Igniting the Wild Sparks, Book 3

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Chapter 28

They returned me home on Sunday night, as promised. We went to some jazz venues, but I don’t remember much. From what I heard, the music was great, but it was a waste of time and Val’s money.

Monday morning before Val arrived at work, I left her a big bouquet of flowers on her desk, thanking her for taking care of me. She loved them, yet she scolded me for wasting my money on her. At least my morning started with a laugh.

The workweek crawls by while I continue to stay with Rod. He said I could move in with him, and we could share his room. Get bunk beds, even. Alternatively, we could share his bed, but he said it wouldn’t work out since he’s a blanket hog, and I’m a crabby whore.

At work on Thursday morning, I go into Rod’s office and take a seat. Freezing mid-signature, he looks up from his paperwork with curiosity. I hesitantly ask, “Have you heard from… Finn?”

“Not since last week. He’s been quiet. I told him to give you space. So, that’s what he’s doing. He didn’t forget about you. I promise. He’s a phone call away if you ever want to talk to him. He’s not going anywhere. Okay?”

I tentatively nod. “I don’t know when I’ll want to. I feel like I’m getting closer to it, but I…”

He nods, and when he sits back, I notice he’s bouncing his legs underneath his desk. “Take your time, Hadders.”

“He begged me to marry him, Rod. What if we get back together and he really doesn’t want to marry me? He lied to me again?”

Rod astutely smirks. “I one-hundred-percent believe he would marry you this time. He knows what it’s like to lose you. I bet he’d even skip the church and take you to Vegas.”

“He mentioned that.”

“I think he’d even marry you in all fifty states.”

“That’s a bit extreme.”

Rod grins. “I know.”

I shake my head. “I can’t even look at him, let alone consider marrying him anymore. Why am I even discussing this, then?”

Tapping his pen on the desk, he perceptively answers, “You know why.” Frowning, I glance at the floor. “Do you want me to text him?”

I glance up at his colorful fish tie. “Not yet. I’ll let you know. I was just wondering out loud, I suppose.”

He nods, and his gaze studies me. “Are you feeling okay? How’s your bruise?”

“Still there. It’s a lot smaller, but it still hurts a little. It’s actually a nice distraction.”

“I didn’t think of it like that.”

“Mostly, I have a headache, and my body aches from not sleeping.”

“I hear you up at night.”

“Yeah. I’ll be gone this weekend.”

“You don’t have to go yet. I like the company. I’ll need to do some grocery shopping, though. You ate all my Fritos, jerk.”

I unexpectedly smile. “I’m sorry. I wanted something salty.”

“If that’s the case, I’ll just buy you a damn salt lick. You can break my nose, date my sister, shred my posters, kick my ass, or set me on fire, but hands off my Fritos.”

“Get some professional help, Gregory.”

“Why do I hear that so much?”

Thursday evening after work, Rod and I sit on the couch, eating Chinese takeout. He eats. I mostly pick at my General Tso.

“You really okay?”

I look up at him and wanly nod. “You asked me that this morning. Why again?”

“Because you look pale. PMS?”

“Yeah, if you must know.”

“Sorry. I’m out of Guy-dol.”

I smile. “Cute.” Cute…

He sighs and sets his box down on the coffee table. “I’ll call him for you.”

“I need to forget him.”

“You won’t, though.”

I bite my lip to keep the tears at bay. Tilting my head, I stare at the couch cushion, contemplating. “He’s a part of me. He forever will be.” I look at Rod. “But that doesn’t mean we belong together.”

“Maybe you do.”

“He broke my heart. How can I ever forget…? How’s Eden?”

“She’s doing better. Tabby said she watches the video of us dancing a lot. What a bitch.” I softly laugh, thinking of Eden and Rod’s sparring.

Setting my food down on the table, I say, “Well, she must be a sucker for a good laugh.”

“No doubt.”

Getting up from the couch, I don’t make it two steps when a searing pain rips through my abdomen, dropping me to my hands and knees, leaving me heavily gasping and clutching my stomach. The pain is like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. White-hot lightning is what comes to mind.

