I know that if we give this a little time
It’ll only bring us closer to the love we wanna find
It’s never felt so real, no it’s never felt so right
Just a kiss on your lips in the moonlight
Just a touch of the fire burning so bright
No I don’t want to mess this thing up
I don’t want to push too far
Just a shot in the dark that you just might
Be the one I’ve been waiting for my whole life
So baby I’m alright, with just a kiss goodnight
Disappointment floods through my body. All morning I had been under the impression that she was starting to trust me and now I find this. The plastic stick might have gone unnoticed except that I kicked over the rubbish bin and emptied the contents on the floor. Now this menacing piece of evidence is burning a hole in my hand. All I can think is she wasn’t going to tell me.
“What is this?” Stupid questions deserve stupid answers. I try for impassive but the hurt is too raw.
“Elliot, I was going to tell you…” She almost looks contrite but this just tries my patience. More excuses as to why she can’t trust me? I don’t think so.
“Tell me when Kate. You have had all morning to tell me this. What the hell was stopping you?” Come on Kate, defend yourself. Parry and thrust, this is what we will always do. For one heart-wrenching moment I see a vision of a future where all we do is fight. Neither one giving way, always keep secrets, never really communicating. I really thought things had changed but not where it really counts. Then she blindsides me.
“No, don’t you start this bullshit with me Elliot. This morning we have limped from crisis phone call to crisis response. There hasn’t been a moment to have this particular conversation.” Shit.
“So you were just going to keep it to yourself and tell me when?…Ever?” Jesus, she wasn’t going to tell me which means she has been making decisions alone. Fuck. “You were trying to call Ana this morning. You were going to discuss this with her before you told me, weren’t you?” I think I might be sick, this hurts so much.
“Stop it, Elliot. Yes, I had a moment of panic and yes, I wanted to talk to my best girlfriend. To be honest I am not sure if I would have told her anything but I desperately wanted to hear her voice. Then when I had calmed down I realized that my best friend is here with me. I started to tell you this morning but then my Dad phoned and we have been reacting to that particular bit of news, which I might add is all about you, so don’t you dare accuse me of keeping this from you. I wanted to tell you when we were both in a calm space, not like this, this is just so bloody unfair.” The tears are welling in her eyes as I watch her. Fuck, have I got this wrong?
“Tell me now Kate. I want to hear this.” Willing my voice and body to be calm just doesn’t seem to be working.
“No, you don’t. You want me to grovel, to fall apart, to look like I am making excuses so you can throw it back in my face. You don’t get to fucking do this. This is our baby we are talking about. I am fucking scared out of my brain about this and about this threat to your family and about my own future. I am not putting up with your shit right now Grey, this is not just about you.” She storms out of the bathroom slamming the door and I hear her thumping around the room. At least she isn’t running.
A baby. Staring at the pregnancy test I sink down on to the toilet seat. A baby. With Kate. And she is scared, I could see it in her eyes, she is fucking terrified. And here I am acting like a complete ass. I rush out into the bedroom to see her sitting on the bed in shorts and my shirt, her blonde tresses piled up haphazardly on her head, glasses perched on the end of her nose, typing madly on my laptop. Beside her is her iPad and she has a stylus pen in her mouth. I can’t believe that we can be in this situation and she still looks like sex to me.
Taking a deep breath I lean against the door frame and look at her. She is so beautiful, so smart, so complex, so perfect. And she is going to have our baby. I smile.
“Will you tell me now? Please.” Without any pause in her work activity she gives me a quick glance before returning her eyes to the screen.
“I’m pregnant, Elliot. I’m sorry for fucking up but I guess the pill isn’t completely foolproof. I didn’t intend to get pregnant but I am and we need to make some decisions.” We, she said we. Thank God.
“I take it you’re not happy.” This time she does pause to look at me.
“I don’t really know what I feel except scared right now. Like I said, it wasn’t in my short term plan. I have a career back in Seattle that I was hoping to get started on. I don’t really want to rethink that.” Fuck. She wants to get rid of it.
“So you are going to terminate?” Please say no, please say no…
“What? No! Is that what you want me to do?” Oh, thank God. Two steps to the bed, two steps to my arms, two steps to heaven. I lift her up and plant her firmly on my lap as I sit on the bed.
“Babe, I’m sorry. I really thought that was what you were saying. I don’t want that, I want you, I want our baby. I’m so sorry. You’ve just thrown me for a loop.” I am planting gentle kisses on her face and head as I speak, feeling so overwhelmed with relief. Christ, I don’t know what I would have done if she had said she wanted to get rid of it.
