Beck kneels in front of me and gathers me into his arms. “What did I say? Did I do something? What’s wrong?” He’s so worried about me, and I start crying even harder.

“Everything—is—wrong—” I sob out the words. “You’ll hate me, Beck. I’ve ruined everything!

“I hate myself for it. Everything is over. I’m so sorry!” I bury my face in his jacket, crying.

He pushes me back gently, and I can’t bring myself to meet his eyes. His hands with their long fingers cup my cheeks. “Lia, I want you to tell me what happened.” He’s calm, scarily so. “I can’t make things better if you don’t talk to me.” His thumbs move across my cheeks, gently massaging the curve of my cheek bone on each side.

My lashes are matted with tears as I try to look at him. I want one last look in his eyes before I tell him how fucked up I’ve made things. “I’m so sorry, Beck. I’m pregnant. I’m having your baby.”

He freezes, going stiff. I’m sure he’s about to yell, maybe even fire me. He’ll panic the way he did when Tasha broke her arm riding bikes when we were little. He’ll—

Beck’s arms sweep me into a hug, and his nose rubs the side of my face as he nuzzles me into position to accept his kiss. Dazed, I let him kiss me deeply, hanging onto him as I try to calm my tears.

“You’ve ruined nothing.” His lips are gentle this time, kissing away my tears. “Our lives aren’t over; we’re just beginning.” Beck moves a hand down to my stomach and rests it there. “To be a little crass, I thought your breasts looked bigger last night,” he teases.

We both hear the door lock unlatch and separate quickly. I wipe at the lingering tears as someone knocks on the doorframe to the office. Jean busts in, almost catching us in our embrace. “What’s going on?” she says suspiciously, looking between us. Her mouth is puckered as if she just bit into a lemon.

I stand up and go over by my sculpture, using it as an excuse to try and catch my breath. I examine how it was hung as Beck coldly asks Jean what she needs. He’s angry that she trailed after Jess into the office instead of following protocol and waiting to be buzzed in. “You know better!” he snaps.

“I just needed these signed. The company party is next weekend, and we need this taken care of before then.” Apparently, the division head of Research and Development is being honored for his contributions. “I really didn’t think it would be a big deal. I couldn’t see Lia at her desk from the door, and I didn’t want to make you have to get up. Sorry, Beck.”

Jean is wary as she watches me; I can see her in the mirror’s reflection. I hate the way she’s leaning over his desk as her eyes are searching for any reaction on my part. I deny her the satisfaction.

I busy myself with the sculpture until she leaves and we hear Jess’s cart go out the door too. Sighing, I sit down on the edge of the desk. I cover my face with my hands and groan out my frustration. “That was just a taste of what we’re going to go through, Beck. How can we go through this?” All my worries come spilling out. “How can I tell my parents that I’m pregnant? How can I tell Tasha that I’m having your baby?”

His arms go around me, and he pulls me down into his lap. “Shh.” Beck kisses the side of my head and lightly swings us side to side in the chair. “We’ll figure it out, love. Don’t stress too hard.” His hand slides down my back, drawing me even closer to him, and then moves to my stomach, rubbing my belly. “You’ve got a baby in you now—my baby. We can’t have you making yourself sick with worry. Let’s take things one day at a time, Lia.”

I let him soothe me, though I think it’s as much for his own sake as mine. There’s excitement in his voice, gentle and warm, as he talks about the baby. I can practically hear all the plans going into motion inside his brain.

“Why don’t you take the rest of today off, Lia? I’m just going to be here in meetings. You did such a fantastic job while I was away, and everything is in order. You know the garage code still, right?” When I nod, Beck grasps my hand and brings it to his lips in a gentle kiss across my knuckles. “Good. Go take a shower, rest in my bed or a guest bed. Watch television or soak in the tub… Do whatever you want that will make you feel a bit calmer. Tasha was out already when I left this morning; breakfast plans or something. She should be home by lunch, though. If you want to wait to tell her until I’m home, I’ll do it.” Copyright 2016 - 2024