Not My Lover Ch. 05byJazzMatthews©
The baby was born at 3:41 that afternoon by cesarean section. While this was all going on, Gage and Summer waited patiently for the results.
Shifting uncomfortably, Gage fought at the buttons of his dress shirt that clasped like a death grip about his throat. He was so distracted, he felt like he was suffocating.
God, he hated dressing up. He had loosened his emerald tie until it only draped around his neck. He had worn it because his grandmother had gotten it for him for his birthday a couple of years ago and the deep color brought out his eyes. He rarely wore it since it was unusual to see him dressed in other than jeans and a skin tight shirt.
While they literally sat outside the doors to the delivery room, Gage looked over at the very woman who now belonged to him legally, in the FBI sense of the word, but he was forbidden to touch. It felt strange as hell to call the little hellfire "wife." No wifely concerns would ever come from her, but as he looked at her, he took a real good inventory of what he saw.
The rounded, chocolate face, the long, delicate sweep of ebony lashes framing doe-like eyes almost as black as a moonless, midnight sky. Her high cheekbones, her finely arched eyebrows that lifted at him in criticism, and her seemingly edible ears. In general, he could care less, but just the delicate shape of her ears made him crave to take them into his mouth and suck on them and the sensitive skin beneath the lobe.
Summer had long taken off her veil as they raced after Grant to the hospital in separate cars. As he had expected, his brother drove like an ass the entire way, heedless of traffic and the usual patrol unit that wasn't at a doughnut shop.
Summer actually took time to straighten her jet black hair, which appeared so soft with the perfect sheen for healthy hair. He enjoyed the ordinary spirals of curls, but today, she appeared so fresh with her hair brushing against her shoulders.
She seemed so subtle, so pristine. So untouchable.
During the ceremony, he almost lost it. The scent of her could have murdered him. It drifted and attacked him silently. He couldn't avoid it or her. He had a yearning so intense to know what her silky skin would feel burning with fierce need against his. How it would feel to have her legs to wrap around his waist as he pushed his way into her side of heaven? What would it be like to be inside her period?
Since his run-in with her in Georgia, his thoughts had been of nothing but her. The look of her, her appeal made him want her painfully. Her voluptuous curves sung to him and he was just dying to know how she would feel beneath him.
He was a man in such torment with no pity to be ever offered to him.
Gage managed to keep to himself and was alerted to attention when the doors opened and an incubator was wheeled out. He went up to the nurse, delaying her journey to the nursery. Gage looked down to see a treasured little baby squirming in their blanket.
"Sir," the nurse cautioned.
Gage held up his hand. "Is that...the baby?"
Summer came to his side, observing along with him. She tucked her arm around one of his as they beheld this little ounce of life. The nurse smiled at Gage's steadfast, awestruck gaze. "So you're family to the Ryans?"
Almost dumbfounded and without tearing his eyes away, Gage nodded. "I'm the father's brother."
"Well then, congratulations. You're the uncle of a baby girl."
Gage swallowed, his throat suddenly gone dry. He was an uncle. The little one was tiny, due to being a few weeks early, but her cries were robust and healthy. He had never held a baby, but he was brimming with pride at this start of the next generation of Ryans.
She was just so beautiful with a few sprouts of curly jet black hair. Her skin was a smooth cappuccino color, the mixture of Grant and Alexa's different roots, but she was just as precious as her mother and the feminine image of her father.
The nurse smiled as she excused herself, wheeling the baby on. Gage stared after her, troubled that she was born premature. He could only hope nothing was seriously wrong.
"She's beautiful," Summer commented.
Gage's eyes turned to her, finding that she was watching him. "Almost the most beautiful thang I've ever seen." And the look of his gaze emphasized what he meant.
Summer blushed and looked away for a moment. "I was going to get something to eat. Would you like anything?"
Gage hadn't even noticed that he hadn't eaten in a while. Just when she had mentioned food, his stomach growled. He rubbed it as if to soothe it. "Sure. Whatever you decide, I'm all for it. I'm gonna stay here."
Summer smiled before reaching up on tip-toe to brush a kiss across Gage's cheek. "Congratulations, Uncle Gage," she whispered before making her way down the hall and around the corner. Gage's gaze followed her until she disappeared, feeling the slight kiss against his jaw burn him like a branding iron. That showed him that his little hellfire was capable of being a woman, soft and pliable.
