For the first time in six days, Paige rolled out of bed the next morning without sprinting to the bathroom.
But as soon as she started fixing breakfast while Grandpa and Johnny sat at the table planning their day, a wave of nausea unlike any before slammed through her. Paige didn’t have the luxury of racing down the hall to the bathroom she’d barely had time to turn and bend over the trash can.
As she heaved and heaved, both men rushed to her side. Grandpa gathered up her hair, asking her what was wrong, while Johnny stroked her back, murmuring for her to breathe and relax…that this was perfectly normal.
“Normal?” Grandpa barked.
A tsunami of panic swallowed Paige whole, rolling her beneath waves of anger and disbelief. Johnny! You idiot. You just let the fucking cat out of the bag.
“What the hell is normal about her tossing… Oh, Paige. Paige. My sweet Paige, what have you gone and done to yourself, girl?”
The disappointment in her grandpa’s voice all but ripped her heart out. Tears dripped into the trash can as sobs wracked her body.
“Now, now…don’t cry, sweetheart,” Grandpa soothed. “We’ll figure this out shortly.”
“I’m sorry, Raymond,” Johnny announced contritely. “I know we should have waited for the honeymoon, but…I’ll make an honest woman of Paige. You have my word.”
Praying this was a dream…a surreal nightmare she would wake up from at any moment, Paige pinched her arm. But it wasn’t a dream. It was a blatant attempt to railroad her into marriage.
You underhanded son of a bitch. You set me up!
Wiping her tears, Paige bolted upright and pinned Johnny with a glare meant to vaporize him. “How dare you? You know damn well—”
“Don’t be mad at him, sweetheart,” Grandpa interrupted, smiling like he’d just won the lottery. “I’m sure you wanted to be the one to tell me the good news, but either way…I’m tickled pink. I’m over the moon. I’m…I’m gonna be a great-grandpa!”
Wiping the tears of joy from his eyes, he danced around the room like a kid, singing about becoming a great-grandpa.
Paige clenched her jaw to keep from ripping Johnny a new asshole.
“Everything’s going to be fine now, honey. You’ll see,” the prick promised, flashing her a triumphant grin that made her blood boil.
Before Paige could verbally rip him to shreds, Grandpa wrapped an arm around her waist and twirled her into the living room.
The truth seared the tip of her tongue, but the blinding joy etched on his weather-worn face and sparkling in his rheumy blue eyes forced her to swallow it down. Paige had seven months to break his heart. She couldn’t steal his joy today, at least not until she’d talked to Austin.
Slapping on a smile, she let Grandpa twirl her around the room.
Three days later, Paige knelt in front of the toilet and groaned before dragging herself to her feet and shuffling to the sink.
“How much longer does this shit last?”
It was one of the questions she intended to ask Doc Knight once she worked up the nerve to make an appointment. At least she’d have an answer to one of the million unknowns plaguing her.
Paige had stopped talking to Johnny, except when Grandpa was around. Sadly, she’d all but stopped talking to Austin, too. Their texts had slowly diminished to nothing but a few, Hey, how you doing? Just checking in. You all right?
It was driving her insane.
“I need to get out of this house and do something fun,” she groused before shoving the toothbrush in her mouth and scrubbing her teeth and tongue.
It’s Saturday. I haven’t been to the Hangover in a while. It might take my mind off all this shit for a few hours. It would be good to talk to Gina…get her advice on this giant clusterfuck I’ve made of my life.
The weight on her shoulders had slightly lessened as she slipped on her robe and headed toward the kitchen. As she rounded the corner of the living room, she saw Grandpa lying on the floor.
“Grandpa!” Paige screamed and raced to his inert body, then dropped to her knees.
He was still breathing but unconscious. His skin was an alarming shade of gray.
Paige gently patted his face and shook his shoulders as she screamed at him to wake up, but he didn’t.
After racing to the kitchen, she dialed nine-one-one, then tore open the back door and screamed Johnny’s name at the top of her lungs. Without waiting for him to answer, she sprinted back to her grandpa’s side, sobbing and pleading for him to wake up.