In jeans and a blue polo shirt, he still held himself like the police officer he was. The look in his eyes had her placing a hand on her stomach. He really hadn’t noticed on that first day in town. She had wondered for days when they would see each other again. Pretending that she would be unaffected by him hadn’t worked. He made every part of her body tingle.
She couldn’t have stopped the glib response if she wanted to. “That’s what they tell me.”
Before he could say anything else, she lifted the pile of hardbound books off the desk and headed towards the reference section.
It only took her a few steps before she realized her mistake. At just a few inches over five feet, she was no match for the heavy books. Nick was just a step behind her when the top book started to list. With quick reflexes, he straightened the pile and had them in his arms before she could gasp.
“What do you think you’re doing? Where is the little cart to push the books around?”
The volume of his voice propelled her forward into the stacks. “Shh. Keep your voice down.”
“You shouldn’t be lifting anything this heavy.”
“I’m fine. This is my job. Librarians carry books.”
Grabbing each book and slipping them back into their place while he followed her, she waited until she was ready before looking back. “You have been around pregnant women before, haven’t you?”
He shrugged. “Of course. A little too much. I had to deliver a few babies when I was an EMT in Providence. That’s why I would prefer you not do any heavy lifting. I’m sure your husband wouldn’t want you to either.”
She opened her mouth to clear up the lie, but the words stuck in her mouth. She didn’t need pity. Least of all from him.
“You’re overreacting. It’s just a pile of books.”
Glancing back at the front desk, she spotted a young boy waiting for her. She stepped around Nick and walked back to the main foyer. The boy looked familiar with his light brown hair and serious brown eyes. She ignored Nick when he called her name and continued on to the desk.
She grabbed the two books the boy placed in front of her, “Can I have your library card?”
He stuck his hands into his front pockets and then the back. There was something about the way one lock of hair fell in front of his eyes that again reminded her of someone. He pulled his hands out and blew out a breath, ruffling his bangs. “One sec.”
He walked away, just out of view but she could hear his voice whisper, “Dad, do you have my library card? I think I forgot it.”
She didn’t need to hear the reply to know who he was speaking to. The pieces all fit together. Nick’s son.
He returned without the card. “I forgot it again. The other librarian usually looks it up. Is that okay?”
His father came up behind him and placed a hand on his shoulder. Angie avoided looking at Nick. She needed to know how old his son was.
Her heart pounded as she tried to keep her voice calm. “Sure.” He was old enough to read and judging by the books in his hands, old enough to read the type of science fiction she read when she was twelve or thirteen.
“My name is Jack Forest.”
She entered in his name and then waited as the screen popped up. She couldn’t will her eyes to look away from the date of birth. It was there on the monitor. No need to even do the math. She knew without a doubt, this boy was born while she was dating his father. She finished up the transaction and handed Jack his books. She couldn’t bear to look at Nick. How could something that happened so many years ago still hurt? With tears burning the back of her eyes, she walked out from behind the desk.
When Nick called her name, she kept on walking. Not stopping until she reached the ladies room, Angie felt nausea rise up into her chest. All of those years wondering why he had just dropped her and this had never occurred to her. A baby.
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