“Good morning, Miss Lia,” he replies warmly. “You look radiant this morning.”
Putting my hands on my hips, I give him a stern look. “Is that code for happy and fat?”
“WH—What?” he sputters out. “No, oh no, Miss Lia. You’re not fat. You’re just pregnant. You’ll probably go right back to normal afterward…I mean, um—”
“You should just stop while you’re ahead,” says an amused voice. Sam looks at Lucian as if silently begging for help. “I think she’s just screwing with you, man, but I can’t be certain after her earlier meltdown,” Lucian adds helpfully.
I stick my tongue out at the man I love, before turning back to Sam and grinning. “I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist. And thank you for the compliment. Luc picked out my outfit this morning—since I couldn’t get anything to work.”
“You shouldn’t scare an old man like that, Miss Lia,” Sam playfully scolds. “I was only seconds away from running out the door and hiding.”
“Sorry, Sam,” I say as I squeeze his arm. “How about a cup of coffee to make it up to you?”
He looks down at his watch before looking at Lucian. “Do we have time for a quick cup?”
Lucian inclines his head, waving Sam toward the kitchen. “I need to make sure Lia eats before I leave anyway. We were running a bit late this morning.”
“I’ll bet,” I hear Sam say under his breath as I start to line up the coffee mugs on the counter. The coffee pot is full, thanks to the timer, so within moments, I have a cup sitting in front of Sam. Lucian is busy making me a bagel, with my beloved blueberry cream cheese. I take the plate from him, giving him a smile of thanks. Instead of food, he makes himself a protein shake and sips it while flipping through the morning paper. “So, how have you been feeling, Miss Lia? Is the morning sickness getting any better?”
I grimace, as I shake my head. “It could be worse, I know. At least I only occasionally get sick at other times. Most of it seems to be limited to the early morning. My doctor says it gets better for most women in their second trimester and I’m there now so I certainly hope I’m nearing the end.”
Lucian sits and chats as if he’s in no particular hurry, but I know well he’s just waiting around to make sure I finish my breakfast before he leaves. He’s become somewhat of an overprotective mother hen. The doctor told me that I needed to drink more liquids to avoid dehydration because of my morning sickness. So now, Lucian hands out water bottles like a drill sergeant. He also makes sure I eat regular meals, along with snacks whenever he’s around. I love the man, but it feels like he’s constantly stuffing me with food. I force down the last bite of my bagel and he immediately gets to his feet. I trail him and Sam to the door, where he pulls me into the circle of his arms. He kisses me gently before pulling back and dropping a hand to my small bump of my stomach. “Take care of our baby today,” he says sweetly as he strokes me.
I lay my hand over his and assure him, “I will. I love you.” By this point, Sam is standing in the hallway, pretending not to hear us. The slight smile pulling at the corners of his mouth gives him away, though.
“I love you, baby. Be careful today. Text me when you get to school so I’ll know you made it okay.”
We have this same conversation each morning so I smile as usual and agree. When the door shuts behind him, I return to the kitchen and throw away the other half of my bagel. Those things are huge and I’m afraid to eat so much before I go sit in a classroom. I’ve no desire to be the girl who pukes on herself in front of fifty people. I’ve gotten good at hiding half of my breakfast while Lucian is reading the paper. I’m certain Sam caught me this morning though, as I slid the bagel in the silverware drawer. Luckily, he didn’t point it out to Luc.
I’ve tossed the evidence and am walking through the garage toward Lucian’s Range Rover when my phone beeps. I look at the screen to see a text from Lucian. “Miss you already. Love you and our baby through this life and beyond.”
And just like that, I’m a crying mess—but I’ve never been happier. Life is funny that way.
“So…how are things going with Rose?” Fuck, I can’t believe this. Men don’t go around trying to play cupid for their friends. I’m only doing this for Lia. She is going to owe me tonight—and I’ll find a satisfying way for her to pay me back.
Max looks surprised at my question before recovering. “What things would those be, Luc?” Well hell, he’s not going to make this easy for me, is he? I guess I could offer him a big raise to just date Rose and make my woman happy, but the fucker already makes damn near as much as I do.
When he continues to sit there staring at me, I sigh, exasperated. “Oh, cut the shit, are you still talking to her?”
Giving me a blank expression he asks, “Why would I be? The police haven’t picked her up lately, have they? That’s generally the only time she contacts me.”
“I’m just going to put this out there,” I finally say, tired of this dicking around. “Lia is worried about Rose because she’s been acting strange. She says her father is pressuring her to date someone that he knows and Rose is buckling under the pressure. Lia believes that if you’ll get off the fence and go after her, all will be right in everyone’s world.”
I have the desire to just flat-out laugh my ass off as Max visibly struggles to hold his composure. It’s obvious he wasn’t expecting what just came out of my mouth. “Luc, there is nothing between Rose and me. Sure, I helped her out a couple of times when she went after her ex-boyfriend with a shovel, a gun…and a sewing machine. But that’s all. Anything else is just her imagination.”