Braeden knew eavesdropping was wrong. He knew he should have turned around and walked away from the kitchen as soon as he heard Savannah tell Brooklyn she had a secret. But knowing better didn’t stop him from crouching down beneath the opening that allowed the people in the kitchen to see out into the living room. It didn’t stop him from practically holding his breath so he could hear the sisters over his breathing. Why did he breathe so freaking loud, and how come no one told him?
“I haven’t told anyone this yet, Brooklyn, and I just…fuck, I don’t know how the hell I’m going to tell Gabriel.”
He didn’t like to think about what kind of secret Savannah could be keeping from one of his best friends. Was she having an affair? Was she going to ask him for a divorce? How would that affect their friend group? How could they all continue to hang out if Savannah and Gabriel weren’t together anymore? Would he have to choose sides? And if so, whose side did he choose? Savannah was the sister of his brother-in-law’s wife. But Gabriel had been one of his best friends since elementary school.
The entire situation was giving him heartburn.
“Just tell me what it is, and we’ll figure out a plan. It can’t be that bad. I’m sure everything is going to be fine.”
“I really, really hope you’re right because this is kind of a big deal.”
“Spit it out already, woman. You’re killing me.”
Braeden couldn’t agree more. Savannah needed to spit out her secret before he got himself so worked up over what it could be his dinner decided to come back for a visit. He was desperately in need of the water he’d come to the kitchen for in the first place, but until the girls finished their little chat, he was going to have to deal with the burning in his esophagus.
“Okay, fine,” Savannah took a deep breath, the sound so loud Braeden could hear it. He took his own deep breath, well as deep as he could without drawing attention to himself, and held it until Savannah spoke again.
“That’s it. That’s your big secret?” Braeden asked as he stood up so fast he got lightheaded. “You had me over here terrified you were going to ruin our happy life.”
“What the fuck, Braeden.”
The sisters spoke at the same time, though it was Brooklyn that decided it was necessary to drop the f-bomb. Sometimes she could be really abrasive. He knew she got it from her husband. Before she hooked up with Declan, Brooklyn was a nice girl. Of course, he’d never point any of that out. He liked his body parts where they were.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to eavesdrop. I only came to get some water, but when you said you had a secret, my brain started working overtime, and I got nervous that everything was going to be ruined. I’m glad your secret is a lame one. Everything’s going to be a-okay.”
“What the hell is wrong with you?” Brooklyn asked. “You just scared the shit out of us, and now you’re saying that my sister’s pregnancy is lame? Do you have a death wish?”
“Oh, no. That’s not what I meant at all. Her pregnancy is amazing, and I’m super excited for you and Gabriel. I just meant that I was over here worrying she was going to ask him for a divorce or that she was having an affair. In comparison, being pregnant isn’t really that big of a deal.”
“Dang it. You know what I mean, Brooklyn,” he said, then turned to Savannah. “I know how you can tell your husband this momentous news.”
“I don’t think she wants advice from you,” Brooklyn grumbled, but he didn’t even bother to look at her.
“Gabriel’s been one of my best friends since we were in elementary school. I think I know the best ways to surprise him.”
“I’m not trying to surprise him. I’m worried he will be upset that I’m pregnant again. We agreed we’d leave it at two kids, and I’m in my forties now. That’s too old to be having a baby. Especially with my past.”
“Women have babies well into their fifties these days, and your past is barely a blip on the radar. Your pregnancies with Ryan and JJ were healthy, and those two kids are amazing. Ryan’s already a great big sister to JJ, and they will be super helpful with this new baby. There is absolutely nothing to worry about. I promise.”
Savannah looked at him like he’d lost his mind, and he could feel Brooklyn’s gaze on him too.
“I’m observant, and I love you like the sister I never had. Of course, I know everything.”
“Even if you’re right about all of that, it doesn’t mean Gabriel’s going to be excited about a surprise baby,” Brooklyn pointed out.
“Well, considering neither of them got fixed, I’d say he never ruled out another baby completely.”
Brooklyn snorted. “Fixed, really?”
“Whatever, does it matter if I use the correct terminology? You know what I mean. Gabriel never got a vasectomy, and Savannah never got her tubes tied. Birth control is only so effective. Andi and I decided we were two and done, and I immediately got fixed. Declan was the same way, was he not?”
Savannah looked over at her sister, making Brooklyn nod, though Braeden could tell it pained her to do so.
“See what I mean. We all fully committed to being done with having kids. Gabriel and Savannah didn’t.”
“I hate to say it, but he’s got a point,” Brooklyn admitted. “Maybe deep down, you both wanted another one.”
“And instead of waiting or trying to come up with a special way to tell him, I think you should just blurt it out. This is your third. It doesn’t have to be a cute announcement or something you put on the internet. Just tell him and don’t wait. I’m sure you’ve been sitting on this a lot longer than you should have been because you were nervous. Well, your sister and I both think you have no reason to be nervous. Gabriel’s going to be thrilled.”
“Plus, Braeden knows, and he’s not that great at keeping a secret, so you should probably get to Gabriel before Braeden slips up.”
“Hey, I resent that. I’m pretty good at keeping secrets.”
Brooklyn narrowed her eyes at him. “Really?”
“Well…sometimes,” he admitted. “But I promise I won’t say anything to anyone, not even Andi. And especially not Gabriel.”
“What aren’t you going to tell Gabriel?” a deep voice asked from behind him.
“Yikes. Sorry, gotta go, I hear Andi calling my name,” Braeden said before turning around and heading toward the back of the house where everyone else was gathered.
He didn’t even look at Gabriel as he walked by, and he tried not to cringe when he heard Brooklyn yell ‘Damn it, Braeden’ as he quickly left the room. Hopefully, Savannah would look on the bright side. Now, because of him, the ice was already broken. All she had to do was tell her husband the secret she’d been holding on to. Maybe if she thought about it, she’d realize that she should thank Braeden for his help. Without him, who knew how much longer she’d hold on to the fantastic news.
Honestly, he had no idea what his friends would do without him.
Then again, he had no idea what he’d do without them, which made it a win-win situation.