“Yes.” She paused and counted. “Oh. My. God. It’s…March!”
“Which means, in my estimation, that you are eight weeks pregnant.”
Holy hell. She’d probably gotten pregnant the very first time they’d had sex. Ginger’s thoughts bounced like a million rubber balls. Her tears fell—part frustration, part relief, part fear. “How am I going to tell Kane? He’s been calving for almost three weeks and he has limited cell phone service…” Not something she wanted to tell him over the phone anyway.
But Dr. Monroe didn’t have any magical advice about how to break the news to the father-to-be. She helped Ginger sit up. “Eat small meals until the morning sickness passes. I’ll give you vitamins. And obviously you can stop taking the pill.”
“Funny.” Ginger dressed. She ran her hand down her stomach. Was it her imagination or did she have pooch there? Already?
She dreaded going back to the office, so she wandered down the sidewalk and found herself standing in front of Sky Blue.
The aroma of sage, lemongrass and lavender greeted her. Followed by the sweet scent of wild summer roses, the crisp, clean tang of freshly laundered clothes hanging on the line, and an earthy trace of newly mown grass.
“Ginger! Good to see you,” Skylar said behind her.
She spun around. “It’s been a while since I’ve been in to browse. There are so many new products.”
“You should try the goat’s milk soap. It’s unbelievably creamy and the almond scent is to die for.”
“When’d you start this line?”
“A few months ago. Kade’s cousin Chassie raises goats and she has leftover milk from cheese making, so we experimented and came up with a few products. They’ve been very popular. We’re working on a new liquid hand soap that’ll infuse the scent of chokecherry blossoms.”
Ginger set two bars of soap on the counter. “How do you do it all? Run a business and have time to experiment with new products while you’ve got a husband and three kids at home?”
Skylar rested her chin on her hand. “No clue. Some days it’s easy. Some days I wonder when I decided to join a circus. A flea circus with all the damn strays Eliza drags home,” she said dryly. “I imagine you have days like those, running a law practice, raising a kid and having your dad living with you.”
“It’s manageable. Or it was until I realized that I’ve got no backup plan in case something unexpected happens.”
“Like your accident?”
Like the accidental pregnancy. “Yes.”
“So you’re fully recovered from your fall?”
With the exception of falling in love with your brother-in-law.
Man, she was punchy today. “So far.”
“That’s good. I’m glad Kane was able to help you out.”
“A wise move on his part because I doubt you would’ve asked him.”
Ginger met Skylar’s eyes.
“It’s hard to ask for help. Trust me, I get that. It’s a continual struggle for me, even now.”
“It’s easier to deal with things myself.”
Sky looked at her thoughtfully. “You’re not talking about your law practice, are you?”
Ginger shook her head.
“What’s on your mind?”
“Tell me about how you and Kane met and how you ended up married to his twin.”
If Skylar thought the question bizarre, it didn’t register on her face. “I’m surprised you don’t know all the gossip. My first date wasn’t with Kade but with Kane. The man was a total asshole. Such an asshole, that when I saw him on the street a week later, I called him out on his horrible behavior. He blushed and stammered and was so contrite, that when he swore he’d make it up to me…I let him. We started seeing each other. Turned out the guy with the guilty conscience wasn’t Kane, but Kade. And it was Kade I fell in love with, but it took me a long time to admit it.”
“Not until Eliza was five months old. The abbreviated version—when I discovered he’d been lying to me, I broke it off. At that point I was already pregnant. Due to his responsibilities to the ranch, Kade left for a year and when he came back he learned he had a daughter.”
“You didn’t tell him you were pregnant?”
“I tried to get ahold of him after I found out, but it was easier to give up than to track him down.”
“Was Kade upset?”
“Yes. And no. He just accepted Eliza, moved in and basically took control of owning up to his responsibilities.”
That sounded exactly like something Kane would do.
“Know my biggest regret?” Skylar mused.
“I didn’t accept Kade at face value. There was no ulterior motive in him wanting to be with me. He wasn’t like any other man I’d ever met and I was wrong to expect he’d disappoint me like every other man in my life. Kade was exactly the good guy he appeared to be. He still is. And every minute of every day I count my lucky stars that he’s in my life. He is my life. Does that sound sappy?”
