--

"I drunk called you in the middle of the night, didn't I?" I groaned.

He slowly sank down, his back flat on the mattress. Our bodies formed a T, his chest right next to my feet. "You had a good reason. And, if I had let you get in my pants like you wanted, I probably wouldn't be so grumpy right now."

"I what?!" I sat straight up and looked down at him. He yawned.

"Don't worry about it," he said. "Blame it on the alcohol."

I let out a weird gurgle noise in response. My subconscious had gone wild! How was I going to face him again? I mean, yes, I was currently facing him, but--"

"So do you think he just likes women's clothes or there's something more? Cause you might not have picked up on it, but AJ likes to wear his fair share of chick stuff but he's still straight. At least that's what Rochelle says. And Ava looks just like him so I guess I believe her."

It was the ramble of a tired man. I drew my knees up and peeked below the sheet. I was fully clothed and I vaguely remembered putting the clothes on last night so I didn't have to worry about any unknown peep shows. I traced the edge of the sheet where a light strip of silk accent ran. I decided I hated silk.

"I don't know," I said. I sounded dazed, even to my own ears.

"If he's straight, maybe now that this is out in the open he won't be so reclusive," Nick hypothesized. I noted a bit of disappointment attached to his theory, but then again that could have just been a figment of my hung over imagination. I dropped the blanket and reached for the strings to my hoodie instead.

"I can't do anything with....that," I mumbled, knowing how bad that sounded. Visions of a bra smacking into my face and heavy breathing and the little panty strip trying to hold in...

I cut my brain off and clamped my lips shut.

"Not a fetish girl?" Nick asked softly. Deeply. The flush came back over my face. I couldn't have this talk with him. I would just agree that I wasn't and let him think me a prude. Then I'd sober up and deal with--

"I mean, there's a lot of fetishes. Spanking, feathers, candle wax, handcuffs, dil---"

"We are not having this talk right now, are we?"

He turned on his side and smiled at me. "I wanted to distract you."

A couldn't help but smile. He looked loopily mischevious. "It worked."

"Good," he stretched his arm out above his head. I watched as his eyes fluttered closed. I got lost in his face, voyeuristically watching as he fell asleep. His shirt rode up as his chest rose and fell and I noticed his pants had dipped low.

He was wearing boxers.

"I need to speak with Dr. Ziegler, please."

"Your name?"

I was almost positive it was the same chicky baby I had dealt with recently. I blanked for a full second.

"I'm one of his patients and I have a question for him."

"If you give me your name I'll be happy to pull your chart and have the doctor look at it."

"But..." I fidgeted. "This is an emergency."

I had already tried his cell and pager to no avail. This was my last resort aside from getting in the car and just going to the hospital. And, truth be told, I didn't want to do that.

"Ma'am if this is an emergency, you should come in to the ER and--"

I hung up before she finished. I stared at the table, the pattern of the wood rings blurring into one big giant blob.

"Help is on the way."

Nick stood in the doorway, I was pretty sure that he had just taken the quickest nap in history. He held up his phone.

"You need help getting to the bottom of this. We need reinforcements. Normally it would be my sister Angel since I trust her with Parker with my life, but I had to settle for second best. He'll be able to watch the kiddos for us."

I stared at him like he was talking Portugese. "What?"

Nick smiled.

"Brian's picking up his son Baylee and headed here with him."

I shook my head, finally realizing what he was saying. "I can do this myself."

Nick walked in and skirted around the table. He picked up the empty giant-sized bottle of who-knows-what that I had downed. Whiskey? Bourbon? "Oh really?"

I looked away and sighed but deep down I was relieved. If I had to track down my husband. I certainly didn't want to have to put Rielynn in any potential danger to do it. Nick was right. I glanced back at him.

"Point taken."

His smile widened.

"Good. You'll be Cagney and I'll be Lacey."

The moment the words came out of his mouth my eyes widened and he realized his mistake. He ran a hand through his hair.

"Shit, I'm sorry." He pointed at himself and me.

"We'll both be Cagney."