Baby Maker(7)

By: Jenny Jax

“Thanks!” I called after myself as I dashed back into my room to throw on my clothes and rake a brush through my hair. It would just be the two of us, alone together—fuck, was I ready for that? I ignored my pitter-pattering heartbeat and focused on pulling my hair up into a ponytail to get it away from my face so I looked some semblance of human when I went back downstairs. Come on. I was still a professional, and besides, I had stuff I needed to discuss with him.

I returned down the stairs, taking my time and pretending that our first encounter hadn’t happened at all. He grinned at me as I approached him, and poured me a cup of coffee from the pot on the sideboard.

“Sleep well?” he inquired, and I nodded.

“Like a baby,” I sighed. “Good to get out of the house for a while, you know what I mean?”

“I agree entirely.” He raised his mug to me as though toasting what I’d just said, and I stirred in a spoonful of sugar to my coffee. It smelled amazing, and I could already feel it perking me up.

“So,” I began, leaning up against the counter, “I got a call from my supervisor last night.”

“Oh no.” Jazz’s face paled. “You’re not in trouble, are you?”

“No, no.” I shook my head. “But she wants to pop around for an hour and do one last inspection. Put this to rest once and for all.”

“Okay,” he said, visibly relaxing. “When?”

“She was hoping to do it today.” I pulled a face. “I know it’s short notice, but—”

“That sounds fine. Tell her whenever she wants to come around, she can.”

“Oh, cool.” I reached for my phone. “Can I give her a call? I’ll get it set up now.”

“Go ahead.” He waved his hand in my direction, and it seemed as though he was pretty distracted. I wondered if he was worried about another inspection getting carried out, or just pissed that this seemed to keep happening to him. I knew that if I was him, I would be firmly in the latter category.

I called Amanda and told her that she could come around whenever she wanted—she agreed to pop over as soon as she could, and climbed in her car as we finished up the call. I returned to my coffee, and found Jazz still staring off into space as through he couldn’t shake a particular set of thoughts from his brain.

“You okay?” I asked gently, and he snapped out of it, turning to me and smiling broadly. God, that smile—it was one of the finest sights I’d ever laid eyes on, his eyes crinkling happily as his face transformed. I couldn’t help but smile back, almost on instinct.

“I’m good. Just tired. I haven’t been out like that in a while, you know?”

I nodded knowingly, as if I had a clue what he was talking about. I mean, I didn’t know what he was up to. Maybe he was talking about a date? Not a very successful one if he ended up back here, the nasty part of my brain added, and I did my best to ignore it.

“Yeah, of course,” I agreed. “It must be odd for you being away from Ella, too.”

“It really is,” he sighed. “I miss her so much, even when I’m just away for a few hours, you know?”

“I can only imagine.” I held my hands up. “I don’t have any kids of my own.”

“And yet you work with them for a living,” he remarked, with his head cocked to the side.

“Well, I love them.” I shrugged. “Especially when they’re as adorable as your daughter.”

He glanced up the stairs, towards her room, and smiled fondly. “Yeah, she is a perfect little thing, isn’t she? Was she good last night? I know she can be kinda full-on when she meets new people…”

“She was lovely,” I replied firmly. “Very sweet. And creative! She’s got an amazing imagination for a kid her age.”

“I love that about her,” he said, grinning. “My mom always made me think up my own stories and come up with my own characters. I think it’s good for a kid of her age not to just have everything pushed on her by movies and TV, you know?”

He took a sip of his coffee, and we sat in companionable silence for a couple of moments, and I had to admit—I found this guy really impressive as a father. Yeah, maybe he was hiding something—I was sure Amanda would sniff it out, whatever it was—but he obviously adored his daughter so much; it was a pleasure to hear him talk about her. I wondered where her mom was, or if she was on the scene at all—they had obviously split up, but how much out of Ella’s life was she? Dammit, I was letting my weird attraction to hot men who were good with kids get in the way of what I was meant to be doing, which was scouting out if there was anything going on in this house.