Taking a sip of my tea, I rifle through the stack of case files on my desk and sigh, leaning back in my chair. Work has been completely crazy lately. The weeks have flown by since we found out I was pregnant, and I’m closing in on ten weeks. We’ve decided to announce the news to our family when I hit my second trimester. I’ve been feeling pretty good, and my morning sickness hasn’t been too bad, but I’m tired today. Jace keeps telling me that it’s okay if I need to slow down at work a little, but I don’t want to. Not yet, anyway.
“Hey, girl,” Ashley greets, dropping down at her desk.
“How’d court go?” I ask, and she smiles at me.
“It went really well. I’m happy with the outcome.”
“Yeah, it was a good day. How are you doing?”
Setting my tea down, I grab for one of the files, opening to the front page. “Oh, you know, just a really tough case coming across my desk.”
“Sorry, girl,” she says as I toss the folder down and rub my forehead. I take another sip of tea and cross my legs, leaning back in my chair.
“So, do you and Jace have any major plans this weekend?” she asks me.
“He has to work overtime on Friday night, so he won’t be home till early morning. But no, nothing major, I suppose. What are you doing this weekend? Got a hot date?”
Ashley grins, tossing her hair over her shoulder. “As a matter of fact, I do.”
“Okay, spill. I wanna know all the dirty details.”
She laughs and scoots her chair closer to me. “It’s Eli.”
My eyes widen. “Eli? Eli Holt? As in Jace’s partner?”
“Yeah, we’ve been seeing each other off and on. Mostly on. And by on, I mean on my bed, his counter—”
“Ash!” I groan, both of us laughing hysterically. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
“Didn’t wanna jinx it, I guess. After shit-for-brains cheated on me, I wasn’t ready for another relationship, but then I met Eli at Jace’s birthday. We spent most of the night talking, and he asked for my number. I really like him, Stell. He’s such an amazing guy.”
“He seems to be. Jace talks very highly of him, and while I’ve only met him that one time, he seems really sweet. I’m happy for you, Ash. I hope you guys make it official soon.”
My phone beeps with a text and I grab it, finding a message from my brother.
Mason: Stella, you busy tonight?
Stella: Dinner with Jace, why?
Mason: Fuck. Jules’s mom just called. She’s stuck filling in for an overnight shift tonight. I’m leaving in two hours for a work conference.
Stella: You can bring her to the office and she can hang with me. Or maybe Jace can watch her until I get back?
Mason: That would be fine. Would he be up for it?
Stella: Let me call him. If not, just bring my girl here. It’ll be fine.
Mason: Thanks, Stell. I love you.
Closing out my texts, I find Jace in my favorites and connect the call. Not even two rings later, he answers, his voice bringing butterflies to my stomach.
“Hey, you. Listen, are you busy?”
“For you? Never.”
Laughing, I roll my eyes. “Cute, but seriously. If you aren’t doing anything, I need a favor.”
“Mason texted me. Jules is with her mom this week, but she got called to fill in for an overnight shift. Mason has to leave in a couple hours for a work conference.”
“Okay,” Jace says, clearly unsure of where this is going.
“I told Mase he could bring her here and she can hang out till I’m done, or maybe you could watch her till I’m outta work?” I ask him.
“Yeah, sure. I can take her to my parents’ to swim if she wants.”
I raise an eyebrow. “Swim? Jace, it’s October.”
“It’s a heated pool, babe.”
“Oh, right. Crap, pregnancy brain here. You sure you don’t mind? I know Jules would love to hang out with you, and I don’t have much work left to do. I can probably get out an hour or so early.”
“That’s fine, Stell. I’ll call him and we can get it worked out, okay?”
I smile, this man turning me to goo every time his heart shows me how wonderful he is. “I love you, you know that?”
“Love you too. Now text me Mason’s number, and I’ll see you tonight.”
Ending the call, I text him Mason’s contact info and look up to find Ashley staring at me, her mouth hanging open.
“What?” I ask, tossing my cell down.
Ohhhh shit. Me and my big-ass mouth.
“I’m pregnant,” I confirm quietly, and she screeches, jumping off her chair to hug me tight. Laughing, I squeeze her before holding her at arm’s length. “You can’t tell anyone just yet though, okay? We’re waiting still.”
“Cross my heart. But give me the deets, lady. How far along are you?”
“Girl, I am so freaking excited for you. And shit, you and Jace? That baby is going to be a stunner, that’s for sure.”
“Babies,” I whisper, and she looks at me funny. “It’s twins.”
We both giggle, and she gives me another hug. “I can’t wait to be an auntie. Are you guys gonna find out what you’re having?”
“I think so,” I tell her. “We haven’t exactly figured everything out. We’re still getting our heads straight with it. At least I am. Jace is so excited, and I’m panicking.”
“What for? You and Jace are forever. What’s to be scared of?”
I shrug, reaching for my now lukewarm tea. “I don’t know. I’m scared as much as just anxious. This was not planned, and now we have two babies coming? We don’t live together, and we aren’t married. Where do we live? Do we get married?”
“Some advice, Stella? Sounds to me like you have nothing to worry about. Tell me, and honestly too, if Jace proposed tomorrow, babies or no babies, would you say yes?”
I don’t hesitate before nodding, and she holds her hands up at me. “And if he asked you to move in with him?”
I nod again, and she gives me a knowing look. “See? Maybe it’s unplanned and fast, but clearly this is where you two were headed. Embrace it, babe. Figure out where you’ll live and get married when it feels right. You know?”
I nod again, knowing my best friend is right. “I know. I do, it’s just been such a shock. And Jace, that man has handled it so well. I’d be lost without him, but then it makes me think of Mom and Dad and I get sad, but it’s more of a far-off sadness. I just wish they were here for this.”
“I wish they were too. But if they’re anything like you and Mason, then they’d love Jace and be over the moon for you guys. I just know it.”
Ashley is right. I know she is. And an hour later, when I get a text from Jace with a goofy selfie of him and Jules laughing, I know without a doubt that finding him was the best thing that has ever happened to me.