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The lovers surrender no.., p.6
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       The Lover's Surrender (No Exceptions), p.6

           J. C. Reed
 
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Damn my pregnancy!

  Leaning forward, I took deep breaths, but they didn’t have the calming effect I had been hoping for.

  Jett touched my shoulder. “I’m sorry, Brooke. I wanted what was best for you. I promise our baby’s okay. We’ll get through this.”

  I turned around. I didn’t know why, but suddenly I was angry and fearful. “How do you know? There’s something you don’t know, Jett. Something I meant to tell you all along. It’s the reason why I’m crying.”

  His arm froze in mid-air, and the room grew silent again.

  “What?” His tone was cautious, wary.

  “You were right about one thing.”

  “Right how?”

  I moistened my lips, preparing my words. “There’s a reason why I called you a wolf the last time you were at my place.” I looked at him, unable to stop the unwanted tear trailing down my cheek. “It wasn’t a compliment. I did it because I didn’t recognize you.”

  “I’m afraid I don’t understand.”

  A bitter smile crept to my face, and my heart began to hammer at the memories of that one fateful night—the night Gina died. Taking a deep breath, I struggled to find the right words.

  “The night when you picked me up from the club and drove me home, I was high as a kite,” I began. “I had hallucinations, and I wasn’t even really drunk.”

  “I still don’t understand,” Jett said.

  “I only had like half a glass. When I told Sylvie about that night, she insisted that I take a test. We found out that my drink had been spiked.”

  For a few moments, the words hung heavy in the air. When the silence began to feel oppressive, I looked up to Jett to scan his face.

  He looked at me like he had seen a ghost. And then his expression changed into something fierce, destructive even. His fingers curled around my shoulders, as though he was about to shake me to see if I was real.

  “What do you mean spiked? Who bought the drink?”

  “Gina, the girl who died,” I whispered, the nausea inside me growing.

  “So you’re saying you were high.” He sounded incredulous, and I nodded.

  “Fuck.” He shook his head in disbelief. He looked so worried my heart plummeted.

  “At least I didn’t drink all of it,” I mumbled. He pressed his lips into a thin line, and I continued, “It’s possible that the test results were wrong.” It was a halfhearted attempt at easing the tension.

  “I’m taking you to the hospital.”

  Before I could stop him, Jett stood and heaved me up.

  “Jett.” I stood my ground. “What about Gina’s things and the cops?”

  “What’s about them?”

  I stared at him. “You’re being framed, Jett. If the cops were at your place, chances are they searched it, too. They could be looking for you right now.”

  “That’s not my priority right now, Brooke,” he mumbled. “First, I need to see that you’re safe and well. And then we’ll figure out the rest.”

  He tugged at my hand, but I made no attempt to follow his silent command to move.

  “What?” he asked.

  “At least take another car,” I pleaded. “If they’re looking for your car, they’ll find you.”

  He stared at me for a few seconds, processing my words.

  “Okay. I can do that.” He pulled at my hand impatiently. “Come on, Brooke. We have to pay Dr. Barn a visit.”

  Jett didn’t bother asking Kenny for his car. He grabbed the spare keys on our way out and dangled them from his fingers, shooting me a sideways glance that was supposed to say, “It’s okay.”

  It wasn’t okay, obviously, but I had long learned not to argue with him when it came to what was acceptable behavior with his friends.

  As far as Jett’s friends went, they couldn’t be more different from mine. The fact that we were leaving a gang’s headquarters was a good indication of that.

  As soon as we entered the yellow car, Jett motioned me to buckle up and phoned his physician friend Sam to request his immediate presence. Luckily for us, Dr. Barn was available and agreed to meeting with us in half an hour.

  The drive to the hospital was shorter than expected. Maybe because Jett hit the accelerator more often than not, overtaking cars and not stopping at a single stop sign. Several times, my fingers itched to grab hold of the armrest, and I bit my tongue to keep from yelling at him to slow down, but my mouth remained shut.