Hazily, I hear Rod jump up from the couch. Within a second, he’s on his knees next to me, his hand on my back. “Hadders, what’s wrong?”

Moaning, I desperately cling to his arm. I can’t even speak. The pain tears through me again, and I loudly squeal. He asks, “Is it your bruise?” Confused, I nod and shake my head. I have no idea.

“Let me get you up on the couch.” He stands and tries to help me to my feet, and I pull on him, but the pain slashes through me again, and I fall back down.

“You can’t get up?” He sounds alarmed, which alarms me even more. I shake my head, wheezing for breath. “There’s something wrong with that bruise.” That’s when I think of what my dad said about Jared having appendicitis and how it runs in the family.

I stutteringly cry, “Appendix!” The sharp pains oddly ease up slightly, but threaten to return at any second.

“Will you fight me if I take you to the hospital?”

I frantically shake my head. Rod hurriedly goes to the kitchen to grab his truck keys and runs back to once more help me stand up. As he does, the pain grabs me again, and I loudly shriek. Briefly looking undecided, he gently, but quickly, sweeps me up and carries me out of his apartment, down two flights of concrete stairs to his truck, somewhat struggling to open the door before carefully sliding me into the passenger seat.

On our way to the hospital, I can only sit, curled. If I straighten, the pain is worse, just like after the ball hit me. Although still looming, the pain seems to level some with only intermittent, blinding pain.

Rod carries me into the all-too-familiar ER. At the counter, they give me a clipboard of paperwork to fill out. Really? I guess I waited with a broken wrist, so what’s agonizing stomach pain? Fortunately, after sitting me in a chair, they call me within a few minutes.

A black-haired nurse in navy-blue scrubs does the usual assessment. She also plays with my stomach, as did the previous nurse when I was here last time. She questions about my bruise, and Rod fills her in when I can’t talk.

“Appendicitis runs in my family,” I whisper as if the pain is a sleeping beast.

“Make sure you tell the doctor that.” She takes my blood pressure and temperature without remarks. When she’s finished, she tells me she’ll be back.

As I lie on my side in a ball, Rod asks, “Do you want me to call Morgan?”

“You can tell her, but she doesn’t need to be here.”

He rolls his eyes. “You know she’ll want to be.” Rod texts her, and he’s right, of course.

A blond male doctor wearing glasses enters and asks more repetitive questions before telling me to lie on my back so he can examine my lower quadrant. I know Rod is laughing on the inside from that suggestion and probably will use that line on dates.

Rod grabs my hand to help me slowly roll from my fetal position. The doctor then pushes down below my bruise above my hipbone. “Does that hurt?”

“Some.”

“But that’s not where the pain is localized?” I shake my head, and he moves his hand closer to my bruise and lightly presses. I yell and dig my nails into Rod, who screeches louder than me.

The doctor says, “Could be your appendix. I want you to have an ultrasound to check. I also want to check your blood and urine for abnormalities. A nurse will be back to collect those for me before your ultrasound.” He leaves the room, and Rod frenziedly waves his hand in the air from the claw marks.

“Shit!” He dances around and then laughs. “Collect your piss? That guy needs a better pickup line. I bet he has all the ladies clamoring for his number.” I want to laugh, but I’m afraid the piercing pain will return, so I bite down on my lip hard and close my eyes.

The nurse eventually comes in with a clear cup and helps me off the gurney. She and Rod then walk me across the hall to the bathroom, where I have the most painful pee of my life. The squatting and the act of urinating itself are unbearable. I was okay earlier.

When I come out of the bathroom, Rod holds onto my arm and guides me back to the room while the nurse transports my pee somewhere. Rod picks me up again to place me on the bed. The nurse then returns with a cart and tells me she will draw blood.

Rod asks her, “You don’t hang from belfries, do you?”

She raises an eyebrow and laughs. “Well, aren’t you adorable?”

Grinning, he shrugs. “That’s what they tell me.”

“No belfries, but I glitter in the sunlight.”

He giggles. “I see where you’re going with that.”

I turn away as the vamp nurse sucks my blood. When she’s finished, she says, “The doctor will be in to see you in a few minutes. Then you’ll be taken to Ultrasound.” Sure. A few minutes. I’ve been here before, lady.

