Teresa looked up and started waving enthusiastically. All the girls looked.


Okay. I was not a flight girl when fight-or-flight kicked in. I wasn’t going to start now. I did nothing wrong, and if these girls had a problem with me, then, well . . . it would just suck. I couldn’t change it. I wouldn’t change it.

Drawing in a deep breath, I forced my feet to move. Roxy stood, a smile fixed on her face but her eyes pleading. “Glad you made it.” She gestured for me to take her seat next to Teresa. “Everybody was in town and—”

“And we wanted to see you,” Teresa cut in as I sat beside her. Her eyes were as bright and as blue as her older brother’s—Cam. “We really didn’t get to chat a lot last time.”

“Yeah.” I struggled with what to say as I placed my purse between us. Roxy sat back down, and as I glanced around, my gaze met Avery’s. She gave me a tentative smile.

Okay. So this was weird. I had something really intimately in common with the girl sitting across from me and another sitting next to me. Really kind of awkward, really kind of—

Pulling the brakes on my stupid train of thoughts, I focused on a normal greeting. “It’s nice to see all of you. How long are you guys up here for?”

“We have Monday and Tuesday off. Fall break,” Calla answered, and I was momentarily surprised by the fact I’d already forgotten about fall break. “So I’m here until Tuesday night.”

“Which means Jax will be in a giving mood.” Roxy grinned.

Calla’s cheeks brightened to a pretty pink. It was only then that I noticed the scar on her cheek. When she had been at Shepherd, she wore heavy makeup to conceal it. It didn’t look like she was wearing any today.


“I think we’re heading back Tuesday night, too.” Teresa fiddled with the edge of her menu. “Cam wants to head up to New York City tomorrow.”

“I’ve never been.” Avery picked at her menu. Sitting straight across from me, she looked much smaller than I remembered. “So, I’m very excited to see it.”

“I’ve only been once. It was fun,” I said, resting my hands on my lap. “But a little overwhelming.”

Teresa leaned back against the cushion. “The first time there, I ended up having an anxiety attack later that night when I started thinking about all the buildings.”

“Really?” Avery’s eyes widened.

“The buildings can give you a crowded feel.” Teresa shuddered. “Especially when you’re not used to it, and it couldn’t have just been me being weird, so you’ll be fine.”

“You better be fine,” warned Calla, grinning. “I’m surprised Cam didn’t escort you here himself.”

Avery’s cheeks flushed red as her hair as the waitress appeared, taking our drink orders along with the food.

“Why would Cam escort you here?” The skin between Roxy’s brows knitted. “He sounds like Reece.”

Calla’s shoulders straightened as excitement splashed across her face. “You don’t know?”

“Oh!” Teresa squealed, causing me to jump a little. She clapped her hands. “I love this part.”

Confusion marked Roxy’s face, and I was glad I wasn’t the only person who had no idea what was going on. “No. I don’t,” she said. “What’s going on? It’s not the wedding, right? We all know about the wedding.”

“I knew you guys were engaged, but I didn’t get a chance to say congrats for that,” I chimed in. “When’s the big day?”

Avery’s eyes brightened. “We were going to do a spring wedding, but we’re pushing for the middle of the summer now. We decided to change the date.”

“Why?” Roxy asked, her brows knitting together.

Our drinks arrived, and Avery took a long gulp of her water before she spoke. “I’m . . . I’m kind of pregnant.”

My eyes widened. Oh my God, Avery was— Wait, kind of pregnant?

“You’re pregnant?” Roxy’s voice was pitched high.

Teresa giggled as she bounced next to me like a rubber ball. “And she’s not kind of pregnant. She’s almost four months pregnant.”

“Congrats!” I smiled, shocked, but genuinely happy for them. Whenever Cam and Avery were around each other, it was so obvious how much in love they were. Hell, even before they were together. I remembered the night I was at his apartment for the UFC fight he’d ordered. He couldn’t keep his eyes off her, and I hadn’t been surprised when he left his own place when she’d made an exit.

“Oh my God! Congratulations!” Roxy’s glasses slipped down her nose. “Wait. At Jax’s cookout, when you said you had the flu? You were pregnant then!”

Avery nodded as happiness filled her gaze. “We weren’t sure then. Well, the over-the-counter test said yes, but I was waiting for the official doctor’s words, because who knows? Maybe the results were positive due to user error.”

“How does one take a pregnancy test wrong?” Teresa laughed, her eyes glittering.

“Don’t you just pee on a stick?” Calla looked at Avery. “It seems pretty simple.”

“It’s easy, but when you’re not expecting to get pregnant, you take like a hundred tests, and still don’t believe the results.” Avery bit down on her lip as she ran her finger along the rim of her cup, her engagement ring twinkling under the lights. “And you still kind of don’t believe the doctor, but then it’s hard to not believe. The being tired on and off—the puking and being grossed out by smells that didn’t bother you—oh, and your boobs . . .” She made a face. “They hurt. Everything starts to make sense. . . .”

“The tortoises are going to be so jealous.” Teresa giggled as she pressed her hands together under her chin. They were talking about Raphael and Michelangelo, Cam and Avery’s pet tortoises. They were the only people I knew in real life who had pet tortoises. “They’re not going to be your babies any longer.” Her smile spread. “Maybe I can babysit them more often.”

“I’m pretty sure Ollie will come up with some kind of weird playpen where the baby and tortoises can roam together but not touch one another,” Avery said, and I laughed, because if anyone could come up with something like that, it would be Ollie, the slacker genius.

Avery continued on, but my mind danced away from what she was saying. She and Cam were having a baby. Wow. I had no idea what she must be feeling, still being in college and all, but I knew they’d make it work. Going through morning sickness and all of that while in school had to . . .

Then it occurred to me, hitting me with the force of a racing truck full of pregnancy tests.

As I stared at Avery’s freckled face, my smile faded inch by inch. My stomach dipped and twisted. Ice slammed into my chest. The faces of the girls blurred out. My mind left the table.

Teresa frowned as she leaned forward. “Are you okay, Steph?”

My heart started to pound and blood rushed my head as I started to mentally backtrack over the past days and weeks. If my calculations were correct, I was missing something very important, like life and death kind of important.