Beat of the Heart


Page 57






I was now holding positive test number two in my hand. Part of me wanted to go back to the store to see if the third test would be the charm and somehow I wouldn't be pregnant. How the hell was this possible? Just remembering how AJ and I used a condom each and every time we had sex caused a reel of erotic images of our sexcapdes to run through my mind. A flush filled my cheeks as warmth flooded my core. But then, one of those images sent me racing forward to the toilet and heaving up the contents of my stomach.

In the backroom at Eastman's, we'd been too caught up in the angry, make-up sex to remember a condom. He'd pulled out. Although my medical training taught me that not enough sperm resided in pre-come and the pull-out method was fairly effective, I couldn't help thinking that had to be the time. "Oh God," I muttered, placing my hands firmly on the edge of the toilet bowl to steady myself from passing out. Flipping down the lid, I eased down onto the toilet and like so many nights lately, I began to cry.

Just when I thought I had clawed myself out of the greatest emotional hell of my life with Mama Sofia's death and Dev's betrayal, I slammed right back down to rock bottom with what happened with AJ. After Abby brought me home, she'd waited with me until Dee could come over-I was that hysterical. I took the next two days off work and made back to back emergency appointments with my therapist.

As much as I hated to admit it, I was pretty surprised AJ tried so hard in the beginning to get me to talk to him with his many phone calls and texts. Even if I wanted to believe it was just a misunderstanding with Kylie like he claimed, I knew it wouldn't be the last time we were put into that situation. If I took him back, it would only be a matter of time before some other woman from his past, or maybe even the present, came back to haunt us-or more importantly me.

In the end, I wasn't like Abby and Lily-I'd been through too much heartbreak to be a strong enough woman for a rock star. And while I wanted to hate AJ, I couldn't. More than anything, I wanted to feel like I was making a sacrifice for him-I cared about him enough to know he deserved someone better, someone who wasn't emotionally crippled by their past.

The doorbell ringing brought me out of my thoughts. On shaky legs, I followed Jack Sparrow down the hallway. With trembling hands, I threw open the front door. Dee pursed his lips at me before holding up one finger. "Baby girl, this better be hella important because I just left a partially satiated marine in my bed."

"I'm sorry. You know I wouldn't have called you unless it was a matter of life and death."

Dee swept his hand to his chest. "Wait, something hasn't happened to Duke, has it?"

"No, it's nothing like that." I chewed my bottom lip, uncertain of how I was going to break the news to him.

He growled in frustration. "Well, for fuck's sake, Mimi. Spit it out!"

Unable to speak, I thrust the dreaded white stick I was still clutching in his face. His nose wrinkled momentarily in confusion before he realized what it read. His deep brown eyes widened to the size of the salad plates at Mama Sofia's . "Holy shit, you're pregnant?"

I'd been holding the waterworks back as long as I could with him. Just hearing Dee say the word 'pregnant' caused the dam to burst, and I began sobbing hysterically.

"Hey now, don't cry. Dee's here." He stepped into the foyer and wrapped his arms around me. Although I felt comforted by his gesture, it just made me cry even harder. Dee closed the front door behind us and steered me over to the couch. "Shh, it's okay, Mimi," he crooned, rubbing wide circles across my back.

When I'd finally stop sobbing and my breath had started coming in hiccupping little pants, I pulled away to look at Dee. "I'm sorry for calling you away from the hot marine and then going psycho on you."

He kissed my cheek. "Don't you dare apologize for either of those things. You're my best friend in the whole, wide world, Mimi. When you need me, I'm here, no matter what condition you're in."

My chin trembled at his words. "Thank you," I murmured.

"You're welcome, luvie." Taking my hand in his, he squeezed it tight. "So you know I gotta ask this next question. Is it…?"

I rolled my eyes. "Of course it's AJ's."

Dee held his hands up defensively. "Well, excuse me that I don't keep a GPS device on your vagina."

His comment made the corners of my lips quirk up in spite of how awful I felt. "After all these years, you should know that if there's any action going on in my vagina, you usually know about it."

With a smirk, he replied, "Normally I would agree with you, but you just fucking blindsided me considering being pregnant is the biggest thing to hit your lady parts ever!"

A snort escaped my lips. "Only you could make jokes at a time like this."

He grinned. "That's why you need me."

"No, that's why I love you," I replied, my voice choking off with emotion.

Dee gave me a quick peck on the lips. "I love you more, baby girl." We sat in silence for a few minutes with the just the sound of Jack Sparrow's purring and my sniffling echoing through the room. "So….you're really pregnant?" He exhaled noisily. "What are you going to do about it?"

"You mean am I going to keep it, give it up, or…?"

"Or have an abortion." He cupped my chin, forcing me to look at him. "You know that you can do that, right?"

"I know I can, but…"

"But what?"

Unconsciously my hand went to rest against my abdomen. "I want this baby."

"Da fuck did you just say?" Dee asked incredulously.

Overwhelmed by my emotions, I merely bobbed my head. In a way, I was as stunned as Dee was by my admission. When I was younger, I always saw myself married with children. I knew that someday I would want a baby-I just never imagined it would be now.

Dee continued staring open-mouthed at me. "Mimi, you don't know the first thing about raising a kid."

"Thanks for the vote of confidence," I snapped, realizing just how quickly pregnancy hormones could have you expressing psycho emotions.

Dee sighed. "Seriously, besides being around your cousins, you've never even acted like you cared for children that much."









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