She is crying softly, clinging to me and I get just how emotional she really is because the one thing she never really did from the moment I called her into the bathroom is explode at me. Not a full-scale Kate meltdown. She has been angry and hurt but not explosive. Somehow, my volatile and unpredictable Kate is stoically holding it all together. This is not her usual desperation, this is gentle, too gentle and I know instinctively that this is different and more real than I have ever seen from her.
“I didn’t know what to say. I felt so stupid, like I had done something wrong. And even though I didn’t think you would be angry, I thought you might be disappointed. That it might ruin your plans. And I did think about every option but Elliot, I can’t get rid of it, I really can’t. I don’t know if it is stepping back into the church since we arrived here that is making me feel like this, although I blaspheme far too much to be a good little Catholic girl again. I just know that I will never be able to live with myself if I terminate. And I want to be a mom, I just didn’t expect it so soon. But now I have to work out how to have a career and a baby and the timing just sucks, you know.”
The quiet desperation in her voice pulls at my heart. “Baby, we’ll work it out together. You can still have a career and I will be there to support you every step of the way. We can get married and…”
“No! Jesus, Elliot, no.” She is up off my lap before I can even finish my next thought. “There isn’t going to be a wedding. No way.”
“Kate, be reasonable. We are having a baby and you just told me out there that you were going to be Mrs Elliot Grey one day. Well one day came a little bit sooner than we planned, that’s all.”
“God, you are doing my head in, Grey. If we get married now it will always feel like a trap. I won’t have it. How long would it be before you start resenting me for getting pregnant? Shit, we are only just working out how to be friends. This is not the way I want to do this. I need time.”
“Well, I don’t know if you know this but babies have their own timetable.” I don’t mean to be sarcastic or flippant. No wait a minute, I do.
“Very funny Elliot. I am not changing my mind. I am not going to have a shot gun wedding. End of story.”
“What, so you are just going to cut me out, have the baby and raise it on your own?”
“No, that is not what I mean. I want to date you, get to know you, make sure that we really like each other. If it doesn’t work out between us then there is no harm done, you will still be a part of our child’s life and we will work out things like custody later. I don’t want to find out that you don’t like me six months into a marriage and then have to go through the acrimony of divorce while I am heavily pregnant. Let’s just stick to our game plan here. The only difference is that we are having a baby.”
Sensible Kate is such a change of pace. No less passionate in her opinion, no less fired up over what she thinks is the right course of action but with this underlying calm that brooks no argument. Everything she is saying makes perfect sense except for the part where she thinks I would, under any circumstances, let her go.
“Jesus, Kate, when did you suddenly decide to do common sense. Don’t you get it? I want to marry you. I have never felt like this about anyone. I am nearly 30 years old and I’ve done the horizontal mambo a time or two. I think I know the difference here.”
The hands are on her hips as she places her weight on one leg. She shakes her head at me with a smirk that tells me I am a complete idiot. Maybe I am, come on Kavanagh, give it your best shot.
“And I am 22 years old, with not as much experience compared to you, without having held down more than a holiday job and I am not as sure as you.” I go to speak but she raises her hands. “No, stop. Yes, it feels like something special, something better and more powerful than anything I have ever felt before in my life. And ask me six months from now and I might just say yes. But we haven’t even made it to six weeks here Grey. Give me a chance.”
I feel floored by this. She is right. She is doing the sensible thing. This just doesn’t seem like the Kate that I have been trying to seduce and coerce for the past two weeks. This is the Kate who stood up to me in the bar that night, the one who put me in my place at the Heathman. This is a strong, beautiful, smart woman who knows her own mind and is going to keep me running to keep up and quite frankly, I can’t wait. She’s not going to get six months, but I will concede here and give her three, if she is lucky. In three months she is going to have one sexy little bump walking down the aisle and just the thought makes me smile.
“Well? What are you smiling at?” Breaking my reverie I gaze up at her before standing to take her into my arms.
“Come with me.” She looks confused but I take her over to the closet where there is a full length mirror. Turning her around I stand with my hands on her hips as we look at ourselves in the mirror. She has such long shapely legs but she only comes up to my chin. My hands stroke down her sides until she relaxes back against me, her head leaning on my shoulder.
Sliding my arms around her I kiss her ear. “Beautiful, wonderful, sexy Katie. I love you with all of my heart. I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you and our child.” Her eyes fly open as if she is going to protest. “But…I understand that you are not ready for that commitment yet. So we will wait, as long as it takes, for you to understand that there is no one for me but you. That we belong together forever. I would marry you today, I would marry you in twenty years from now, but I will marry you. And our children will be loved by both of their parents. And my beautiful, capable sexy wife is going to be a kick-ass journalist as well as a strong and protective mother. Believe me, I am never going to let you go.”
