“You’re going to be my wife. I think there are some rules we can make for one another, don’t you?”
“Stop saying that. I haven’t agreed to anything.”
I walk over to her, taking her hand and pulling her over to the bed. I sit down first and make her stand between my legs. In this position, we are almost eye to eye. She’s so short that even when I’m sitting, I’m still taller than her.
“Felicity. What choice do you have? I’ll ruin your father’s career. And our baby needs a father.”
Reaching down, I rub the bump growing on her belly. Our baby. I’m going to be a father. The thought makes my heart feel light. I’d never considered marriage and a baby before Felicity, but now all of that hope is in my grasp and I’ll do whatever it takes to make it a reality.
“I have plans tonight.”
I look in her eyes and see there is trepidation there. Something is off.
“You have a dinner with your father and his assistant tonight, don’t you?” I ask, knowing full well she does. I saw her father speaking to her after the ceremony.
“Yes,” she says, not looking at me.
“And you haven’t told him about the baby, have you?”
“No.” Her teeth are gritted, and she doesn’t like that I can read her so well.
“Look, Felicity. I tried to play by your rules. I tried to give you time and space. I told you all that I would offer you if you would only give me a chance. I explained everything about that night, and you continued to ignore me. I hate that it has to be like this. But it will be like this.”
My words are firm, but there is confusion on her face.
“You never explained anything to me. You were an asshole that morning, and then I never heard another word. I was in pieces, Calder, and I had to take care of myself. Thank God for Mark.”
At the mention of that boy’s name, I see red.
“Don’t you dare say his name. You’re mine. And our baby doesn't need to hear another man’s name on your lips.”
“What makes you think this baby is yours?”
It would have hurt less if she’d just stabbed me in the heart. But instead, I just look at her and her triumphant smile. She knows her words cut straight through me, but she doesn’t feel the least bit sorry about it.
“Careful, sweetheart. Your soon-to-be husband doesn’t like being disrespected.” I stand from the bed and look down at her. “And I can tell when you’re lying. You and my baby need to get ready. We’ve got a dinner to attend tonight.”
Walking into dinner, I feel Felicity pulling on my arm.
“Please, Calder. Not like this. Let me talk to him first.”
“No,” I growl and pull her forward. “You know the consequences if you don’t agree to this.”
I feel her stiffen and then finally she takes a step forward.
We enter the Varsity Hotel and walk through the lobby and straight into the restaurant. I’ve got Felicity on my arm so that there is no mistaking she and I are together.
When we see Bill and Becky at the table, I can practically hear her heart beating, she’s so nervous. Before we walk over, and before they spot us, I pull Felicity off to the side.
“Look at me,” I say, gently holding her chin. “You’ll be fine. I’m going to be next to you the whole time.”
“That’s what I’m afraid of.”
Her nervous joke makes me smile, and I lean down, taking her lips. For the first time in months, my heart seems to ease. It’s as if her lips have quieted everything around us, and we are now once again in perfect harmony.
Her mouth parts for me, and I sweep my tongue in, tasting her. I feel her hands come to my chest and rest there as I claim her as mine all over again. She may not think she wants this, but her body has other ideas.
As the kiss deepens, I know it needs to end, so reluctantly I pull away and rest my forehead against hers. I take a moment to catch my breath and then put her hand back in the crook of my arm, leading us over to the table.
When Bill spots us, there’s a moment that passes, and I expect to see shock. But instead he nods in our direction and stands to greet us.
He reaches out his hand to me and I take it, grasping it firmly. Becky stands and says hello to Felicity and then looks over at me, a little surprised that I’m here. But Bill is unfazed.
“Calder. I thought you might be joining us for dinner this evening. Please have a seat.”
I feel Felicity tense on my arm, but she stays silent as she sits down quickly, no doubt to try to hide the baby bump that I have no intention of keeping a secret.