The Dragon Takes What's His(24)

By: Marcy Jacks


Blaze had handed it to the cashier to pay for it. Zack hadn’t even seen him holding it, and when he had the receipt, Blaze just handed it to him, his face tight, as though he didn’t want to admit to anything when Zack took it.

“That’s for you.” That was all he’d said. Zack’s chest still tightened thinking about it.

Zack nearly cried when he’d been given the thing. It was so soft, and it had its eyes sewn in, so it was clearly safe for babies, but Zack didn’t think he’d ever be able to give the thing up.

He wanted to hold on to it forever.

Zack got so caught up in his thinking that he barely noticed Gold and Blaze were still sniping at each other.

It was a good thing they were doing that, too. Zack didn’t want anyone to notice what a spaz he was becoming.

It seemed that every day that went by with this whole pregnancy thing, the more emotional he became.

And knowing he had a mate who cared about him, even after what he’d done, that he was now safe, that his child was safe, that even if Blaze didn’t exactly love him, that he was willing to put his life on hold so that their child could have a safe place to sleep made his throat go tight and his eyes burn.

Look at the bear. Look at its cute little smiling face. It doesn’t want you to cry. It wants you to be calm and rational about all of this. Just relax. Don’t cry. You’re fine.

“Zack? Uh, sweetheart. Are you okay?”

Fuck.

Zack nodded, turning his face toward the window, pretending he was seeing something interesting outside. “I’m fine. I’m good. I just had a tickle in my throat.”

That wasn’t remotely believable. A tickle in his throat? Jesus.

“Zack, I’ll pull over right now if you don’t tell me what’s going on.” Blaze sounded on the verge of having a minor panic attack of his own. He reached out, touched Zack’s shoulder, but it was only making it worse.

He didn’t even feel sad! He wasn’t all that particularly happy either! Well, he was happy, but not happy enough to fight back tears like this.

“Zack—”

“Leave him alone, Blaze.” Sebby sounded as though he was leaning forward in his seat, coming up between Zack’s and Blaze’s seats.

“There’s something wrong with him!”

“There’s nothing wrong with him. He just needs a minute to compose himself.”

“You’ve got to be fucking—”

“Just listen to him. This might be a…in-the-family-way kind of thing,” Gold said, and now he sounded as though he was trying to be careful with his words.

Perfect. Zack was such a flake that everyone around him noticed what was going on.

Blaze seemed to get it, as well, thankfully.

“Oh.”

Everything was quiet. No one spoke or snapped at each other with their friendly arguments, and it was like that for at least a minute or two, long enough for Zack to get the painfully enormous rock out of his throat. He blinked his eyes enough to make the burn fade away, and then he was good.

He was pretty sure he was good. He definitely felt much better than he had a moment ago.

“Sorry. I’m fine now,” he said.

“You sure?” Blaze asked, still sounding as though he was getting ready to grab Zack and shake him if he didn’t tell him right away that everything was fine and he was perfectly all right.

“I’m good.” Zack looked at the other man and smiled.

Blaze briefly took his eyes off the road, though his expression wasn’t so great at the sight of Zack’s smile.

Right, his reddening eyes were probably a little too much for him to believe that everything was perfectly fine.

“I promise, I’m good.” Zack had come to his mate a complete damsel in distress, sure, but just because he was all over the place with his moods and couldn’t seem to control himself was no reason for him to put such a burden on Blaze.

He’d done enough of that.

“I’m sure. I promise. I’m all right.”

Blaze smiled at him.

Zack looked out the window and gasped.

Blaze pulled them back over into their lane just as the oncoming car blared its horn. Gold yelled something at him, and Sebby screamed in the back.

Zack held on to his new bear for everything he was worth. He gripped the thing as though it was what kept him alive and in his seat.

Aside from the seatbelt, that is.

Cursing, Blaze pulled over to the side of the road. Gold smacked the back of his seat. “Are you fucking stupid? Watch the goddamned road!”

“I was just barely touching the line!”

“I don’t give a fuck!”

Blaze put his hand on Zack’s shoulder then the back of his neck, as though he was searching for injuries. “Baby, are you okay?”