Disgusted with the direction of his thoughts, he yanked off his already loosened tie as he strode into the living room. He stopped dead at the sight that greeted him.
Piper was curled on his sofa, under a quilt he had brought back from Greece many years ago. As if she could sense his presence, her eyelids fluttered and then opened.
She gazed up at him drowsily. “Hi.”
“You said you would call.”
“I couldn’t. I had to think.”
“So, you left me hanging for almost a week?”
She flinched at the ice in his voice, but he could not help that. “I decided it wasn’t something we should discuss on the phone but, um…maybe I should have called and told you that.”
“Yes, you should have. I have been worried. I went by your apartment. You did not answer the door.”
“I wasn’t there. I went to my favorite place to think after trying yours and getting nowhere.”
“Where is that?” he demanded.
“You could not have let me know you went out of town?”
“If I had called you, you would have talked me into seeing you.”
“Maybe because that was what we both needed.” Frustrated anger laced his voice. “At the very least, you could have let me know that you were waiting here today.”
“I should have,” she acknowledged as she sat up and brushed her hair back off her face. The beach might be her favorite place to think, but it had brought her no peace and despite just waking from a nap, she looked like she hadn’t been getting enough sleep. “I was just so tired and thought you would come up after work. I didn’t realize you would work until bedtime.”
“It is hardly that.”
“Damn it! Do not try to sidestep the issue. If I had known you were here, I would have left my office immediately.” He took a deep breath and let it out slowly to prevent his volume from increasing. “I was worried. Do you understand that?” Did she care? “I called your cell over and over again.”
She looked down so he could not see her eyes, and target the guilt he would see there. “I turned it off.”
“I figured that out.”
She nodded. She stood up and came to him, then tilted her head back so their gazes met. Emotions he did not understand swirled in her blue depths.
“Tell me,” he demanded, his tone softer than he intended.
How could he help feeling compassion? She looked like hell.
“I’m sorry I didn’t call. It was inconsiderate and selfish of me. I should have called, no matter how hard it would have been. I kept thinking and thinking, but I couldn’t make sense of anything no matter which way I looked at it. When I finally got here today, it was past four. I really thought I’d take a short nap and you would be here. And then we could talk.”
“Instead I worked late, trying to keep my mind off the fact you did not keep your promise to call.” Almost a week ago, but he had already said that and she had acknowledged it.
She nodded. “This situation is scary, Zephyr.”
“I agree, but I would think that two friends facing down fear together would work better than each trying deal with it on his or her own.”
“I’m sure you’re right.” She looked away again. “I just…I knew you’d want to get married and I didn’t know what I wanted to do about that.”
“So, you are pregnant.”
She met his gaze, hers suspiciously glossy. “Yes, we’re either very unlucky or wildly fortunate, depending on how you want to look at it.”
“How do you look at it?” he demanded.
“Wildly fortunate? How else? I’m thrilled to be having your baby even if this whole situation scares me to death.” She looked ready to shake apart.
Damn it. He would have noticed how fragile she was earlier if he hadn’t been working through his own turmoil. He did not want to tell her the plans he’d been making when he first arrived, but would she give him a choice?
Hoping to convince her of their best option yet, he pulled her into his arms, keeping their gazes connected even as their bodies pressed together in comfort. “What are you so frightened of?”
“A lot of things.”
“What scares you the most?”
“That I’ll agree to marry you, we’ll do the deed and then you’ll finally fall in love—with someone else.”
That was at the top of her fear factor list? He couldn’t have been more stunned if she said she was terrified of an alien invasion snatching their baby from her womb. “I am not going to fall in love with another woman.”
“You can’t be sure of that.”