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“Two days ago. He’s a stubborn one, this boy. I came back to work to stay on my feet in hopes that he’ll decide to join us.”

She speaks so tenderly of the unborn child. Will I ever have this? Will I have the glow in my cheeks and the tenderness in my voice? Will I ever feel the flutter of my baby kicking inside of my belly? I force myself to blink away my self-pity. Nothing is certain yet.

Nothing is certain as far as your diagnosis from Dr. West is concerned, but you can be sure that Hardin will never agree to father your children, a voice inside me mocks.

“Are you okay?” Natalie’s voice pulls me from my thoughts.

“Yes, sorry. I was just daydreaming,” I lie and pull my hand away from her belly.

“I’m really glad that I got to meet you while you’re in town,” she says just as Trish and Susan appear from the back room, a bouquet of flowers and a veil in Susan’s hands. I glance at the clock; it’s two thirty. I’ve been talking to Natalie long enough for Trish’s cheeks to become slightly flushed and her glass empty.

“Give me five and I’ll be ready; you may need to drive!” Trish laughs. I cringe at the thought, but when I consider the other option—calling Hardin—driving doesn’t seem too bad.

“Take care, and congratulations again,” I tell Natalie on my way out of the shop. Trish’s dress is in my arms, and she’s a few feet behind me.

“You, too, Tessa.” Natalie smiles as the door closes.

“I can carry it, if it’s too heavy,” Trish says once we’re on the sidewalk. “I can go get the car. I only had one glass, so I can drive just fine.”

“It’s okay, really,” I say, even though I’m terrified to drive her car.

“No, really,” she counters and takes her keys out of the front pocket of her jacket. “I can drive.”

Chapter one hundred and thirty-five

HARDIN

I’ve paced around the entire house over a hundred times, I’ve walked around this shitty neighborhood twice, I even called Landon. Now I’m stir-crazy, and Tessa isn’t answering any of my calls. Where the hell are they?

I look at my phone; it’s after three. How long could this spa shit take?

Adrenaline is coursing through me when I hear a car crunching over the gravel driveway. I go to a front window and see that it’s my mum’s. Tessa gets out first and walks to the back, pulling out a massive white bag. Something is different about her.

“I got it!” she calls to my mum as I open the screen door. I take the steps quickly and grab the stupid dress from her hands.

Her hair . . . what did she do to her hair?

“I’m going next door to get Mike!” my mum yells to us.

“What the hell did you do to your hair?” I repeat my thought out loud. Tessa frowns, and I watch the sparkle in her eyes dim drastically.

Shit.

“I’m just asking . . . it looks nice,” I tell her and take another look. It does look nice. She always looks beautiful.

“I had it dyed . . . you don’t like it?” She follows me into the house. I toss the bag onto the couch. “Be careful! That’s your mother’s wedding gown!” she shrieks, lifting the bottom of the bag from the floor. Her hair looks shinier than usual, too, and her eyebrows are different. Women do too much shit to impress men who can barely tell the difference.

“I don’t have a problem with your hair, I was just surprised by it,” I tell her, meaning it. It’s not that different from the hair she left the house with—just a little darker toward the top, but it’s basically the same.

“Good, because it’s my hair and I’ll wear it how I want it.” She crosses her arms over her chest, and a laugh bursts through my lips.

“What?” She glowers. She’s serious.

“Nothing. I’m just finding your whole almighty-powerful-woman-thing amusing, that’s all.” I continue to laugh.

“Well, I’m glad you find it amusing because that’s how it is,” she challenges.

“Okay.” I grab the sleeve of her sweater and pull her to me, ignoring the cleavage on display beneath it. I get the feeling this wouldn’t be a good time to call her on it.

“I’m serious, no more caveman shit,” she says, a small smile breaking her scowl as she tugs at my chest.

“Okay, calm down. What the hell did my mum do to you?” I press my lips against her forehead, and relief floods through me because she hasn’t mentioned Susan or Natalie. I’d much rather hear her cursing me out over her dyed hair than over my past.

“Nothing; you were rude about my hair and I figured it was a good time to warn you that things are changing around here.” She bites her cheek to conceal a grin. She’s teasing and testing, and it’s fucking adorable.

“Sure, sure, no more caveman.” I roll my eyes, and she pulls away. “I’m serious, I get it.” I pull her back to me.

“I missed you today.” She sighs into my chest, and I wrap my arms around her again.

“You did?” I ask, wanting her to confirm. She hasn’t been reminded of my past after all. Everything is fine. This weekend will be fine.

“Yeah, especially while I was getting a massage. Eduardo’s hands were even bigger than yours.” Tessa giggles. Her giggles turn into shrieks as I lift her over my shoulder and head toward the stairs. I know for a fact she didn’t get a damn massage by some man; if she had, she sure as hell wouldn’t tell me about it and then start laughing.

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