The Beautician and the Billionaire Episode 9: Scene 8

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The heaviness of a hand on her side drew Charisse to the brink of wakefulness. A kiss on her neck made her reach up and caress Conor’s cheek.

With a lurch of wakefulness she opened her eyes wide and flipped onto her back. The swing swayed.

“What are you doing here?”

His sapphire eyes smiled at her in the starlit garden. “I couldn’t possibly leave you with everything going on. I had a conference all afternoon with my lawyers and then drove back here as fast as I could.”

Her heart raced, grateful he’d stayed even after she’d told him to go on. He’d already slid beneath the comforter that covered her, so it was easy to hug him tightly. Everything about him felt good—even the cotton of his t-shirt. “Thank you. It was awful seeing my dad. I thought he was going to have another heart attack when he saw my arm. I was so stupid not to wear long sleeves, and then Gianna glared at me the whole time. Marie told her Raul was your driver, and she said she needed to apologize to him. But there was none for me.”

She couldn’t believe that all the words burst out of her mouth. But it was a relief, especially when Conor held her tighter.

The sound of the stream flowed through her ears, and Conor’s body gave her the comfort she’d needed earlier in the hospital.

“Maybe tomorrow will go better,” he said.

The swing swayed gently with their movements. She wanted the night to last and delay the morning—she was beginning to doubt she could reconcile with Gianna.

She said, “Maybe. I need to schedule some things, so I don’t know if I’ll even run into them at the hospital.”

Conor stroked her hair away from her face. “About those appointments. Raul said you needed a blood test for anemia…”

“I’m pregnant,” she blurted out. She couldn’t keep it to herself anymore.

Conor’s jaw dropped. He blinked. And then he rolled onto his back, pulling her on top of him in the tightest hug she’d ever had.

Even though he hadn’t said anything, she sensed he was happy. She placed her head on his chest and blinked back tears.

After a minute of silence, he said, “I don’t know what to say. I’m amazed, but I thought you were on birth control.”

She slid off his chest and held herself up on her elbow so she could look at him. “I did start it again, which is why I didn’t think anything when my period was late. But I flushed the Plan B down the toilet after our first night together. I know it was stupid, but all I could think about was my miscarriage and possibly ending a pregnancy that was about to happen or was happening. I wasn’t thinking clearly.”

He kissed a tear on her cheek. “Please don’t cry. I’m glad. I’m fucking overjoyed. I’m going to all the doctor’s appointments with you. You’re only going to work half days at the salon while you’re so tired…wait a minute. Raul said you were taking out another loan. This isn’t about the baby, is it? I’ll pay for everything.”

She kissed him to quiet him. She hadn’t wanted to tell him her idea yet, but she didn’t want to keep secrets from him anymore. “The loan isn’t for the baby. I thought I could use Ma Charisse as collateral and take out a loan to buy the out-of-business salon in the Hamptons. I couldn’t open it on my own. If you buy the other half, we could be equal partners. I know it’s silly, but it’s really important to me.”

“I love the idea. It’s brilliant. I’m already picturing myself retiring and living in the cottage with you to raise our kids.”

She laughed. “They’ll think you’re the caretaker because you do all the gardening, and then when they’re older they’ll realize you own the whole damn thing.”

“Is that something that sends kids to therapy?”

They kept laughing and talking until Charisse grew tired again. She wanted to stay up, but tomorrow would be a busy day. She snuggled against Conor’s chest and drifted back to sleep, knowing that aside from her mother, everything was coming around right.

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