While Rod and I wait, he answers a text from Morgan. He then investigates the equipment in the room. Nothing like Finn, who was so nervous.

“Do you think people have died in this room?”

I cringe. “I don’t know! Shut up!”

Contrite, Rod sucks air between his teeth. “Oh. Sorry. You’re not dying, though. Geesh.” He removes a rubber glove from a box on the wall and blows it up like a balloon. When it’s fully inflated, he puts it on top of his head. “Look! I’m a fucking rooster!”

I try hard not to laugh. “I hate you.”

“No, this is a fucking rooster.” He chicken-struts to the counter and dry humps it.

Holding my stomach, I say, “I really hate you.”

He laughs and takes the glove off his head, only to slowly release air from it, making rude, squeaking noises. I implore, “Will you stop? It hurts to laugh, you moron!”

“Oh, right. Sorry.” He releases the glove, and it noisily deflates at his feet. He sighs. “The mocking sound of my loneliness. I giggle, but another sharp pain lights me up, and I gasp.

“Sorry, Hadders. I’m such a jackass.”

I nod, blowing out the pain. “You are.”

The blond doctor walks into the room, interrupting Rod’s bizarre descent into despair. Opening the folder he’s holding, he leans against the counter. “Hadley, I have your urinalysis. Do you want some privacy?” He glances at Rod.

“No, he’s okay.” Despite appearances.

“It’s not your appendix.”

“What is it?”

“You are pregnant.”

Rod shouts, “What?”

The doctor looks up from his folder. “Are you the father?”

Rod shakes his head. “Not that I know of!”

“What?” I ask, shocked and awed. “I can’t be. I just had my period about two weeks ago.”

“Probably not your period. Was it lighter than normal?”

“Maybe only a little.”

“Still, it most likely was breakthrough bleeding when the fertilized egg implanted into the uterine lining.” He looks at my stomach. “I am concerned with the acute pain you’re having. Although some pain is normal for early pregnancy, I want to be sure it’s progressing as it should. How’s the pain now?”

“It’s a constant ache, but manageable until I have a sharp jab every so often.”

“Okay. We need to get you checked right away.”

“Do you know how far along I am?”

He flips through the folder and pulls out a wheel-like piece of cardboard. “When was the first day of your last period, not counting the one you just had?”

“Um, wow. It was the first week of April. Not sure which day.”

“Well, I can give you an estimate. You are roughly ten weeks pregnant. You conceived…” If I had to guess, it would’ve been around Easter when Finn was more daring than he’s ever been. Surprise blind sex at Bethany’s? Outdoor sex under the stars? Easter morning sex after pancakes? Possibly one of those times is when Finn Wilder and I made a baby.

As he looks, I ask, “Easter?”

“No. It would’ve been the week before Easter.”

“It can’t be. I was using birth control then.”

“What kind?”

“Spermicide or condoms.”

“Not together?”

“No.” I glance at Rod, and he’s biting his lip. I know he wants to laugh. “Why?”

“You shouldn’t use spermicide by itself. It’s only eighty percent effective by itself, and you have to replace it each time you have intercourse. If you used it alone that week, then you have the reason you conceived.” How embarrassing. I feel like I’m in health class, and I just horribly failed an oral pop quiz.

Rod says, “Technically, I don’t think it was the gel that got her pregnant.” The doctor chuckles with Rod as I gape at both of them.

Astonished, I say, “I can’t believe I didn’t know I was pregnant. I thought I had my period.”

“You may have had some symptoms and not realized it. Fatigue, nausea, weight loss or gain, headaches, food cravings, or aversions. There are many symptoms you could have had and not realized why or even noticed that you were experiencing them out of the ordinary.”

“I’ve been tired, nauseous, and have lost weight,” I mumble. I thought it was because of other things.

“That happens a lot in the early stages. Any other questions?” I quickly shake my head, and he smiles. “I’ll have them come get you for the ultrasound.” He writes in his folder and leaves the room.