  For one, reasoning with Jett was not only impossible, it was fruitless. And second, his distant, rigid expression showed Jett wasn’t in the mood for talking. I could see that he was worried, and in turn, his anxiety rubbed off on me. Shivering, I wrapped my jacket around my body, then folded my hands in my lap, fingers intercrossed so tightly that the white of my knuckles showed beneath the skin. Turning my head to the side window, I closed my eyes to suppress the increasing nausea in the pit of my stomach.

  It had been my decision to go clubbing, and as such I carried the responsibility. Whatever happened to my baby would be no one’s fault but mine. If only I hadn’t gone.

  My anxiety reached a new peak the moment Jett pulled the car into the hospital parking area and the tires screeched to a halt. We entered through the main entrance and rode the elevator up to the fourth floor, where Dr. Barn’s office was situated.

  “I’m scared,” I whispered to Jett as we crossed the long corridor and came to a halt in front of a white door.

  For the past few minutes, I had tried to stop the shaking. My stomach was already a hard lump of icy stones, the shaking intensifying the freezing sensation inside me.

  “What if something’s wrong? I could never forgive myself if the baby—” A tear rolled down my cheek. I couldn’t speak the words, the thought too horrible to utter out loud.

  Jett turned around to face me, his gaze as dark as I felt inside.

  “Don’t even think like that.” He grabbed my shoulders softly and rubbed my arms in a soothing motion. “You’ll be okay. You’ll both be. We have to believe that.”

  “But what if it isn’t the truth? I don’t want to lose the baby.”

  He captured my face between his hands, and our eyes met once again. “You won’t, because everything will be okay. I know it. If anything had happened, you would already have noticed it.”

  I nodded and buried my face against his hard chest. But the relentless questions in my mind kept racing through my head.

  What if my baby died? Where would that leave us?

  My stomach twisted into painful knots.

  For the first time in my life, apart from that one moment before I was rescued from my kidnappers, I was truly afraid. It wasn’t just about the baby; I was scared that I couldn’t take any more worries.

  For a few minutes, Jett and I stood there, my body pressed against his, his arms wrapped around me in a tight embrace, while I fought hard to forget reality.

  It was only when someone cleared his throat that I stepped back and lifted my head, realizing that, at some point, Sam must have approached and I didn’t hear him coming.

  The first time Sam Barn and I met, it was after I was rescued by Jett and his gang. Back then, Jett explained that Sam was the only physician he trusted. I could only assume that Sam had played some part in Jett’s former life.

  “Hi guys,” Sam said with a warm, infectious smile. He hadn’t changed much in the weeks I hadn’t seen him. His blond curls still made him look like an Australian surfer. His black glasses gave him a nerdy look.

  “Hey,” I murmured.

  “She knows,” Jett explained as a means of hello.

  “You told her about her condition?” Sam’s gaze jumped from Jett to me, and then back to him.

  Jett nodded. “About an hour ago.”

  Actually, I knew nothing about my condition except that I had a rare form of preeclampsia that had kicked in too early and was potentially fatal. The first time I read about preeclampsia at all was in a book about pregnancy a few weeks ago, and I thought it was some sort of
sexually transmitted diseases.

  Come on.

  Pre-eclampsia?

  It kind of sounded like chlamydia. Whoever stumbled upon it, they couldn’t have come up with an uglier word, even if they wanted to.

  “It’s about time.” Sam opened the door and motioned us into his office. “Please follow me.”

  “How many people know about my condition?” I whispered to Jett as we followed Sam through his office to a back door, which was his private examination room.

  “Everyone but Sylvie,” Jett said.

  I frowned. “Why not Sylvie?”

  “You think she can keep a secret from you?” Jett’s sarcasm was evident.

  I rolled my eyes, then gave a forced shrug. “You’d be surprised.”

  The truth was Sylvie couldn’t keep a secret for the life of her.

  Especially not from me.

  And particularly not one about me.

  ***

  The examination took over an hour. Jett sat next to me, holding my hand, throughout the entire session. As soon as we were finished, Sam retrieved a chart to go over the results.

  “Brooke.” As he addressed me, his eyes became two dark pools of worry. “First and foremost, your baby’s healthy. Underdeveloped but healthy. That’s the good news.”

