Home > Desperate Times (Silver Ridge #2)

Desperate Times (Silver Ridge #2)
Author: Emily Goodwin

 

1

 

 

Sam

 

 

Maybe I’m dreaming.

Or having a nightmare. Yeah, that’s more like it. Because there’s no way I’m running on only a few hours of sleep, need to be at work soon, and my ex-girlfriend is standing right in front of me with her hand on her stomach, saying we need to talk.

“Talk about what?” I ask, though I already know. But it can’t be. It’s not possible. Except it is.

“I’m pregnant,” she says, and the ground goes out beneath my feet.

I blink. Once. Twice. My heart hammers in my chest and I’m suddenly feeling like I’m going to throw up. “Is it mine?” I ask, words coming out on their own accord. I don’t want to be an asshole, but we weren’t exactly exclusive. The last time we had sex was nearly three months ago, and it was the first time in over half a year.

“The timeline matches up,” she says and makes a move to come inside. I’m in such shock I’ve just been standing here, rooted to the ground. I blink one more time, hoping the next time I open my eyes, I’m in bed…next to Chloe…where I’m meant to be. “We hooked up in July.”

“June,” I automatically correct and then shake my head. “Sorry.” I step aside and let Stacey in, closing the door behind her. An instant headache starts to come on, one I know won’t go away until all of this is over.

And it might very well never end.

“Do you want coffee?” Stacey goes into the kitchen, opening the cabinet that holds my coffee mugs. It bothers me that she knows me, that she knows her way around the apartment, yet it makes sense she does. We on-and-off dated for years. “You look tired.”

“I am tired.”

“Long night at work?”

“No.” My feet move, body going on autopilot, taking me to the island counter in the kitchen. My coffee pot is already full, thanks to the automatic timer. Normally, it’s a welcome smell in the morning, but right now it’s making my stomach churn. “I had the weekend off.”

“Long night then…what?” Stacey looks around, eyes wide. “Do you have someone over?” she whispers. “I’m so sorry if you do. I didn’t want to drop over unannounced, I just…I’ve been trying to call.”

Shit. She has. And I’ve been declining her calls.

“No, I don’t have anyone over.”

Stacey smiles and takes two mugs from the cabinet. “Good.”

I rest my hands on the cool counter, needing proof this isn’t a nightmare. This is actually happening. “Should you be drinking caffeine?” I ask when she fills up the second mug with coffee.

“A little doesn’t hurt.” She hands me my mug. “And look at you, being all protective of the baby already.”

I set the coffee down, certain I’m going to throw up now. The baby.

My baby.

Maybe?

I’m still not convinced, and if that makes me a jerk, then so be it. But it’s been three months…which I guess isn’t really that long. If she wasn’t expecting to be pregnant then maybe it took a while to realize her cycles were off or something.

“Where do you want to go from here? How can I help?” I ask as the room spins around me.

“I’m going through with the pregnancy, obviously, and I’d like you to be involved.” She comes around the counter and takes my hand, placing it on her stomach. “Just like before.” She pushes my hand down, moving it between her legs. I jerk my arm back.

“Stacey,” I start, closing my eyes. I bring one hand to my forehead again, pinching the bridge of my nose. “If the kid is mine, you know I’ll help however I can. I’ll be there. But us? I’m sorry…we’re over.”

“But I’m pregnant.”

I just nod, not sure what to say. We have history between us, but nothing was ever serious. There was never a point in our relationship where we talked about the future. The most we ever planned ahead was where we’d want to go on my next week off, and even then, a lot of our trips were spur of the moment and not very well planned. We casually dated on and off for years because it was easy, not because we couldn’t deny our feelings for each other.

Each hookup was met with a sense of familiarity, not comfort. And each breakup left me feeling some relief. There was no regret, no longing or heartbreak. Our relationship was one of convenience, and I was always upfront about it.

Stacey never came home with me for holidays.

I never met her family.

Our relationship status on social media never changed from single to in a relationship.

And now she’s pregnant with my child. Maybe. I’m still not convinced it’s mine.

“How have you been feeling?” I swallow hard. Pressing my fingers into my flesh before opening my eyes again.

“The morning sickness is ramping up,” she says with a grimace.

“You’re what…twelve weeks along? Thirteen?” I’m too shocked to compute the actual due date, and I can’t pinpoint the night she came over, but all it will take is a quick look at my call log to see. It was early in June. The fifth maybe? Sixth? “Hopefully it’ll fade soon.”

Stacey takes a drink of coffee. “Hopefully. It’s making it hard to work.”

“Your OB didn’t prescribe you anything to help with it?”

She shakes her head. “I haven’t seen her yet.”

“Really?” I plow my hand through my hair. “I’ll, uh, I’ll go with you to the first appointment, if you want.”

“No,” she says quickly. “You don’t have to.”

“If this baby is mine—”

“It is.”

“Then I do want to be involved. I’ll go with you if I can.”

She smiles and puts her coffee down. “I can go to the first appointment by myself. It’s just blood work and probably that Pap smear I’m overdue for.”

I nod, again at a loss for words. “Well, if you, uh, need anything…”

“I’ll let you know.” She throws her arms around me, crushing her breasts against my chest. It feels wrong. “I know this wasn’t planned, Sam, but I can’t help but feel like it was meant to be. Maybe shouldn’t have broken up so many times.”

“No,” I say, more harshly than I mean.

She breaks away. “No?”

“Stacey…” I shake my head and let out a deep sigh. “I thought we settled things the last time we saw each other.”

“Yeah, but now I’m knocked up.”

“That doesn’t change how I feel about you,” I say slowly. This is uncharted territory for me. I have no fucking clue what to say or do. Stacey having my child doesn’t change how I feel about her. If she was a random hookup—which I’ve had plenty of before—and she showed up saying she was carrying my child, I wouldn’t drop everything and fall to one knee. I will take care of my child no questions asked, but I don’t love Stacey.

I have and always will love Chloe.

And—fuck—I’m going to have to tell her, and the thought actually causes vomit to rise in my throat. I close my eyes again and swallow hard, still not wanting to accept this as the truth.

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