My words are working their magic on her and she relaxes again with a hooded gaze. With my lips planted on her cheek I keep my eyes focused on hers as I lift the oversize shirt to reveal her flat stomach. Her hands come up to tie the shirt just below her rib cage and as she does I open the button and zip of her shorts. Without words we both move our hands to her stomach, mine touching the warmth of her skin and hers resting on mine. Our gazes drop to her waist and I slowly palm her stomach before sliding our hands apart to reveal her belly button. For a long while we hold this position, looking at each other in the reflection. And I can see it in her eyes, beneath the fear, there is love.
Turning in my arms, she takes my face in her hands and pulls me into the softest of kisses and I caress her back keeping her body close to mine so she can feel all of my desire. I drop slowly to my knees and begin to kiss her stomach, holding her body firmly to my face while she runs her fingers through my hair. My Kate, is a goddess and I promise myself that I will worship at her alter from here to eternity.
“I love you Elliot.” Her voice is no more than a tiny choked whisper. A single tear falls on my face.
“Te amo, Kate.” I place a wet kiss on her belly button flicking my tongue inside. She pulls back after a short while.
“What time is our flight?” The voice of common sense kicks in again.
“4.30.” I pull her back to me and continue kissing and licking her skin. “We have time to …”
“Don’t even think it, Grey. We have things to do and you are not going to start fatherhood by disappointing those children. Come on, we need to check out and get down to the orphanage for lunch.”
“I guess if nothing else I need to make sure that you and junior are fed.” I stand with a resigned sigh. I would like nothing more than to bury myself inside her right now but I guess we are still playing the abstinence game.
“Too right, Grey.” Pushing me away with a sassy smile she turns to finish packing up her things. I move over to the computer to close it down. The data on the screen catches my attention.
“What were you looking at?” I frown as I sit down on the bed and start scrolling through the website she is on. Stock market figures, the share price index to be exact. There are a lot of things I struggle with but numbers and patterns generally work just fine which is how I manage to stay on top of my reading issue. Then I catch a name I know well, Lincoln Timber.
“I was just checking the Lincoln Timber share prices over the last six months. Don’t worry it is all publicly available data.”
“But why?” Shit, what does she know? Have I ever told her about this?
“You know why. You and Christian have all but a controlling interest in Lincoln Timber as of three months ago, if my analysis is correct. I don’t know why you felt that would be a necessary or smart investment, given his reputation for dodgy practices, but you can guarantee that if Linc is feeling threatened then he must be Grey enemy number one.”
Jesus Christ, I don’t know whether to slap her or fuck her right now. “How do you know that Christian owns anything? None of the companies listed here are GEH.”
“A quick trawl through a few pertinent websites and it isn’t difficult to work out. Christian has been pretty smart but he hasn’t covered all of his tracks. A lot of these names have been hanging around as GEH shelf companies for the past four years. Anyone with half a brain could work this out so I bet Linc has. The question is, why do the Grey brothers want to have that sort of investment in their portfolio?”
She has me over a barrel here. If I tell her I open up a world of sorrow for a lot of people, if I don’t this will be the elephant in the room of our relationship. I just never expected her to find something like this and I bet Christian didn’t either.
“Kate, I can’t tell you that. Let’s just call it insurance. We are quite happy to remain silent partners.”
“But if Linc steps out of line then you have the ability to ruin him.”
“Will you ever tell me?”
“It is not for me to tell anyone. If it was just about me I would tell you in a heartbeat but other people need to be protected here. I’m sorry, I just can’t.” She seems to be thinking about this.
“Okay, I understand. But I think it is important that you let Christian know that I have found this information so that he understands that the information trail in itself poses a threat. Are you going to tell him about the creep and his information leaks?”
“I would rather do that face to face. Christian has a tendency to shut down and throw money at solutions. While I respect his right privacy there is a possibility that he would manage to shut down all of our information sources.”
“I wouldn’t worry about that. My father can’t be bought and at the moment he is our main information source given this creep thinks he can use Kavanagh Media to expose you. Do you have any idea what he has on your Dad?”
“No. Your Dad didn’t have much to say on the subject either. I don’t know, I feel like we aren’t just dealing with one creep here. It feels like it might be a coordinated effort.”
“Well, let’s get ourselves through the next couple of days. I really think we need to get back to Seattle by Saturday, don’t you?”
“I don’t know. If we suddenly turn up at the ball we might be giving this prick the biggest fucking heads up. If we are all being watched then they know that we are not due back until at least next Tuesday.”
“Then we go back in disguise.”
“What? Are you kidding me? I am not having you anywhere near this if there is any risk that you are going to get hurt. We are not putting junior at risk.”
“I am not talking about risk. I am talking about an opportunity to observe, to see what we can find out.”
“How do you propose we do that?”
“I have an idea. Trust me.” And strangely enough, I do.