Even before my craving for financial independence began, my dreams revolved around office buildings and desks—not cradles and baby carriages. It’s not that I don’t want children. I just don’t want one now. Now was not part of the plan.
And then there’s Drew. he loves me, I know. But pregnancy changes things. It means stretch marks and saggy boobs and sleepless nights. No more spontaneous vacations. No more sex marathons.
he’s going to freak out. Definitely.
I sit down on a bench and watch the cars drive by.
Then a voice to my right grabs my attention.
“Who’s a good boy? Andrew is! My sweet boy.”
It’s a woman with soft blond curls and dark eyes, about my age.
And she’s holding a doe-headed bundle of drool.
Do you believe in signs? I don’t.
But my grandmother did. She was an incredible woman—a respected archeologist who did extensive study on the southern Native American tribes. I worshipped my grandma. She once told me that signs were all around us. Guides to point us in the right direction, toward our fate. Our destiny. That all we had to do was open our eyes and our hearts, and we would find our way.
So I watch the young mother and her child. And then a man comes up to them.
“hey. Sorry I’m late. Damn meeting ran over.”
I assume he’s her husband. he kisses her. Then he takes the bundle from her and holds it up over his head.
“There’s my guy. hey, buddy.”
And his smile is so warm, so beautiful, it literally takes my breath away. The golden couple lean against each other tenderly, the baby between them, pulling them together like a magnet.
I feel like a voyeur, but the moment is so precious I can’t look away.
And that’s when it hits me. I’m not just pregnant. I’m having a baby. Drew and I made a baby. A whole new person.
And an image appears in my head. So clear. So perfect.
A dark-haired little boy, with Drew’s smart-ass smile and my sparkling personality. A part of each of us.
The best parts.
I think about the way Steven looked at Alexandra last night when they announced the big news. I picture the way Drew watches me when he thinks I’m not looking. And the way he cuddled with Mackenzie when she fell asleep beside him on the couch. I remember how wonderful it feels to teach her to play the guitar.
And how amazing it would be to teach a baby . . . everything.
Drew would adore having a small someone to show things to—like how to play chess, and basketball.
And how to curse in four different languages.
Drew isn’t Joey Martino. his family means everything to him.
I mean everything to him.
And I’m having his baby. Oh my God. The pregnancy hormones must be on overload, because tears fill my eyes and stream down my cheeks. happy tears.
Because it’s going to be okay.
Maybe I will have stretch marks, but this is New York—the plastic surgery capital of the world. And sure, there are things I want to accomplish professionally. And I will. Because Drew will be there to help me. To support me. Like he has since the day I met him.
he’s going to be excited—like a kid getting an unexpected gift on Christmas morning. It’ll be a shock at first, but can’t you just see him? Elated. Overjoyed.
“Excuse me, miss, are you all right?” I must be crying louder than I thought, because Baby-Daddy is looking at me with concern.
I wipe at my cheeks, embarrassed. “Yes, I’m fine. I’m just . . .”
I gaze at their child. “he’s just so beautiful. You’re all so beautiful.”
I break down in a round of fresh sobs, and the mother takes a step back.
Great. Now I’m the crazy lady on a bench.
She asks, “Is there someone you need us to call?”
I take a breath and pull myself together. And then I smile. “No.
I’m all right. Really. It’s just . . . I’m having a baby.”
I said it.
Sure, I just said it to two perfect strangers, which is a little messed up, but still. Am I scared? Of course I am. But I’ve never run from a challenge in my life—why would I start now?
“Well, congratulations, and good luck to you, miss.”
The family turns and walks down the street together. As I watch them go, a store display to the right catches my eye. It’s a Yankee merchandise store, and in the window is a teeny-tiny T-shirt that says, FUTURE YANKEES PITChER. And my excitement blooms like a flower in a rainforest.
Because now I know just how I’m going to tell Drew.
What do you know about ESP? Extrasensory Perception; the knowledge of an incident before it takes place. We all have a little bit of it—that other ninety percent of our brains we don’t use.
It’s those times in the car when you think of a song you haven’t heard in years, and it’s the next one that comes on the radio. It’s those mornings when you picture an old friend and at dinnertime the phone rings, and it’s the friend you were thinking of.
I was never a big believer in that sort of thing. But as the store clerk handed me my change for the tiny T-shirt, a ball of anxiety settled deep in my gut.
And it wasn’t normal butterflies. It was urgent. Desperate unease, like when you realize you forgot to pay a credit card bill.
I had to get to Drew. I had to talk to him—to tell him—and it had to be now. I walked quickly down the street. Well . . . as quickly as I could in three-inch heels.
As every step carried me closer to our building, the worry increased exponentially.
At the time I chalked it up to the news I was about to break.
But looking back now, I think it was something else.
By the time I stood outside our apartment door, my knees were shaking and my palms were sweaty. Then I reached for the knob. . . .
If you have a weak stomach? You may not want to watch this.
It won’t be pretty.
I step into the apartment. The lights are out. I put my keys on the table and take off my coat. I flick the switch on the wall, flooding the room with light.
And that’s when I see him.
Drew is standing in the middle of our living room, his dress shirt unbuttoned, exposing the chest that I’ve traced my fingers over a thousand times. The warm, bronze skin I love to touch. he has a half-empty bottle of Jack Daniel’s in one hand. And the other hand is hidden. Buried.
In a mane of wavy auburn hair.
She’s the opposite of me in every way. Thick red tresses, br**sts the size of watermelons, perky in their fakeness. She’s tall—as tall as Drew—even without the stilettos. her lips are red and lush, plump enough to make Angelina Jolie envious.