After four blissful days and nights wrapped in Max’s arms, suddenly I’m leaving. One of my clients has gone into early labor, and I have to get back to the city asap.
I wake Max in the darkness of the pre-dawn morning. At first, he’s sleepy and growly, but then he sits up when he sees I’m dressed and packed.
“What’s going on, sweetheart? Is everything okay? Are your parents okay?”
I smile in the darkness.
“Everything’s fine. I just have a patient who’s in labor really early. I need to head back to the city.”
He lets out a breath and says, “Okay, give me a few minutes, and I’ll drive you.”
I shake my head.
“No no, it’s okay. Go back to sleep. Rest. I do this all the time, so I’m used to getting dragged out of bed for false alarms. The baby probably just wants to make herself known, so she’s kicking up a storm right now. It’s fine.”
“You sure?” he asks, frowning.
“I’m positive. Go back to sleep. We’ll talk soon.”
“Okay. Will you be back tonight?”
I sling my pack over one shoulder before standing and shooting him a smile.
“I don’t know actually. It depends on how things go because right now, everything’s just a big question mark. I wish I could give you more certainty, but this is how babies are. It’s their way or the highway,” I joke.
He hesitates a moment. “Sweetheart, I’m happy to come with. I could use a trip into Manhattan.”
“At this hour of the morning? No, stay. Enjoy your downtime. We’ll talk soon,” I repeat.
With that, he kisses me, hard and sweet.
“Okay, but be safe honey. Let me know when you get there.”
I smile at his words. “I will. I promise, Max.”
Then we share one last liplock before I leave the bedroom. Once in the driveway, I look back at the cottage. It’s still and peaceful, and my heart lurches for the man sleeping inside. But I have to move on because real life awaits, and a baby is about to be born.
I arrive at the client’s home around five in the morning and shoot a quick text to Max to let him know I’ve arrived safely.
* * *
Me: I’m here, and I’m in one piece.
Max: Good. I like you in one piece. It makes it easier to eat you whole. :winking emoji:
Me: Aren’t you clever?
Max: I try to be.
Me: Why aren’t you asleep?
Max: I waited up to get your text. Going back to bed now.
Me: You’re sweet. Thank you.
Max: I try. Keep me posted on the situation if you can.
Me: Will do, but it’ll be a crazy day most likely.
Max: I get it. Go deliver a baby, Wonder Woman. :heart emoji:
* * *
I smile, my pulse thumping. I know I shouldn’t read into the heart emoji but somehow, it makes me feel loved and cherished nonetheless. Then, a scream pierces my daydream, and I come back to the present. With that, I scramble for my gear and rush into the apartment complex to evaluate the situation. The mother is okay, but she’s the high maintenance type who needs a hundred percent of my attention.
After a very long morning and most of the afternoon, a beautiful little girl is born. Both Mom and baby are fine, and the father literally bursts into tears upon seeing his daughter for the first time. I clean up, deliver hugs all around, and then drive to my apartment to collapse onto the couch in an exhausted heap. My phone rings and I pick up. It’s my friend Laurelin, and her voice is chirpy.
“Rach! Hey, sweetie!”
“Hi, Laure. How are you?”
“How are you? How’s your getaway with the sexy older man going?”
I laugh a bit. I’ve kept my best friend in the loop, so she knows that Max and I have been enjoying an enchanted vacation at the cottage. “Well, it was amazing until I got called back to the city to deliver a baby this morning. Ugh. I’ve been awake for,” I check my phone and groan. “Forever basically.”
“Oh no!” Laurelin gasps. “But is she okay? How about the baby?”
“They’re both doing well. Everything turned out fine, and the little family is very happy.”
“That’s great,” she says with a sigh of relief. “But I hate that you had to cut your time with Max short. I can’t believe you’re dating Max Wyndham, the celebrity make-up artist! You know that I have a bunch of stuff from his cosmetics line.”
“I know. I wish I were back at the cottage too because I was really enjoying myself. Like, really enjoying myself.” I laugh and Laurelin just clucks at me.
“OMG, you’re so naughty, but I love it!”
But then I go sober quickly. “But what do I do, Laure? I mean, he’s my dad’s best friend. I went to the cottage to unwind and relax, and I ended up sleeping with my dad’s friend from college. Who does that?”