Home > Find Me (The Found Duet #2)

Find Me (The Found Duet #2)
Author: Laurelin Paige

Chapter One

“Test today was negative,” Laynie said as I walked in the office, not bothering with any greeting. “I’m never going to get pregnant, Gwen.”

I dropped my purse on the couch and bit the inside of my cheek before I responded so that I didn’t laugh. “You’re kidding, right?”

“Nope. It was a big fat minus sign. Which means negative. Not pregnant. No baby. Infertile. Nothing’s growing in this soil.”

I couldn’t help myself—I laughed. “It’s been two months since you started trying. That’s not even long enough to let the Depo run out of your system yet, is it? Have you even had a period?”

Alayna—Laynie—had only gotten married in April to Hudson Pierce, one of the country’s richest men under thirty and the owner of The Sky Launch, the club where we worked together as co-managers. I hadn’t heard a word about her wanting children the whole time they’d been engaged, but by the time she’d come home from the honeymoon, she was in full family-planning mode. Technically my boss, Laynie’s most notable trait was her ability to focus intently on a project until it was completed. In other words, she was a little obsessive.

It was actually a great characteristic when it came to work. She always thought of everything, never missing a detail. Her brain worked on overdrive, and while she liked to talk incessantly about business, her passion and creative ideas made sure the subject never grew old.

An obsessive partner was good for me, really. Besides my family and friendship with Laynie, work was all I had to fill my time. Well, pretty much all I had. And since she and the other two important people in my life—my sister Norma and my brother Ben—had significant others, I spent a lot of time focused on my job. It definitely helped with the loneliness.

But now Laynie was obsessed with having a baby.

God, I knew nothing about babies. Or pregnancy. Or marriage. Or being so in love and committed to a person that I wanted to procreate with him. Somehow the constant talk about it made me feel more alone than ever. And she hadn’t even conceived yet. What the hell would it feel like when she actually had another human to fixate on?

“I have not had a period yet,” Laynie said as I crossed over to my desk, which was set at a perpendicular angle to hers. “And that makes it even harder to guess when I’m supposed to test. But I had all the symptoms of ovulation two weeks ago—the raised temperature, the change in cervical fluid and firmness. That means I should have started today. But since I didn’t, it’s possible I’m still pregnant and the test just didn’t say it yet—right?”

“You’re not really asking me that, are you?” I slumped into my chair and logged into my computer as I spoke. “Because you know I have zero knowledge about anything related to conception.”

“But I just told you everything you need to know on the subject. I should be having a period. I’m not. Test says negative. Those contradict. So I could be pregnant. Right?”

“Sounds like you answered the question on your own.” I could sense she was about to protest, so before she did, I added, “Hey. You’re on your own with this. I can’t give you any insight or opinion. Now if you want to talk about narrowing down the selections for the new chef, I can say plenty.”

She opened her mouth to say something then shut it. When she opened it again, she said, “I’m obsessing, aren’t I?”

I put my thumb and forefinger up, indicating an inch. “Little bit.”

She groaned and dropped her forehead to her desk.

“Aw. Don’t beat yourself up. I know it’s frustrating. You decided you wanted something and now you can’t see anything else.” Man, did I know how that felt. But I also knew that life could go on through waiting. Even when the wait was indefinite.

At least she didn’t have to do the waiting alone.

I stopped myself from saying that, afraid it would come out bitter, and it wasn’t her I was bitter at. “It’s going to take time. Didn’t the doctor say it might be a year before your reproductive system was reset?”

Her head still down, she let out another muffled groan edged with an exaggerated sob.

“I’m not saying it will take that long. Just…be patient.” Easier said than done. I knew that. “Meanwhile, keep trying. Have as much fun as you can being a newlywed.”

She sat up abruptly, her brown hair flying from the movement. “Oh, believe me, we’re trying. All. The. Time.” She waggled her brows and her suddenly upbeat tone suggested she was next going to erupt into a sordid tale from her insanely abundant sex life.

Her stories had only recently begun to induce a streak of envy that blazed hot and fierce inside me, but I refused to let her know. Once they brought to mind vivid memories of my own—of the man I was waiting for, of the way he and I had been whenever we were together. I’d liked those memories. They’d given me something to hold onto. Something to look forward to.

Now they only reminded me of what I didn’t have.

But I forced an encouraging smile, preferring her spicy talk to her baby disappointment. “Please, Laynie. Don’t act as if you’re doing it any more than you were when you weren’t trying. You two have sex drives that are insatiable.”

She grinned. “It’s H. He can go forever. This morning, he woke me up before five, and he still was only half dressed when his driver rang the bell at a quarter to eight. The Pierce stamina…I tell you…”

“No, don’t. I can barely look at him with all I know as it is.”

“I’m just saying I bet there’s a cousin or something we could fix you up with.” She winked.

It was my turn to groan. “Please, no.” As for Pierce stamina, I had a feeling it was more Hudson stamina. I certainly hadn’t found my own Pierce lover to be able to go very long. Though, perhaps that was just because of their differences in age.

And that little extracurricular arrangement was not one I was sharing with anyone, least of all my coworker. It was embarrassing and wrong—on so many levels, not just because of the years between he and me. I was sure Laynie and I were close enough friends that she wouldn’t judge or scold, but still. I felt guilty. As I should. I should feel every rotten feeling from shame to disgust to remorse.

Laynie would tell me I was being ridiculous. She’d said before that I couldn’t waste my life away waiting for someone who had obviously flat-out disappeared. And maybe a part of me agreed. Maybe that was why I’d let that other Pierce work his way into my life. Into my bed.

But I hadn’t let him anywhere near my heart, because no matter how much time had passed, it belonged to someone else.

“Fine. No setting you up with Hudson’s family. As soon as you say the word, though, I’m fixing you up with someone. Just let me know when you’re ready.”

I chewed on my bottom lip and gave her a tight, “Mmhmm,” pretending to be distracted with what was on my screen. Thank goodness she couldn’t view it from where she sat or she’d see that I was staring at the desktop. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to discuss the topic, necessarily. I just didn’t know what else to say to her. “Don’t bother, I’m hopeless,” would only urge her to convince me otherwise. And I didn’t want convincing. Because as far as I was concerned, I’d never be ready.

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