“It sounds heavenly, Sky. You are a very lucky woman.”
“You could be lucky too, Ginger.” Skylar pinned her with a look. “I suspect we have more in common than you’ll admit.”
Yeah, we both got knocked up by one of the McKay twins.
Ginger managed a wan smile. “Thanks for talking to me.” She pointed to the lavender shampoo on the display wall and slid her credit card across the counter. “Before you total me up, I need a bottle of that.”
“That’s funny. Kane bought the exact same kind yesterday.”
She froze. “Kane was in here? Yesterday?”
“Yes. He watched the twins for me in the morning for about twenty minutes when I ran to the bank.
Then he said he had some errands to run. Why?”
Be cool. “Oh, I thought he was calving. He hasn’t been around for any of the Little Buddies events for the past few weeks and Hayden’s been asking me when Buck is coming back.”
“He’s been back a couple days.” Skylar totaled up the sale and swiped Ginger’s credit card.
So. Kane had been around for two days and he hadn’t bothered to call her?
Maybe he has a good reason.
Or maybe three weeks away hadn’t made Kane’s heart grow fonder.
Can you blame him? When you won’t acknowledge you’re a couple?
But that’d been Kane’s idea—to sneak around. She’d never suggested it, let alone demanded it.
Yet you’ve done nothing to change it, even after everything changed between you. What if you’ve waited too long? You waited after the blizzard to contact him because you didn’t want to seem…needy. You never told him you loved his rougher edges when you knew he feared he’d stepped out of line. You didn’t tell him you love him because you’re waiting for him to tell you first.
Her stomach churned.
Dear God, no. Not now. She swallowed repeatedly against the bile rising in the back of her throat.
“Here’s your card—my goodness, Ginger, are you all right? You’re almost green. Maybe you’d better sit down.”
“No. I’m fine. Thanks. I just need some fresh air.” She quickly signed the slip and hustled out.
But once she was back outside in the frigid air, she had the same sense of displacement. She didn’t want to go back to her office. She looked at her watch. Noon. She needed to compose her thoughts and she couldn’t do it at Dewey’s Delish Dish, where she’d be forced to make small talk with whoever crossed her path. Plus, she’d have to try not to barf in public.
Ginger she cut through the alley and entered the Golden Boot.
Lettie smiled at her after she plopped on the barstool. “What’s your poison today?”
“A glass of Sprite would be great.”
“Comin’ right up.” Lettie slid the glass in front of her. “Need anything else, just holler.”
Ginger hunkered down and considered her options. She could call Kane and demand he come into her office so they could discuss this situation like rational adults. She’d be on her turf, in professional mode.
A surgically enhanced blonde sidled up to the bar. When the woman faced her, Ginger inwardly groaned. Of all the people she could run into today, did it have to be her?
Daphne frowned at Ginger prettily. “I know you. You’re Hayden’s mom, right?”
“Right. How are you, Daphne?”
“Thirsty.” Daphne dropped a ten dollar bill on the bar top when Lettie asked for her order. “Vodka sour.”
The woman was in the bar at noon, having a drink?
You’re in the bar at noon, and if you weren’t pregnant you’d be having a drink yourself.
Self-chastised, Ginger politely asked, “So wasn’t it scary when the boys got snowed in?”
“Lock didn’t go on that field trip since he and Hayden ain’t in the same class.”
“Oh. Sorry. I didn’t know.”
“I’d be surprised if you did, since Lock and Hayden don’t run in the same crowd. Lock is a sports nut and he hates being in the classroom. He tells me Hayden is some kind of genius.”
“I wouldn’t go that far,” Ginger demurred.
“Anyway, Lock has real trouble with his homework.”
Ginger bit back her retort, “He’s struggling in third grade?”
“School wasn’t really my thing neither, so he probably gets that from me.”
“What do you do for a living?” Ginger asked.
“I’m a nail technician.” Daphne twisted a section of hair, bleached to blinding white platinum, around her index finger, which boasted a fake gemstone that nearly reached her knuckle. “How about you? You ain’t from around here.”