Look The PartBy: Jewel E. Ann
Heidi gave me a son and then I killed her. Lucky were the bastards who learned life lessons from close calls. I envied those lucky bastards.
“Don’t drink tonight. I want you to put another baby inside of me,” my wife whispered as her hand slid up my leg under the table surrounded by twelve of our closest family and friends. Heidi picked my favorite steak house in Omaha and reserved the party room for my special day. I had no idea until everyone yelled surprise.
I loved her beyond words.
“And for the birthday boy?” The brunette waitress winked at me, readying her pen against the pad of paper in her hand.
I grabbed her hand and pressed it to my erection. “I’m not going to have any issues granting your request.”
“We’ll see.” Her curt response held little confidence.
My parents drove in from Denver to surprise me, but my two-year-old son, Harrison, stole the show. They took turns gushing over him with Heidi’s mom. I didn’t anticipate being a father before I graduated college; I also didn’t anticipate meeting the woman I couldn’t live without at the exact moment I needed her the most.
She was a nursing student at the hospital they sent me to the day an ACL injury shattered my football career. I called her an angel. Heidi insisted it was the drugs they gave me for the pain.
“Monaghan said you’re going to be his agent when he goes Pro.” My dad gave me a curious look.
“Monaghan is full of shit. No team in their right mind will draft Pretty Boy. He’s going to be a teacher. That right there shows you he’s too much of a pussy to have a serious chance in the NFL.”
The Cornhusker’s young quarterback shot me a smirk from the other end of the table. We both knew he’d go Pro, but I wasn’t going to inflate his ego on my birthday.
“Language, Hopkins,” Heidi warned.
When she called me by my last name, I squirmed in my chair. It always meant a punishment would follow—and all of her punishments were doled out in the bedroom.
I loved her beyond words.
The night marched on without missing one perfect beat.
Dinner. Friends. Family. Food. Drinks.
My wife outdid herself. She excelled in making every day perfect. She also excelled in making me feel irresponsible for drinking. Every time the waitress placed another drink in front of me, Heidi’s lips pursed into a disapproving frown.
I let it slide without argument. Before he died, her father drank a lot of alcohol and was abusive. When we met, she thought I didn’t drink. At the time, it was true. Football was my life. I treated my body like a temple. But after my injury, I settled into a life where my body was no longer a temple and the occasional drink was exactly what I needed to ease the pain of lost dreams.
Heidi thought every guy who drank was an abusive alcoholic. I made it my mission to prove her wrong so maybe someday she, too, would relax a little and have a drink on special occasions.
“Happy birthday, Flint. Take care of my babies.” My mother-in-law, Sandy, hugged me as everyone said their final birthday wishes and goodnights.
“That’s code for hand the keys to your wife.” Heidi nudged me with a playful smile that I knew was not at all meant to be playful.
Sandy squeezed my cheeks and looked into my eyes. “I think he’s fine, sweetie. Nothing like your father was so give him some slack.”
I shot Heidi an I-told-you-so look. Her mother loved me. I was everything her father hadn’t been. Heidi hated that I could do no wrong in Sandy’s eyes, but I loved it. A dangerous pride came with so much confidence.
After she fastened Harrison into his car seat, Heidi held out her hand.
“I’m fine.” I opened the driver’s door.
“You’re not. You drank a lot tonight.”
“I weigh a lot.”
I slipped into the driver’s seat. “Call me Hopkins, baby. I like where that leads.”
“Flint, I’m serious. Our child is in the backseat.” She stood between me and the door so I couldn’t shut it.
“I want to be in my birthday suit with you. Get in so we can get Harrison to bed.”
She crossed her arms over her chest, raven hair flowing in all directions, blue eyes piercing mine.