“Nico…I think it’s time.”

“Shit.” Hopping over the ropes in one swoop, he tosses me the keys as he lands next to Elle. “Pull the car around, Vinny.”

Once inside, Elle doesn’t want Nico to let go of her, so I drive them to the hospital, both of them in the backseat, chauffeur style. It’s a quick ride, even quicker when you drive twenty-five over the speed limit. We arrive at St. Joseph’s and Nico and I both run around to help Elle out of the car. None of us even notice the engine’s still running and three doors are left open. Nico speaks to the admitting desk and they tell us to take a seat, it’s going to be a few minutes before the doctor can take Elle in.

Contractions subsiding, Elle sits in a chair and looks up between me and Nico, flanked on either side of her, standing. Looming. A big goofy smile on her face quickly turns to laughter. “Do you two realize what you two look like?”

I look between myself and Nico for the first time, realizing we’re both wearing nothing but shorts. No shoes, no shirts. Just two jacked fighters, a sixteen pack between us, hovering over a very pregnant Elle. Looking around the room, I find all eyes on us. Nico and I join Elle in her fit of laughter.


Three hours later, we’re all back at the gym. Braxton Hicks contractions or some shit like that, otherwise known as false labor. I grab my bag and say goodnight to Elle with a kiss on the cheek. “I know you threw that labor. Saw us fighting and didn’t want your washed up, has-been of a husband getting embarrassed in his own gym.” I smile and Elle smiles back, shaking her head.

Chapter 23


Sitting on my bed, hundreds of documents and photos strewn all over the place, I feel sick…like a big hand has reached into my chest and squeezed my heart so tight it struggles to pump blood through my veins. There are pictures, birth records, interviews, incomplete genealogy studies, and hours and hours of countless research on both Senator Knight and Vinny.

I’ve learned so much about the last ten years of Vinny’s life, so many pieces to the puzzle that all seem to fit together, making him the man he is today. But they’re things that he should have been the one to tell me. Things I should have learned a little at a time, as we got to know each other again.


Staring down at the photo I haven’t been able to take my eyes off for the last four hours, I find Vinny’s captivating baby blues looking back at me. Staring. Only the photo is of Senator Knight. There’s no denying the resemblance. The broad shoulders, the squareness of the jaw, even the way they both hold themselves while they stand. Confident, firm, with authority that instantly makes you feel like they’re in charge.

Testimony dates back almost twenty-five years, before Senator Knight was even elected. In his mid-twenties, Preston Knight was a rising star at one of Chicago’s most prestigious law firms. Married to his college sweetheart, he was the living, breathing picture of perfection. He seemed to have it all when he became the youngest partner at Kleinman and Dell at only twenty-eight.

Sources place the first meeting between Vinny’s mother and Senator Knight at a celebration held at a place called Wally’s Den, the night he was voted in as partner. A gentlemen’s club, known back then as the place for influential and powerful men to let loose in private, Vinny’s mom had been a cocktail waitress. One that apparently caught the attention of Senator Knight, and he pursued her relentlessly for a month before finally getting what he wanted.

Stories confirm Senator Knight was extremely unhappy when he learned of Vinny’s mother’s pregnancy only two months after they began their affair. Senator Knight’s wife was already expecting their first child, a son born only a few weeks before Vinny.

The trail of their affair goes cold after an incident that left Vinny’s mother in the hospital. Apparently she was attacked one night coming out of Wally’s Den. She was beaten so badly the doctors were amazed that she didn’t lose the baby. Especially since the beating seemed to focus on her stomach. The police never caught the attacker, as Vinny’s mother was vague on the description. Although internal investigation reports seemed to suggest that Vinny’s mother was hiding something, possibly even knew and was protecting her attacker’s identity.

My phone rings, startling me from the daze I’ve been in since I started sifting through the mounds of documents.

“Hey.” Hearing Vinny’s voice melts my heart.


“Did I wake you?”

“No, I was just doing some work.”

“Anything interesting?”

“No.” My response is so quick, I wonder if my guilt travels through the phone, smacking Vinny in the face on the other end of the line.

“Well I had an interesting day.”

I freeze, convinced he knows what I’m doing, maybe even able to see the pictures that lay on the bed in front of me. I know it makes no sense, but that doesn’t stop my paranoia from kicking in.

“Liv?” There’s concern in his voice from my lack of response.

“Sorry. I dropped the phone for a second,” I lie.


“What made your afternoon interesting?” Hesitantly, I ask the question and hold my breath waiting for his response.

“Elle went into labor.”

“Oh.” Exhale. “Wow.”

Paranoia and guilt mix for a potent cocktail, leaving me feeling hungover, even though I’ve just been given a reprieve.

“Yeah,” he laughs. “I’m not sure who was more nervous. Me, Nico, or Elle.”

“Did she have the baby yet?”

“No. Turned out to be false labor.”

“Oh. They must be disappointed.”

“Think Nico looked more relieved than anything.” I can tell he’s smiling, enjoying his trainer showing fear. “Big guy was looking pretty scared.”

“Maybe he’s nervous about seeing his wife in labor. Watching her in pain.”

“More like he’s afraid of what comes after the labor.”

“You like the thought of him being afraid of a little baby, don’t you?”


I can’t help but laugh at his honesty. We talk for another half an hour. He tells me stories about Elle and her little brother Max. Clearly, he adores them, the excitement about the baby coming through in his voice.

After I hang up, I lie back in my bed, my head spinning from the day. The feeling of being on a runaway train with no means to lessen the impact of the crash that would inevitably come overwhelms me. The job I’ve dreamed of since I was a little girl is dangling from a fragile thread right in front of my face. So easy to reach out and grab it. But if I don’t, if I let the chance of a lifetime slip through my fingers, there’d be no bracing for the impact of the fall. The job would be Summer’s.

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