Piper pulled her hand away and exhaled slowly so she wouldn’t break down. “I get that, and I want that for you. I do. I just need a little more of your time.”
“Piper,” he said, lifting her chin and bringing her eyes back to his. “Let me finish. I want to fall in love, and I can’t deny that when I’m with you, it feels a lot like what falling in love is supposed to feel like. But I need you to be less confused. I need you to tell me what you want. Not what your dad says you should want or what will best fit your brand. What do you want?”
Fat tears rolled down Piper’s cheeks. Sawyer wiped her face and then his own.
“I want you to trust me because I think I’m falling in love with you, too.”
He smiled so both dimples showed. “Then how do you feel about dating the guy you’re fake engaged to?”
“SAWYER! PIPER! CAN we get a picture? Look this way!”
Sawyer put his arm around her waist and gave her a kiss on the temple. Piper smiled for all the cameras as they stood outside the auditorium hosting the Grammy Awards.
Smiling was a lot easier these days. When Sawyer kissed her, she didn’t question if he wanted to or if he was doing it because he thought he should. He always wanted to.
“Why do they all shout at the same time? I can’t look at all of them at the same time,” Sawyer said as they posed.
“All I can think about is how everyone will be circling my baby bump when these shots hit the internet.”
Piper had tried on a dozen dresses before deciding on what she wore: a body-hugging, baby blue column dress and a diamond necklace that was on loan from one of the biggest jewelers in Los Angeles.
Sawyer gave her a squeeze. “You look gorgeous. Don’t worry about it.”
They were finally ushered along. It was time to stop and talk to reporters. This was the part Piper had been most anxious about. It was time to tell the world they were expecting. Valentine’s Day was around the corner, and she was officially twenty weeks pregnant. Hiding it would soon prove very hard to do.
It would be a relief to finally be done with the lies, but it was time for judgments to be made. Sawyer and Piper were engaged, not married. There was still a chance people would take issue with them doing things out of order.
There was also that little issue of them saying they were engaged when they were actually only dating. Sawyer had come a long way, but they had not professed their love for each other yet.
“You ready for this?” he asked as they waited in line to talk to the first reporter.
“I hope so.”
Piper glanced over at Lana, who gave her the thumbs-up. She had been in charge of posting a picture to all of Piper’s social media accounts of Sawyer’s hands making the shape of a heart on Piper’s stomach with a caption that read, “The three of us can’t wait to attend the Grammys tonight! Did we say three? Yes, we did.”
If everything went as planned, most of the reporters along the red carpet should be dying to talk to them about it. Piper’s job was to be enthusiastic and to skirt any questions having to do with weddings or due dates.
“And it looks like we have country sensation Piper Starling and her fiancé, singer Sawyer Stratton, up next.” Lia Jones was there representing Good Morning USA. Piper could tell by the look on her face that she’d been told about the post.
“So I know I am supposed to ask you about who you’re wearing and how thrilled you are to be here, but I think you two have something a little more exciting to talk about. Maybe something to do with this Twitter post my producers are putting on the screen right now.”
“We’re very excited to announce we’re expecting our first baby,” Piper said, holding her stomach in a way that accentuated the little bump there.
Lia squealed and gave them both a hug. One down, dozens to go. Sawyer and Piper made their way through, accepting everyone’s congratulations and keeping things focused on the tour. They were halfway through when someone finally asked a question Piper had hoped to avoid.
Colin Giser was a blogger for an entertainment news site. “So what will come first, the baby or the wedding?”
“Well, we still don’t have a wedding date,” Sawyer said, fielding the question for her. “Right now, we’re so focused on the tour that we haven’t really had time to plan a wedding. We’ll see how things go.”