His Expectant Ex(10)

By: Catherine Mann

“Damn shame.” He plucked her slingbacks from the floor and set them on the exam table. “That’s a hot pair of silver heels you’re sporting.”

She opened her mouth, and he held up both hands, realizing he’d pushed his luck as far as he could for one day.

“I’m going. I’m going.” For now. “I’ll be waiting in the doctor’s office.”

He didn’t expect they would return to the way things were, but he resented being dismissed so easily. In fact, he didn’t intend to be dismissed from his child’s life at all. He hadn’t walked away from his responsibilities at eighteen, and he sure as hell didn’t intend to at twenty-seven.

Marianna might not know it yet, but theirs was going to be one of the shortest divorces on record.

Marianna hadn’t expected to end the day riding in Sebastian’s Beemer, and she resented being here now. Already he was taking over her life again—the doctor, the half-eaten hoagie in her lap. And while they’d been at Dr. Cohen’s, he’d arranged for his youngest brother, Jonah, to drive her car back to her house—their old home.Sebastian had simply stated he worried about her becoming dizzy behind the wheel even though pregnant women drove every day. Although she had to admit, this day wasn’t like any other. Surely when she woke in the morning she could take a calm moment to simply enjoy the photo of her baby, Sebastian’s baby.

Moon battling the sun, she studied her ex-husband’s stern profile as he drove past the golf course leading into the seaside subdivision where they’d built their two-story colonial dream house. Palmetto trees lined the road, marsh grass just beyond bordering the darkening seashore.

His family fortune and her inheritance from her parents had eased some of their earlier years when they both had been in college. Though they’d both rushed to graduate and start earning their own way. Maybe they would have split sooner if they’d been forced to struggle financially.

Marianna watched as they passed house after house, neighbor after neighbor. She’d been planning to move into a condo, away from memories. Now she didn’t know where she would live. She had so many plans to revise.

Plans. For the first time since she’d risen this morning—and promptly tossed her cookies—she felt happy. She blinked back tears. “We’re going to have a baby.”

He cut his eyes toward her. “Appears so.”

“I need some time for it to soak in. Then we can start making decisions.” Like how she traveled to and from appointments and how much of her body he saw. “My work schedule is more flexible than yours. Let me know when you’re free next week, and I’ll be there.”

“Thanks. And I’ll have my accountant deposit money in your checking account tomorrow so you can put in your two weeks’ notice.”

She sat up bolt right. Surely he couldn’t have meant what she thought. “What did you say?”

“You already miscarried once.” He paused for a yield sign, calm-as-can-freaking-be, as if he hadn’t just ordered her to quit her job. “You need to take things easy.”

Stay cool. Try not to think about his jealousy of her boss in the past. They only had a few more yards until she could escape into the house. “That’s for the doctor to decide, not you. And I lost the first baby because of an ectopic pregnancy. We already know from the ultrasound that isn’t the case this time.”

“I have enough money—more than enough—so you don’t have to work.” He charged ahead with his plan as if she hadn’t spoken. “Why risk it?”

Flashbacks of that frightening miscarriage rolled through her head. How she and Sebastian had gone to the mountains for their honeymoon after eloping, both of them realizing their relationship was starting on shaky ground and hoping to cement their feelings with a getaway.

Instead, four days in, the excruciating pain and scary bleeding had started. Then she’d endured the interminably long drive down the mountain road to find a hospital. The surgeon had told her if they’d arrived an hour later, she could have hemorrhaged to death.

She understood full well how quickly things could go wrong.

Marianna gathered her portfolio off the floor mat. “This is the very reason I wanted to wait until next week to discuss anything with you.”

“Seven days to line up your arguments.”

“Seven days to shore up my defenses against being bullied.”

“You’re right.” He glanced over at her with a curt nod. “You shouldn’t be upset.”

“I’ll take that as an apology.”