“I’m here if you need to talk,” he said, proving he wasn’t nearly as oblivious as his reputation suggested.
She clutched the bag to her chest and blinked soggy lashes. She longed to take him up on his offer. Kindness glowed like a halo around him. She had no one else to turn to in Grand and he was a doctor. Who better to talk to?
But he was also one of Ryan’s closest friends and she didn’t want to make trouble between them. “Won’t that put you in an awkward position?”
“You have no idea. But it’s too late to worry about it. The pregnancy test—tests—are out of the bag. One would have been plenty, by the way. Say… Why don’t we take care of this right now? Morning would be best, because that’s when hCG levels are most concentrated, but since you’ve got three tests, if the results are uncertain, you can always try again tomorrow, and sorry, I’m babbling. Follow me.”
He gently steered her toward the door of his suite and she allowed herself to be led.
Dallas’s home was laid out with much the same floor plan as Ryan’s, although flipped around. They entered a tiny vestibule that opened into the living room, which was identical, but the door to the bedrooms fell to the right, not the left. He opened the door to the right and showed her to a small powder room directly across the hall. He hovered outside it, concern in his posture.
“Need me to read the instructions for you?” he asked.
Her brain had quit working, so that might be best. “Please.”
He walked her through the instructions, which were fairly straightforward despite her muddled state, then left her alone. She took the first test, waited, and after the requisite amount of minutes had passed according to the clock on her phone, stared at the results.
She opened the second test with numb fingers and fumbled through the new set of instructions.
Dallas tapped on the door. “Everything okay in there?”
She tried to breathe. To sound normal. To keep it together. Because the second test was positive, too.
“I’m fine,” she said.
“Let me know if you need anything.”
She needed for this to not be happening.
She crumpled onto the floor with her arms folded across her bent knees and her forehead on her arms and cried deep, silent sobs. She couldn’t say for how long, but it must have been long enough for Dallas to worry, because he knocked again.
“Open the door, Elizabeth,” he said, speaking through the wood panel.
“Just a minute.”
She washed her face, which didn’t create much of an improvement if the mirror was any judge, then unlocked the door. Dallas leaned against the wall with his hands in his pockets. He wore a white business shirt and navy trousers, meaning he must have been on his way to the hospital, since clinic hours were over for the day.
“I’m keeping you from work,” she said, stricken by guilt. He’d waited while she took two pregnancy tests—he was right, three were too many—when he had patients waiting who likely needed him more.
“I called. Outpatients is quiet and one of the other doctors said she’d stick around until I come in. Let’s go sit down so we can talk.”Before you fall down, his expression added.
Out in the living room, Elizabeth sank into an enormous brown leather chair. Dallas took the sofa across from it. He crossed one leg over the other knee, clasped his hands on his thigh, and went into full doctor mode while he waited for her to sort out her thoughts.
“How am I going to tell Ryan?” she finally asked, trying to disguise the wild hitch of alarm in her voice by clearing her throat.
Hazel eyes examined her with compassion from under a tangle of glossy black curls that always seemed badly in need of a trim. “Let’s not worry about Ryan just yet. First, how do you feel about it?”
Her head ached from crying, and now, she couldn’t think. She massaged her forehead with the back of her hand. “Like the timing couldn’t be worse. Like I hadn’t planned for this to happen.”
“I gathered all of that. But if you had planned for it, what would be different about it?”
What a ridiculous question. “Everything.”
Dallas, however, appeared to be leading her somewhere specific. “Including the father?”
And there it was. Her headache spread to her toes. “Ryan’s not exactly father material.”