  I gave a loud sigh of relief, until I caught Jett’s nervous gaze and the serious expression on his face.

  “What do you mean ‘underdeveloped’?” Jett asked. He looked anything but pleased. Didn’t he hear that the baby was healthy?

  “The blood flow through the placenta is diminished, meaning the growth is slower than it should be,” Sam explained, unfazed.

  Jett frowned—a sure sign that Sam’s answer wasn’t satisfactory to him.

  “It means that the baby might weigh less at delivery,” Sam elaborated further. “However, I can assure you it won’t be a problem later on. It’ll still grow to be a very tall adult.”

  Sam’s lips twitched, and I found myself smiling. Jett barely blinked.

  “What about Brooke?” he asked. “You said that was the good news, so I gather you have some bad news for us too.”

  Sam let out a short, nervous laugh, seemingly used to Jett’s inability to lighten the tension. “If you’ll allow me, I’ll get to that in a minute.” He turned to me. “How are you feeling?”

  “Okay, I guess.” I shrugged, slightly caught off guard. “Worried but okay.”

  “Have you had any changes in vision?”

  “Changes in vision?”

  “Like blurred vision or sensitivity to light. Often accompanied by severe headaches,” Sam explained, his hand gesturing slightly as he talked.

  “Yeah, I’ve had those recently. But I’ve read that migraines often come with pregnancies, so a little nausea and exhaustion is to be expected.”

  Sam didn’t return my “don’t worry” smile. Instead, he asked, “Do you feel any pain?”

  “Sometimes.” I pointed to the area below my ribs. “It comes and goes. Nothing major.”

  He nodded, as if that confirmed his thoughts. “It’s part of your condition. The results have shown that your protein levels are excessively high. Your blood pressure is also too high. I’m afraid you won’t have a normal delivery.”

  “What’s that supposed to mean?” Jett asked. His face looked angrier than I thought was humanly possible. Something sparkled in his beautiful green eyes—a dark hint of danger.

  “It means that if it gets worse—and I won’t lie, it’s very much to be expected—a premature delivery will be the only safe option.” Sam’s eyes stayed locked on me, avoiding Jett’s gaze. “Because your condition is severe and your form of preeclampsia is very rare, I’m afraid we’ll have to induce the birth much earlier than planned. Otherwise, it’ll progress to eclampsia, resulting in seizures and a coma. We want to avoid that, so I recommend more regular prenatal care check-ups until we can determine the best timing for the delivery.”

  He paused, hesitating, as though he wanted to say more, but decided against it. “I’m sorry, Brooke. I know this is not what you wanted to hear, but there’s nothing we can do. You’re lucky that there was no damage to the fetus.”

  “I understand,” I whispered, clutching Jett’s hand tighter. “When will I have to deliver?”

  “If it progresses like this, I’d say no later than in four months.” He smiled sympathetically. “But other than that, the baby’s fine, Brooke. As are you. Don’t worry too much. I’m going to prescribe you some medication, and recommend that you reduce any form of stress as much as possible. If your condition gets worse, bed rest will be necessary, but it shouldn’t come to that. As long as you attend your regular check-ups and don’t take part in extreme sports activities, such as car racing”—he pointed to Jett who still didn’t crack a smile—“everything will be all right.”

  My lips twitched. “I think I can do that.”

  Sam looked at the chart again, and the easy-going smile from before spread across his lips. “Now that this has been cleared up, let’s proceed to the next bit of good news. I’d like to use the opportunity to say that we’ve just received new, top-notch equipment, and I’ve taken the liberty to screen your blood. Based on the results of the medical procedure, which I cannot stress enough is top-notch and the best in the world, I’m happy to announce that we’ve found no chromosomal conditions.”

  Jett opened his mouth, but Sam held up a hand to stop him.

  “And we’ve also found out the gender of your baby.” He let the words sink in as he continued to smile at us, clearly enjoying every moment. “Now the question is: do the happy parents want to know now or would they prefer to discover at birth?”

