“Dani,” I mumble.
“It’s Dani. I’ve always hated Danielle. Sounds like a mouthful, so I go by Dani. It works. I don’t get any annoying nicknames. I’m just Dani. Dani Reid. That’s me. Holy shit, am I freaking pregnant?!” I end my verbal vomit on a scream that makes me wince.
“I take it this is a surprise?”
“Very much so,” I tell her, starting to freak out a little.
“How about I go get our portable ultrasound machine and we get a little look. Might ease your mind and make it seem a little more real. Well, once the shock wears off.”
I nod my head, but I don’t speak.
Holy shit. Cohen is going to freak.
And my daddy is going to go apeshit.
THE NIGHTS ARE SO LONG here.
I’m left with nothing but longing to be home with my family and with Dani in my arms.
It gives me nothing but time to sit and think.
Think about the time I lost with Dani because I was too busy pushing her away.
Time I’m losing now because I’m over in this fucking hell, hunting terrorists.
And the worst feeling of all is that growing ache in my stomach that tells me I have to get home soon. I can’t explain it any other way. It’s a daily struggle to push the feeling aside so I can concentrate on my job and make sure I don’t get blown the fuck up in the process.
One thing is for certain in all of this. This time away from Dani has proven one thing to me. That one night I had with her in my arms will never be enough.
I roll over on the hard ground and close my eyes, and just like the night before and every one since I’ve been here, I see her smiling face.
THE DOCTOR COMES BACK IN the room, dragging some weird-ass computer behind her. She flips the light off before she has me lie back on the exam table, and she puts my shirt over my stomach before I can get over my shock. My leggings are wiggled down until they are resting just above my crotch. And then I let out a yelp when she squirts some goo on me.
“Sorry, Dani. I don’t usually run the ultrasounds, so I must have grabbed the gel that wasn’t in the warmer,” she mumbles more to herself than to me.
I look down to where her hand is moving some wand-looking thing around in the disgusting goo. This is so nasty. All of this work for her to tell me that she read something wrong.
I have almost convinced myself that there was no way she could be right. Hell, Cohen used a condom every time, so surely there is no possible way for me to be pregnant. I haven’t been throwing up. Everything has been normal. Just because I don’t have a regular period doesn’t mean I’m knocked up.
I am about to open my mouth and tell her just that when the oddest sound echoes through the small room. “What the hell?” I question at the noise. It sounds like thundering hoof beats.
“Well, that, Dani, is your baby.”
She sounds so pleased that I can’t help how my eyes narrow before the shock hits again. Jesus, it’s just the night for shocks.
I hesitantly look over at the monitor she’s pointing to before my heart stops for a beat before picking up. I have no idea what the heck I’m looking at. I just know it’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in my whole life.
Cohen’s and my little miracle.
The doctor starts pointing to everything and explaining what I’m looking at. Every word she speaks, I soak up like a dying woman. Already head over heels in love with the child I was convinced only seconds before couldn’t even be possible.
Holy crap. I’m going to be a mommy?
Even through I’m scared out of my mind for what this means for my future—my future with Cohen—I let the love for this child wash over me and smile the brightest smile I’ve probably ever had.
“So . . . surprised but happy?” she asks.
“Very.” And I am. I really am.
“The baby’s father? I can print these images for you.”
“He’s overseas. But I would love to have a few copies so that I can show him when he gets home.”
“Of course. Do you know when he is expected to return? If you would like, just come on by when I’m on shift and I’ll make sure you guys are able to sneak a peek at this little one. You’re measuring right at twelve weeks, so unfortunately, it’s too early for a gender screen. But come back in a few weeks and we can see if that little one wants to give you an early show.”
“Thank you,” I breathe roughly when she hands me the printouts of my baby and moves to turn the lights on. “Hey, Doc?”