The birth of this little girl inspired feelings within him. For the first time ever, Gage was thinking about fatherhood. What would it be like if he was a father? How would his kids turn out? Most of all, who would be a likely candidate to bear them?
His thoughts turned to the first woman who constantly popped into his mind. Summer would be an excellent mother. She was well-trained, compassionate and disciplined. She knew what it took, yet she couldn't stand him. Their relationship could never work due to that. A child between them would only bind her to him for the rest of their lives. And he wasn't sure if he wanted that. Or did he?
Gage ran his fingers brusquely through his onyx hair. Why was he thinking about Summer and children? A strange flutter went inside him when he thought about her bearing his and intense hatred for the man who would have the honor of calling her wife, that is, if she could find a man crazy enough to put up with her attitude.
Gage was alerted to doors being flung opened again and turned to see his brother strolling slowly out of the delivery room. Grant's face was blank, devoid of any feeling. He also noticed that Grant's eyes were red as they wearily stared ahead. Gage thought Grant would be joyous of the birth of his little girl, but he showed little of that emotion. The numb look of his disturbed Gage.
Warily, Gage approached his brother, who continued to gaze straight ahead.
"Did you see her?" Grant asked in a quiet tone.
Gage tried his best to smile, despite that his brother was acting as if the child had died. "Yeah," he said. "Congrats, badass. She's beautiful. Have ya'll named her yet?"
"Aurora Savannah," Grant replied vacantly.
"You know, she favors you a little more than Alexa in looks already," Gage pointed out. "I've been told that girls mostly inherit looks and some characteristics from their father, even if that's the only thing they have in common."
Grant nodded sadly. "That's what I was afraid of."
By now, Gage was confused and bothered by his brother's behavior. He was about to ask what was the matter before Grant cut him off and said he was going to check on his daughter. Grant walked down the hall with this melancholy gait and was gone before Gage could even muster a word.
What the devil got into him? Grant was just made a father, the first out of the three of them, and he was the most depressed. Gage first wanted to make Grant say why he was feeling so disheartened but decided against it. Grant wanted time alone with his daughter and Gage had to respect the man's space, if not his attitude. However, Gage was determined to find out later.
After waiting about some more and his feelings taking a turn for the worse since seeing his brother, Alexa was brought out and taken to her room. Having nothing better to do and since her husband pulled a disappearing act, Gage stayed with her.
While hanging around Alexa's bedside, Gage realized that Summer returned. Neither had his brother. Both were worrying him, especially Summer. Did she decide to make a run to Mexico before he noticed she was gone from the country? In her case, he wouldn't dismiss the fact, but her not being in his line of sight rubbed him the wrong way.
Alexa gained his attention by stating her concern over Grant, who had been gone for a couple of hours. Gage was certain that his brother had seen Aurora settled in by now. Giving the assertion that he would find him, he left her.
Gage went looking for Grant at the nursery, but found only nurses. He searched nearly every crevice of that hospital and was about to give up before he passed by the hospital's chapel. Intuition told him Grant would be in there. When he opened the door, Gage was overwhelmed to find his brother on his knees in either defeat or prayer.
This was a sight to behold. Grant rarely prayed for anything. Not that Gage knew of. Grant was the most logical so he found anything outside the realm of reality impossible. Yet here was this man asking God for His forgiveness for Grant's rash indifference.
Grant lifted his head and began to speak before he even turned around, automatically sensing it was Gage. "It's been a long time since I've ever gotten on my knees for anythang," he replied gravely. "I've never had somethin' I wanted so badly to have."
He finally looked to Gage over his shoulder, who was still standing at the entrance. "I want my lil' girl to live."
So this was what got him all in a pucker. Gage firmly closed the door before walking up to his brother. "You know she will," he answered with confidence. "Technology has improved since we were born. Look at it this way. She's only a month premature. Babies born earlier than her are survivin' more and more nowadays so it ain't as bad as you think."
"But I didn't want anythang to go wrong," Grant cried bitterly. "Not for Aurora to come too early or for her to have a defect or for her to kill her mother."
