Bad Boy's Bridesmaid(12)

By: Sosie Frost



I wondered if I could add my own—how fun it’d be to smoosh in my sister’s face.

But Lindsey handed us tiny pencils without erasers, so I had to behave. Mom smacked my wrist as I tried to doodle in a score.

“Don’t hold your pencil like that, you’ll give yourself arthritis. Men don’t like gangly hands.”

This was why I typed everything, but Mom said I’d get a hunch back from the keyboard anyway. I gritted my teeth. The frustration swirled in my stomach. I stood up too fast.

“Where are you going?” Lindsey pointed her pencil at me. “Eat the damn cake, Mandy! I can’t do this without you!”

“I just…” Words nauseated me too. “Bathroom. Mark a big no for me on the coconut.”

Lindsey dropped her fork. “So that’s how it’s going to be?”

I shimmied from the table, easing as far from the reeking cake as I could manage without drawing suspicion. “I didn’t like that one.”

“So you’re completely disregarding the other eleven sections of criteria because you don’t like the flavor? We can’t ignore how perfectly this cake would match the dress! It looked heavenly!”

Bryce shrugged. “We can order the other cakes to be white and coconut, babe.”

“For the last time!” Lindsey burst into tears. “It’s ivory!”

Nate couldn’t resist making my life harder. “Wait…you actually wanted us to score this, Linds?”

He pointed me to the bathroom while Lindsey raged. I slammed the door behind me as my sister’s wail turned into a threat to shove the rest of the cakes down Nate’s throat.

Coconut tasted as bad coming up as it did going down. I did the best I could and tried to keep quiet. At least the bar’s bathrooms were surprisingly clean. I remembered Nate’s disaster of a bedroom from when we were kids. At least he grew up and started taking care of his property.

It almost gave me…hope?

Sitting punked out on a bar’s bathroom floor gave a woman a lot to think about.

This wasn’t rock bottom yet, but it wasn’t far under my tush. If I wanted to hide the pregnancy, I’d have to stop getting sick so often or come up with a better excuse. I’d only get a couple days’ mileage out of the stomach flu. After that, I’d have to be more creative. Food poisoning. Dysentery? Once I used all the illnesses I could remember from playing The Oregon Trail, maybe I’d pretend I was shooting up. My family would probably accept drug use over an unexpected, unwed pregnancy.

Especially since Nate was…not like the Prescotts or Washingtons.

If our families weren’t pleased that Nate abandoned his calling to open a microbrewery and bar, they definitely wouldn’t like that we accidentally mixed pale ale with a dark stout.

Not that Nate would take the news well either, though I didn’t think it’d matter to him what color the baby was…just that it was his.

He hadn’t stopped chasing me, and I couldn’t get his scent out of my head—that rich, hoppy masculine tease that followed him from the pub. I barely survived walking in on him, bare-chested and trying on his tuxedo. For the past two days I suffered through hormone-induced nights of alternating weeping and unrelenting horniness.

I was a mess, and his green eyes and cocky smile were equal parts dangerous and tempting. Slipping into bed with him would probably soothe my nerves, and it wasn’t like I could get more pregnant.

Right?

But it would be a mistake, and I knew it. The warmth that once centered in my core had spread, and I was afraid it’d find its way to my heart. Nate pursued me for the wrong reasons, but his words layered in sensuality and honesty, as if he actually wanted more than that one night with me.

The greatest danger in the world wasn’t falling for the wrong man—it was letting him catch me after I fell head over heels.

How long could I hide the baby from him? Nate wasn’t stupid—and I constantly underestimated the muscle-bound trouble-maker. Even he’d notice if I looked like I swallowed a basketball.

I had to tell him.

It was the right thing to do.

Really, it was the only thing I had to do. If Nate knew about the baby, he could help me prepare. More importantly, he could help me keep the secret until after the wedding.

If I survived the coconut onslaught to come.

I peeled myself off the bathroom floor before Lindsey rampaged through the door. The mirror revealed everything I tried to hide. My hair was limp. My eyes were still wide in that perpetual Oh-Dear-God-It’s-Positive shock. Maybe no one would notice?

Nate would.

He hadn’t stopped staring at me since I arrived. But…at least it made me feel beautiful.

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