Delicious(Buchanans, Book 1)(55) by Susan Mallery
She nodded. “I know, but he would have freaked out.” There’d been something intimate about the experience. While she and Reid were great friends, they’d never shared stuff like that.
She looked at Cal. Happiness, anger and sadness blended uneasily. She’d wanted this experience for them. She’d wanted to have children with him.
How involved had he been with Alison’s pregnancy? How much of his presence here was to smooth things over? She believed he was genuinely sorry he’d hurt her, and that he hadn’t withheld the truth to be vicious, but she suspected he would have been content to keep his daughter a secret forever.
“I’m sorry about our baby,” he said.
She stared at him in surprise. “What do you mean?”
“I’m sorry we lost it.” He shrugged. “I felt bad before, when it happened, but until today, the experience wasn’t real. Intellectually I knew you were pregnant back then, but I didn’t think about you having a baby. Sorry. I’m not making sense.”
“No, you are.” She understood how he could have been more disconnected from the experience. It hadn’t been happening to his body. She just wasn’t sure she believed him.
“I missed out on a lot,” he said, staring straight ahead. “It’s sad, for both of us.”
Wow. Cal admitting to an emotion. “I’m sad, too,” she told him. “But it was for the best.”
“You losing the baby?”
She nodded. “There’s a reason that sort of thing happens. There was probably something wrong with it and it wouldn’t have survived anyway.”
“I thought you were going to say it was for the best because we got a divorce.”
“That’s a factor, but not a big one,” she said. “We would have figured out how to be parents without being together.”
Not that she’d ever expected to be a single mother. Yet here she was, making it happen.
“You were right before,” he said. “About me expecting you to leave. I was. Right from the beginning. Even when we got married, I always thought the relationship was temporary.”
“Why? What did I ever say or do to make you think that?”
“It wasn’t you.” He gave her a smile that didn’t reach his eyes. “You were in it for the long haul. It was me. How I was raised. What I believed. There are a lot of reasons that aren’t that interesting. But I wanted you to know you were right.” He glanced at her again. “It’s one of your favorite things.”
“Usually,” she murmured, stunned by his confession. “This time I would have accepted being wrong.” She hesitated, then asked. “If that’s how you felt, why did you marry me?”
“I wanted to be wrong.”
“But you weren’t. I did leave.”
“You left to get my attention. I’m the one who let you go. I had a good thing with you, Penny,” he said. “When you left, I lost something I’ll never be able to replace.”
“Thank you for saying that. I always wondered if you’d even noticed I was gone.”
“Just not enough to come after me.”
He glanced at her. “You’re still mad about Lindsey.”
“Mad doesn’t cover it, Cal. It’s not like you were hiding a tattoo. You kept a huge part of your life separate from me. Not just that you had a daughter, but that you loved her so much, you couldn’t love anyone else.”
“That’s not true.”
“Penny, you were my wife. I wanted…”
“What? To stay together forever? To have a family?”
“I wanted us to make it.”
“I don’t believe you. I think you wanted to be alone with your guilt. At least your lack of interest wasn’t about me specifically. You would have done this to anyone.”
His hands tightened on the steering wheel. “You’re not going to give me a break, are you?”
“Do you deserve one? You fundamentally changed everything about our past. I’m still dealing.”
“Are you going to be able to work with me?”
“Offering to leave?” she asked.
“If it helps.”
Would it? “I meant what I said. I don’t hate you.”
“Will we ever be friends again?”
Friends? They’d been married before. They now worked together and just about a week ago, they’d been lovers. She wasn’t sure they’d ever been friends.
“I don’t know,” she admitted. “I’m not sure it’s…”
Suddenly she felt a fluttering in her stomach. Her breath caught.
“What?” he asked. “Are you okay?”
“I’m great. It’s the baby. It’s moving.”
He smiled at her. “Yeah? What does it feel like?”
Anger and hurt battled with a need to share the wonder. She hesitated a second, then pulled up her sweater and placed his hand on her bare stomach.
“Can you feel it?” she asked. “It’s right there.”
He glanced at her, his eyes wide, his mouth parted in amazement. “I can feel it. Not a kick. More of a brushing.”
“Yes. That’s it.”
They smiled at each other, then he turned his attention back to the road. Still, he kept his hand on her stomach and she kept her hand on top of his. The moment seemed to stretch on endlessly. Despite everything, they were connected.
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