Two months later . . .
Braden was pregnant. I had hung up with her over ten minutes ago but I hadn’t moved from the swing on the porch. I continued to swing. I needed to let this process. Braden . . . a mommy. My Braden. Wow . . .
The door to the house opened and Woods stepped outside. “You off the phone?” he asked as he walked over to the swing.
“Yeah,” I replied, scooting over so he could sit down with me.
“What is Braden up to?” he asked as he put his arm around me and pulled me over to his side.
“She’s . . . she’s pregnant.” It was hard to even say it. I had always imagined Braden as a mom. She would make an excellent one, but just knowing that she was about to start another new step in life was a surprise.
“That’s good, right?” Woods asked.
I smiled and nodded. I guess in the moment I took to process, I looked upset. “Yes, it’s wonderful. They’ve been trying for a while now, apparently. I didn’t know. She hadn’t said anything. But she’s now three months along and they heard the heartbeat yesterday. She feels it’s safe to tell people now.”
Woods pushed the swing with his feet so I curled mine back behind me and let him do the work. “She’ll be a wonderful mother,” I told him.
“I agree with you. She’s pretty damn fierce when she loves someone.”
I laughed and looked up at him. “Yes, she is.”
Woods bent down and kissed the tip of my nose. “I love you.”
“I love you more,” I said in reply. That was always his line. I figured I would take it away from him.
He chuckled. “Thief.”
I pinched the skin covering his abs and he squirmed.
We sat there for a while and enjoyed the evening breeze. Fall was here and Rosemary was peaceful again. The crowds were gone. Jace’s absence still clung to us. We all felt it. We knew we always would. But lately we had all been able to talk about him again. Someone would tell a funny story about him and we would all laugh instead of cry.
Bethy was at work again but Woods still wasn’t ready to speak to her. He knew he was wrong. He admitted it to me one night. But he said he couldn’t forgive her. I let it go. I knew he just needed more time.
Tripp was also back in town. He had been gone for about a week and packed up his place in South Carolina. Then he’d moved back here into his condo. Woods had given him a place on the board of directors at the club.
“Do you believe in fate?”
I thought about it a minute. I wasn’t sure. I hadn’t given much thought to the idea of fate before.
“What exactly do you mean by that?” I asked.
“I mean . . . do you think things happen for a reason, and no matter what we do or what we choose they’ll happen anyway?”
He was thinking about Jace’s death. He didn’t want to hate Bethy. But his heart wasn’t letting him forgive her because of his love for Jace.
“I think that everyone’s life is controlled by a series of events. They choose what they want and if it is in their control they can reach it. Sometimes luck shines on them and sometimes it doesn’t. I also think accidents happen and we are placed in situations where we have to do things for those we love that we don’t want to do.”
Woods didn’t say anything.
I let him think about it. I wasn’t going to push him to forgive Bethy.
That would be something he’d have to find within himself when he was ready.