Rod covers his mouth and looks down at me. “Hadders, holy shit! You and Wilder had sex?” He giggles, and I turn my head. I can’t even joke around about this bittersweet predicament.

I have his baby, but not my Sparks.

As that chokes me, I whisper, “Oh, my God.” My hand goes to my stomach, and I cry.

“Aw, Hadders, it’s okay.” Rod grabs my hand and leans down onto his elbows next to me. “It’ll be great. We’ll find Greg Junior a good school where they won’t judge him for the impeccable clothes he wears.” My fingers dig into his skin, and he yelps, “Ow, woman!” He stands, but I still hold his hand as I blankly stare at the stark white wall in front of me.

He suddenly snickers. “You thought it was Easter? So, you got down and dirty on a holy day? You must’ve really liked his tattoo. Whore.” He giggles, and I huff a small laugh while rubbing the pain.

“I got pregnant the week before Easter?” I ask nobody in particular since Rod’s no help. “That means—”

“He knocked you up during your celebratory fuck after his race.” I scowl up at his amused face, but I know he’s right. “Or, what about when you were late for the kite festival the next morning?” He snorts. “Hadley Beckett, you are a real skank.” No. We used a condom then. It was definitely after the race. The night he gave me my ring… that I threw at him.

I scrub at my wet cheeks. “Thanks, ass clown.”

Rod reaches for my hand. “Seriously. Do you want me to go with you to the ultrasound or wait outside?”

I tearfully plead, “Don’t leave me, Greg.”

He shakes his head and gives me a reassuring smile. “I won’t. I promise.” We’re quiet until he asks, “Do you want me to tell Morticia? She’s probably in the waiting room by now.”

Another pain hits, forcing me to squeeze his hand through more discomfort before wheezing, “Yeah.”

“Uh, shit. Do you want me to…?”

I close my eyes and gradually nod. “Yes. Tell Finn.”

“Okay.” Rod lets go of my hand, and I open my eyes. He sits near the gurney and starts texting. I’m curious about how he’ll tell Finn. “Yo, Wilder. The woman you used to fuck on the weekends is now your baby mama.”

I amend, “Maybe I need to tell him in person. Just tell him to come over to my apartment tonight.” I cringe, not ready to face him yet, but it’s unavoidable.

Distracted, Rod says, “Okay.” Then comprehending what I said, he adds, “Not alone, though. I’ll be there, too.” I smile at Rod as he continues tapping on his phone.

When he’s done sending his message to Morgan, he puts the phone up to his ear, but after a few seconds, he frowns. He pulls the phone down, taps the screen, and tries again, telling me, “It’s saying the number is no longer in service. Maybe there’s something wrong with his phone. I’ll tell Morticia to try him at work. It’ll keep her busy.”

“The number is in my phone, but I don’t have it with me.”

“I’m sure she can find the station’s number online or something.” He again texts Morgan. I guess he tries to avoid hearing her voice as much as possible.

The nurse returns and says she wants me to get into a gown. She eyes Rod. Sensing us staring at him, he glances up from his phone, his brown eyes dart back and forth, and he feigns hurt. “Not part of the program?”

I sit up and grumble, “Out.”

“Jeez. You help people…” Shoving his phone into his back pocket, he imparts, “I shall return.”

The nurse helps me change. I’m glad because I’m too physically sore and mentally numb to attempt doing it myself.

I’m pregnant.

Another human is growing inside me. Finn’s baby. Finn got me pregnant. His baby is in my belly, a baby we made together with our love… or the love we used to have. It’s all so much to comprehend. I have to keep repeating all of this until it sinks into my brain.

He said he was trying to get me pregnant, but when did he change his mind? Was it after our Easter night blowup? Yet, he was ditching a condom before then. Regardless, I’m positive he wasn’t trying to get me pregnant after his race.

I wonder what Finn Wilder will say when he finds out he’s a father. Will he be happy? What does this mean for us as a newly estranged couple?

When I’m changed, a brunette orderly arrives to escort me to Ultrasound. As I’m wheeled out to the hall, Rod meets us.

“Morgan is working on getting ahold of Wilder.”

I whisper, “Thanks.”

“It’ll be okay, Hadders.”

