Ice Queen CEO's Baby Daddy

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Chapter 3 - The Agreement

“You’re pregnant?” Tristan asked for the hundredth time. “I didn’t know you were even seeing anyone.”

“Oh, right,” Avery said, and she helped him to his feet. “I had a one-night stand a couple of months ago.”

“Wh- wait, what?” His eyes were like large, round saucers in his head.

She actually found it a little amusing.

“You’re looking at me like I have three heads,” she said with a light laugh. “But people do it all the time, Tristan. That’s half the fun of being a grown-up.”

“That’s not what I- I mean, of course. But-”

“Quit stammering and just tell me… Will you do it? Will you pretend we’re engaged and you’re the father of my unborn child?”

He shook his head slowly, still utterly astounded. “Why? Why me?”

Avery gave a heavy sigh. “Because I trust you.” She waited for him to come at her with more questions, and when he didn’t, she said, “I’m keeping this baby, and in order to placate my beloved father, I’m going to need you to do this for me.”

Tristan took a seat on her desk. “That’s what the call was about earlier? You were speaking with your father?”

She nodded. “He refuses to recognize my child as an heir to Blanc Holdings unless there’s a husband to speak of.” She nudged him playfully with her elbow. “That’s where you come in.”

He let out a long breath, rubbing the back of his neck.

“Jesus, it’s not like I’m asking you for a kidney over here.”

Tristan snorted, and his shoulders visibly relaxed. “I know, I just… I wasn’t expecting-”

“Yeah, you and me both. Please Tristan, I’ve always wanted a family of my own and you’re my only chance at getting it.” She looked at him expectantly. “So…? What do you say?”

It felt like forever, the two of them sitting there in silence, her question hanging in the air. A million thoughts passed behind his eyes, and for a moment, Avery was sure her luck was out.

“Okay, I’ll do it,” he said finally.

“You will?” She wasn’t expecting that, but quickly composed herself. “I mean, you will! Oh my God, that’s great!”

“You sound surprised,” he said with a chuckle.

“I don’t know. I guess I wasn’t expecting you to say yes.”

She looked over at Tristan once more, amazed that he would go to such extremes for her.

He flashed a warm smile and held out his hand to her. In a moment of weakness, she slipped her hand into his and let him pull her to her feet.

“Thank you, I don’t know how I’m-”

Avery’s words got knocked out of her as Tristan swiftly shifted and pushed her up against her desk. He pinned her there with his hands on either side of her, mere inches between them.

“What are you-?”

“Does this mean I can act like a real fiancé?” he asked, pressing suggestively against her.

Her mouth opened and closed, but she was at a loss for words. Not because of his forwardness, but because she liked it.

Her heart raced, her breathing sped up, and a gust of air rushed from her lungs. Oddly enough, she felt exactly the same way she did on the night she met the mysterious stranger.

Tristan, her secretary, was conjuring up a powerful attraction from deep within her. One she was sure she’d never feel again.

“Tristan, I- I don’t know if-”

He pulled away from her then and gave a mischievous smile. “Relax, I was kidding.”

But she didn’t miss the way his eyes roamed over her body, devouring every inch of her. The way his pants bore a telltale bulge.

She’d been aware of his little crush from day one. It was cute and she didn’t think anything of it.

Now, though…

“It might actually be a good idea for you to act like a real fiancé,” she said, pushing away from her desk. “It will make our story seem more believable if there are people who can back up what we say.”

“Well then,” he said, holding out his arm to her. “Would you like to go on a date with your future husband to discuss our plan?”

Avery gave him a sweet smile and took the arm he was offering. “Of course, darling. We’re about to be interrogated and we can’t screw it up.”

***

The next morning, Avery felt even worse than the night before. Tristan arrived at exactly 10am and he instantly picked up on her mood.

“How about I whip you up some breakfast?” he asked, making himself at home in her kitchen.

“You don’t have to do that.”

“Nonsense. It’ll make you feel better.”

She sat by the kitchen counter and watched him work his special brand of culinary magic, taking time out to amuse her with little anecdotes and jokes. It was more than she expected, and it did exactly what he promised–she felt better having him there.

“You’re a really great cook,” Avery said between a mouthful of scrambled eggs.

Tristan shrugged and took a sip of coffee. “You learn a lot as a bachelor.”

