“I can relate.”
“And I just wanted it to go away. The f**king crushing pain.
Even for a little while. So, after I bought the bottle of Jack, I went to this gentleman’s club me and the guys used to go to in the old days. She was just . . . there. And you know what they say—the best way to get over someone is to get on top of someone else.”
“Nobody says that, Drew.”
“Well, they should. Anyway, I got the idea that if you saw me with someone else, you’d realize what you were losing. And then you’d . . . stop . . . and come back to me. Plead for mercy. Beg my forgiveness. I had it all planned out.”
Dryly, I reply, “Yeah, that worked out well.”
“I said it was a plan—I didn’t say it was a good plan.”
he turns somber. “When you walked out . . . I went a little insane. I just couldn’t believe . . . that you didn’t pick me.” And he sounds so broken, so unlike the man I’ve lived with for two years.
Guilt- and grief-laden tears fall from my eyes. “I’m sorry.”
Drew pulls me into his arms. his lips rest against my neck as he professes, “I’m so sorry, Kate.” Then he pulls back and wipes my cheeks. “Please don’t cry. I don’t want to make you cry ever again.”
I sniffle and rub the wetness from my eyes. “That first night, after dinner at your parents’, what would you have said if I’d told you then?”
A small smile tugs at his lips as he imagines the wonderful what-if. “I would’ve gone to the pharmacy, no matter what time it was, and I would’ve bought one of those home pregnancy tests.
Or ten! And I would’ve sat at the table with you while you drank a gallon of water so we could use every frigging one.”
I chuckle tearily, because that sounds about right.
“And when they all came back positive, I would’ve lined them up and taken a picture with my phone so we could text it to your mom and my parents, Matthew, and Alexandra. And then I would’ve picked you up and carried you to the bedroom, and I would’ve spent the next few hours wearing us both out. But it would’ve been slow, gentle, because I probably would’ve been worried about hurting you. And then, after, when we were lying there . . . I would’ve told you I can’t wait for the next nine months to go by.” his beautiful blue eyes shine with tenderness and passion. “Because I just know we’ll make the best kind of babies.”
With a laugh, I brush his dark hair off his forehead. Then I lean forward and seal his sweet dream with a kiss.
And he asks me, “If I’d been alone in the apartment that night, what would you have said? how would you have told me?”
My eyes fill up with tears again, and I get up from the bed and take the tiny baby T-shirt from my dresser drawer. I hold it behind my back as I move to stand in front of Drew.
I say softly, “I would’ve sat you down and told you that when I started working at the firm, I never expected to meet someone like you. And that I never expected to fall in love with you. I really never expected you’d love me every bit as much in return. And then I would’ve said that the greatest things in life are the ones you never expected. And then I would’ve given you this.”
I place the shirt in his hands. he unfolds it slowly, and as he reads the words, his lips curve into an elated, proud smile.
his voice is rough with emotion as he says, “That’s really, really good.”
he sets the shirt aside. Then he pulls the covers back from the bed. he grasps the hem of my shirt and lifts it over my head.
Undressing me, baring me to him. My jeans go next, and I stand before him in my beige lace bra and underwear. I unbutton his shirt slowly. My hands skim his shoulders and chest, reacquainting myself with the body I missed so much.
But there’s nothing sexual about it. When Drew is clad only in boxers, he turns the lamp off and we climb under the covers. I’m so looking forward to a good, deep sleep. Finally. I see the same weariness in Drew.
Emotional exhaustion can be more draining than any of those sixty-day insanity workout programs.
Drew lies on his back; my head rests against his chest. he kisses the top of my head as he smooths the hair down my back.
My voice is small as I ask, “Do you still think I’m perfect?”
“What do you mean?” he asks in a sleepy voice.
I lift my head to look at him. “You say it all the time. When we’re at work, when we’re making love—sometimes I don’t know if you even realize it. You tell me I’m perfect. After everything now, do you still think that?”
I know I’m actually far from perfect. No one is. But I’m not interested in reality—I just want to know if his opinion of me has changed. If in his eyes, I’m less than I was.
he touches my face, tracing my lips with his thumb. “I still think you’re perfect for me. Nothing’s ever gonna change that.”
I smile and lie back down. Then, with our limbs entwined, we fall asleep.
When my eyes open the next morning, it’s early. Gray light seeps through the curtains, but the sun hasn’t risen yet.
And the space beside me is empty. I’m alone.
For one horrible, irrational moment, I think it was all a dream.
Drew’s coming here to Greenville, our reconciliation—just a vivid delusion brought on by too many Lifetime television miniseries and Julie Garwood romance novels.
Then I see the note on the end table.
Don’t panic. Went downstairs to get coffee and breakfast. Be back ASAP. Stay in bed.
Relieved, I turn on my back and close my eyes. I know from experience that if I get up too quickly, the nausea will hit with a vengeance. I don’t mind the morning sickness so much anymore.
Sure, no one enjoys heaving their intestines out, but in a weird way it’s reassuring. Like my body’s way of telling me we’re A-OK. All systems go.
Ten minutes later, I rise slowly and slip on my robe. Then I make my way downstairs, following the scent of fresh brewing coffee.
Outside the rear kitchen entrance, I hear Drew’s voice.
Instead of going in, I peek through the crack near the door hinge.
Drew’s at the counter, whisking flour in a stainless steel mixing bowl. My mother sits stiffly at the table in the corner. Looking at bills, punishingly pushing the buttons on a large calculator. her face is stern, angry—hell bent on ignoring the other person in the room.
I listen and watch, catching the end of Drew’s story. “And I said ‘Two million? I can’t bring my client that offer. Come back when you’re serious.’”