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Chapter 43

"Three things cannot long be hidden: the Moon, the Sun, and the Truth."
~Buddha


Everly

"Give me the Nutella, or so help me God, I will murder you," I growled, staring down Will, who slowly lifted a spoonful of the chocolaty goodness to his mouth.

"Threatening a King is treason," he said.

"You're not King yet."

"I'm the future King."

"Not if I kill you first."

"It's also treason to threaten a prince."

"What about threatening an asshole?"

Will grinned and slid the jar of Nutella over to me. I swiped it up and dunked my hotdog into it. My cousin watched me in a horrified fascination. Meanwhile, I sighed happily, moaning in appreciation. "That's so good."

"That's disgusting is what it is."

"Try it." I handed my hotdog out to him. Reluctantly, Will took it from me, stared at it skeptically, and then took a mouthful.

"Oh, god, no. I was right. That's disgusting," he said, spitting everything out into a trashcan. He handed me the hotdog back. "Seriously, we could use that to torture prisoners."

"Shut up." I dipped the hotdog back into the Nutella and took a bite. "So, how are things with you? How's Lorraine's pregnancy coming along? How's the nursery?"

Will shrugged. "I'm okay. I think Lorraine's pregnancy is going okay. Still haven't been to an ultrasound appointment, which is really frustrating, but I see the pictures afterward. She also can't decide anything on the nursery, so we haven't even begun that process."

I frowned. "Isn't she further along than me?"

"Yeah, by about a month, I think."

"Girl needs to get a move on. Maybe you two need to have a date night." I tried not to gag on the words coming out of my mouth because I didn't want him having anything to do with Lorraine. But I had to pretend. I had to act like I wanted to make amends if my plan was to work. Besides, if I did gag, I'd blame it on morning sickness, which still hadn't gone away…

"Do you and Mark?"

"Multiple times a week. We even get a little frisky with each other if I'm in the mood."

Will fake-gagged. "I do not want to hear that."

"What? Are you telling me that you and Lorraine don't go on dates anymore? Or get intimate? At all?"

Will shook his head. "She won't even let me see her with her shirt off, let alone naked, and she doesn't like people touching her stomach. Not even me. I don't know if her stomach is super sensitive or what, but yeah."

That's a red flag if I've ever heard of one.

"Maybe she needs a little girl time, someone who understands what she's going through," I suggested, praying he'd take the bait.

"Where are we going to find someone like that?"

I looked at him, down at my belly, then back at him. "You're seriously asking that when a pregnant lady is right in front of you?"

"I didn't want to make assumptions," he said. "You're best friends with Annalise, and I know you're on her side, not Lorraine's."

"I am, but as it stands, Lorraine is also going to be your future wife, which means she's going to be in my life constantly. She and I used to be friends, so I thought I might at least try and get us on the same page again," I lied.

Will mulled it over. "Yeah, I guess that could work."

"What's your hesitation?"

"It's nothing to do with you. Just something you said."

"What did I say? I say a lot that you should think about."

"One more sarcastic comment from you, and I'm taking back the Nutella."

I showed him the empty jar. "Go right ahead."

"How the hell did you do that?" he demanded. "You've had that less than five minutes!"

"I know. Now stop avoiding my question. What words of mine are you thinking of?"

"About Lorraine being my future wife. I haven't had much to do with the wedding planning yet, other than buying her a ring, and we don't talk about it at all either, so I guess you saying it just now really… cemented it."

"You don't seem happy," I said, my tone gentle. As much as I hated the idea of Will marrying Lorraine, I wasn't going to get upset with him. I knew why he was doing it, why he had to do it.

"I'm not," Will confessed, rubbing his face. "Don't get me wrong, I care for Lorraine, I do. She helped me get through the fiasco I got myself and Annalise into, even if she did believe Annalise did it. But she's been trying to take care of me because she knows I'm under a lot of stress. She'll bring me tea and coffee without me asking, she'll massage my shoulders, she'll even cook for me sometimes. I try to do things for her, but I don't know what to do anymore. It's like I don't know her, and the sad truth of the matter is: I don't love her. Not like I should if I'm marrying her."

"Not like you loved Annalise," I said.

"Everly-"

"I'm saying it how it is, Will. I saw the tabloids from your trip to South Africa, and I saw the way you looked at her. You've never looked that way at Lorraine before, or any other girl for that matter. I'm not trying to dredge up any mistakes or misdoings, I'm just pointing out the difference." I sighed, fiddling with the Nutella jar. "Why did you start dating Lorraine?"

"I don't know. We kind of hit it off when we met, and she was super shy around me in the beginning. Lorraine came up to me and said something along the lines of how she never does this but figures since she'll probably never see me again, to hell with it, and asked for my number. I accidentally gave her the palace number instead of my cell." Will pulled up a barstool and sat down. "I guess… I wanted a relationship, and since Annalise wasn't interested in me, I needed to find a way to move on from her. I was hoping Lorraine would help do that for me. For a time, I did love Lorraine, but it fizzled out quickly. I told you I was thinking of ending it before she dropped the pregnancy bombshell on me, which I still don't understand how that happened."

"Well, when two people love each other-"

"Everly."

"Sorry, just trying to make you laugh. You look like you need it."

Will flashed me a brief, grateful smile. "Thanks. You're not wrong."

"How do you not understand how Lorraine got pregnant?"

"We were safe, Ev. Condoms, birth control, you name it, if it was used to prevent pregnancy, we used it. The only night I can think of is when I blacked out."

"You what?!"

Will grimaced. "I never told anyone this, but not long after Annalise left, Lorraine and I got drunk. She convinced me one night of drinking wouldn't hurt, and after everything I'd been through, it might help, at least for a bit. I was at a low point, and it made sense to my already compromised state, so I agreed. I don't know how much we drank, but it was enough to where I don't remember a thing about that night. I blacked out but apparently kept going physically. If I hadn't, she wouldn't have a baby in her belly right now."

"You sure she didn't cheat on you? That it's not someone else's baby?"

"I'm positive."

We both fell silent, contemplating his words and the implications of that night. All I could do was mentally tick off each red flag in my head since I started my investigation.

Won't let anyone come to her appointments.

Doesn't even go to her appointments.

Lying to Will about her appointments. Probably others.

Dr. Loughty doesn't exist.

Won't let him see her naked.

Won't let him touch her at all.

He got wasted drunk the night of the supposed conception.

I suspected Lorraine had been lying about her pregnancy for a while, but the thing I couldn't explain for the longest time was when it could've happened. I believed Will when he said they were safe. Now, knowing he'd been black-out drunk those few months ago, it gave me an idea.

Could Lorraine have drugged Will, so he didn't remember them having unprotected sex?

If she hadn't drugged him, could Lorraine have taken advantage of him while he was drunk?

Both thoughts were equally terrifying, and I was more determined than ever to discover the truth for the sake of my cousin.

"I have to go. I have a meeting with some advisors in about ten minutes, and I need to change into pants that don't have Nutella on them," Will said, standing up. "I'll see you later."

"Yeah, see you later," I replied, giving him a hug. I watched him walk off, head bowed. I'd never seen him act like this before. Will had always held his head up high, no matter what was thrown at him.

Not anymore.

Not since the scandal.

Rage coursed through me. I needed to get this thing resolved. I had my proof about Lorraine faking the pregnancy from both my own intelligence and that of the private investigator. Along with the information Will inadvertently gave me, I definitely had enough.

It was time to end this.

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