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Love you more.

I drop my phone back into my bag, then pick up one of the office magazines to keep myself busy.

A few minutes later, Michelle comes in and takes my blood. Just when I’m about to walk out of the room, Dr. Hoffman stops me at the door.

“Take a seat for me, Courtney,” she says, looking at me oddly.

I nod and get back up on the table.

“Is everything okay?”

“I think so.” She takes a seat on a rolling chair, then slides across the floor toward me.

“What does that mean?”

“You’re pregnant.”

I stare at her, not sure I heard her right. Actually, I’m sure I didn’t hear her right.

“On occasion a woman can mistake implantation bleeding for her period.” I continue to stare at her. “Are you okay?”

I think I might be in shock. I can’t seem to get my brain and mouth to work the way they should be working. “Did you . . . did you say I’m pregnant?”

“Yes. I’m still going to run your blood test just to confirm, but your urine test came out positive for pregnancy.”

“How? How is that possible?”

“I have no answer for you, especially after your history. I can say that god works in mysterious ways from time to time.”

I rest my hand against my stomach, feeling both happy and totally freaked out. “I’m pregnant.”

“You are. As soon as we have the blood results back, you will have confirmation, but I did two urine tests, and both came back with a positive response immediately. I’ve never had one of those tests be a false positive—definitely not two of them.”

“Maybe something is wrong with my urine. Or maybe it was someone else’s urine?”

“We are not in the business of leaving random urine samples lying around the office, so that’s not possible.” She smiles. “I can understand your disbelief, given your history, but I hope this is good news.”

“This isn’t good news.” I shake my head, feeling my throat start to get tight with tears. “This is the best news I’ve ever heard in my life. I . . . I never thought . . .”

“I know.” She smiles gently as tears wet my cheeks. “I’m happy for you.”

“Thank you.” I wipe my face with the tissues she hands me.

“I’ll have the blood results by tomorrow morning. Until then, just relax. The first trimester is one of the hardest. Your body is going through a million changes while it figures out how to give life to the life inside of you.”

Relax? I won’t be able to relax until the baby is in my arms.

Holy cow. A baby. Lucas and I are having a baby. Maddi is going to be a big sister.

“I’ll try to relax,” I lie.

She gives me a knowing smile, then stands. “I’ll have Michelle give you the number for a doctor who’s a friend of mine before you leave. She’ll take great care of you and the baby.”

“Thank you,” I whisper.

She surprises me by giving me a hug, then heads out of the room.

I don’t know how long I sit there looking down at my hand resting on my stomach, but it’s a while before I get up and leave the office. I make sure to get the referral number from Michelle before I go.


My eyes go over the back of the couch and zero in on Courtney as she moves around the kitchen, putting away dishes and cleaning up the mess she and Maddi made baking cookies for Maddi’s swim team. For the last few weeks, she hasn’t been herself. I haven’t figured out what it is, but she’s been off. When I’ve asked her about it, she’s told me she’s fine or that she’s just tired or has a headache. I’m trying not to let it get to me too much, but the last time she started acting strange she tried to leave me.

Today she seems to be living in her head. It’s odd. She’s still happy, still affectionate, but she’s different. I just can’t put my finger on how. All I know is I don’t like it.

“Baby, leave that stuff. I’ll do it later. Come hang with me and watch a show,” I call to her.

Her eyes meet mine. “I’m almost done.”

She continues doing what she’s doing. I growl under my breath, then set my beer down on the coffee table and get up off the couch. I head right for the fridge and grab a bottle of wine, pour her a glass, then grab her hand and start pulling her with me toward the living room.

“Lucas, what are you doing?” She tugs at my hand, but I don’t let up on the hold I’ve got on her.

“You’re gonna sit with me, drink a glass of wine, and watch a show.”

“I can’t,” she says.

I look at her. “You can’t, or you won’t? What’s going on?”

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