Good morning! Has everyone guessed what the doctor told Charisse?
Charisse stood at her bedroom window, staring out over the gardens without seeing them. She toyed with a rose on her necklace, stunned and angry at herself. She should’ve known what was going on, but all the symptoms were completely different than the first time.
She was pregnant.
Fears spun in her head. Conor thought she’d taken the Plan B pill. He’d be angry. She was already missing an important party because of the pregnancy. She pushed back at the thoughts. Conor wasn’t anything like Josh. He wanted children. He’d be excited. She laughed to herself, thinking he’d probably try to put her on bed rest the whole time no matter what the doctor said.
She dropped her hand to her belly, and a whole new set of fears took over. She wouldn’t be able to handle another miscarriage if it happened. The first one had been devastating. But she had been in an abusive relationship too. Maybe she could be stronger now.
Candles flickered on the tables outside in the breeze but stayed lit. Lighting for the grounds turned on that she had never seen before. It was like the lighting in the greenroom in his penthouse, but on a large scale. Rose bushes changed shades of purple, hedges changed shades of blue and the paths had a pattern of rainbow colors. They had to have been put out just for tonight because she didn’t recall seeing lights when she’d strolled around the grounds.
People trying to look casual but still wearing clothes priced higher than she usually bought strolled along the paths. Though dusk was settling fast, some ventured into the maze. All the tables on the wide patio were filled, while other people stood in groups close to the bar. A champagne fountain that she swore had to be another Chihuly creation stood at the end of the patio with even more groups of people clustered. She wanted to go out to see it better, but she didn’t want to talk to anyone except Conor.
She had to tell Conor about the baby; she just didn’t know when. He’d want to know what the doctor had told her right away, but she didn’t want to tell him during Becca’s party. Tomorrow would be better.
Her stomach rumbled. The doctor had told her to snack constantly instead of eating three big meals a day. It would help with the dizziness. The fatigue she’d just have to put up with.
She turned away from the window, walked to the bathroom and primped as she looked in the mirror. She loved the azure dress with the lace overlay she wore. Maybe she could find a better occasion to wear it to before it didn’t fit anymore. She smiled at her nails. They were a sky blue with jewels down the center—simple but elegant. After smoothing down a stray curly lock of hair, she left the bathroom. She’d just sneak down to the kitchen and help herself to something. People might notice her coming down the stairs, but hopefully she didn’t know most of the crowd.
When she opened her door, she half expected Raul to be standing there. She had the impression Raul had called the doctor on his own. She’d have to be sure to thank him.
As she walked downstairs, she looked across the crowded living room. She didn’t know how many invitations Raul had sent out, but it seemed like no one declined an invitation to Conor Grishin’s mansion. Her nerves tensed and then calmed when she glimpsed Conor standing on the patio. She loved him, and she knew he’d welcome the news about the baby. Maybe she had enough energy to stay at the party with him a little bit. She’d eat something in the kitchen and then find him.
When she was almost at the bottom of the stairs, she turned her head and gasped.
Josh stood with his hands in his pockets and a smirk on his face. He said, “Charisse, you’re more beautiful than I remembered. Conor said you were ill, but you look great.”
Charisse backed up the stairs a step. Her heart rate soared, and the world spun again. “What are you doing here, Josh?”
“I’m engaged to Becca.”