But what if he were?
“I see.” Dallas frowned. “Is that your professional or personal opinion?”
Neither. It was a gut feeling, possibly brought on by her fear of the unknown. “Both.”
“If that’s your honest and unbiased opinion, then you have to consider your options. Decisions will need to be made as to what the next eighteen to twenty years of your life will look like. Maybe you should give yourself a few days to think about what you want before you tell him about the baby.”
The word put a whole different spin on this turn of events. It went so far beyond pregnancy, which was a physical state. Her palm smoothed over her stomach, where the slightest of bumps had started to form, another consequence of being short—or possibly because she was bloated by water retention thanks to an overabundance of hormones. Either way, she had a new life growing inside her.
The wonder she’d felt when she witnessed her first calf being born was nothing compared to the wonder overwhelming her now. The practical part of her brain said to get used to the mood swings because there’d be plenty more where that came from. The hormonal part attached itself to the room’s wagon wheel chandelier and swayed like a drunken frat boy at a house party.
“But before you do anything you might regret later,” Dallas continued, oblivious to the battle her hormones were waging, so his reputation might be partially deserved, “how about if I give you my personal opinion—as Ryan’s friend—first? He had a rough childhood. He learned to lie to protect himself early on, and he’s still dodgy with the truth when it comes to something he wants, but Dan and I trust him completely. He doesn’t let too many people get close to him, but when he does, he stands by them. He commits one hundred percent. He’ll do anything for them. And he’s let you get closer to him than even Dan and I are. You’ll never find a guy who’ll make a better father—although you might have to work on his control issues a little.” He’d get no argument there. “The problem is that he won’t know how great he’ll be at it until he tries, and he’s not going to try unless you make him.”
Dallas was probably right about that, too. How could a man who helped bring new animal life into the world with such care possibly object to one tiny new human he’d helped create?
But Elizabeth wasn’t about to make Ryan do anything he didn’t want. Not even the crazy hormones currently trashing Dallas’s home could change her mind about that. Despite knowing Ryan wasn’t who she’d planned on for sharing her life, she’d fallen in love with him, which meant accepting his faults. He and the baby were now two separate issues and she’d have to deal with them in two separate ways.
“I’ll take everything you said under advisement.” She pried the frat boy off the chandelier and herself from the chair. Dallas stood too. Impulsively, she threw her arms around him. “Thank you.”
Dallas hugged her back. “Anything for a friend.”