Reluctantly, I lifted off Blake and got ready for my day. We meandered downstairs, and I started to make myself a cup of tea. Blake came up behind me and kissed my neck before taking over the task.


“I’ve got this. Go sit.”

“You’re spoiling me,” I muttered and took a seat at the island.

“You should get used to that. What do you want for breakfast?”

I wrinkled my nose. My stomach was still on the fritz. “Not hungry.”

He pressed his lips together in a way that told me he wasn’t thrilled with that answer.

He cleared his throat, went through the fridge, and pulled out some already diced fruit and a tub of yogurt. “While you were sleeping, I scheduled a doctor’s appointment for you.”

“You picked a doctor without me?”

“Dr. Henneman is the best obstetrician in the city, and you’ll have only the best when it comes to this. There’ll be no arguing that.”

Any vulnerability I’d seen in his eyes before had been swiftly replaced. I wasn’t quite sure when the shift in power had occurred, but it definitely had.

I rolled my eyes. “I see you’re right back in the driver’s seat.”

“When it comes to your health, I always will be. With everything your body has been through, I want you and the baby to have the best care.”

The baby. The way he said it sounded so certain. With the odds stacked against us, I’d had a hard time convincing myself that somehow in nine months, I’d have a baby in my arms. Still, I reached for that faith I’d promised Blake back on the islands. I’d believe it, until someone told us otherwise.

“Okay.”

“The appointment is Monday. I had her after-hours staff call her to confirm it.”

I took a sip of my tea. “Are you coming with me?”

“I’m going to be with you every step of the way. I promise you that.” He placed a small bowl of sliced berries and melon topped with a dollop of yogurt in front of me. “Now try to eat a little, please.”

CHAPTER TWELVE

ERICA

I was contemplating how I would spend the morning without Blake when Alli called.

“Hey. I wanted to check in and make sure everything was okay.”

I smiled. “Yeah, we’re good.”

She released a sigh. “Thank goodness. I can’t handle it when you two are on the outs.”

I registered renewed guilt now that I was on the other side of it and had seen how upset Blake was. I can’t imagine what he put Heath through not knowing where I was.

“I’m sorry, Alli. I shouldn’t have pulled you into it.”

“It’s okay. You needed my support, and that’s what I’m here for. I’m just glad that things worked out.”

“They did. We’re better.”

“Good. Well, I’ll let you get back to your making up.”

“Actually Blake’s in the city meeting with the attorney. I’m just killing time.”

She hummed. “Are you up for a little retail therapy? I need to replenish my closet now that it’s getting chilly.”

“Sure,” I said, liking the sound of that.

An hour later I was on Newbury Street, perusing the shops with Alli. We talked and laughed, consulting each other on what to buy when we couldn’t decide between two things. I bought more than I expected to, considering we’d gone out to replenish Alli’s wardrobe, not mine. But after a month abroad with Blake sparing no expense along the way, I was slowly acclimating to Blake’s much higher standard of living. Knowing that I was spending my own money and not Blake’s helped in my current situation, however. The payoff from the Clozpin sale afforded me as much financial freedom as I could hope for without dipping into our joint account for anything outside of necessities. Blake could argue about it, but I’d argue right back. I still valued my financial independence and the fact that I’d earned it.

After Alli and I had wasted a few hours shopping, we ducked into a little Mediterranean restaurant for lunch. My earlier queasiness had subsided and now my appetite was back with a vengeance. We tore through a couple appetizers that took the edge off.

Alli sipped her wine. The light danced off the liquid and caught on a sparkling red gem that dangled from the short thick chain around her neck.

“That’s pretty. Is it new?”

She feathered her fingertips over it. “Thanks. Heath gave it to me a little while ago. I feel like it’s too fancy to wear to work though, which is why you probably haven’t seen it before.”

Good taste, I thought, but then wondered if he’d given it to her to make up for anything else. Their relationship hadn’t always been on solid ground, but since he’d returned from rehab they’d been incredibly solid. They’d been inseparable at the wedding. I couldn’t mistake the stars in her eyes when they danced, and a little part of me hoped that the magic of our day might inspire Heath to want to take the next step with Alli. I knew she was ready. Maybe he was too.

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