Pulse / Page 45

Page 45

“Jesus,” she puffed out. “It’s just my nerves. Everything that happened with Dillon while we were engaged, not to mention everything with Gavin between the engagement and after. I’m not pregnant.”

Lisa’s green eyes softened with concern. “Answer the question, Emily. When’s the last time you had your period?”

Trying hard to remember the last time she did receive a visit from “Aunt Flo,” Emily rushed her hand through her hair. “I’m not sure. The second week of October, maybe.”

“Right. The second week of October.” Lisa reached past Emily and opened the medicine cabinet. She plucked out a box and handed it to her. “Michael and I are still trying for our own. There’re two tests in there. Get peeing.”

Emily opened the box and pulled out both pregnancy tests. “I can’t believe this.”

“My thoughts exactly. What can’t you believe?” Placing her hands on her hips, Lisa gaped at her. “You haven’t had a period since the middle of October. Every time I’ve spoken to you since I left New York, you told me you were fighting some kind of nausea. You pawned it off as nerves. I get it. But everything’s fine now. There’s no reason for you to be nervous. If it’s as simple as nerves, sit down and take the test. No biggie.”

On a sigh, Emily slid down her sweatpants and popped a squat over the toilet. Waiting on Mother Nature, she tore open both tests. “Can you stop watching me? You’re making me feel like a child getting a potty training lesson.”

“Oh give me a break.” Lisa rolled her eyes and messed with her hair as she stared at her reflection. Throwing the dark curls into a messy bun, she shot Emily a sideways glance, a smile lifting the corner of her mouth. “I did potty train you. Let’s not forget I’m ten years older. I’ve wiped your ass one too many times for either of our own good.”

With way too much information pelting through her head, Emily didn’t dare keep the conversation going. But it was all good because Mother Nature finally showed up. Holding both tests, Emily slipped them under the flow, making sure both were saturated. Once finished, she placed them on the toilet paper Lisa had neatly squared up on the vanity.

Emily washed and dried her hands, her head starting to become fuzzy as the sisters hovered above the tiny sticks that, in that moment, scared the shit out of Emily. Through the past few weeks, she’d dismissed her nausea as nerves, but all of a sudden, that no longer seemed plausible. The words denial, fear, and plain out stupidity came to mind. With sweat gathering just above her lip, she yanked up the empty pregnancy test box, flipping it over to read what a positive and negative would look like. Making note that one line represented a future void of diapers, and two lines initiated her straight into motherhood, Emily started nibbling nervously at her thumb nail. “How long do these take?”

The question had barely escaped Emily’s mouth when a single line on one of the tests started turning a light shade of pink. With a sigh of relief perched in the back of her throat, a tiny smile crept across Emily face. However, that tiny smile quickly fell when the line’s twin screamed for a little attention as it, too, started blushing. Emily flicked her eyes to the other test, already beaming two bright red lines.

Standing above two plastic sticks signifying her life was about to change in more ways than she could even begin to understand, Emily tried to breathe.





Calculations of every sort pounded through her head. A mental calendar, wicked in all it was, flashed in Emily’s mind. Its pictures reminded her that the first time she’d made love to Gavin, the night of his mother’s benefit, was within days of her and Dillon breaking up. Within days of her and Dillon making love.





Memories of every kind arrowed through her heart. Each second she and Gavin had spent together over the last few weeks, slowly mending what was once close to broken, felt as though it was about to be ripped from her. Gone. There was no denying the child she was carrying might not be his. The chances were slim to none. In the two glorious nights they shared, she’d slept with Gavin a handful of times. In the weeks leading up to and after that night, she’d been with Dillon many times. Arms open wide, forgiving every confused indecision she’d made, Gavin had taken her back, but he’d never signed up for this. A stand-in father to the child of a man he hated. A man he loathed with every fiber of his being. This could surely break them. What they were, and what they had yet to become, would be nothing but an almost that… never was. A mirage.

The possibility of losing Gavin forever tore through Emily’s chest as she hunched over, her arms wrapped around her stomach that would soon bloom with life. A beautiful life that shared her blood, but may not share the blood of the man she couldn’t live without.


“Emily.” Lisa’s soft voice barely broke through her thoughts… her nightmare. Emily felt her sister’s caring touch on her neck. “Emily, look at me.”

Covering her mouth, tears pooled in Emily’s eyes as she shook her head. “It might not be Gavin’s,” she cried, trying to keep her voice to a whisper. “Oh my God, Lisa, it might not be his.”

Lisa leaned into Emily, cradling her the way their mother would when she was hurt. “I know, sweetie. I know.” Dangling over the edge of near insanity, Emily shook, her cries muffled against Lisa’s chest. “Listen to me, okay? I want you to lie down. I’ll tell Gavin you were tired and went to take a nap. It’ll hold him off until after we’re done eating dinner. You’ll have some time to think about what you’re going to say to him. All right?”

Lips trembling, Emily nodded. She swiped her hands through her hair, plucked a tissue from the container, and looked at her reflection. Her eyes, puffy and blackened with smeared mascara, would soon stare into the eyes of the man she loved so desperately. The man she may very well lose. After scrubbing her face with soap and water, she gave Lisa a hug and made her way to the guest room. Her heart dipped lower in her chest when she heard Gavin bark out a laugh as he accepted a few more jabs from Michael regarding the Knicks’ loss.

With the click of the door, her thoughts spiraled out of control. She was about to ruin him. How would she even begin to tell him the news that was about to change them forever? Words. Her mind felt stripped of the right words to say. Would he just up and leave her in California? Visions of his face the second he found out hit, plowing through Emily’s head. Bile burning like acid rain rose in her throat. In a haze of not only fear but a loneliness so dark, she sank onto the bed, pulling her knees against her chest. As she lay there, she tried to go over what she would say, how she would say it. But as the minutes ticked by, she was fast becoming aware no amount of right words would make any of it simple. Life was about to change. She didn’t have to lie there too long, praying Gavin would remain by her side when it did, because a moment later, the door creaked open and in walked the man who would forever steal the breath from her lungs. The man who, no matter what decision he made in the next few minutes, would forever own her heart.

Emily swallowed and sat up. She tried to keep the edge of despair from her voice. “You’re already finished eating?” She watched him pull the hideous Lakers sweatshirt over his head, leaving him in a white T-shirt and Dolce and Gabana jeans that hung just below the glorious V that sculpted his abs. He ran his hand through his messy black hair and stretched. She swallowed again as he made his way toward her, his contagious smile reminding her what she could potentially lose.

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