Never Can Tell

By: C.M. Stunich


Ty is going to die.

I chew my nails as I watch him moving across the roof of the house. Our house. Your house. This belongs to you. I shake my head and look away, partially because I really am terrified that Ty is going to fall off and break his neck and partially because that statement doesn't just apply to the house. It also applies to the baby I've got strapped to my damn chest. Ty drew pictures of bullets in Sharpie over the straps of the carrier to make me feel better about wearing the fucking thing, but I still feel like a tool. Not even fake ammo belts can make me change my mind about that. This belongs to you, too, I repeat, but the words feel even less real than the ones that pertain to this shambling lemon of ours.

“Ty!” I call, and my heart plunges to the floor of my stomach when he trips on a loose shingle and has to grab onto the chimney to stay upright. “Fuck,” I snarl as I lift my hands to my head. I can't take the nerves right now. I just fucking can't. “Tyson McCabe, get your ass off the goddamn roof!” He looks down at me and grins which makes things all the worse because even as I'm worrying about his safety, I'm checking out his chest. Sweat glistens on the sharply defined muscles there, promising me that despite Ty's new status as daddy, he's still hot as shit. I swallow hard.

“As soon as I figure out where the leak is coming from, I'm all yours, baby,” he tells me as he scoots forward and drops to his knees, crawling across the roof like an inked up god, bracelets jingling in the still, gray air. The man is infuriating as shit. Water starts to drip into the nursery and within hours, he's trying to commit suicide by scrambling across the wet roof. Can't even fucking wait until the rain stops.

Droplets smack my skull and make me even more irritated; they make Noah cry. He starts softly at first, but then breaks down into these ear piercing wails that I know come from McCabe's half of the genealogy; I was a quiet baby. I bounce up and down, again feeling sort of stupid doing it, and have to shove a cigarette between my lips like a damn pacifier. I can't smoke it when Noah's around, but even the feeling of my mouth clamped down around makes me calmer, like I can absorb the tobacco through my saliva. Maybe I should start chewing?

With a regretful sigh, I move onto the porch and push Chuck Norris out of the way with my foot. The stupid cat refuses to come inside unless Ty's in the house. I think this dumb as fuck tabby could use some therapy or counseling or something. Clearly, he has an obsession.

I move across the scratched up floors and into the kitchen where a microwave, a portable cooktop, and a mini fridge remain the only appliances. It's kind of tough shit when you need to buy something and don't have any money. Other than your husband's leftover stores of fuck money that is. I look down at baby Noah and try to rationalize putting my tit in his mouth. Don't get me wrong, and please don't think I'm a terrible mother, but I kind of, sort of hate it. I decide on a bottle and try to get it ready before Ty comes in and sees. He really hates it when I use formula. I rationalized with him by asking if he, himself, would like to put his nipple in his son's mouth. When the answer was no, he really wouldn't like to do that, we moved on. But don't think I don't see the looks he gives me when I crack out the bottle.

Unfortunately, he makes it inside right as I'm slipping the rubber nipple over the plastic.

“Oh, huh,” he says when he sees this, standing there dripping wet and covered in bright red scrapes and bruises. I slam the top onto the bottle and screw it into place, glaring at him, daring him to say something. He says nothing. “Think I figured out where the fucking leak is,” he tells me. Noah, who had previously quieted down, begins to scream again.

Ty doesn't hesitate in moving forward and helping me get him out of the carrier. He even slips off his shirt and dries off with a dish towel before reaching out and taking his son in his beautiful, inked up arms, bracelets sliding down his wrist as he feeds him the bottle.

“You have no fucking clue how sexy you look,” I tell him as I scoot past and light my cigarette, moving towards the front door and stepping outside, so I can look in at Ty and Noah from the porch. I make sure that the smoke drifts away from the screen and out towards the orange and yellow leaves that litter our front yard. He just grins at me and his dimples show.

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