The Soul Mate Page 25

I closed my eyes, then opened them again, trying to hide my exasperation and all-around exhaustion. I’d barely slept when I got home last night. Instead, I’d spent the whole of the evening pacing, thinking about Bren, wondering if I ought to have stayed longer to comfort her. As potential motherhood had been ripped away from her, I’d behaved like an asshat when I could have and should have been her rock. If she didn’t trust me anymore, I wouldn’t blame her. But the again…maybe she’d never really trusted me at all.

Not that I had any way of knowing how she felt to begin with. She hadn’t answered the text I’d sent last night when I’d gotten home, and she’d seemed to need some space. I’d already made the mistake of crowding her once and I wasn’t about to do it again.

“Dude, what is up with you?” Trent asked.

“I’m sorry, man. Distracted is all. Where am I supposed to be going?”

Trent’s mouth became a thin line as he tilted his head to the side. “It’s our day in neonatal. We’ve got to be there in ten minutes and we obviously also have to stop for a decent-sized coffee for you on the way.”

“I’m fine,” I shot back.

“You have purple bags under your eyes. Now, come on. Grab your coat. Coffee’s on me.”

I did as he asked, then followed him down the hall, stopping only to instruct my assistant which calls to take and which to get messages for. Paramount, obviously, was to call me if Bren phoned the office. Though of course, now that she wasn’t pregnant, she’d have no reason to.

“You know what? Just get messages from everyone,” I corrected myself, then followed Trent through the open door and into the wide, drearily lit atrium.

Rain flecked the wide skylights, and I glanced up briefly before turning back to Trent.

“Okay, I could probably do with a coffee,” I admitted.

“No kidding,” Trent said, still leading me through the revolving door and onto the street. Our private practice wasn’t far from the hospital—convenient for when our patients went into labor—and luckily there was a Starbucks just next door to both.

I walked into the dim little cafe and got into the line, only vaguely aware that Trent still stood beside me as I waited. After I’d ordered, though, we stood at the delivery counter, and from my peripheral vision I could see him surveying me warily.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“I should ask you the same thing. You’ve been a zombie all day and you love going to neonatal but you aren’t even smiling.”

“I’m just not in a baby mood today,” I said.

Trent squinted at me as my name was called and I collected my coffee.

“You’re in a rough field to not be in a baby mood,” Trent said with a short laugh.

“I know, I know. Look, things have just been weird for me lately. Besides, what’s with the third degree? Why don’t we talk about you for a change?”

“Because I actually have my shit together. You, on the other hand—”

“Hey,” I said. “Look, I’ve got a lunch date with my mom later and I’m just weirded out about how it’s going to be now that my parents are splitting up. I think people always mean for these things to go amicably and then it turns into a bloodbath, so.”

Trent shook his head. “Nope. I don’t think that’s it.”

“I’m telling you it is, though.”

“Look, I get that the whole parental thing is weird.”

“It’s beyond weird. I’ve only known them together my whole life and now it’s going to be an adjustment. I’ll get over it.”

Trent nodded. “My parents have been divorced for a long time. It’s going to be strange at first and it’s going to be worse when they start dating again, but it’ll work out. I’ve known your dad for a long time. He’s not the sort of guy who lets things get ugly if he can help it, and your mom seems great.”

“I know. That’s true.” I took a deep breath. “And I guess that’s not all of it either.”

“No?” Trent said. “Color me shocked.”

“Just humor me here, okay?” I said. “So Bren and I opened the envelope last night.”

“I figured,” Trent said, nodding.

“What, are you a mind reader now, too?”

“No, Bren called and canceled a checkup we had on the books,” Trent said.

“At least I know her phone is still working. I have no evidence of that myself.”

Trent shrugged. “People handle things in different ways. But hey, you both dodged a bullet, right?”

“Right,” I sighed. “I just wish it felt that way.”

“It doesn’t?”

“No. I mean, you’d think I’d be thrilled not to have a baby with a virtual stranger, but over these last two weeks we’ve just gotten closer, you know? Like, even in such a short period, I feel really connected to her.”

Trent led me through the hospital’s revolving doors but didn’t say anything.

“What?” I prompted.

“I don’t know, man. This is some deep shit.”

I nodded. “I know. It’s insane. It makes no sense to be disappointed.”

“And how does she feel?” Trent asked.

“I don’t know. I left almost right after we found out and she hasn’t answered my texts since. She seemed as upset as I was, though. It seemed like I’d just gotten her to open up a little and the news sealed her right back up, tighter than before.”

“Maybe she is upset,” Trent said. “Did she want children? Neither one of you are getting any younger. Biological clock and all that shit.”

“She wanted the baby, I think. She didn’t say it in as many words, but I think we both wanted the baby.”

“Well, the baby isn’t happening so, from my perspective, you need to figure something else out.”

“Like what?”

“Like whether, now that you’re not going to be a family, you still want to see this girl and maybe have a family with her down the line.”

“I do. Absolutely. But if she won’t answer my text—”

“Then you need to figure out how to get back on the right track. The Mason I know doesn’t give up at the first sign of a challenge.”

We walked into the neonatal unit and a nurse approached us, briefing us on which babies needed to be rocked or fed. I picked up the first little girl she’d pointed to—a tiny thing with delicate pink skin and a shock of dark hair.

Taking a bottle from the nurse, I fed the little girl, rocked her in my arms, and held back another rush of regret as I stared into her wide blue eyes. She was perfect in every way. Beautiful. Just like I’d pictured my own daughter for that brief, shining moment yesterday evening.

“You okay?” Trent asked as he rocked a baby boy.

I nodded. “Yup. Just realizing that for once, you’re right, man. I need to figure out something and quick. If I don’t, I’m going to be letting the woman I want get away.”

Now the only question was what exactly I needed to do to get her to realize that there was more than just this baby that never was between us.

“Now you’re thinking. Shit, maybe you should take her away for the weekend, make a grand gesture and all that,” Trent said. “Women love that shit.”

He was right. We needed the focus back on me and Bren. Start fresh. Someplace that was totally different from all the places we’d been when we were thinking we might become a family. A chance to start over.

I glanced down at the baby in my arms, then settled her back in her crib before I pulled my phone from my lab coat pocket.

“Trent, any chance you can cover for me today?” I asked.

Trent frowned. “Yeah, all right. Everything okay?”

I nodded. “Totally fine. I’m going to do it.”

“Do what?”

“Take Bren away.”

Trent chuckled. “I didn’t mean today, dude.”

“No time like the present.”

If she wasn’t answering my message, I had to send one she had no choice but to respond to.

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