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Chapter 24


6 months later

“Our job is in town. I’ll come see you for lunch.” Hunter kissed Claire as he dropped her off at the store. “I love you pretty girl.”

“I love you too.”

She smiled at him as she shut the door to his truck. She was glad the air was much cooler and loved the trees changing. They had talked to Miss Betty over dinner and asked to rent the house for another year and she proposed that they think about buying it. Claire had a steady stream of customers. She had refurbished the bedroom set that belonged to Ruth and got exactly what she wanted for it. Miss Betty bragged to all her friends.

Gabe and Hunter came to an understanding. He apologized to Claire and Hunter both. Things were smoothing out as time went on. Gabe disappeared a lot when he wasn’t on club business. He had been seeing Kristin, careful to keep her out of the club. Hunter went nuclear when he heard she was there one night. He got a restraining order on her. Claire was livid and it took several days for Hunter to assure her that he was satisfied in every way.

She was starving by the time he came to get her. And was shaking when the burger came.

“You okay sweetheart?”

“Yeah, just hungry.” She took a bite and frowned. “Yuck.” She looked at it to see if it was cooked and it was. She ate her fries but pushed her burger away. Hunter ate it and thought it tasted fine. She ordered another iced tea to wash the taste away in her mouth. They chatted and started talking about the holidays. She was excited. So was he, her ring was almost paid off.

Claire wasn’t feeling good and was green by the time he picked her up. She was curled up on a loveseat in the shop and he scooped her up and put her in the truck. She ended up going to bed without dinner and woke up in the middle of the night to throw up. Hunter was up with her, getting her a soda to settle her stomach. She brushed her teeth and shuffled back to bed and falling back asleep. Hunter rubbed her back as she melted into the bed.

He woke up the next morning and heard her getting sick in the guest bathroom. He stumbled out of bed and grabbed a washcloth for her.

“Sweetheart…are you okay?” He pressed the compress on her neck.

“Yeah.” She got up on shaky legs and rinsed her mouth. “Coffee” was all she could say before she gagged. He picked her up and put her back in bed.

“I’ll be right back.” His heart was pounding in his chest as he dialed Stella.

“Hunter…everything okay?”

“Claire is sick.”

“Okay…what’s going on?”

“Throwing up. Started in the middle of the night. She just got sick again. Said her burger tasted funny yesterday.”

“Okay…sounds like a bug. Make sure she stays hydrated, make her some dry toast.”

“Thanks Stella.”

He checked on her and she was sound asleep. He told Max he was staying home and he could manage the job today, they were almost done. He was quiet as he sipped his coffee and caught up on club emails and budgets. They were making good money between their various investments and the construction company.

He heard the shower go and he jumped up and poked his head in the bathroom.

“How are you feeling sweetheart?”



She gagged.

“I’ll take that as a no. I’ll get you a sweet tea.”

She crawled back in bed and went back to sleep only to wake up and get sick in the middle of the night.

Three days of this and Hunter decided to make her a doctor appointment. He stayed with her while they did blood work and a urine test. The doctor checked her out and talked to her while he waited for a few of the routine tests to come back. The nurse knocked on the door and handed him several pieces of paper.

Hunter was bouncing his leg up and down. Claire was pale and gagging slightly.

“Congratulations Miss Stewart. You’re pregnant.”

The air had been sucked out of the room. “What? Impossible.” Claire stammered out.

Hunter stopped breathing and sat back in the chair.

“Yes ma’am. We’re going to go get the ultrasound machine and see how far along you are.” The doctor slipped out of the room.

She turned to Hunter with wide eyes and an open mouth. She looked down at her stomach and back up at him. The tears building and falling. He was on his knees in front of her putting his face in her middle, letting his own tears go. The doctor knocked on the door and found them like this. He had extensive questions for her but would save them for the next appointment. She assured him there was no way she could be pregnant, she was infertile. Hunter was holding her hand with both of his while she dabbed at her eyes. Both of them were in awe at the little kidney bean that the doctor promised was a baby.

“You’re about eight weeks. I want you to take it easy. I’m going to contact the fertility doctor and see what his records say. I’d like to see you back in two weeks. I’m going to consider this a high risk pregnancy due to your history.”

Hunter went into protective mode. “What does that mean?”

“Bed rest. I don’t want her up and doing much. Lots of fluids and rest. I’m going to give you something for nausea. No motorcycle rides either.”

“Yes sir.” Hunter was vibrating in his seat.

“If you have any questions, call me. Congratulations to you two.” He gave them a warm smile and a handshake. The nurse came in with a bag full of brochures and information. A large water bottle that Claire had to drink two of a day along with prenatal pills and an anti-nausea.

Hunter insisted on carrying her out much to her embarrassment. He gently put her down in the parking lot next to her SUV. The drive home was quiet, both in a little bit of shock. Claire kept her hand on her stomach and he reached over and placed his large hand over hers. He slowly pulled into the driveway and shut the vehicle off and sat there a minute before getting out and carrying her into the house and straight into the bedroom.

They both sat on the edge of the bed and she burst out crying as he pulled her into his lap.

“You’re okay…we’re okay.”

“I’m sorry…”

“For what? What on earth are you sorry for?”

“I didn’t know I could get pregnant.”

“I know sweetheart. Do you think I’m mad? Look at me.”

She pulled back and she looked at the tears on his face and the grin.

“I’m gonna be a dad…you’ve made me a dad sweetheart.”

“I’m gonna be a mom Hunter.”

She burst out sobbing. He pulled them back on the bed and put her between his legs while she let herself go in his arms. He rocked her and kissed her face and her head while she cried. He shared his own tears with her. His hand rested against her stomach as he held her.

“I’m pregnant.” She whispered.

“We’re pregnant.” He whispered back.

She burst out crying again and he held her. She made herself sick and he had to settle her down and make her sip some water. He laid down with her, wrapping her up in his arms, his hand resting protectively over her stomach.

“I love you Claire. Thank you…thank you for making me whole.”

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