When I’m in the small curtained-off area, the orderly helps me move to the examining table. The blonde female technician looks at Rod and then back to me. “This is a transvaginal ultrasound. Is he the father?”

Rod scoffs, “I wouldn’t sleep with this chick even if you sewed us into a sleeping bag together.”

The woman raises her eyebrows, but I only roll my eyes. “Definitely not the father. He’s my friend.”

She glances down at my legs and explains, “It’s an invasive procedure. Do you want him in here with you?”

“Um, yeah. He’ll just turn his head.” It feels weird to be in the same room with Greg Rodwell, without my underwear. Rod smirks and pulls a chair up next to me. He must be biting his tongue so hard.

She drapes a big napkin-like sheet over my legs. “Okay. I’ll give you this transducer to insert, so it’s more comfortable for you.” She shows me a long, magic wand-looking thing.

“Wow,” Rod says, his eyes huge before quickly shifting away from me in his chair.

The technician instructs me to put my feet in the stirrups and hands me the probe. I pathetically whimper when I put it in because it hurts so much. Without looking, Rod reaches his hand out, and I grab it. The tech tells me she needs it to go in further, so I push it in more and squeeze Rod’s hand tighter.

When she takes over holding it, the pain radiates throughout my stomach as she rotates the wand, and I cry. She gently tells me not to shake because she can’t get a clear picture, and it’ll take longer for her. She instructs me to take a couple of deep breaths, reminding me of telling Morgan that before she walked down the aisle, and continues the examination in silence. Along with my huffs, the only immediate sounds are a whining noise coming from the wand and clicking of buttons.

Sniffing and wiping my tears with one hand, I grip Rod’s hand with the other as he strokes mine with his thumb. It’s comforting to have him here, but I wish it were Finn. This affects him. He’s a… father. I’m afraid of what he’ll say or how he’ll react.

The technician slowly removes the wand, and I weepily moan from the pain. She says, “I’ll be right back.”

Pulling my knees together, I rub my tear-filled eyes and take more deep breaths. Toward the curtain, Rod asks, “Are you okay?”

“You can look, but try to keep your eyes up here.”

He moves and immediately looks up at my face, cringing. “That had to suck.”

“Yeah, it did.”

“Probably felt much different from when you conceived your baby. Right? I bet that thing puts Wilder’s cocktail wiener to shame.” Recalling what I said to Finn when I was drunk, I bitterly giggle through my tears.

“Shut up. Didn’t I already say I hated you?”

He laughs. “I think so, but I get that a lot.”

The technician pushes the curtain aside, bringing the ER doctor with her. He sits at the machine, and she points to the screen, quietly saying things that I don’t understand. He clicks through the shots and studies them. I’m nervous.

After several harrowing minutes, he slowly swivels his chair and sighs. “The egg sac and placenta aren’t located in the uterus. They’re attached to your right fallopian tube.”

I try to digest that bit of information, but my mind is already on overload. “What’s that mean?”

“It means you need to have a laparoscopy to remove it.”

I slowly ask, “Remove it?” Rod’s hand firmly clasps mine as my heart and stomach abruptly slam into me. “You mean, remove my baby?”

He cautiously nods. “Yes.”

I look to a somber Greg Rodwell and then back to the doctor. “No!”

“It’s not a viable pregnancy.”

I urgently counter, “Does my baby have a heartbeat?”

The doctor glances at the screen and then offers me a regretful frown. “Yes.”

“Then, no! My baby’s alive! You can’t take her from me!” I already lost her father.

He says, “There’s no way to transplant an ectopic pregnancy to the uterus. I’m sorry.”

I screech and hold my stomach protectively. “No! I can’t kill my baby!”

“You need to have surgery. Your fallopian tube is about to rupture. That’s why you’re experiencing so much pain, and if it ruptures, it can be fatal to you from the internal bleeding. Aside from hemorrhaging, it also can irreversibly damage your tube. Therefore, it’ll diminish your chances of conceiving again.” He puts his hand on my shoulder and adds, “I’ll call to have the OR prepped, and we’ll get this underway before it bursts. Again, I’m very sorry.” He stands, and he and the technician leave the room as I wail.

