Home > Softly at Sunrise (KGI #5.5)(5)

Softly at Sunrise (KGI #5.5)(5)
Author: Maya Banks

Rusty came up behind her and put her hand on her shoulder. “Of course. Just tell me what you need.”

Rachel turned, taking Rusty’s hand in hers. “I don’t want you to tell anyone about this, okay? Promise me.”

Rusty frowned but nodded.

“If you leave now, you could get back before everyone gets over here. But you’ll have to hurry.”

Rusty cocked her head to the side. “What are you wanting?”

Rachel took a deep breath. “Is there any way you could run to the pharmacy and buy an over-the-counter pregnancy test for me?”

Chapter 3

Rachel paced the confines of the living room, the wait for Rusty to return an eternity. She checked her watch and then looked anxiously out the window. She didn’t expect Ethan for a while yet. The compound was across the lake, and he’d no doubt get sidetracked talking to his brothers before they made their way back over. But Marlene could show up at any time, and while Rachel loved her dearly, she wasn’t ready to tell anyone of her suspicion yet. The last thing she wanted was to build anyone’s hopes only for it to be a false alarm.

And she didn’t want the inevitable questions and concerns that would surely accompany the knowledge that she and Ethan were trying for a baby. For now it was their own precious secret. Only now Rusty knew, and Rachel hoped that Rusty would keep it in confidence.

Her pulse bounded when she heard a vehicle in the drive. Her gaze jerked to the window, and she sagged in relief when she saw it was Rusty’s Jeep.

A moment later, Rusty hurried in the door with a plain, brown paper sack in her hand.

“I bought two,” she said as she began pulling one out of the bag. “I figured it would be better to take two no matter what the first result is, just to make sure.”

Rachel smiled and hugged Rusty tight. “Thank you. I appreciate you doing this for me.”

Rusty pulled carefully away, her eyes dark with concern. “Is this a good thing or a bad thing, Rachel? I mean if you’re pregnant.”

“It would be a very good thing,” Rachel said in a low voice.

Rusty smiled. “Then I’ll cross fingers and toes the test is positive. You better hurry, though, if you don’t want the entire world to know. If Marlene shows up and finds you peeing on a stick, the entire family will be gathered in short order.”

Rachel laughed but took the box from Rusty and hurried toward the bathroom. “You be my lookout,” she called back.

“I’ll guard the door,” Rusty said in an amused voice from just outside the bathroom.

Rachel’s hands shook as she hastily tore into the box. They were shaking so badly that she nearly dropped the stick once she freed it from the packaging.

After reading the instructions twice to make sure she did everything accordingly, she forced herself to calm down and focus on the task at hand.

And then, so she wouldn’t drive herself crazy waiting for the first test’s results, she squeezed out just enough to go ahead and take the second test.

She straightened her clothing, washed her hands, and then checked her watch, all while avoiding the little indicator windows on the sticks lying on the counter.

Then she looked.


At first she didn’t respond.

“Rachel, is everything okay in there? It’s awfully quiet.”

“Y-you can come in,” Rachel managed to get out.

The door opened, and Rusty stuck her head in and then looked down at what Rachel was obviously staring at.

“They’re both positive,” Rachel murmured.

Then she looked up at Rusty, a rush of fear, excitement, and pure adrenaline pumping through her veins.

Rusty smiled. “That’s good, right?”

“It’s wonderful,” Rachel breathed.

Tears filled her eyes, and then Rusty was hugging her, holding on tight as Rachel fought the wave of emotion engulfing her.

“Congratulations,” Rusty said in a fierce voice. “I’m happy for you, Rachel.”

“Thank you,” Rachel said, giving her a watery smile as she pulled away.

Rusty shook her head and made a tsking sound. “You so better get rid of the watery, red eyes before Mama Kelly gets here. She’ll be on you faster than a duck on a junebug. I’m assuming you want to tell Ethan before the rest of the family.”

Rachel grabbed a washcloth and ran cold water over it. “Yes, of course I do. I appreciate you keeping it secret, Rusty. It’s such a shock. I mean, it’s not completely unexpected. I certainly knew it was possible. It’s just that I never imagined it would happen so fast. I figured with everything that’s happened, that it could be months or even years after we started trying before I got pregnant. I want some time to get used to it myself, and I want to be able to tell Ethan at the perfect moment before we tell everyone else.”

She wrung out the washcloth and pressed it to her eyes and face. When she pulled it down, she grimaced.

“There’s also the fact that I miscarried once before, so I don’t think it’s wise to bust out with the news until a little further along in the pregnancy.”

Rusty’s face wrinkled in sympathy. “I’m sure you’ll be just fine this time. You know the family will close ranks around you. You’ll be fortunate if they let you lift a finger at all.”

Rachel bunched up her nose. “Ugh. Ethan was already not happy about me going back to work. He’ll really flip out now.”

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