Chapter 1 - Oh baby
Lila's sweet voice was shakey and I cursed myself because there was still some part of me that didn't want her to hurt.
But to hell with that. I was hurt. I was whatever was beyond hurt so why shouldn't she be too?
I asked already knowing the answer. The timeline added up, and Lyla might not have been perfect but she wouldn't lie about something that severe.
"I'm sure. And before you ask, I've already contacted a lab. You can call and set up an appointment whenever you want. I can schedule my procedure-"
I asked, trying to process my thoughts and keep up with the conversation at the same time.
"It's called an amniocentesis. They stick a big needle in my stomach and-"
I interrupted her again because just the thought of that amnio-whatever made me want to hurl.
"Okay well, we can wait until after but that's another three months at least."
Three months of wondering.
Three months of drowning myself in whatever liquor was closest.
Three months was nothing in the grand scheme of things for me.
"I'm fine with that if you are."
"Yeah, I was dreading the procedure anyway."
She laughed a little and it was like someone stuck a damn hot poker through my heart.
I didn't respond because I didn't trust my voice and it was as if she knew.
"This baby is yours, Brady. I know I messed up but I didn't mess up to that extent."
I would've married the damn girl. I'd already picked out the ring. Had it sitting in my safe at my vacation house.
Then she had to go and royally screw us both.
I pinched the bridge of my nose and leaned my elbows against my desk. My heart told me she was telling the truth but it was my brain that couldn't fully trust her.
"I still want a DNA test. After the birth of course."
I had to cover my ass. That was the simple truth.
Which reminded me.
My dad was going to murder me. I might not even be around to be a father to this baby.
I was going to be a dad.
I was more than likely going to be a dad in three months.
"I want to go to your appointments with you. And you can have all of your bills sent to my office, I'll take care of them."
I cleared my throat and my mind followed. I was a fixer by nature. I needed to make sense of this situation so that we could move forward. I knew Lila's health insurance was shit and I had money to spare. And if she was carrying my baby, then I wanted to be at every last appointment and see every change as it happened.
It occurred to me then that I'd already missed a great deal of it.
"Why are you just now telling me?"
I tried to keep my voice even but it was no use.
"I've tried calling you, Brady. Even texting and email. We all know if your assistant doesn't physically hand you your phone it doesn't get to you. So I called your lawyer. Not sure why I didn't think of it before actually."
I sat back in my chair and rubbed my forehead. She was right. I used my phone all the time but I never looked at any received texts or incoming calls unless they were from a handful of people.
"You're right. That changes now. If you need me, call my cell. I'll answer."
She asked, almost sounding surprised.
"I will," I told her and I looked at my watch before continuing, "What are you doing now? We could grab lunch."
I didn't know what the hell I was doing. I had sworn Lila off and now I was asking her to lunch so I could rub my palm over her stomach like a lunatic.
"Okay, sure. I can meet you at your office in twenty?"
Her voice was small again and damn it turned me inside out. How was I supposed to be around her and not want her back? How did people do this?
"See you then."
I hung up and scrolled down to Ada's name and pressed the screen.
"I need you in my office. Now."
I ended the call and started counting to ten. I made it to eight before my office door flung open.
"Did you just hang up on me?"
Ada's small frame didn't stop moving until she had rounded my desk and was right in front of me.
I didn't answer her and she knew me well enough to know that wasn't normal for me.
She asked, turning her head to the side.
"You might want to take a seat."
I told her as I pointed to the wingback chair on the other side of my desk.
She moved slowly toward the chair then sat on the very edge as she waited for me to fill her in.
"Lila is pregnant."
I crossed my arms over my chest and sat back further into my seat as I gauged her reaction.
Ada and I had always been close. Even after I almost ruined our friendship by trying to win her over. God, I had serious tunnel vision. Ada was the end all and be all woman for me. But I wasn't the man for her. Lila came not long after and I was able to move on pretty much pain-free from the almost fiasco of Ada and me.
"Pregnant? Holy moly."
She whispered and I couldn't help but laugh.
"Holy moly is right."
"Are you going to get a DNA test?"
She was treading lightly and I appreciated it.
"She mentioned some test with some big needle but I don't think that's necessary."
"An amniocentesis. Yeah, those sound scary. How far along is she?"
She asked and I was so glad she had the experience of pregnancy and motherhood.
"Six months? She's over halfway there."
Her brows shot up to her hairline and I knew she was thinking of all the things that I'd missed so far.
"I know. Apparently, I'm worse at answering my phone than I thought."
"Oh you're the worst, no doubt. Does she know the sex?"
She asked as she stood up and started chewing her thumbnail.
Shit. I didn't even ask.
"I'm not sure. Hey look, she's meeting me for lunch what are some things I should ask her. Or what should I be aware of? I have no idea what I'm doing here."
I shook my head and she smiled and she pulled a notepad off my desk and plucked a fountain pen from the drawer.
"First, ask her if she knows the gender. Then ask how she's been feeling, if she was sick she should be feeling better by now but some women stay sick the entire pregnancy. You could ask her what type of food she's craving, that's always nice."
She stopped writing and looked at me with that look that told me she was about to fire one at me.
"What is it?"
"How sure are you that this baby is yours? I mean, you never shared what happened between the two of you and I don't expect you to but. . ."
"I'm definitely getting a DNA test but. . . my heart believes her. I can't explain it, I just believe her."
I confessed and Ada nodded.
"Do you want to be with her?"
There it was, the question I'd been avoiding thinking about.
"I didn't. But now? I'm not sure. Maybe."
"It's okay if you do, Brady. And it's also okay if you don't."
I did my best to smile at her and her attempt to validate whatever feelings I was feeling.
But even I wasn't sure what those were.
My only clear thought was that there was a tiny life growing inside of a woman that I once loved, and I owed it to both of them to figure my shit out.