The Soul Mate Page 29

A knot formed deep in the pit of my stomach, the kind you get when you’ve done something rash while overwhelmed with emotion. I grabbed my shorts from the sand, pulling them on quickly before wading out into the low tide.

I’d jumped the gun because it felt right. I’d wanted to. I’d rushed it when I’d known how skittish she was, and now it remained to be seen what would happen from here.

Waves crashed in the distance. I heard the spray of the shower, but I closed my eyes, focusing instead on whether or not I’d just made the biggest mistake of my life.

Chapter Twenty-Three


I sat in the doctor’s office, swinging my legs back and forth as I listened to the ticking of the clock on the wall behind me. In truth, the clock—along with my healthy sense of panic—was the only thing keeping me awake. I was still jet-lagged from the plane ride home yesterday, and though I’d briefly considered canceling the appointment, I knew it had nothing to do with my exhaustion.

No, it had to do with fear. A dark shadow of terror had taken root deep within me, coloring every one of my thoughts, and ever since we’d touched back down in the city, it had grown in strength, threatening to choke me from the inside out. At my age, the window for having children was already getting smaller. I knew that.

But to be having irregular periods at thirty?

It couldn’t be a good sign.


I glanced again at the steel door handle, willing it to turn and allow the doctor inside. The nurse had already taken my temperature and weight along with my blood pressure and the other tests they did whenever I went into the office. With some luck, she wouldn’t mention to anyone else who exactly the patient in exam room B was, but if she did…

Well, I’d worry about that later.

For now, I just had to put all my energy into willing that door open.

All this stress and worry could be for nothing, after all. I simply couldn’t know for sure until the doctor appeared.

Which, after a few more menacing ticks of the clock, she did.

After glancing down at the tablet in her hand, she grinned at me and clicked the door closed. Carefully she made her way to the rolling stool in front of the little granite countertop in the room and then spun around to face me.

Slapping her hands against her knees, she said, “Well, Miss Matthews, I’ve taken a look at your chart and I understand you’re having a few concerns about your fertility, is that right?”

I gave her a shaky nod. “It’s just that I got my period really late last month and then it only lasted a little while before disappearing again.”

She pursed her lips, looking like she was concentrating deeply on every word I said, then tilted her head to the side, letting her brown ponytail spill onto the counter behind her.

“Has this over happened before?”

I nodded. “Once or twice.”

“May I be frank with you, Miss Matthews?”

“Bren,” I corrected her. “And yes, absolutely.”

My stomach tightened and I linked my fingers together in my lap.

“You are right to be concerned about your fertility. At age thirty, sporadic or irregular periods tend not to be a good sign. But there’s no reason to be scared, okay?”

No reason to be scared? I felt like she was the big bad wolf, blowing down my entire house of twigs and leaving nothing but a desolate patch of dirt in her wake. A whole plot of nothingness where not even a weed would grow. Mason’s face, crumpled and disappointed, flashed through my mind, but I forced myself to nod and listen to what she had to say next.

“Now, it says on your chart that you’re not looking to conceive anytime soon, but we can still run some tests and see what’s going on. From there, we’ll know what our options are.”

“And if I’m—” I started, then choked on the words and tried again. “If I can’t have a baby naturally, what are the options?”

The doctor hugged her tablet to her chest, crossing her arms over the top of it. “Well, if there’s an issue, which there may not be, you might opt for an egg retrieval.”

“What would that do?”

“Essentially, we would freeze your eggs for surrogacy or in vitro fertilization, depending on the particular issue with conception.” The doctor nodded knowingly. “Also, now that you are thirty, it might be time to take conceiving a little more seriously. By thirty-six, your eggs could become geriatric, which would mean the option of freezing them would be off the table and, of course, any pregnancy you might have would be higher risk. It is six years away, but it’s something to think about if you’re serious about having children.”

I nodded, trying to mask the heart-stopping panic oozing through my body like a disease. Taking a deep breath, I tried to speak, but the doctor held up a palm to stay me.

“Look, Bren. I know this is a lot. Just remember that it could have just been a one-off. Sometimes stress or diet or even environment can have a lot to do with our cycles. I wouldn’t get too concerned about any of it just yet.”

“You’re sure?” I asked.

“Positive. Now, just to be on the safe side, I’m going to send in a nurse to get some samples for a fertility test, and I’ll call you within a week or so to let you know the results. Good news or bad, you’ll be hearing from me, so don’t worry when you see me on your call list.”

“Thank you, Doctor.” My sigh of relief stuck in my throat and I leaned back again, staring at the ceiling as she slipped from the room and a nurse re-entered.

Closing my eyes, I waited as she explained the test to me. They already had a urine and blood sample, so the only thing they didn’t have from me at this point was a piece of my soul. Then again, depending on the news the doctor gave me next week, they might take a bit of that as well.

When the nurse left, I got dressed quickly, then slipped from the room and ensured my copay was handled before sliding out of the practice and into the wide, silent atrium.

This, I knew, would be the most daunting part of my trip—even more so than the doctor’s visit. Because, idiot that I was, I’d failed to notice that the doctor I’d scheduled my appointment with housed their offices just down the hall from Bentley Women’s Medicine.

Of course, Mason would have already been in the office for hours by now, but that didn’t make it any less nerve-wracking to walk past his etched glass double doors. And when the bell on the door chimed behind me after I’d walked by, my heart leapt into my throat.

I debated whether to turn around and see my fate, but the decision was snatched from me when I heard a familiar, deep rumble of a voice behind me.

“Bren, what are you doing here?” Mason asked and I turned around, heat already surging to my cheeks.

“Nothing.” I shook my head. “Nothing. I’m just heading out, actually. I didn’t mean to interrupt your day.”

“I was just about to go for lunch, actually. You want to join me?”

“Miss Matthews!” An airy female voice cut between us and I turned to find the nurse striding toward me with my jacket in her hand. “You left your coat,” she said, then gave a polite nod to Mason.

“Dr. Bentley,” she said.

“Hey, Marlene,” he said back, and then she turned on her heel and strode back to her office.

Mason watched her for a long moment, then turned to face me, his gaze searching mine.

“What was that?” he asked.

“I had a doctor’s appointment, that’s all.”

“And you didn’t tell me?” he asked. It didn’t take a genius to hear the hurt in his voice, like I’d betrayed him with some sort of sordid doctor switching affair, but I ignored it, squaring my shoulders as I took a deep breath.

“Look, I don’t want to talk about this.”

“There’s not much of anything you do want to talk about,” he shot back.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It means if something is wrong, I have the right to know. When two people care about each other and are trying to form a relationship, they share things.”

I shook my head. “All I do is disappoint you, Mason. There isn’t a baby tying us together anymore. Maybe it’s better if we just take a break.” I hoped he couldn’t hear the pain in my voice. All I wanted to do was run. Because I could already feel my heart starting to crack. And when it shattered, I might not ever make my way back from the agony. Better to glue it back together myself, make a clean break and pray it stayed knit together.

Prev Next
Romance | Vampires | Fantasy | Billionaire | Werewolves | Zombies