Please. Could she please just stop thinking? Stop remembering? But it was no use. She didn’t have experience with pregnancy herself and had never been around anyone who was having a baby. Her time with Christina was as close as she’d gotten.
Which wasn’t much. But based on how off she’d felt the last few weeks—something she’d chalked up to guilt, nerves and grief—Sadie was afraid she’d added one very large complication to her already tangled situation.
Heaven help her.
* * *
Zach lengthened his stride, hoping to make it through the foyer before Gladys heard the door close behind him. He didn’t have long before he had to be at the office. KC was helping him get their newest team member settled in town. They were signing the paperwork on his new apartment before she brought him by the office for the first time.
Zach needed to be there.
But he was worried about Sadie. She’d gone home early from the dinner the night before, afraid she’d come down with a stomach bug. She’d even insisted on taking a cab home, expressing concern about interrupting the event and also about infecting him.
He’d let her go, only after she’d promised to text when she got back to the B and B. There were still things they didn’t know about each other—for all he knew, she was the type who wanted to be left alone when she was sick. Like him.
She’d texted him when she got back and had even mentioned that she’d stopped at the pharmacy for some meds to help calm her stomach. He hadn’t heard from her since.
A quick peek to assure himself that she was okay would be enough for now.
But later, they needed to have a talk. Zach was perfectly happy to let her be, as long as she touched base every so often to let him know she was okay. Preferably from the other end of the room, rather than the other end of town.
Otherwise, those dang protective instincts kicked in, and he worried something had happened—
Zach paused outside Sadie’s door, hand raised to knock. The contrast between what he wanted with Sadie and what he had with her hit him hard. He’d proceeded on tiptoes, not demanding too much too soon, not asking for what he truly needed, afraid that if he pushed too hard, she would leave again.
Maybe he’d been overcautious. They were practically living together, and yet he’d let her go home sick without him the night before. He stood outside her door right now, waiting to knock, because he didn’t want to intrude. How ridiculously careful all of this was.
With a frown, Zach tried the doorknob. It clicked, then opened. He walked inside. It was that easy.
Glancing around, he was alarmed to see the bed empty, blankets half hanging off the side, as if they had trailed after the person trying to leave them behind. No Sadie in sight. He heard the shower running.
Okay. She was steady enough to want to shower. Good deal. He’d just wait until she got out. After making sure she didn’t need anything, he’d head over to the office for a while, then come back. He crossed to the bed to straighten up the covers. A tissue box and mound of crumpled, used tissues covered the nightstand.
Odd, she’d said her stomach hurt, not that she had a cold.
Once more he looked around, this time hunting for the small trash can he knew to be around here somewhere. He finally located it under the low table in the sitting area. It was already filled with tissues. That explained one thing, at least. As he stood there wondering if he should risk calling Gladys for a new trash bag, Sadie’s phone lit up.
An incoming text message.
He didn’t recognize the name Victor Beddingfield, but the preview of the message on the screen below the name made Zach do a double take.
Hell no, I don’t care what happens to Zach Gatlin, as long as he doesn’t show up here wanting...
Wanting what? And why was this stranger texting about him?
The mere use of his name gave Zach the right to pick up that phone, in his opinion. And right now, his was the only opinion that mattered. He swiped his thumb over the screen. Zach only wished he could honestly say he didn’t know Sadie’s combination to unlock the screen. Unfortunately, it was a connect-the-dots picture that he’d watched her swipe in many times. The order of the combination played out in his mind’s eye with ease.