Rod lurches from his chair, and I release his hand to grab his arm, pulling him down, hugging him to me. “My baby! Finn’s baby! She’s alive, and they’re going to kill her!” I cry into Rod’s white dress shirt, making it wet, but he doesn’t complain. He moves his head to my shoulder, where I hear his sniffs as he shakes with me.

I look at the screen, showing the grayish pictures, and I zealously point to it. “Our baby has a heartbeat!” I clutch Rod’s shoulders and stare at the still images, not really seeing anything, but appreciating the preciousness that is there.

Ultimately, knowing in my heart that I can’t fight this without losing my life, with resignation, I beg, “Don’t let them take my baby, Greg.”

He whispers, “Hadley, I’m sorry. I wish I could stop them.”

Dropping my hand to my stomach, I turn to gaze at the screen again. “I’m so sorry, my baby. Your mommy and daddy love you.” I believe Finn would have loved this baby, even if he had a fucked-up way of loving me.

I cry more, and Rod lets me until I whisper, “I-I want Finn here.”

He nods over my shoulder. “I’ll get him here.” I know he will.

The same orderly returns and looks apologetic that he’s intruding. Rod steeply inhales and wipes his eyes before stepping back.

After transferred to the gurney, I’m wheeled to a small holding area outside the emergency room.

Rod unsteadily says, “Uh, I’ll see if Morgan talked to Wilder. I’ll bring him back if he’s already here so he can be with you. Okay?”

Facing the green and white curtain away from him, I quietly reply, “Okay.”

What do I say to Finn? About the baby? About… us? I need him now, despite him burning me beyond recognition. Oddly, he might be the only one who can save me from this blistering wildfire of pain and grief.

I’m given a clipboard of papers to sign. How do I sign my baby’s death warrant? I told Finn that if I were pregnant, the baby would be gone, like him, but I never meant for that to be true. Am I being punished for saying that? I would never willingly destroy our child. She’s pieces of Finn and me, lovingly interwoven together.

The nurse pats my back as I cry and tells me she’s sorry, but all the sympathy in the world can’t change this and rescue my baby from her dire fate.

My tears subside, and I lie alone with the pervading pain through my body and inside my heart.

The sudden, metallic sliding of the curtains startles me, but I still can’t turn to look. I don’t know if I can face him yet. For a lot of reasons. He betrayed me. However, we also created a life. That will forever link us together, even if our baby is no longer with us. And once I look into Finn’s brown eyes, I’ll gaze into his soul, the soul that gave me part of him in so many ways, and I’ll know I’m still in love with him, despite everything.

A hand goes on my arm, and I abruptly break into tears. Fingers lightly squeeze my arm, and I slowly shift onto my back, seeing Morgan. Trying hard to hide her own tears, she whispers, “Hey.”

I sniff, and she grabs my hand, patting it with her other. Rod stands behind her with a look on his face I’ve never seen on him before, not even when I told him Finn cheated on me. Finn…

I look past Rod and peer around the curtain to the hallway. I croak, “Where is he?”

Rod puts his fist to his mouth before turning away from me. I look to Morgan, and she says, “Um, I tried calling him at work. A producer told me Finn quit last Friday.”

“He did? Why?” I look to Rod, but he still has his back to me.

Morgan says, “He took that job in Baltimore.”

“When does he leave?” I need to see him before he… leaves. I can’t believe he’s leaving this soon. Though, I’m not sure why I should expect him to stay if I told him I never want to see him again. No. That can’t happen.

Morgan glances at Rod and then back at me. Nervous, she licks her lips. “She said he started this week. He’s gone, Hadley.”

“What?” There’s a lot I can’t fathom as of late. I adamantly shake my head. “No. He wouldn’t just leave. He said he wouldn’t go without me.”

“They officially announced his departure earlier at six. I tried calling you but only got your voicemail.” Damn it. I missed the news by fifteen minutes. She says, “They didn’t have his new personal contact information. I told the producer it was an emergency involving his girlfriend in the hospital. She gave me the number to the station in Baltimore. I called there, and they connected me to him since he was in his office. I told him you were pregnant and in the hospital.”