He closed his eyes to block out the reality of that ever happening. "I couldn't live if Alexa was to die on me," he uttered in a tone that was black and unrecognizable. "I just...can't do it."
The look Gage perceived from his brother told him that Grant would absolutely die if Alexa was taken from him. His love for her was as strong as death itself. Gage couldn't imagine himself making the same sacrifice.
Finally, Grant stood to his feet. "You know, I lost it in there, lookin' at this small life in that incubator. Her tiny grip embracin' my pinky. Her lil' cries. That's the first time I ever cried in my life. You have no idea how it feels. How a man like me can create somethin' so perfect and fragile."
He brushed back strands of his long, dark hair, which he had taken out of its queue to sweep against his shoulders. He sighed. "I just don't want her to turn out like her father."
What was he getting off about? "You ain't evil, badass," Gage disclosed calmly, ignoring that he called his brother a badass aloud in a chapel. "I don't know why you're worryin' over nothin'. She'll turn out fine. We'll make sure she does."
"But you don't get it," Grant responded. "For months, Alexa's been pressurin' me to go to church with her, but I've blown it off. I've been at odds with God since the beginnin' of my life. Now it's catchin' up with me. He's punishin' me through Aurora." He released another fatigued sigh. "It's my fault my lil' girl's in that goddamn incubator. I shoulda been more thoughtful of her."
"It ain't your fault," Gage replied.
"The hell it ain't!" Grant exclaimed. "My life ain't been clean or legit 'til recently. There's a damn good chance my daughter could still die as my punishment. I couldn't face Alexa if that happened. We've been wantin' this child since we've known of her existence. I only want what's best for her."
"We all do, Grant, but thangs like this happen. It's just the way life is. We take what we get and try to make it appear better than what it seems." He placed a brotherly hand upon Grant's shoulder. "She'll live. I promise."
He had no room to make such a guarantee, but it was the assurance his brother needed. Gage felt the tension ease slightly from Grant as he became more relaxed, but he was still at war with his own soul.
"I still can't help the way I feel," Grant uttered despondently. "I feel like I've placed a death sentence on my own child."
Gage frowned. "I won't allow you to damn yourself for somethin' you shouldn't. Everythang will be fine. I'll make damn sure Aurora becomes the woman we expect of her. And there's one way we can start." He got down on his knees before the altar and God. "We can start prayin'."
Summer stopped in her tracks as she opened the chapel door just a crack. Nurses had informed her that they had seen Gage go in there.
The chapel, she thought comically to herself. What could he possibly be doing in the chapel? Maybe there was a pretty nurse who asked him to duck in there with her. Gage was in luck that he was in a hospital, because Summer was about to kill him.
The sight before her wasn't what she had expected. She expected Gage to be nude in all his glory, driving home between the legs of a nurse but found two dark-haired men bowing modestly at the altar. Not these strong, muscular Ryan men who could never be dominated by any feeling, except for love in Grant's case. But Gage?
The feelings that tugged at her heart couldn't be ignored. How had this man affected her so? She knew this the first day she saw him at the FBI...
She had been there for a week and hadn't seen him before, but she was riding the elevator down to her car when it stopped to allow someone on.
The sight of him had knocked the breath out of her. Coming in with a look a narcissist would envy was the most beautiful man she had ever seen. Hair a couple of inches above his shoulders in long waves, like an ocean of midnight.
His features were highly masculine and somewhat refined. The worn black leather jacket and boots told him to be a rebel. And he had the eyes of the devil. They were green and warm. For some reason, she had a weakness for men with these eyes, but his expressed feeling and intentions and were inviting where her former ex's were not.
He had stood behind her and his earth-toned scent filled the breadth of the place. Summer felt her response to the man immediately and was extremely hot.
"Did you just escape from hell?"
Was he addressing her? Summer had turned and saw that strenuous, sparkling stare aimed at her. She frowned. "What?"
"Did you just escape from hell?" he repeated.
"'Cause you're lookin' hot."
No, he was the one who was hot. He had this southern drawl that ignited her nerve endings, leaving them singed. She had never heard a pickup like that in her life and he almost looked sincere in its delivery. Almost.
Summer laughed. "God, that was horrible."
