Grammy and Mom both turned and looked at me.

“Chloe?” my mother said, rushing over. “What’s wrong?”

I shook my head and lowered my hand as the wave of sickness passed. “I just got so sick to my stomach when I smelled the cookies baking.”

Grammy pushed my mother out of the way. Her fingers pinched my chin, and she studied my face.

“What are you doing, Grammy?” I asked, letting a little giggle slip free.

“Oh. My. God,” Grammy said.

Then it was my mother’s turn to do the same thing. She studied my face, then let her gaze roam over my body. “How long has this nauseous feeling been hitting you?”

They were both so serious, I couldn’t help but laugh. “Um, once?”

“One other time? Or just this once, Chloe Cat?” Grammy asked.

I shrugged. “I mean, I had an upset stomach last night, but I think it was the pizza we ate. It didn’t agree with me.”

“Are you using condoms when you have sex?” Grammy asked, causing not only me but my mother as well, to start choking.

“Wh-what? Why would you ask me that?” I sputtered.

“Paxton, do you remember the story about the chocolate chip cookies with Steed and Mitchell?”

Mom’s face lit up. “Yes! Oh my God! Yes!”

They grabbed each other and started jumping and spinning around in the middle of the kitchen.

“Um, listen, I don’t know what time the two of you started drinking today, but it’s only like ten or so I the morning. You might want to pull back some.”

My grandmother brushed me off with a wave of her hand before she focused on my mother. “Now, let’s not get too excited. It could be nothing.”

“Right. Nothing. Or it could be everything!”

They both started to jump again. I rolled my eyes. “Okay, well, Mom, I hate to break up your weird little celebration, but Gage needs to talk to you and Daddy. He’s waiting for us in Daddy’s office.”

Turning to face me, my mother took a step closer. “Chloe, sweetheart. Smell this!”

She shoved a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie in my face.

“What the hell, Mom!” I cried out, knocking it out of her hand. Another wave hit me, and I covered my mouth. This time, it felt like I was going to get sick.

“I knew it! I knew it!” Grammy shouted.

My mother started to cry, and I was about to throw up all over the kitchen.

“I need to…oh, God.”

Barely making it to the half-bathroom, I leaned over the toilet and threw up violently. I could feel the presence of my mother behind me. Suddenly, I was hyperaware of every single smell. I started to sweat and wished I had worn shorts to work today. It was mid-August in Texas and hot as hell. What was I thinking wearing dress pants and a dress shirt, especially knowing Rip wanted to eat outside?

“Mom, I think I have the stomach flu,” I mumbled before throwing up again.

She rubbed my back lightly, instantly making me feel better.

“Oh Chloe Cat, this isn’t the stomach flu.”

“It’s not?” I asked, raising up and taking the wet washcloth from her hands. She was wearing the biggest smile. How in the world could she be smiling when I just nearly puked up my lower intestines?

“No!” She was beaming. Placing her hand on the side of my face she said, “You’re pregnant, sweetheart.”

I let her words settle into my brain for a few moments. Then laughed. Then quickly stopped laughing.

“I’m on the pill.” It was the only thing I could say. Even though I knew being on the birth control wasn’t one-hundred percent effective, it was damn close to it.

“I’m pretty positive, sweet girl.”

“Mom, you and Grammy deduced I was pregnant because I got sick from smelling a cookie?”

She nodded. “Not just any cookie. A chocolate cookie. When your grandmother was pregnant with your father and Mitchell, the smell of anything chocolate made her sick to her stomach. Especially cookies.”

I laughed, but it sounded like an uncertain reaction to this little bit of information my mother just dropped on me.

“But. But. I’m not ready. I mean. Rip and I have only been together for two-and-a-half months. We’re not even engaged! Mom, you’re both wrong. I would feel it. I would know if I was pregnant.”

She gave me a sweet smile and took my hands in hers. “Yes, you are so right. You would know it.”

And like that, she dropped my hands and walked out of the tiny bathroom and back to the kitchen. I pulled in a deep breath and let it out, allowing myself to think back to when my last period fell.

Oh hell, when was my last period?

I stood and looked at myself in the mirror. My cheeks were pink, but that could be from being sick. Looking harder, I swore something was different. I’d noticed the rosy glow on my cheeks yesterday, and Alyssa had even asked if I had been out in the sun.

Tags: Kelly Elliott Southern Bride Romance