“Yes, we did get to talk,” Nicholas lied without missing a beat. “But it was only for a short while, and I wasn’t able to bring it up.” The music changed into something slower, and Nicholas pulled his wife close, her head fitting perfectly under his chin.
His wife was damn right about his son being pigheaded, Nicholas thought. He had been sending the boy messages every damn day, but not once had Daniel answered him back. And until his son returned, it was left to Nicholas and Joe to figure a way out of the mess Daniel had created.
The thought of this had Nicholas’ lips tightening as it dredged up memories he didn’t want to revisit. His last conversation with his lawyer had been frustrating to say the least, and it had left an unsavory taste on his tongue that lingered to this day.
“I’ve been hearing good things about your new wife,” Joe commented over the phone.
“There’s no need for you to call her that.” Nicholas’ tone was brusque. “You know the real score between us.”
“I guess I do. But do you?”
“Just get to the fucking point,” Nicholas said curtly, “if you have something to say.”
“Hey, now—” The lawyer’s tone turned conciliatory. “I’m not your enemy here. And all I’m saying is that from what I hear and from what I know…she’s a nice girl.” Joe paused. “So would it be really that bad if we let the marriage—”
“Carly was someone I had known since I was a kid,” Nicholas cut in harshly. “She was supposed to be a good girl. And you know how that went down.”
Joe cursed in his mind. He had forgotten about that bitch.
“You need to stop letting the past control your life, Nick. Daniel’s found the perfect woman for you, and because he knew you would never have given her the time of the day, he went as far as pulling off this unbelievably elaborate scheme just to give you a chance at happiness.”
“He’s an idiot,” Nicholas said shortly, “to risk our entire fortune—”
“Just give it a damn chance, Nick.”
“It was nice talking to you, Joe. Call me when you’ve found a loophole.”
“Nick?” Bee’s brows furrowed in concern when her husband gazed down at her unseeingly for a moment. “You’ve been miles away. Is something wrong?”
His expression instantly cleared, and even as his lips curved as he told her it was nothing, Bee couldn’t shake the feeling that he was lying.
“I know this party was over the top,” she began anxiously. “But—”
“Stop worrying.” Nicholas cupped her face. “This party was perfect.” He bent his head. “You’re perfect.” And in full view of his entire staff, he covered her mouth with his in a long, deep kiss.
By the time he lifted his head, she was on her toes, her hands gripping his shoulders tightly, body melting against his lean, hard form. She looked up at him, and her heart just couldn’t take it anymore.
“You make me so happy,” she whispered tremulously. “Just so happy I’m scared I’d wake up and this is all a dream—”
“It’s not, baby.”
Tears suddenly stung her eyes. “Nicholas.” She had planned to keep it a secret for a little bit longer, but him saying that…
The sudden distress darkening her eyes had him asking sharply, “What is it?”
“I have something to tell you.” A smile wobbled over her lips. “Just three words, really—”
Not those three goddamn words, Nicholas thought. Because that would be fucking awkward.
And it wasn’t.
It was worse.
“Congratulations – I’m pregnant.”
As teenage children from local and nearby orphanages quickly filled up the auditorium of Evergreen’s community hall, Bee hastily let go of the stage curtains and felt like kicking herself in the head as she turned away to rejoin her friends.
Her stage fright had been bad enough earlier, she thought glumly, but after seeing the size of the crowd that awaited her, it wouldn’t be long now before she either ended up having hysterics or just fainting dead away.
Both Isla and Harry glanced up when Bee came back to their shared dressing room. Her pale face spoke volumes, and the two women simultaneously groaned.
“Oh, Bee, please tell me you didn’t,” Harry said with a sigh.
“But you did,” Isla guessed darkly. “Didn’t you?”
Bee collapsed on one of the vacant chairs. “I’m sorry,” she said in a small voice. “I just couldn’t help it. I felt like I had to take a look—”
“And now you’re thinking you can’t possibly do it,” Harry finished. “Isn’t that right?”
Bee bit her lip. “Well…”
“We were in your shoes before,” Isla told her, “so we have more than a good idea of what’s going through your mind. I know the prospect of talking to those kids is terrifying, but you need to focus on what’s important.”
“And that’s your ability to give them hope,” Harry said softly, “just by being you.”