“What does being responsible mean? Do I marry her? Send her a check to help pay for expenses? I have no idea what to do. She thinks this is going to ruin her career. Is it going to ruin mine?” Sawyer was about to hyperventilate.
“Relax. Calm down.”
“Faith, I found out I’m going to be a dad a few hours ago. I’m pretty sure when I wake up tomorrow, I’m going to need you to remind me this wasn’t all a bad dream.”
Faith frowned. “I hate that neither of you is thinking of a baby as a blessing.” She placed a hand on her brother’s cheek. “I know the timing sucks, but you’re going to be a dad. That’s the most important job you’re ever going to have.”
“Dad would be so disappointed in me for getting in this situation.”
“Dad would be ecstatic about becoming a grandpa. He never would have judged you. You’re both twenty-five years old. Our parents were younger than you when they had me.”
“Yeah, but we’re terrible parents already. Piper’s freaking out. I’m terrified.”
“If that makes people terrible parents, then everyone is a terrible parent. It’s going to be okay,” Faith assured him. “We’ll figure it out. That’s what family does.”
Sawyer took a deep breath. He wanted to believe his sister, but who knew what Piper would think in the morning…or the lengths Heath would go to keep Piper’s career on track.
PIPER’S HANDS TREMBLED. She sat on them to keep them still. Waiting for Sawyer to show up was torture. All she wanted to do was tell her dad what was wrong and let him fix it.
“Dean wasn’t kidding,” her dad said, lifting his eyes from his phone screen for a second. Heath had the country music TV station on in their suite while he scrolled through his social media feeds. “Everyone is talking about you right now. I haven’t seen buzz like this since you met Prince Harry.”
Sawyer wasn’t the first guy the world had wanted Piper to date. A year ago, a very vocal group of fans had desperately wanted her to become a princess. At the time, she’d thought it was ridiculous. How she’d love to go back to laughing off the silly whims of some teenagers.
Piper jumped at the knock on the door. Her nerves were completely shot. “Remember to be nice, Daddy.”
He smirked. “I’m always nice.”
“If by ‘always’ you mean ‘never,’ I concur.”
“Lana, I can be nice, can’t I?”
Poor Lana froze as she arranged the room service breakfast they had ordered. “Of course, Mr. Starling.”
Piper shook her head. There was no way Lana could answer that question honestly even if she wanted to. They all knew if there was one person who took the most of her father’s abuse, it was poor Lana. “You’re too nice, Lana.”
She opened the door for Sawyer. Behind him stood Faith and Dean. Sawyer had texted her last night to tell her his sister had interrogated him until he broke. Faith was well aware of what was about to be discussed, but Dean was not.
“You ready for this?” Sawyer whispered as he greeted her with a hug.
“As ready as I’ll ever be. You?”
“Let’s do this,” he replied.
The presidential suite at the Berkshire Hotel had two bedrooms, a spacious living room and an adjoining dining room. The living room had two sitting areas filled with plush couches and wingback chairs. A large flat-screen television hung on the wall above the fireplace.
“I figured we’d eat while we talked,” Piper said. The table was covered in pastries and family-size portions of scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon and potatoes. There was a large platter of fresh fruit in the center.
They all sat down and everyone dug in except for Piper and Sawyer. Piper inhaled deeply. She’d never done anything to make her father angry with her. Growing up, she was the kid who did what she was told and never stepped out of line. Her brother’s illness had given their parents enough grief.
Sawyer took her hand and held it under the table. The contact made her stomach flip and her skin tingle. As much as she appreciated the support, it was more distracting than anything else.