That was one thing she would never have worried about, even if he hadn’t said it. Then a way of getting him off this line of enquiry came to her. “I would never expect you to, but could we please stop talking like pregnancy is a foregone conclusion?”

“And you?” he asked, clearly ignoring her plea.


She tried not to be offended he had even asked. In his mind, he had good reason for doing so. Irrefutable experience. But still, the question hurt. “I’m not your mother. I don’t have to give my child up in order to leave a soul-destroying life behind.”

“How long since your last period?”

“What, are you an expert on menstrual cycles?” she challenged.

“No.”

“I’m not, either.” She blew out a frustrated breath. “But I do know somewhere in the middle of your cycle is the most likely time for pregnancy to occur.”

“And?”

She winced, wishing she could say something else. “I’m pretty much smack-dab there right now.”

“Even so, as you say, many women do not fall pregnant quickly after being on birth control for a prolonged period. How long have you been on the patch?”

“I started taking it with Art and never went off, even though I was celibate until that first time with you. I liked the way it balanced my monthly hormone cycle.”

“That is a significant amount of time.”

“Yes.”

“So, the chances you are pregnant are diminished?”

“So I’ve been led to believe.” She looked at him worriedly.

“But diminished is not nonexistent.”

“No.”

“Are you very angry?”

“Angry? No. Well, maybe a smidge with myself. I feel like an idiot for not keeping more attentive track, especially when we stopped using condoms.”

“But you are not angry at the prospect of carrying my child?”

“No.” Oh, heck. She might as well go for broke. She was feeling reckless and tired of hiding feelings that were so strong they left little room for anything else. “I can’t imagine anyone I would rather have as the father of my child.”

Shock froze his features for several long seconds. “You do not mean that.”

“I don’t lie.”

“No, you don’t. No more than I.”

That was something she still had to work on believing, but she wasn’t going to tell him that. Because Zephyr had never done anything to earn her mistrust.

“I guess a billionaire real-estate tycoon would make an admirable choice as father for your child,” he said in his second full-scale departure from tact.

She just managed to stop herself clouting him. “This is more of that, they want me in their life for what I can buy for them garbage, isn’t it? I don’t look at you as a meal ticket, Zee.”

And he’d better get that through his head right now, or they were going to have more problems between them than an unanticipated possible pregnancy.

He jolted. “You have never called me that before.”

Sometimes, he focused on the least important things.

“I’ve heard Neo do so.” But he was right. For some reason, believing she might be pregnant with Zephyr’s child made her feel more comfortable with the casual intimacy.

“Yes.”

“If you don’t like it, I won’t do it again,” she offered.

“I do not mind.”

“Fine. Um, we need to make a plan.”

“You need to eat breakfast.” Again with the non sequitur, but maybe that was okay. For now.

She needed some time to think if nothing else. “So do you.”

“Then let us eat.” And incredibly, they managed to do that without any further discussion of possible consequences of the lack of birth control.

They were halfway to Sounion     before he mentioned the morning’s disturbing revelations again.

“So, a plan,” he said as they drove down the coastal highway.

“We should, um, probably go back to using condoms until we know if I’m pregnant.” She had realized during her personal ruminations that was as far as she wanted to go with contingency arrangements at present. Her mind simply refused to wrap around the prospect of a child. Their baby. Growing inside her body.

Yesterday, she’d been thinking she had to tell him goodbye once and for all and now she was faced with the prospect of never being able to do so, even if they stopped making love.

“Yes.”

“I don’t want to put another patch on, just in case, even though it is not likely, but we should definitely use condoms.” She shook her head at herself. She didn’t want to risk hurting a baby that probably didn’t even exist.

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