"I did it on purpose," the man said. "Just to see what your taste amounted to. Don't look like you'll fall for any old line, which is good. Shows promise."
He held out his hand. "Gage Ryan."
Summer's hand latched onto his and felt the hot security of strength the man had just by wrapping his long fingers around hers. "Summer Eddington," she swallowed. The elevator dinged and Summer was alerted that it was her floor. "I, uh, gotta go," she faltered. "It's nice meeting you."
"Mmm," he hummed. "I'll be seein' you."
That denoted promise, even to this day. After that, they had become friendly and flirtatious. Then the incident had occurred and when they saw each other, it wasn't on cordial terms.
Reviewing her feelings now, she knew what was happening. She was beginning to like him outside the realm of passion. It was different observing Gage so reverent. What was this supposed to mean?
Summer backed from the door as if a monster was after her and immediately went to check on Alexa. Still carrying the food in her hand, which she had brought plenty for Gage, herself, and anyone else who wanted to share.
When she approached Alexa's door, Summer hesitated going in. Alexa had just given birth almost over two hours ago and the last thing she wanted to have was visitors.
About to turn away, Summer detected a drowsy voice coming from the dimly lit room. "Don't hover there by the door. Come in."
Summer meekly entered the room and Alexa turned on the light beside her bed. Summer placed the food down beside the chair she scooted next to Alexa's bed and took a seat. She smiled. "Sorry. I thought you'd be asleep."
Alexa straightened a corner of the hospital blanket. "Me?" she asked in mock surprise. "Nah, I only gave birth to a baby. Nothing major."
The two of them laughed even though it was a tired round of mirth.
"How do you feel?" Summer asked, when their laughing had died to the last chuckle.
"Fantastic," Alexa huffed sarcastically. "I'm worn, but that's to be expected. It's unbelievable how one's life can change drastically in a few seconds. Just this morning, I was rising to come to your wedding." Her hazel eyes quickly diverted to her hands, which were folded neatly in her lap. "I'm sorry."
Summer's nose scrunched. "For what?"
"For ruining your wedding," Alexa disclosed in a quiet voice.
To Summer, that wedding was ruined before it ever began. Just because they had to go through the embarrassment of it was enough to ruin Summer's day. Not the unexpected birth of Alexa and Grant's little girl.
"Girl, I don't know why you're apologizing," Summer said, giving Alexa's hand a pat. "You couldn't help she was ready to come out."
Alexa sighed and shook her head. "Speaking of which..."
She went on about how the delivery went, and how they welcomed Aurora into the world. She chattered on excitedly about all that she had planned for her little girl while she laid there, pondering the future and the possibility of having more children.
Summer listened attentively to it all, though she partially drifted off to her own dreamland, imagining smaller replicas of herself and her husband creating havoc as they terrorized the yard in play. She would watch from her patio, sitting back and sipping on a tall glass of iced lemonade, smiling lovingly at a man with hair as black as a raven's wing and disturbingly piercing green eyes...
"Have you ever thought about having children?"
The question lured Summer back to reality. She shifted uncomfortably beneath Alexa's considerate study as she search her brain for an answer.
"Yeah, I have. Just with who is the problem."
Alexa nodded. "That is a tough decision, trying to decide which man you would want to be the father of your child. But I didn't have much of a choice. I was pregnant before I could think clearly ahead of when I wanted to be a mother. All I know was that I love Grant, and I would go to hell and back for him."
The devotion of love Summer witnessed between them last December and at the baby shower made her believe that Alexa would do it. Still, her mind couldn't leave the matter alone of the interesting sight that arrested her eyes.
"I saw him," she said. "Gage and Grant are in the chapel...praying."
Summer observed the rapid change of color Alexa's mocha-hued face displayed. She placed a hand to her forehead, her eyes closed. "Lord."
Alexa's beautiful gaze lifted, her hazel eyes a fascinating, keen color of lime. "He's been worried over nothing," Alexa answered. "He ranted off about the baby turning out like him when he was driving like a hit and run felon to get me here. Grant thinks that my giving birth early was his fault when that's not the case. I don't know why that's so hard for him to understand."
"But what would prompt Gage to get on his knees?" Summer asked. "He would have to stay down for years to erase the sins he's committed."