Page 44 of Rags to Riches Baby

She rolled her eyes and pasted on a smile. “I’m going to help you find an apartment in New Haven because I’m a supportive friend who loves you.”

“Good. Let’s go.”

They walked out of the apartment together with a brochure from the manager and her card to call when Lucy made a decision. They toured two more apartment complexes before they went to Vito’s Deli, one of their former college haunts, for lunch.

“I’m starving,” Harper declared as they lined up at the counter to place their order.

Lucy had loved this shop when they were in school, but suddenly, the idea of it wasn’t as exciting as it used to be. The smell of meat and pickles hit her like a blast of unwelcome air when they walked inside. She hadn’t been feeling great the last couple of days, but she figured it was something she’d eaten. Now she wasn’t so sure.

“Lucy, are you okay?”

She turned her head to her friend. “Why?”

Harper cocked her head to the side with concern lining her eyes. “You look a little green around the gills. Do we need to go somewhere else?”

Lucy hated to do it, but she really needed some air. “Maybe if we just step out a second. The smell of dill pickles is really getting to me for some reason.”

They stepped out onto the street, where Lucy sucked in a big lungful of fresh air and felt a million times better. The queasiness was still there, but she didn’t feel like she was about to make a mess in the deli during the lunch rush. “Thanks. I don’t know what’s gotten into me lately. I felt puny yesterday, too. I thought maybe it was the chicken sandwich I’d had for lunch, but I should be over that by now. I had a bagel and coffee for breakfast. Pickles have never bothered me before. I love pickles.”

“My dad told me that when my mom was pregnant with Oliver, she couldn’t abide the smell, taste or sight of pickles. I always thought that was funny, considering it’s the stereotypical pregnancy thing. Oliver has always hated pickles, too. When she was pregnant with me, she couldn’t get enough of them and I love pickles.”

Lucy chuckled nervously at Harper’s story. “Well, that’s weird, but of course, I’m not pregnant.”

“I’m not saying you are. It would be a funny coincidence if you were repelled by pickles, though, since it would be Oliver’s baby.” Harper paused for a moment, then turned and continued to eye her critically. “Lucy, are you pregnant with my brother’s baby?”

Lucy lowered herself down onto a nearby bench as she mentally ran through her biological calendar. How many days had it been? It was before Alice died. She counted on her fingers and shook her head. “No,” she declared at last. “I couldn’t be. I mean, we used protection. I am certain that I am not pregnant.”

Harper sat down on the bench beside her. “Well, what if we popped over to the drugstore and you took a pregnancy test just so we know for sure whether you need an antacid for a stomachache or a baby registry? You haven’t been feeling well. I’m sure it’s just the stress of everything going on, but if you take the test, then you’ll know. If it’s negative, then no worries, right?”

No worries? That wasn’t exactly the state of mind Lucy was in at the moment. The truth was she’d lied just now. She was anything but certain. If her math was right, her period was over two weeks late. She was never late. Her uterus was made in Switzerland. With everything else going on, she hadn’t even thought about it. But she was late. And they had used protection. It was just her luck that she’d fall into the three percent failure rate.

She couldn’t be pregnant. Pregnant! And with Oliver’s baby. How was she going to tell him? How was she going to handle all of these changes? Just as she was about to go back to college and start her life new. This was a major complication. One she simply wasn’t prepared to think through on a bench in downtown New Haven.

“Come on,” Harper said. She reached out for Lucy’s hand and tugged her up from her chair. “We’re going to the pharmacy, you’re taking that test, and then we’re going someplace less smelly to eat and celebrate the fact that you aren’t about to give birth to my niece or nephew.”

Lucy stood up and followed Harper down the block, but in her heart, she already knew the answer. Like it or not, she was going to be Oliver Drake’s baby mama.

* * *

Oliver was surprised to get a message from Lucy, asking if he would meet her for dinner. He thought she’d gone away for the weekend with Harper, but apparently they’d cut their trip short. That was fine by him. He didn’t want to admit it, but he didn’t like not seeing her, even if it was just for a day or two. Since she left, it seemed like she was constantly on his mind and he couldn’t focus on anything else.