“Of course I want to know. What could be so bad that you think is turn away from you?”
Eve took a deep breath, one that out Nico on edge. Whatever she needed to say was big. Nico knew he needed to keep his reaction in check. His head was running through a million different scenarios, but the only thing that mattered were the words that came out of her mouth.
“I graduated high school ten years ago. My boyfriend at the time was someone I thought I was going to share my life with. I thought he felt the same. After graduation we slept together. It was my first time, but not his. I knew that, but what I didn’t know was that the condom broke. I got pregnant. I didn’t think it was that big of a deal. We loved each other so I just assumed we’d get married. He assumed I cheated on him. At least, that’s what he said. He broke up with me and left me to raise the baby on my own.”
Eve took a deep breath and Nico found he was no,ding his. He forced air into his lung and consciously uncoiled the fists he’d made thinking about someone being so horrible to Eve. Nico wanted to hunt down the bastard and make him pay for what he’d done to her.
“Before David was born I learned he had some problems. He has cerebral palsy. The doctors wanted me to terminate the pregnancy, but I couldn’t. I loved him. Even though I knew it would be tough, I couldn’t even consider killing my child. He’s a great little boy, but he requires near constant attention. Which means I don’t have a lot to give to another man.”
Nico felt Eve’s disappointment as though it were his own. First, being dumped by an asshole who had the nerve to accuse her of cheating, then to find out her child would struggle for the rest of his like, and to go through it all alone.
He knew that wasn’t all of it. A woman as beautiful as Eve had surely dated other men. It killed Nico to think of her with someone else, but he knew the others were jerks, not capable of a relationship with a woman who couldn’t devote all of her attention to him.
“Where is David now? Who’s with him?”
“My parents help out a lot and I have a babysitter who’s great. Tonight he’s with my parents. They wanted me to enjoy a day after working so hard to finish school. After today though, I won’t get a lot of days off. I start my new job Monday.”
Nico was more curious about Eve with each word that came out of her mouth. He wanted to know her, and her son, and show her that he was different than the other men she’d known. “Where will David go when you’re working? Does he have a school he goes to?”
Eve nodded. “He goes to a special needs school year round. Since my job is full time, I needed a place where he could go and not be interrupted. He has school during the day but is home in the evenings.”
“I’d like to meet him,” Nico said, taking a chance.
Nico stepped closer, sensing that what he was about to say mattered more than anything he’d said to her over the last few months. More than his lessons in class, more than his admission that he wanted her, more than anything they’d shared. His next words would make or break his chances with her. And if there was one thing Nico knew, it was how badly he wanted a chance with Eve.
And not because she was beautiful, although she was, but because he knew she was special. He knew she was different. And he knew she was capable of love that went beyond anything he’d ever known.
“I want to know you, Eve. I’ve been watching you in class and you intrigue me, not just because you’re stunning, but because you’re kind and generous and compassionate and amazing. You give so much to the other students without a thought for how it could be returned. After being around college students for so many years, you notice the ones who are different, the ones who give a shit about others. That’s you. So it doesn’t matter to me that you have a son, and it doesn’t matter to me that he has special needs. Knowing that about you makes me want to know you even more. I think you’re a beautiful person and I know any child of yours would be equally beautiful. If you aren’t interested in me, that’s fine, but please don’t hide behind your son. Give us a chance. Maybe it’ll work out, maybe it won’t, but we won’t know if David is the reason you won’t try. I want to meet him and get to know you both.”
Eve’s eyes misted as Nico spoke and he wasn’t sure if that was good or bad. He waited, breath held, to see what the tears meant. When she broke into a grin he couldn’t stop the matching one from forming on his lips.
“Are you sure? Because this won’t be easy.”
“Nothing worthwhile ever is, Eve. But I know you’re worth it. I bet you’d say David has been worth every challenge you’ve been through also. Let me show you who I am. Let me be the man you need in your life.”
“Okay. I’ll try.”
“That’s all I ask. Now what do you say we get out of here,” Nico asked with a grin.
Eve smiled back at him and said, “That’s a great idea.”