  There was a short, stunned silence. “I…” Lost for words, I turned my head to Jett and found him staring at me, as speechless as I was.

  Seconds passed with none of us talking. Sam stood.

  “If you don’t mind, I have to check on one of my other patients. But I’ll be back in five. That should give you enough time to come to a decision.”

  The door closed silently, leaving us alone.

  “So, what do you think?” Jett asked.

  “I think I’m ready.” I tried to hide my smile, with little success. “Do you want to know?” I couldn’t help the hint of anxiety creeping into my voice.

  “More than anything. It would be great to confirm what I’ve known all along.”

  I frowned. “Confirm? Is there something you’re not telling me, Jett?”

  “I know it’s going to be a girl,” he said. “I can feel it. I felt it the moment you told me you were pregnant.”

  I shot him a lazy grin. “Strange to hear it from someone who’s not pregnant.”

  “Are you ready for a bet?”

  I gritted my teeth. “A bet on our child’s gender? Are you serious?”

  Seeing my mortified expression, his smile disappeared. “If you’re no longer into our games, we can surprise ourselves at birth.”

  He sounded hurt—a little reminder of our fight and all the horrible things I had said.

  I grabbed his hand and squeezed it. “Jett, I wasn’t criticizing our relationship. I’m sorry I called our little games stupid. That’s not the way I truly feel about them.”

  He looked at me for a long time, his green eyes shadowed by his thick black eyelashes reflecting an array of emotions.

  Eventually, his naughty self won. I could see it before he asked, “Are you saying you still want to play?”

  I nodded. “Yes, I want to play with you and get played. And everything in between.”

  “Oh, yeah?” A big smile broke through the dark expression on his face, exposing his perfect teeth and lips so kissable I wanted to taste them right there and then.

  “But, Jett, don’t you think betting on a child’s gender is taking it too far?” I asked.

  “Not necessarily. It’s a story you won’t forget easily, seeing that you’ll lose, as usual.”

  “I don’t lose, Jett.”
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  “Sure, woman. Whatever you want to believe is fine by me now. I’ll change your mind later, behind closed doors.” For a moment, his tone carried that hint of a Southern accent he so desperately tried to get rid of. The Southern accent I had fallen in love with and that always managed to make me tingle down below. With a sexy, devilish glint in his eyes, he held out his hand. “If you win, you can call the shots for one day. Noticed the ‘if’?”

  Of course I did. He always managed to emphasize it so I wouldn’t miss it.

  I stared at him, ignoring the pang of heat spreading through my body. Our faces were inches apart now, and the tolerable warmth in my stomach turned into a raging flame between my legs. He looked so sexy, I was ready to do way more than only kiss him.

  “And what do you want if you win?” I asked, raising my brows.

  “You. One night with me. I guess you’re used to that demand by now.” His ego was having its big entrance again. I smirked. “But this time, there’s more. I want to name our child Treasure.”

  “Treasure?” I stared at him. He had said it before, but the first time he had mentioned it hadn’t sounded so—

  Final.

  Treasure Mayfield.

  Treasure Stewart.

  Treasure Stewart Mayfield.

  The name sounded perfect. I realized that even if Jett would never want to marry me to turn us into the perfect relationship, at least our child would have a perfect name.

  “What if it’s a boy?” I asked.

  “Well, do you want to have a boy?” he counter-asked.

  “It doesn’t matter. I would love them both equally, obviously,” I replied. “I’m just saying, what if it’s a boy, Jett? What would you name him?”

  “I’ve never thought of that because the possibility never even crossed my mind. To be honest, while I would love both, I’m confident that our first child will be a girl.”

  My heart fluttered at the way he said first.

  First—as if there would never be an only one. There would be more. A few more.

  “Why?” I croaked.

  He shrugged, and his lips curled up, revealing two perfect strings of sparkling teeth. “I just know, and I hope she’ll inherit your stunning lips, because I’m a sucker for those. Like big time.” He smiled as his thumb traced the contours of my lips. “And your eyes. Big, brown eyes. Don’t get me started on how much I love those.”

 
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