Home > Two for the Show (One for the Money #2)

Two for the Show (One for the Money #2)
Author: Skye Warren


1

 

 

EVA

 

 

A wedding reception at the Met:

1. Stunning, eight-foot-high floral arrangements,

2. Priceless, world-class art,

3. And me, pregnant with Finn Hughes’s baby.

Nobody knows. Not my family. Not Finn. Not a single person in this room has any idea that I’m carrying the baby of a man whose last words to me were I wish I could say I’ll miss you, but the truth is that I won’t. In a few short years, I won’t even remember you existed.

What am I supposed to do with that?

Aside from keeping Daphne and Emerson’s reception on track.

My sister’s wedding is the perfect distraction. I’m working with a James Beard award-winning chef for the canapés and booking the world-renowned violinist Samantha Brooks for the ceremony. Which means I don’t have time to wonder about the small life growing inside me.

The Met is the perfect compromise to keep the peace with my parents. We had close family and friends only for the ceremony at Leo’s church. And a large, lavish reception at the Met.

Emerson even went so far as to get baptized ahead of the wedding. I’m not sure if he meant it as an olive branch to the family for kidnapping Daphne or a symbol of his obsession.

Probably the latter.

Regardless of the reason, my parents seem to accept Emerson. My brothers do, too.

Which is a good thing. Peace is a transient thing in the Morelli family. I’ve learned to embrace it when it comes, even if it’s fleeting. So I don’t think about how my parents will freak out when they find out that I’m pregnant. And that the engagement with Finn Hughes is broken.

I don’t think about the fact that I’ll be the one to ruin the peace. I don’t think about the fact that I’ll have to tell them I’m pregnant.

And I don’t think about how upset everyone will be.

We’re almost at the finish line. Being the maid of honor makes everything easier, ironically. Plus, I could watch over everybody from the front of the church and make sure no scuffles broke out.

I could look at my family’s faces and wonder if they’ll all stroke out when they hear the news.

I was the one to coordinate the timing between the ceremony and the reception with the wedding planner, leaving plenty of buffer time for photos outside the church. It allowed me to get here first to make sure everything is perfect.

And, for the millionth time today, I wonder what I’m going to do.

Finn would want to know that I’m pregnant with his baby. Somehow, we both forgot to use a condom. And for whatever reason, Plan B didn’t work. An ironic twist of fate. Somewhere a stork is laughing.

This is happening.

Finn would want to know, but he doesn’t actually want a baby,

He was as clear as the crystal on the guest tables that he never wanted a child.

He refused to have a child, actually. Finn has valid reasons for that. I wouldn’t dream of trying to convince him that his family’s inherited illness was nothing.

But now the baby isn’t a hypothetical. He or she is going to be our very real child. And no child of mine is going to feel the pain of being unwanted. No child of mine is a mistake.

The baby’s barely the size of a pea, but my protectiveness feels as sharp as any of the cutlery gleaming near artfully folded napkins. I won’t let Finn hurt the child by forcing us to stay separate or forcing us to stay close enough to see the depth of his disinterest.

Right on schedule, my family starts at the reception.

Leo and Haley are first. They compromised on her bed rest situation. Leo agreed that Haley could go about her day normally, albeit while sitting or lying on the couch.

Haley agreed to let Leo carry her everywhere.

It’s a classic Leo compromise, if you think about it.

There’s no classic Finn compromise. Not on this issue. I’ll have to decide this all on my own, for me and the baby.

I could lie to him. He might prefer it, actually.

I could announce that our engagement is off. Start rumors in Bishop’s Landing that I’m seeing someone. Or several someones. Maybe I could pretend to sleep with a different man every night, the same way Finn was rumored to sleep with a different woman every night.

Then a few months down the road, I can tell everyone I’m pregnant and refuse to name the father.

The problem with that option is that Finn knows me. He got under my skin. He’d suspect that I didn’t find a rebound guy to sleep with, much less twenty rebound guys. He would eventually know it was his child. And doesn’t he have a right to know? Even if he doesn’t want it. Even if it will hurt him to know.

My dad strides in through the gallery door, Mom close on his heels. He looks critically over the reception space and barks at a passing waiter for a drink.

“Dinner doesn’t start for forty minutes,” Mom points out in a cool tone.

“Good thing I’m not a lightweight,” Dad growls. “Don’t manage me.”

“As if anyone could,” she answers with a light party laugh.

The show has officially begun.

I station myself near the entrance to the gallery. More guests arrive, filling the space with warm chatter.

“We’re having a polite conversation.” Tiernan’s low voice cuts through the door ahead of him. It’s growly and menacing, which is normal for him. “I take it you’ve never been part of one before.”

“I take it you never learned to fuck off before.”

My disaster alarms go off. The target of Tiernan’s sarcasm is Emerson’s brother, Will Leblanc. Will looks coldly murderous. Tiernan’s disgruntled. His girlfriend, Bianca, gives me big, worried eyes.

“Tiernan!” I approach my brother with a big, bright smile. “Go have a drink.”

He opens his mouth as if to argue, but Bianca speaks first. “That is such a great idea. It looks beautiful in here, by the way! I especially love the hydrangeas. I’ve never seen them so big before.”

Will hangs back, bristling. I put a hand on his elbow. He’s my new brother-in-law. I don’t know him that well, but he seems like a decent enough guy. “Don’t mind Tiernan. Emotional days make him grumpy.”

“Would a fistfight make him feel better? I wouldn’t mind punching him.”

“At least wait until after she throws the bouquet.”

He snorts, his expression clearing. “Only because you asked. I appreciate everything you’ve done to smooth the way for Emerson. Your family isn’t exactly…”

“Nice? Sane? Decent?”

“I was going to say welcoming,” Will says, humor dancing in his blue-green eyes.

I like talking to Will. It’s easier, at the moment, to talk to someone I don’t know that well. Talking to my sisters, my brothers, my parents is hard because of the secret I’m keeping. Because of how badly I want to tell them the truth. Well, maybe not my parents. But Daphne, definitely. And my other siblings. I want their support right now, but I don’t feel like I can have it.

Keeping secrets is nothing new to me. I’m even used to living with a broken heart.

It’s over, sweetheart. We had a good time, but that’s all this ever was.

Finn called what we had a fling. He chose words that he knew would cut deep. He was an asshole on purpose. I understood that, but the words still cut me. Since that night I’ve come up with a thousand comebacks that would destroy him.

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