I couldn’t remember the last time I’d been this nervous.
My hands were shaking. My pulse raced. My stomach was fluttering so crazily, it felt like I had a flock of geese inside it, not a baby.
I lowered myself onto the edge of the bathtub in our master bath and stared again at the pink plus sign on the pregnancy test—the eighth one I’d taken so far. It was positive, like all the rest of them had been.
We were having a baby. It was real.
A smile crept onto my lips as I rose to my feet. This pregnancy had been totally unplanned—we weren’t even married yet! And Paisley wasn’t even a year old! Life was about to get seriously overwhelming. But I couldn’t help the joy rushing through me at the prospect of sharing it all with Nate. He’d be happy too, wouldn’t he?
Of course he would. He’d come a long way since hearing the news about Paisley. He was used to being a father now. In fact, he loved it. Our weekends with his little girl were the highlight of his months, and I knew how badly he missed her when she was with her mother. He talked about her constantly and was always showing off her picture. Now he’d have two babies to show off!
“Emme? Are you up here?”
Gulp. He was home from work! And coming up the stairs!
I wasn’t ready!
“In here!” I called, turning around and hiding the stick behind my back just as he walked into the bedroom. The bathroom door was open and I watched him enter the bedroom.
He saw me and gave me a funny look. “What are you doing?”
“Nothing.” I plastered a smile on my face while my heart beat overtime in my chest.
Nate slipped his suit coat off and tossed it onto the bed. “That is not a ‘nothing’ face.”
“It’s not?” I tried a more innocent expression.
He laughed as he loosened his tie. “That one’s even worse. What’s going on with you?”
“Um … How was work?”
“Work was fine. The usual.” He came into the bathroom, and my stomach whooshed for a different reason—nobody wore a suit better than Nate, but I loved watching him take it off too. He looked so sexy with his jacket off and his collar loose and his five o’clock shadow just starting to come in. He put his arms around me and my nether regions tingled as I caught the scent of his skin.
“Mmm. You smell good.”
“You too.” He kissed my cheek and then lifted my chin, forcing me to look him in the eye. “Now tell me about whatever it is you’re hiding.”
I giggled nervously. “What makes you think I’m hiding something?”
“I know you, Calamity.” He gave me a look and then returned to the bedroom, where he unbuttoned his cuffs and started rolling them up. “Did you drive over the in-ground sprinklers again?”
“I was avoiding a squirrel in the driveway!”
“Set fire to the living room sofa?”
“That candle was clearly defective.”
“Shrink my favorite sweater?”
I sniffed. “You shouldn’t leave your clothes where they might inadvertently get thrown in the wash.”
He grinned. “I didn’t. You borrowed that sweater.”
“Well, it smelled like you,” I said helplessly. “And you were away on business. I missed you.”
His grin widened as he finished the second cuff. “Good.”
“But I do have something to tell you.” Gingerly, I walked into the bedroom, keeping the test hidden behind my back.
“It’s .. uh, it’s a little surprising.”
He cocked a brow. “Oh?”
“Yeah.” I forced a laugh. “And funny too. It’s really funny.”
He faced me and stuck his hands on his hips. “Why am I getting the feeling I’m not going to like this funny surprise?”
“I don’t know,” I said, shifting my weight from one foot to the other. “Because it’s just so great. And so, um, unexpected. But—but great!”
“Emme. Spit it out.”
“Okay.” I took a breath and held up the test.
He squinted at it. “What the hell is that?”
“It’s a pregnancy test.”
He tilted his head and squinted harder, like there was something written on it in a foreign language he didn’t understand. “A pregnancy test?”
“Yes. I’m pregnant.”
His head straightened and his eyes went wide. “You can’t be.”
“Actually, I can.”
“You don’t look pregnant.”
“Well, it’s early, silly. I’m only a few weeks along.”
“But … but how?” He started to sway.
“How?” I blinked at him. “You need the anatomical particulars on this?”
“The Pill,” he croaked, his eyes going a little glassy. “You’re on the Pill.”
“Yes, but I sometimes miss one.”
“You’re—you’re sure you didn’t just shrink another sweater?”
“I’m sure,” I told him, growing a bit concerned, not to mention annoyed. “Nate, are you okay? You don’t look right.”
“I’m fine, Mom. I just need to sit down for a second.”
And then his knees buckled.
“Nate!” I squealed as he hit the floor. Dropping down beside him on the rug, I pulled his head onto my lap and shook him a bit. “Nate, honey, are you okay?”
His eyes opened.
“Hey.” I patted his cheek. “Can you hear me?”
“Oh good, you’re alive.”
Another groan, and then he tried to sit up.
“No, no. Stay right there. I don’t want you to get dizzy.”
He frowned, but he stayed put. “I’m sorry,” he said, closing his eyes again.
“It’s okay.” I brushed his hair back from his forehead. “It was a big surprise. I know.”
“So you’re … you’re sure? About the pregnancy?”
I sighed. “Yes. I’m afraid I am.”
“No. Don’t be afraid.” He opened his eyes and sat up, taking a second to get his bearings, and then reaching for me. “Come here.”
I let him pull me across his lap and wrap me up in his arms, snuggling into his embrace.
He kissed my head. “God, I’m an asshole. I’m sorry, Emme.”
“It’s okay. I wasn’t expecting this either.”
He looked down at me, and for the first time, he smiled. “A baby, huh?”
I nodded and smiled back. “A baby.”
His hand drifted to my stomach. “I can’t believe it.”
“I gathered that when you fell over.”
He laughed, but when he met my eyes again, his were teary. “You know how happy this makes me, don’t you?”
My eyes filled too. “Are you happy? Really?”
“Of course I am. I love being a father. And I love you.” he kissed me. “Nothing could make me happier than growing our family.”
“You mean it?” A tear fell from one eye. “I know the timing isn’t great. Paisley is still so young, and we’re not even—”
He cut me off with another kiss. “I don’t care about any of that. The timing is exactly right. Paisley is going to be the best big sister ever. And we can run out and get married this weekend if you want to. Shotgun wedding at the courthouse.”
My jaw dropped. “Nate Pearson, bite your tongue. I have been dreaming of my wedding day for twenty years and there’s no way I’m settling for any shotgun courthouse nonsense!”
He laughed. “I’m only saying it doesn’t bother me that we’re not married yet. As much as I want you to be my wife, it’s a piece of paper. What really matters is that you and I are in this together, and this is only the beginning.”
I smiled. “I love you.”
He pulled me tighter to his chest. “I love you, too.”
Thanks for reading!