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|Beat of the Heart(Runaway Train #2) by Katie Ashley|
My erratic heartbeat stilled a little at the sight of Mia exiting the bathroom. Her long, dark hair cascaded down her back—she had it down just like I loved it. Her dressy top was loose fitting and red—the color that made her dark eyes pop, and she even sported red heels with her black pants. Although I knew she probably thought she was as big as a house, her baby bump still wasn’t so pronounced. As she eased back down beside me, I couldn’t help reaching out and rubbing her tiny tummy. She froze at my touch.
“I’m sorry,” I whispered, as I started to pull away.
Mia grabbed my hand in hers and placed it back over her belly. “No, I want you to feel the baby if you want to.” She smiled. “You just surprised me by wanting to, that’s all.”
Gently, I rubbed her stomach over her shirt. “Like I said before, I want to be a part of this child’s life.” I drew in a deep breath. “I want to be a part of your life if you’ll have me.”
Mia’s mouth made a perfect ‘O’ of surprise just as the waiting room door opened. “Mia Martinelli?” a nurse questioned. Snapping her mouth shut, Mia shot out of her chair. She fumbled for my hand before dragging me along behind her.
After we left the reception area, a nurse ushered Mia over to some scales. “Let’s get your weight,” the she instructed. When Mia stepped on, I started to look at the digital read out. “No, don’t look!” she hissed over her shoulder.
I held up my hands in mock surrender. “Okay, okay,” I muttered, stepping back. Once her weight was recorded and she was off the scales, I took a few tentative steps forward, I said, “You look absolutely beautiful to me.”
With a grin, the nurse patted my back. “Aren’t you a sweetheart?”
“Thanks,” I replied before winking at Mia. She rolled her eyes but smiled in spite of herself.
Out of nowhere, a young receptionist came bounding up to me. “Oh my God! It really is you. I almost didn’t believe the other girls when they said you were here.”
“Oh, um, hi,” I said, extending my hand. I was in unchartered territory considering I’d never been ambushed by a fan in an OB/GYN office.
“I’ve never missed seeing any your shows in Atlanta. In fact, my friends and I have even driven to some in Alabama and Tennessee. I’m that big of a fan.” Digging in the pockets of her scrubs, she pulled out a sharpie and thrust it at me. “I would like totally die of excitement if you would sign my boobs.”
When I dared to peek at Mia, she stood with her arms crossed over her chest, giving the bimbo a death glare. “I’ll be happy to sign anything but your boobs,” I said tightly.
She pouted as she turned around and swept her hair over her shoulder. “Will you sign the back of my scrubs then?”
I gave Mia an apologetic look to which she held up her hands. “Don’t mind me. I’m just here to see the gender of my unborn child. Excuse me, our unborn child.”
Yep, I was in serious trouble. Capping the sharpie, I tossed it back at the girl. “This is really not a good time.”
“Later then?” she pressed
“How about never!” Mia blared.
The nurse at Mia’s side stepped forward and gently shoved the girl back into the reception area. “Beth, please do not bother Ms. Martinelli and her guest anymore.”
With an exasperated huff, Beth slumped back into her chair and whirled around to face customers. The nurse gave Mia and me an apologetic smile. “I’m so sorry about that.”
“It’s not your fault. I’m kinda used to it by now,” I replied.
“Well, I’m certainly not,” Mia hissed.
Oh great, in Mia’s eyes, I had royally fucked up now. Sensing we needed a moment alone, the nurse motioned us into the ultrasound room. “You know the drill by now, Ms. Martinelli. The tech will be with you in a few minutes.”
“Thank you,” Mia replied.
When the door shut behind us, I inhaled a deep breath. Mia chose to ignore me. Instead, she hopped up on the table. Swinging her legs back and forth, she eyed me contemptuously. “Amorcito mio, I’m really sorry about that.” I took a tentative step forward. “It’s just that I’m used to interacting with fans and getting into a certain zone when I’m with them. I wouldn’t have wanted to take anything away from this day for you or for me.”
Mia weighed my words before reclining back on the table. The paper crinkled beneath her as she unbuttoned her pants and slid them down, tucking them under her bump. I couldn’t resist stepping forward to lay my hand on her bare belly. She watched me intently, searching my face. I didn’t know if she expected to me to pull a douche move and be disgusted by the sight of her stomach or what. It was still so fucking mind blowing that my kid was in there. That somehow, during our whirlwind two weeks together, we had managed to create a life.
“Mia,” I pleaded. “Will you at least call me a few choice words in Italian and except my apology?”
When she finally smiled, I felt like a ton of bricks had been lifted off my chest. “Okay, I’m sorry for overreacting. I guess you couldn’t help it. I mean, that chick really railroaded you.”
I nodded. “I’ve had PR people drill it into my head never to turn away fans, so that’s why I did that. I would never dream of disrespecting you and this special day.”
“Thank you, AJ,” Mia replied.
The door opened, and a tech in green scrubs appeared. “Hello Mia.”