Beat of the Heart

Page 68

I smiled. "I couldn't be happier that I'm going to have a baby girl."

"I'm glad. To be honest, I really wanted it to be a girl."

"Yeah, I think it's a good idea not to unleash any AJ Juniors onto the world for a while."

With a laugh, Mia replied, "You never know. Our daughter could take after her father."

I shuddered. "God forbid."

Mia's hand came up to tenderly rub my cheek. "Don't sell yourself short, AJ. There are a lot of wonderful traits she could inherit from you."

At her sincere words, I leaned down to give her a chaste kiss on the lips. When I pulled away, confusion and affection pooled in Mia's eyes. I could tell she was still fighting with exactly how she felt about me. Once Karen finished cleaning the goop off of Mia's stomach, Mia adjusted her top and sat up on the table. "I wanted to run something by you. I kinda already picked out a girl's name, and I wanted to see if you wouldn't mind."


Wringing her hands, she added, "I mean, we can totally brainstorm names together. I really do want your input."

"Would you just spit it out, Mia?"

"Okay, fine. Isabella Sofia-for my grandmother."

I smiled. "It's beautiful. And my abuela's name is Isabella."

Mia's eyes widened. "Really?"

"Sounds like fate, huh?" I reached over to touch her belly. "I think Bella Resendiz has a nice ring to it."

"Me too."

I was glad to hear she wasn't going to argue with Bella having my last name. There was no way in hell my kid was going by Mia's last name or anyone else's for that matter-including that douche ex-fiance who was sniffing around.

"Here you go," Karen said, handing Mia a few snapshots and a DVD of the ultrasound.

"Thank you," Mia called as Karen left the room. She gave me one of the pictures. "In case you want to flash Bella around."

I smiled. "I'd love, too. The guys are definitely going to want to see her."

"I have to get back to work, but do you want to grab some lunch first? The crew at Mama Sofia's is anxiously awaiting the news."

I grimaced. "I can't. I've got a lot of shit to do before we leave in the morning." When Mia refused to look me in the eye, my heart clenched in my chest. All week on the phone and through texts, whenever I would mention Mexico, she would become cagey. "You are coming with me, right?"

She nibbled on her bottom lip. "I'm not sure."

At her hesitation, I clenched my jaw. "You're still not sure about me, are you?"

"That's not it."

"Yes, it is. Jesus Christ, Mia, after all I went through to get here today, you still have your doubts about my commitment to you and Bella?"

She sighed and turned away from me.

"It's never going to be enough is it?" I demanded.

"AJ, please."

Grabbing her by the shoulders, I forced her to look at me. "No matter what I do, you're always going to let the ghosts of your past fuck things up for us, aren't you?"

"No, I'm not."

"You don't want to go back to Dev-he's just a means to an end where you don't have to make a choice." I gripped her tighter. "Dammit, Mia, I want to be with you and only you . I've never cheated on you, and I've never lied to you. I've made some mistakes where we're concerned-that's the truth. But what happens between us next is all up to you."

"What do you mean?"

I dropped my hands from her shoulders. "I'm not going to let you keep playing with my feelings. I will be a father to Bella, but whether or not, I'm your boyfriend or your future husband or the man you might love, ends today. If you don't come with me to Mexico-"

Mia shook her head wildly. "Don't you dare give me an ultimatum!"

"You're leaving me with no choice. You keep saying we barely know each other. Fine then, come to Mexico with me for two weeks. Get to know me, get to know my family, get to know part of Bella's heritage. Prove to me that you're really trying."

"I am."

"It sure as hell doesn't feel that way. You're making me out to be some bad guy that I'm not. I'm just a guy who cares about you and wants more with you. You can't keep judging me for my past or my occupation." Staring into her eyes, I shook my head. "I have your ticket waiting. But I'm serious, Mia. I gotta know you're truly with me and aren't going to bail. That's not fair to me, and it won't be fair to Bella."

Tears pooled in her eyes before streaming down her cheeks. "I know. And I'm sorry, AJ. I really am."

"Yeah, well, you know where to find me. The flight leaves at two tomorrow afternoon-with or without you." I leaned over and gave her a brief kiss on the cheek before striding out of the doctor's office. Even though part of me felt like an ass for being so demanding of her, I knew I had to get my point firmly across. I didn't play games, and I wasn't going to continue playing this one with Mia. The ball was in her court, and she had to make a decision.

As I got on the elevator, I dialed Rhys. "Get your ass over here and pick me up."

"Shit dude, did things not go well?"

"Yes and no."

"Well, lucky for you, I'm just five minutes away. Traffic is still crazy as a motherfucker."

"Whatever. Just get here when you can. I gotta lot of shit to do before I leave tomorrow."

"Mia not coming with you?"

I sighed as I tugged my hand through my hair. "I don't know."

"I say you at least have time for a few beers after the day you've had."

With a chuckle, I replied, "That sounds like a plan."


The rest of the day after the ultrasound I was an emotional wreck. Before I went back to work, I had put on a happy face at Mama Sofia's where free desert was given to all the patrons in honor of Isabella-Mia's Moose of course. My dad was absolutely on cloud nine when I told him, especially about the name. Of course when he had questioned me about AJ, I had shook my head. How could I explain to him what I was feeling? How the doubts and fears of my past continued crippling me in the future with AJ? Not to mention that the one and only time AJ had actually said the words 'I love you' was when he was under emotional distress handcuffed to a shower.

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