Our trip to Chicago is wrapping up. Only one night left! XXX Images

Sleep gentle angel.

"You don't have to do that," she said, her eyes pleading with Emile to fix this. She didn't want to talk with him on the phone, let alone go on a date.

"Ah, but I would like to," He responded easily. "I believe that Caleb still has much he would like to say to me. He was rather vocal the other day." His tone remained light and teasing, wearing down her defenses.

"Fine, we'll join you for dinner," she agreed grudgingly, "But only if it's our treat."

Emile rolled her eyes at her friend.

"You have done this before, right? You're not secretly a twelve-year-old or anything?" She asked, only half in jest, when Carly finally disconnected the call.

"It's been a while," Carly admitted, "but I have lived many a year on this earth. I have dated and kissed and even slept around. Men throw themselves at me almost daily. Why, I practically have to beat them away with a stick,' she finished, haughtily.

"Well, if you're not a naive youngling," Emile teased, "Why were you acting like it?"

"Blake isn't just anyone," She said slowly, feeling for the right words. "I feel like I have known him since forever, and I feel like he could easily be part of my life for the rest of forever. And it scares me, the way I feel. He's so, I don't know, he's such an alpha male, so confident and demanding. I could lose myself in him, and I don't want that. I don't want to give up me, not even for him."

Emile thought about it seriously, understanding completely. "I feel the same about Jack." She said slowly. "I guess we just have to trust in our men?"

Carly slipped out of bed with a sigh.

By the time the doorbell rang late Wednesday afternoon, Carly was half tempted to hand off the children to Blake for a moment of peace. The day had been long and arduous, with next to nothing going according to her plan. Jason had refused to comply with any of her directions, alternating between glaring and just walking away. It was almost enough to drive her insane. Caleb was handily supplying the last little push off the edge of sanity.

Blake wanted to take her in his arms as soon as she opened the door, he wanted to soothe the edge of hysteria he saw in her eyes. Instead, he reached for Caleb, who was screaming bloody murder and refusing to be comforted.

Carly looked at Blake wearing an expensive suit, easily calming the baby. Astonishment quickly turned furious. "You're hired."

"For what?" He asked, a bit cautiously, wary of the look in her eyes.

"To nanny for that demon until he learns to speak. And maybe even after. He hasn't stopped fussing for love or money, and ten seconds in your arms and he's acting like he's the most angelic thing this side of heaven." Her eyes were snapping, and she knew she was unloading her temper, but couldn't seem to stop.

"I guess it's just a guy thing?" he shrugged, trying to gauge just how close to the edge she was.

"Well, then do your 'guy thing' on Jason, too," she said sarcastically, complete with finger quotes, "because it is flapping difficult to have a conversation with someone who refuses to speak! Jason's mad at me, Caleb hates me, and I suck at this!" Her tone was frenzied, and Blake was concerned.

"Change of plans," he said, slipping easily into his Alpha mode, waving Carly into her own home with one hand. "You go and take a bath or do whatever it is you do to relax. I'll order pizza, and then have a little man-to-man chat with the boys. I'll let you know when the pizza arrives, and we'll eat in the living room. Jason gets to pick out the movie."

She glared at him for a long moment.