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Page 49



“Are you okay?” she whispered, walking over to him as she buttoned jeans that were starting to become a little snug.

Standing, he snaked his arms around her waist. “I am. Are you?”

She nodded, snuggling against his chest. However, she wasn’t okay. She was far from it. The pain Gavin was going through was killing her. Pulling in his smell and drowning in the sound of his heart, she fought back tears.

Gavin kissed the top of her head. “I didn’t know you looked up that amnio… or whatever it’s called.”

“Yeah. I did the other day while I was at work.”

“You mentioned risks.” He reached for her purse and handed it to her. “What kind of risks are there, and how do they perform the test?”

Sliding the strap over her shoulder, she paused a moment, remembering what the procedure entailed. An involuntary shiver worked through her. “They would stick a needle through my stomach and…”

With shock crossing his face, he cut her off. “A needle? In your stomach?”

“Yes.”

Gavin blew out a puff of air. “Emily, I’d rather a needle not go near your stomach.”

“Umm, Gavin, I’d rather a needle not go through my stomach either. I mean, it can cause an infection.”

Gavin’s eyes went wide. “What type of infection?”

Emily smiled at his confusion and worry. “Amniotic. It’s the sack of liquid the baby’s in. It can become… infected.”

“Then what happens?” he asked, swiping his hand through his hair, his tone showing his worry was mounting.

Emily pulled in a slow breath. “It can lead to a miscarriage.”

Gavin swallowed, his words slow. “Are you serious?” Emily nodded. “No way. You’re not getting it done.” Intertwining their fingers, he started for the door. “Jesus, Emily, why would you even think about putting the baby or yourself through that?”

They rounded the corner, heading in the opposite direction of the doctor’s office. Emily came to a stop. “I looked it up because I can see you’re suffering. That’s the only test I found that could prove who the father is now.” Looking away, her voice trailed. “It’s enough you took me back. Now you have to deal with this?”

Gavin cupped her face, bringing her gaze back to his. “It’s enough I took you back?” Emily nodded, her eyes glassing over. With his thumbs, he gently swiped away her tears. “Despite all the pain and hurt I went through losing you for just that little amount of time, Emily, I wouldn’t change a thing. Not a thing. I’d take you back a million times over. Pain and all.” He brushed his lips over hers, his voice soft. “We’re dealing with this. Not just me. Us. I’d rather not know than have you put yourself or the baby in any kind of danger. I’d never be able to live with myself if anything happened to either of you because you think I need to know.”

Leaning into his intoxicating warmth, Emily rested her head against his chest. “Are you sure?”

He slid his hands through her hair, pulling her closer. “As sure as I know we’re growing old together. I can see it now. Two rocking chairs on a porch, watching our grandchildren make a fucking mess of our yard. It’s all good. We’ll sugar them up and send them home with their parents in retaliation.” Emily giggled. “Though you might have to feed me applesauce because these pearly whites will be gone. You’re stuck with me.”

Emily looked at him. “Applesauce, huh?”

Gavin shrugged, a grin pulling at his mouth. “Eh. I like pudding, too.”

Pushing up on her tiptoes, Emily popped a kiss on his nose. “Deal. Applesauce, pudding, and grandchildren running loose on sugar highs in retaliation.” Gavin smiled, and Emily reached for his hand. “Okay. But I still need to schedule the transvaginal ultrasound before we leave.”

Gavin cleared his throat as they approached the window where Blondie was chatting away on the phone. “Right. About this transvaginal thing. I don’t like the sound of it.”

Emily rolled her eyes. “What now?”

“Well, I’m not a doctor, so I’m just assuming here, but I’m thinking some dirty old man’s going to have center view of your—”

Emily quickly covered his mouth, her eyes wide as saucers. “Gavin!” She could feel his lips lift in a smile, his blue eyes shimmering with humor. “You, sir, need to get used to this.”

“I’ll do no such thing,” he said, the words muffled under her hand. Turning, effectively releasing his mouth from Emily’s hostage grip, he rang the bell, jolting Blondie from her conversation. Eyes wide, she hung up the phone. “We need to schedule a transvaginal amnio for my girlfriend, but we’d like it performed by a woman.” Emily belted out a laugh. Gavin looked at Emily, his smile wide. “What?”

She shook her head. “It’s not called a transvaginal amnio, psycho Caveman.” His smile faltered, and if Emily wasn’t mistaken, he appeared slightly embarrassed. Nonetheless, he looked adorably sexy.

“It’s called a transvaginal ultrasound,” said Blondie, looking equally embarrassed by the conversation. “Dr. Richards sent the paperwork up. Will two-thirty next Tuesday over at the Freeman building work for you?”

“Will a woman perform this test?” Gavin questioned, no longer looking embarrassed or confused. Now he just looked all-out concerned, and Emily couldn’t help but laugh again.

“I can put in a request, but I can’t guarantee it’ll be a woman who does it.”

“That’s fine.” Emily reached for Gavin, quickly leading him toward the exit. “Two-thirty, next Tuesday, the Freeman building. I’ll be there. Thank you.”

“A woman,” Gavin called out as Emily tugged him into the hall. “We want a woman.”

Emily stepped out into the frigid night air, the mid-January wind needling her face as she waited for Gavin to pull around to the front of his building. With her glove-covered hands tucked deep into the pockets of her pea coat, she shook as she watched motorists fly by. Glancing to her left, she caught Gavin’s Ferrari rounding the corner of the underground garage. She puffed out a smoky sigh of relief and made her way to the curb. Reaching for the handle as he stopped, she swung open the door and climbed in, her body nearly frozen from the few seconds outside.

Gavin frowned, a perplexed look on his face. “I was getting out to let you in.”

She pressed the control panels on the dash, blasting the heat. “You’re too ki… kind,” she stuttered as she pulled the seatbelt across her waist. “But I wasn’t waiting. It’s cold as hell out there.”

“Hell’s not cold, sweets.” He stroked his knuckles against her neck as he eased into traffic. “But you are. Why didn’t you wait in the lobby?”

“I think I’m a glutton for punishment.” She pulled out her cell from her purse and hit the button for Olivia. After a few rings with no answer, she sent a text instead. “It’s either that or… yeah. I’m a glutton for punishment.”

Gavin stopped at a light. Sliding his arm over the back of her seat, he lifted a brow. “You did pass on a romantic evening of watching reruns of the Honeymooners with your man. Maybe you do deserve a little punishment.”


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