A Tricky Proposition(2)

By: Cat Schield

When he headed off to college, time and distance hadn’t blunted her feelings for him, but it had provided her with perspective. Even if by some miracle Jason did fall madly in love with her, he wasn’t going to act on it. Over and over, he’d told her how important her friendship was to him and how he didn’t want to do anything to mess that up.

“So, what’s up?” Jason said, eyeing her over the top of his hamburger. “You said you had something serious to discuss with me.”

And in the thirty minutes she’d sat waiting for him, she’d talked herself into a state of near panic. Usually she told him everything going on in her life. Well, almost everything.

When she’d starting dating Evan there were a few topics they didn’t discuss. Her feelings for his brother being the biggest. Holding her own council about such an enormous part of her life left her feeling as if a chunk of her was missing, but she’d learned to adjust and now found it harder than she expected to open up to him.

“I’m going to have a baby.” She held her breath and waited for his reaction.

A French fry paused midway between his plate and his mouth. “You’re pregnant?”

She shook her head, some of her nervousness easing now that the conversation had begun. “Not yet.”

“When?”

“Hopefully soon.”

“How? You’re not dating anyone.”

“I’m using a clinic.”

“Who’s going to be the father?”

She dodged his gaze and stabbed her fork into a kalamata olive. “I’ve narrowed the choices down to three. A lawyer who specializes in corporate law, an athlete who competes in the Ironman Hawaii challenge every year and a wildlife photographer. Brains. Body. Soul. I haven’t decided which way to go yet.”

“You’ve obviously been thinking about this for a while. Why am I only hearing about it now?” He pushed his plate away, abandoning his half-eaten burger.

In the past she’d been able to talk to Jason about anything. Getting involved with his brother had changed that. Not that it should have. She and Jason were friends with no hope of it ever being anything more.

“You know why Evan and I broke up.” She’d been troubled that Evan hadn’t shared her passion for family, but she thought he’d come around. “Kids are important to me. I wouldn’t do what I do if they weren’t.”

She’d chosen to become an orthodontist because she loved kids. Their sunny view of the world made her smile, so she gave them perfect teeth to smile back.

“Have you told your parents?”

“Not yet.” She shifted on her chair.

“Because you know your mother won’t react well to you getting pregnant without being married.”

“She won’t like it, but she knows how much I want a family of my own, and she’s come to accept that I’m not going to get married.”

“You don’t know that. Give yourself a chance to get over your breakup with Evan. There’s someone out there for you.”

Not likely when the only man she could see herself with was determined never to marry. Frustration bubbled up. “How long do I wait? Another six months? A year? In two months I turn thirty-two. I don’t want to waste any more time weighing the pros and cons or worrying about my mom’s reaction when in my heart I know what I want.” She thrust out her chin. “I’m going to do this, Jason.”

“I can see that.”

Mesmerizing eyes studied her. Galaxy blue, the exact shade of her ’66 Shelby Cobra convertible. He’d helped her convince her parents to buy the car for her seventeenth birthday and then they’d spent the summer restoring it. She had fond memories of working with him on the convertible, and every time she drove it, she couldn’t help but feel connected to Jason. That’s why she’d parked the car in her garage the day she started dating his brother and hadn’t taken it out since.

“I’d really like you to be on board with my decision.”

“You’re my best friend,” he reminded her, eyes somber. “How can I be anything but supportive?”

Even though she suspected he was still processing her news and had yet to decide whether she was making a mistake, he’d chosen to back her. Ming relaxed. Until that second she hadn’t realized how anxious she was about Jason’s reaction.