“And?” I impatiently ask.

Morgan looks down to the bed, biting her lip before quietly saying, “He denied he’s the father.”

I shake my head again because that’s all I can do. “It is his! He knows that!”

Her gaze still on the bed, she says, “I argued with him, but he still didn’t believe me. He said you two used birth control.”

“But we…” I’m at a loss for words. He knows what we did together and what we didn’t use. How dare he claim anything different!

I fume, “He thinks I cheated on him?” Morgan nods and sniffs, looking up at me. “But I didn’t! It’s his baby! I never…!” My shoulders vigorously heave as I gasp for air. “This isn’t happening.” I try sitting up, but the stabbing pain assaults me, and I lean forward, growling, “He wouldn’t have just left!” Running out of options, I edgily implore, “Greg, call Finn! I’ll talk to him!”

He whisks his head to me. His face is a strange mix of anger and remorse. “I tried. He changed his phone number, Hadley.”

Exasperated, Morgan asserts, “He left! He didn’t stay and fight for you! He told me he’s focusing on his career like he should’ve in the first place! He’s on to bigger and better things, and nothing will stand in his way this time!” She moves her hand to dry her cheek. Looking at the wall above me, she coldly states, “The bastard left. I’m so sorry. You’re better off without him.”

Finn left. He left Richmond.

He left… me.

I snap, “Get him back here!”

“He doesn’t want to be here!” Morgan wipes more tears, and Rod mutters something at the wall as he indignantly crosses his arms. She says, “The asshole kissed Cara when you were in North Carolina!”

The sting is a smack in the face.

No, he couldn’t have. She saw someone else who looks like Finn Wilder. I look at Rod, and he glances away from me. He is strangely quiet in all of this.

She holds on to my arm. “Jesus Christ. So, he didn’t tell you?” She sighs and peers down at the floor. “I saw them in a coffee shop. He kissed her. I don’t know how long they were carrying on their affair, but it most likely has been a while.”

“No! He said when I caught them, it was the only time with her! He swore he wasn’t lying!”

“Do you honestly believe him? Come on!” She stomps her foot and tensely folds her arms. “He’s been lying to you for so long! You don’t know what’s the truth or a lie anymore!”

I hazily ask, “He was with Cara when he was accusing me of cheating on him?”

She grimly laughs. “Yeah. He was. You saw the proof. Damn it! I was right about him all along, Hadley! Will you believe me now?”

My eyes fly back and forth from Rod to Morgan as the harsh reality strangles me. He has been sleeping with Cara when he told me he wasn’t. He thinks I cheated on him and got pregnant by Rod? Never. Then, he took that job without even giving me a second thought. I was holding him back.

My mind is gone, as is my baby, and my heart.

Violently shaking with new sobs, I seize my stomach as Morgan puts her arm around me, crying with me from above. I’m losing our baby, and now I totally lost Finn. Is this some kind of malicious joke? How can a shattered heart break any more than it already has? Nothing will be left but dust.

Rod says something to me, but I can’t hear him over my howling.

Suddenly, an immense, overwhelming, slashing pain thrashes me. I curl my legs up and scream as I clamp Morgan’s arm.

“Hadley!” I hear both Morgan and Rod.

Morgan holds onto my shoulder and strokes my head, trying to calm me. I vaguely see Rod run out and hear him shouting.

The pain is the most excruciating thing I’ve ever experienced—physical pain, that is. It feels like a chainsaw ripping me open. A line drive to the stomach? I’ll happily take a hundred of those in a row. I can’t even feel my legs.

I rock and futilely try balling onto my side, but it’s impossible to move without the severe throbbing becoming worse. The agony is inescapable. Frantically sitting up, I grab Morgan again as I shriek from the hellish torture. Every move I make causes the pain to surge.

Shit, if two of my worst nightmares aren’t coming true, the mountain of glass disemboweling me, and Finn leaving me to die after the softball slammed into my stomach.

How fucking poetic.

Somebody kill me. I want to die this second. Thankfully, dizziness embraces me, and I collapse against the pillow as my cruel world mercifully goes black.

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