He kissed Piper on top of the head again. He also had an extra-special Valentine’s Day surprise for her in the works, thanks to Harriet.

Heath could hope for a breakup, but he wasn’t going to get one if Sawyer had anything to say about it.

* * *

PIPER SLEPT MOST of the trip to Nashville. An hour after they landed, she was in her bed at the Berkshire. When her alarm went off a few hours later, it felt like she hadn’t slept at all. But none of that mattered, because today she was going to see her baby.

“How have you been feeling?” Ruby asked as she wrapped the blood pressure cuff around her arm.

“Good. Tired. Touring had been a lot harder than I thought it would be. Sleeping on buses, planes and hotel beds isn’t as pleasant when you’re pregnant.”

“Is it ever pleasant?” Ruby asked with a scrunched-up nose. “Well, the good news is that you’re in the second trimester, which is usually considered the honeymoon phase of pregnancy. You should sleep better and have a little more energy than you did those first months.”

Ruby did a normal checkup, commenting only on Piper’s slow weight gain. She got a little lecture on making sure she was eating at least three meals a day. Sawyer promised to keep better watch.

“You two ready to see your baby?” Ruby asked, wheeling the ultrasound machine closer to the exam table.

Piper had never been more ready for anything in her life. Sawyer reached for her hand and gave it a gentle squeeze.

“Does this hurt the baby at all?” he asked. “I mean, I’m dying to see this little guy, but this isn’t going to make him or her radioactive or anything, is it?”

Ruby tried to hide her laughter. “No, an ultrasound is completely safe. There are no radioactive rays that can harm the baby. It’s just sound waves that bounce off the baby. The echoes turn into an image on this screen.”

Sawyer visibly relaxed. “Sound waves? That’s cool. Let’s do this. We’ve been waiting for this appointment since we scheduled it. Come on, now. Let’s get these echoes going.”

His excitement over this made it that much more special for Piper. This child had a real shot at a life with two parents who loved one another. She was optimistic that even though he wasn’t ready to be married yet, he would be soon.

Piper expected the blue gel Ruby squirted on her stomach to be cold, but it was warm, like massage oil. She bit down on her bottom lip as she watched Ruby press the ultrasound wand to her belly.

“Bear with me,” Ruby said. “I need to look at a bunch of things and take lots of measurements, but I promise to point out all the good stuff.”

Piper stared at the black-and-white screen, hoping to make sense of shapes that seemed to morph one into another. Ruby pushed the wand a little harder.

“Okay, here we go. Can you tell what this is?” She pointed to what clearly looked like the baby’s profile. “Here’s the baby’s head, nose, lips.” She moved the wand a little. “Oh, and there’s an arm right above the face there.”

Piper was completely mesmerized. Tears appeared in the corners of her eyes as her bottom lip quivered. There was her baby. Their baby. As scary as it had been to find out she was pregnant, seeing this living being inside her stirred up nothing but the anticipation of holding and caring for him or her.

“And there’s a thumb. Looks like he or she is trying to get that in its mouth.”

Sawyer was transfixed, as well. He asked questions and pointed out things he saw as Ruby moved the wand around. “What was that?” he asked. “Is that a foot?”

Ruby showed them their baby had ten toes. She gathered the information she needed and answered all of their questions. She stopped to zoom in on the baby’s chest.

“Here’s the heart.” She took some measurements. “It looks good and strong.”

The lump in Piper’s throat made it impossible to speak. The baby’s tiny heart pumped so fast, it was like her little one was running a marathon in there. Ruby assured them it was normal for the heartbeat to be much faster than an adult’s.

“Can you tell if it’s a boy or a girl?” Sawyer asked. They had agreed that if she could tell, they wanted to know.


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