Frayed Page 114

’’Yes, you can. If the boss gives you a free pass, you take it. If you feel better later, come in then.’’

Once she falls back to sleep, I shower and take off for work. I call her when I arrive and she sounds really groggy. At noon I shoot her a text.

How are you feeling?

She responds:

Better. I\m going to stay home today, though. I\m trying to figure out something that Misty told me.

Misty?

The fortune-teller.

Oh, right. Explain to me later.

I roll my eyes at her craziness but smirk at the same time. Then I look over at Aerie. It\s her first day back in the office and there is a shit ton to catch up on. Sadly Jagger\s father passed last week. I accompanied S\elle to New York for the funeral. She had never met Jagger\s father and although I hadn\ either, being able to be there to support her cousin made her feel better and me feel a little closer to her family. The funeral did bring back many painful memories of my own mother\s death and so I spent a lot of that trip talking to S\elle about her. I think S\elle got to know the woman who loved me regardless of my flaws a little better. Then again I guess now that I think about it, S\elle has done the same thing.

’’Okay, what\s first on your list?’’ I ask Aerie.

She pulls out an organized stack of folders and I know we\ll be here for a while. Around four in the afternoon she pulls out the March layout. As I stand up and walk around the room to stretch, my phone buzzes. It\s another text from S\elle.

Can you meet me at Pebbles for dinner?

I look up at Aerie. ’’Can we finish this tomorrow?’’

’’Sure, I have a ton of other things to do anyway.’’

’’Thanks.’’ I quickly look back down to respond.

You have to be joking!

Please.

Not if you\ e going to break up with me!

No! I\m not. Why would you think that?

Never mind. You\ e not going to tell me the world will end tomorrow, are you?

No! And I think I get what Misty was talking about.

You\ e crazy. You know that. Right? See you soon.

If I said my nerves weren\ back in full force, I\d be lying. By now I\ve really begun to hate S\elle\s favorite restaurant. But I make it there by six. She\s already seated at a table by the window with her back to me, and her red hair hangs in curls. The restaurant is by no means busy, so the atmosphere is tranquil and the room is somewhat quiet. Bending down, I swipe her hair to the side and kiss her neck. ’’Hi, se*y.’’

She twists and her lips meet mine. ’’Hi.’’

I take a seat and pull my chair right up to hers. When I glance at the tabletop I see two glasses of sparkling water and a dish of lemons as well as a wrapped package that looks a lot like the one I brought her from Fiction Vixen the last time we were here.

I grab her hands. ’’Let\s cut to the chase. Please don\ torture me by making me wait until after dinner to tell me why I\m meeting you here.’’

Her innocent green eyes shine, although she looks a little peaked and a little scared.

’’Are you still sick?’’ I ask, concerned.

She shakes her head. ’’I have something to tell you and I\m really nervous.’’

’’Why, have you been bad?’’

’’No,’’ she says quickly, and looks more sickly with each passing second.

’’Shit, I thought I was going to have to spank you,’’ I say, trying to ease her nervousness, but honestly my stomach feels as if it might fall at any second, so I\m not sure I\m doing a great job.

But when a slight smile crosses her lips, I think I\ve succeeded. She twists and pulls a brown paper bag out from her purse and hands it to me with trembling fingers.

’’What\s this? Nothing that\s going to jump out at me, I hope.’’

She stares at me, looking scared shitless.

My own hands are shaking as I unfold the bag. What the hell could it contain that makes her look like that? I pull out a purple box that reads EPT, with the words early pregnancy test written out below it. My eyes widen, my heart pounds, and my pulse races as my head snaps to her.

’’Are you pregnant?’’ I ask in shock.

’’I don\ know but I think I might be,’’ she answers. All the color has left her face now.

A million different emotions pass through me, but I settle on one pure elation. I jump from my chair and take the box and her hand. ’’Well, let\s find out.’’

’’Now?’’ she asks, completely taken aback.

’’Right now.’’ I grin at her.

’’You\ e not upset?’’ She sounds surprised.

I pull her flush to my body, not caring that we\ e in a restaurant. ’’Upset? Are you out of your mind? Now come on, you have a stick to pee on.’’

She tugs on my hand.

I turn around.

’’What if I can\ go?’’

I stride back to the table and pick up both glasses of water. When I return to her I tell her, ’’Drink these, baby.’’

She smiles in a way that lights up her eyes and gulps both of them down.

’’You can\ come in here,’’ she says when I push open the door to the restroom.

’’F*k I can\ .’’

She shakes her head and enters under my arm.

I shakily open the box and hand her the stick.

She stares at me.

’’You have to go in there,’’ I say, pointing to the stall door.

’’I know.’’

’’Then go!’’

’’So bossy,’’ she says as she takes the stick.


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