Page 31 of Virgin Next Door

No, she needed these tests to know for sure.

With her hands shaking, she put them down on the counter and paid for them.

There wasn’t a moment to lose, not now. Not when her life and future were at stake. The woman looked at her as if she was mocking her or something.

She ignored her and paid for her tests. The woman bagged them up and Ann, with shaking hands, took off back to her car.

There, she sat behind the wheel and wondered where she should take them. The only suitable place was her own home. If Eli was back from dropping off Katie, which he should be, he was going to want to know what was going up. If not, she didn’t know how she was going to explain this to him.

He had a right to know, though.

After climbing back into her car, she took off, hoping that what she was about to do wasn’t going to be a big mistake. Surely, being pregnant wasn’t going to be anything but good news.

She thought about Katie. He’d confided in her how he hadn’t wanted kids. How he’d hated Katie’s mother, but hadn’t wanted her to die, and to a point, he felt a little resentful of the fact she’d given birth and abandoned him.

What would he think of this?

No, she wouldn’t think about his thoughts, not until she knew for sure, and then she’d allow herself to panic.

****

Eli arrived home to find Ann gone. It wasn’t unusual, but considering how she vomited that very morning, he wasn’t going to lie about not being concerned. His conference call started before he got a chance to call her.

The meeting was important as it was about the takeover approach of a smaller tech firm. He wanted it and knew how to reach out to offer the best deal. There was a time he’d been a smaller tech firm, and there was no way he wanted anyone to take his baby from him, so a delicate touch was always needed.

Distractions didn’t help. After the first three hours, he left his man to go and make an offer and to come back to him with a counter-offer.

Switching off his cell phone, he went to check outside and found Ann’s car parked outside her house. Normally, it was covered with a large sheet. He’d noticed she’d gone out, and using his key, he let himself into her home.

“Ann, baby, where are you?” he asked.

There was no sound.

He closed the door, flicked the lock into place, and looked around her house. There was no sign of her downstairs. Making his way upstairs, he heard sniffling and found her sitting on the edge of the bed, holding something in her hand. Tears fell down her face as she glanced up at him.

All she said to him were two words. “I’m sorry.”

She held out the stick and he took it. There was no doubt in his mind what this what, or what it looked like.

Pregnant.

He’d done this before, only, the last time he hadn’t been prepared. He wasn’t prepared this time as he looked at the two lines.

Pregnant.

The word kept swirling around his head.

“How long have you known?” he asked.

“About two and a half hours. It turned positive pretty much immediately.” She sniffled. “I don’t know what to do.”

He looked at her then, really looked at her.

“We didn’t plan this,” she said.

“Babies are not always a planning matter.”

“What do I do, Eli?”

“What do you want to do?” He couldn’t think. His mind was screaming at him to focus, but he hadn’t been expecting this.

“I don’t know. I was hoping you could tell me.”

“You mean about keeping the baby?”

“What?” she asked. “I don’t want to get rid of it, I mean, him, or her. I don’t know.”

He dropped the test and stepped out of the room.

“Eli?”

“I can’t do this shit right now.” He stepped back and rushed downstairs, not really paying attention. He went back into his house, grabbed his car keys, threw himself into his car, and drove. He had to get the fuck away right now.

After seeing her, hearing her, he had to focus, and the only way for him to do that was to drive. He took off out of town and went to the one place he knew he would be able to just be, his parents’.

The moment his mom saw him, she called from her position on the front porch.

Even though he could have bought them a mansion in whatever country they wanted, they had always settled on their four-bedroom, country house, where the lines for the washing were still seen.

Katie loved coming here all the time.

His father appeared. Eli walked up to his dad, who pulled him in for a hug. It didn’t take any words. His father was a master of a few of them.

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