“No. No more people involved with me or us, Liam. I don’t want anyone else getting hurt.”
“I’ll take precautions.”
“We’re gambling with someone’s life by involving them in mine.”
“We’re not gambling with your life and potentially our unborn child’s.”
Our unborn child’s. Unbidden, tears well in my eyes and I look away, struggling with the idea that I am about to bring a baby into this hell. His finger slides under my chin and he forces my gaze to his, using his thumb to stroke away a tear. “Is the idea of having my child that horrific?”
I grab his hand. “No. That’s not it. You...we...I...” I squeeze my eyes shut. “We...”
“Have a lot to figure out,” he supplies. “I know. And we will, but let’s start with making sure you’re healthy. Can you make it to the bed?”
“I’m fine now. Whatever it was, it’s over.” He helps me to my feet and then picks me up.
“I can walk.”
“So can I.” I grimace at the remark as he sets me on the bed and says, “You need to rest.”
“I don’t want to rest. I want my computer back from the hotel room with all of my research on it.”
“Tellar’s man got your things from the room. They should be here this afternoon.”
Relief washes over me. “Oh thank goodness. I put weeks into that work.”
“I have stacks of research we did as well. It’s all yours to look at. I’ll show it all to you and we’ll talk all of this out. We’ll get a plan together. After,” he adds, stroking hair from my brow and flattens his hand on my cheek, “the doctor comes and checks you out.”
I grab his hand, and I can’t keep the quaver from my voice. “Everyone close to me dies, Liam. I can’t have a child and lose it.”
“Don’t do this to yourself. We’re going to get through this. Nothing is going to happen to you or the baby. You have my word.”
There is a fierceness to the way he delivers his promise, an absoluteness, and I wonder if he’s trying to convince me or himself, or maybe both of us. He leans in and kisses my forehead, his lips lingering on my skin. My fingers wrap around his wrist a little too tightly I suspect, but I can’t seem to help it. I have this sense he might be gone at any moment.
He molds me close, flattening his hand in the center of my back, burying his face in my neck and I know he feels what I do. He is afraid I will soon be gone. He draws in a breath, inhaling my scent I think, and I do the same to him. I drink in that earthly, raw male scent of him, feeding off of it like it, he, is my lifeline, and in that moment, we are those two lost souls I’ve thought us to be on many occasions, someone so right for each other and so devastatingly bad at the same time.
Reluctantly, it seems, he leans back and says, “I’m calling for the doctor.”
I nod. “Yes. Okay.”
He reaches for his phone on the nightstand and walks to the window. My attention is riveted on him, this man who could very well be the father of my child. I study him, his strong profile, the way he moves with grace and confidence, the way he makes everything seem easy. Except us. We are not easy any more than we are the calm water of the Hudson River just beyond the windows. We are caught in the hurricane of turbulence, passion, and a past I can’t even remember.
In less than an hour from the time Liam places the call, Dr. Murphy, an attractive forty-something woman, has arrived, and according to Liam, she makes a living catering to the rich and famous. Translation, she gets paid the big bucks for keeping her mouth shut. I pray the opposite doesn’t apply as well.
She and I take a seat at the window in Liam’s bedroom and I am acutely aware of Liam hovering nearby. I’m also aware of Dr. Murphy’s perfectly fitted navy blue suit, and her red hair braided at her nape, while I am a blonde, frizzy, just showered mess, who managed a few dabs of makeup from the stash I had in my backpack that made it to New York with me. I am also braless, thanks to Liam’s overzealous dagger action, and dressed in an oversized T-shirt, tennis shoes, and Liam’s sweats that I’ve had to pin up.
Dr. Murphy admires the water for a moment. “It’s been a long time since I’ve seen this view.” Her lips curve. “Alex and I went way back. I actually live next door but there is something about the view from his room.”
“Oh,” I say, and my mind can go all kinds of places with that one.
“Oh,” she repeats, looking amused. “And yes to whatever you are thinking. I knew Alex quite well.” She pulls a blood pressure machine from her bag. “Let’s start with some basic vitals, shall we?”
She pumps the cuff up. Liam paces behind us. Back and forth. Back and forth. Dr. Murphy unclamps my arm. “Blood pressure is good.” She stands to eye Liam. “But mine won’t be if you keep pacing behind me.” She points to the door. “Out.”
“I’m staying,” he insists.
She crosses her arms over her chest and gives him a steely stare that impressively rivals the one he returns. “You leave,” she warns, “or I leave.”
Liam, who has changed into jeans and a teal blue pullover that matches his now stormy eyes, gives her a fierce look. “I don’t like being strong-armed, Dr. Murphy.”
She doesn’t even try to deny that’s exactly what she’s doing. “You don’t have to like it. I’m the doctor and I insist all of my patients have privacy.”