“Why are you still single? I mean, you have a good job, you’re good looking… You must have a ton of girls chasing after you.”

She realized how personal her question was, and immediately dropped her eyes to her plate. Just because they were fake engaged, didn’t mean she was privy to his personal life.

But to her surprise, Tristan didn’t take it that way.

“I’ve been waiting for the perfect woman to steal my heart,” he said. “Which reminds me-”

She looked up to find him pulling a small black box out of his pocket.

“Tristan, what are you-?”

“Since we’re officially engaged, I thought you should have this.”

He opened the box and pulled out a beautiful ring. It had a thin rose gold band with a round ruby in the center, and it fit Avery perfectly.

“Rubies are my favorite,” she said, beside herself.

He sat back in his chair, pleased with himself. “You don’t say?”

***

When they pulled up at her parents’ place, Avery noticed the porch was set up for afternoon tea. A fully decked table in the morning sun, with Mr. and Mrs. Blanc already seated and waiting.

“Oh God,” she muttered under her breath.

“You’ve got this,” Tristan said and got out to open her door.

“Mom, Dad, this is Tristan Hayes,” she said as they came up to the porch. “My fiancé and the father of my child.”

“Hayes… As in Hayes Incorporated?” Mrs. Blanc asked.

“No, ma’am. Unfortunately, I’m not that lucky. I’m just a normal guy who happens to work for your daughter,” Tristan said.

He shook the hand she had extended toward him. Mr. Blanc made no such move, and Tristan shifted awkwardly from one foot to the other.

“So you lied to us when you said you didn’t know who the father was?” Mr. Blanc studied them both with narrowed eyes.

Avery leaned forward and met his eyes in a daring gaze with her own. Tristan picked up on tension and rested his hand on her lower back. She froze at his touch but she quickly concealed her shock by taking his hand in hers and sitting down.

She squared her shoulders and looked her father right in the eyes. “Yes, I lied. I knew you wouldn’t accept the fact that I was engaged to my secretary, so I tried to hide our relationship from you.”

“I don’t believe you.” He was speaking to Avery but didn’t move his steady glare from the man by her side.

“Mr. Blanc-”

“Don’t Mr. Blanc me,” her father said. “Tell me she didn’t force you into this just so she wouldn’t have to get rid of that kid. Look me in the eye and tell me.”

Avery stiffened next to Tristan, but surprisingly, he seemed to be totally calm. He gave her a reassuring squeeze before he spoke.

“It might seem that way, sir, but that couldn’t be further from the truth,” he said. “I happen to know your daughter better than you do. I know she hates meeting you like this because you intimidate her.” Tristan leaned forward and his arrogance shot to the same level as Mr. Blanc’s.

“Excuse me?”

Mrs. Blanc reached out to place a steadying hand on her husband’s shoulder. “Calm down.”

But Tristan wasn’t finished.

“I know she hates the tea you serve because it makes her feel ill. I also know she prefers the shortbread over the chocolate chip cookies, even though she loves the muffins.”

Mr. Blanc leaned back in his chair, and Avery could see that Tristan’s boldness surprised him, but he was also mildly impressed. No one had ever stood up to him like that and he liked it.

“That’s great and all, but it doesn’t help the fact that you’re not eligible for our daughter,” Mrs. Blanc said. “You’re not from the same social status and that’s frowned upon in the circles we travel in.”

Avery’s fury spiked, and she slammed her fist into the table. “His class doesn’t matter to me and it shouldn’t matter to you either! He’s your grandchild’s father, and he genuinely cares about me. Those are the things that matter to me, and they should be what matters to you.”

She didn’t know why she did that, but she could feel Tristan’s impressed gaze on her and it felt good. For once, she was able to come to his defense for a change.

It was the least she could do after all these years he’d been at her beck and call.

“Avery, please don’t make a scene,” Mrs. Blanc said, keeping her voice low.

Avery got up and said, “You wanted a man in the picture and the man of my choice is Tristan, whether you like it or not. He’s staying and I won’t listen to another word you have to say about it.”

Avery and Tristan left triumphantly, but as they got to the car, her brave front flickered. She had never used that tone with her parents and she knew she would suffer the consequences. However, she got what she wanted and that was enough.

Tristan turned to face her. “It might be a good idea for the two of us to move in together since we’re engaged and all. Would you be open to that?”

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