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Page 33 of Be Mine (Holland Springs 6)

“Oh, honey, I’m so sorry.”

“Now I’m all alone and pregnant in a foreign country,” she said, sniffing. “I can’t call my parents and tell them. I can’t tell anyone but you.”

“Give me your address,” Daisy said.

Bella gave it to her, and then asked, “Why?”

“Because you need me.”

*

Daisy arrived two hours later, her belly so big that it preceded her as she walked inside. She looked beautiful, with her multi-colored hair and bright hazel eyes. She glowed, like a pregnant woman secure in her relationship would.

For a horrible minute, Bella was hideously jealous of her best friend. Then Daisy wrapped her arms around her, and Bella forgot to be anything but grateful her friend was here.

“Gosh, Daisy, you are huge. Isn’t your due date soon?”

“Friday,” Daisy said, sitting down. She propped up her feet and waved at Ivan, who had stuck his head in. “We’re fine. Do you want to come sit with us?”

Ivan’s face remained passive as he said, “Nyet, Countess.”

“Is Sebastian coming, too?”

Daisy bit her lip. “He’s out in the limo.”

“What?” Bella started to get out of her chair, but Daisy waved her off.

“He doesn’t want to interrupt our girl time.”

“So tell him to go do something, like drink at a pub or—”

“He’s fine.” Daisy placed a hand on her belly and rubbed it. “I’m here for you. So spill. Or not. Either way, I’m staying until you say I can go.”

Bella burst into tears. “I’m sorry. All I do is cry. I hate crying over stupid things. Not that you’re stupid. But this entire situation is.”

“Quit crying for a second,” Daisy said, “I can’t get up fast enough to comfort you.”

Bella started laughing as her best friend struggled to sit up. “I’m done. I’m done. Stay where you are before you hurt yourself.”

With a twist of her lips, Daisy settled back down. “Do you want to talk about it?”

“Not really,” Bella said, looking at her hands. She twisted her wedding ring around on her finger. “Maybe. He only married me for money.”

“Your money?”

Bella jerked her head up. “No, his inheritance. He couldn’t get it without a wife and an heir.”

“Why did you marry him?” Daisy asked and then held up a hand. “Never mind. I already know. Forget I asked.”

“I’m an awful friend and a hypocrite, huh, not wanting everyone to know back home?” Bella said. “I took the coward’s way out.”

Daisy leveled her with a look. “No, you are none of those things.”

They sat in companionable silence for a while, and at one point, Daisy dozed off.

“I’m in love with Liam, but he doesn’t love me,” she finally blurted.

Daisy narrowed her eyes. “How do you know?”

“Because when I told him, he pretended like he didn’t hear me.” Bella’s cheeks heated. “And I told him during sex.”

Daisy sucked in air through her teeth. “Want me to get Ivan to kick his tail?”

“No. I like his tail,” Bella said miserably. “I just don’t like him right now. Okay, so I’m hurt by him right now.”

Her best friend’s eyes widened, and then she smiled smugly. “He’s going to come and get you, just you wait. I bet he’s already missing you.”

“I doubt that. I said some really ugly things.” And some really truthful things. She really had started to believe that God answered her prayers by putting Liam in her life.

“Oh honey, we’ve all said ugly things we didn’t mean.” Daisy’s smile turned sympathetic. “Give him a few days to come around.”

“And if he doesn’t?”

“Then you do what’s best for you and the baby,” her friend said with a firm nod. “You can always come live with Sebastian and me.”

“Thank you.” Bella meant it; it wasn’t just lip service. She knew if she told Daisy that she needed to move right this minute, then she would have a room for her all ready to go at her house.

Hours passed as the two of them spent time catching up and giggling, just like old times. For a while, Bella was able to completely forget about her troubles and simple enjoy being with her best friend.

The antique wall clock chimed five times.

“Oh my gosh! I’ve kept you here all afternoon,” Bella said, peering out the window. “Sebastian won’t be happy.”

A black limo idled outside, in front of the fenced-in garden.

“He’s probably asleep,” Daisy said as Ivan came inside. “Or working.”

“Little Countess, it’s time to go.”

Daisy stuck out her bottom lip, and then gave Bella hug. “Come see me next week, after I come home from the hospital.”

“Wild horses couldn’t keep me away,” Bella promised. “Unless I’m out of the country.”

“Just remember what I said. Give him time.”

With a tearful, but happy good-bye, Bella watched as Daisy got inside the limo. Ivan closed the door after her, lumbered to the front of the car, and folded himself in. Then the limo took off, red taillights soon nothing but two specks.

She went inside the cottage and grabbed her phone.

“One more chance,” she muttered as she texted Liam the address of Giana and Reggie’s cottage.

If you want to come by to talk, let me know. My plane doesn’t leave until next week.

Liam: Thank you for the update.

Thank you for the update? What was that supposed to mean? Was he being sarcastic, or just himself?

She looked away from the screen of her phone, tears clouding her vision. It felt as though someone was twisting a knife inside of her heart. Actually, she knew who that someone was.

That someone was Liam.

*

On Thursday, after Sebastian texted her to inform her that Daisy wanted Bella by her side, she took the earliest train to London. A limo picked her up at the station, whisking her away to an upscale part of the city.

She arrived at a three-story, white brick building, trimmed with black gutters and a large, black door. All of that was protected by a matching metal picket fence with the prettiest gate she’d ever seen.

The limo driver opened her door, but the hand held out to her wasn’t the driver. Ivan, Daisy’s personal bodyguard, helped her out of the car.

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