The Soul Mate Page 6

Now who feels like puking, huh?

He paled. All the color and blood drained from his face, and he wobbled, his six foot plus frame swaying like a willow in the breeze. Slowly, he dropped back into his rolling stool, then steadied himself against the counter.

He looked at my face, searching. Trying to determine if I was joking. As if. Women my age didn’t joke about something so serious. I narrowed my eyes and held his gaze.

Do you get it now, Einstein? If there’s a baby, you’re the father. Which means if I’m really pregnant and want to keep the baby, in nine months’ time, you’re going to be someone’s dad…

After breathing in deeply through his nose, he opened his mouth to speak, but before he could delay the inevitable one second longer, I hopped from the table and grabbed my panties from the chair beside the table.

“Look, uh, this was a bad idea.” I shoved one leg into my jeans, having slid on my panties in record time. “I can find another doctor, I promise. Mandy was only trying to help me out. I didn’t know this was your practice, obviously, and I just…I need some air.”

I hopped into my jeans and buttoned them, then reached for my top.

He opened his mouth to say something but remained silent after a couple of strained seconds. I half expected him to start yelling at me about condoms and birth control pills. As a doctor, he had to be wondering how this happened. But he should know, because condoms could and did fail. Obviously.

“Don’t worry about it, really,” I said before he could get going with the platitudes and false promises. That was the last thing I needed. “It’s probably a false alarm, but if not, you know, I know where to find you, so…” I let out a humorless laugh as I turned around and ripped off my robe before shoving my shirt over my head. Now that I stood before him, completely covered, I almost felt better. But nothing short of getting the hell out of this tiny, suffocating room would help me draw a normal breath again. “Please, just pretend I was never here.”

His mouth came unhinged again. I seemed to keep striking him speechless, and I prayed he’d remain that way while I emulated a magician and disappeared. I slipped through the door, nearly sprinting for the lobby with sure, purposeful steps.

Before I reached safety, that deep voice halted me in my tracks.

“Bren, wait. We need to talk about this.”

My feet seemed to have become cemented to the floor. Why couldn’t I just be rude and leave? Shove him firmly in my past again like I did before? Something about the man caused me to act so out of character, I barely recognized myself. He awakened too many feelings in me that I wanted to stay dead and buried.

 “I’ll deal with the consequences myself,” I said in a low voice, not turning. If I looked at him, I’d stay. So I tamped down the desire to fling myself into his strong arms and stepped from the room and into the wide linoleum atrium outside the door. I could almost feel his breath grazing the back of my neck.

Why won’t you just give up?

Before I could reach the sidewalk, he reached out and turned me around, forcing me to look at him.

“Running isn’t an option anymore. Whatever this is, the lab already has your specimen sample from when the nurse took your blood. The results are coming, and when they get here, I won’t let you face them alone. No fucking way.”

Chapter Five


I could tell by the tight line of Bren’s mouth that my expression had turned into a scowl. Her hands trembled, and emotion practically poured from her eyes.

Of all the doctors in the city, how in the hell had she ended up in my exam room for a pregnancy test? Damn. It was right what they said about Karma being a bitch and all that.

I racked my brain, reliving every single second we spent together, realizing I never told her my actual profession. Not wanting to sound like an arrogant douche, I rarely led with that in a bar or club. Besides, being a doctor with my own practice made me a moving target for gold diggers and clingers, so I was absolutely positive I hadn’t told her who I was.

My fingers itched to reach out and gather her into my arms so I could wipe that heartbreaking look off her face. But I didn’t move because I was still a little pissed that she’d ghosted me after the best night of my life.

Her eyes gazed into mine, seeking something. Something I couldn’t yet give. Promises I couldn’t make. After staring for several strained seconds, she took a step backward.

“Can we please go talk in my office?” I asked, my voice slightly more controlled.

Becoming agonizingly aware that we were still standing in the lobby, I took a deep breath and tried to compose myself. An older woman stared slack-jawed at us, and a young mother rocked a newborn in a baby carrier, trying hard to ignore the spectacle in front of her.

My gaze passed over the decaf cappuccino bar that Trent had promised would soothe our patients, making them more comfortable once they got to the exam table. Suddenly, I wished my life was as simple as deciding between the salted caramel or mocha syrup. I let out a long breath, calmed my temper, and turned back to face Bren. A woman running from me caused a pit to form in my gut because it felt like the worst kind of rejection, especially when I’d done nothing to deserve it.

“I’m sorry. I can’t. I have to get back to work.” Before the last syllable left her mouth, I knew she was lying to me. Any woman as upset as Bren looked in this moment was headed for a phone call with her bestie and a pint of Chunky Monkey. All I wanted was the gym and a drink. Only the sting of serious liquor would help sweep the memory of what just happened from my mind.


With my baby.

The implications weren’t lost on me. Bren could have life growing within her womb as we stood here not talking. Even though our interactions had been brief and physical, I could sense her independence. She probably didn’t want to be saddled down with responsibility and tied to a man who just a while ago had been a perfect stranger.

Bren’s face turned white as a sheet, and she sucked in a huge breath. “I feel like I’m going to be sick.”

I grabbed her elbow and pulled her toward the door emblazoned with gold lettering that read Ladies as she rushed for the toilet bowl.

She heaved once, twice, but the contents of her stomach stayed put. As Bren turned her head toward me, I knelt down in the tiny stall beside her, my hands sweeping her hair into a makeshift ponytail.

When she stood, I took a step back. “You all right?”

She nodded and swiped at her mouth with the back of her hand. “False alarm, I guess.”

“Have you been getting sick?” I asked, suddenly more worried than I had been.

She lifted a shoulder. “Just a little nausea.”

“You sure you should be going back to work?”

Come back to my place. Let me take care of you.

As she stepped out of the stall and washed her hands, I didn’t speak the words that popped into my mind before any others. Once I got back to my office, I’d sink into my buttery leather chair and consider how much I wanted this woman and our unborn child playing a starring role in my future.

“I may just head home. The day’s almost over anyway,” Bren said, backing away from me almost as if she thought I’d corner her in the ladies room.

“And you’ll be okay to drive?”

“Yes. I don’t live far from here.”

“Okay.” I rubbed one large hand across her shoulder, and she took another uneasy step back. The physical rejection stung worse than a hornet’s bite. I really didn’t want her driving home in this condition, but I couldn’t think of a rational way to get her to stay or let me put her in an Uber.

Of their own accord, my facial muscles tugged downward, but I dropped my hands to my sides in defeat. I almost felt like grabbing a few paper towels and waving them in the air above us like a white flag. “I’ll call you later. We need to talk about this.”

“All right. My cell number is on the form I filled out.”

My hands clenched into fists at my sides as I felt completely frustrated and incompetent. If I couldn’t protect the mother of my unborn baby, what good was I? But I picked myself up by my bootstraps and followed her to the door.

“Talk to you later, then,” she said and pushed open the door, her feet carrying her like a crazed stalker was on her tail. I watched Bren’s rigid and retreating back until her body became just a speck of nothingness off in the distance. My heart throbbed like someone had cracked my chest open without the benefit of anesthesia.

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