Sunlight streamed through the kitchen window and right into Kimberly Steele’s blue eyes. She wrinkled her nose and sneezed into a nearby tissue.
“God bless you,” a male voice called from the doorway. “You might want to have that cold checked out,” he said.
With her nose hiding behind her tissue still, Kimberly asked, “And why is that Jeremy?” she asked as she tossed the tissue into a trash can.
Jeremy Preston leaned against the door frame that led into his law office. “Because you’re preggars.”
Kimberly glanced down at her growing abdomen and fired back. “What does being pregnant have to do with it?”
He smiled and held his hands up in a defensive mode. “Don’t go all hormonal on me.”
“I’ll show you hormonal if you keep this going. Just because I’m pregnant doesn’t mean I need to change my ways.”
“Or your wardrobe,” he laughed.
She glanced down at the snug pink dress she wore, flexed a leg up, and admired the pink strap high heels, which she bought on sale just last week. She smoothed a strand of blonde hair from her eyes. “I suppose you’d rather have me barefoot and pregnant.”
He ran a hand through his brown locks. “Don’t put me into this… I mean the pregnant part.”
“Well, I certainly hope not,” Clare echoed Jeremy’s sentiment as she walked into the room. Her eyes widened when she focused on Kimberly’s figure. “I’d hate to think you’d strayed on me, Jeremy.” She pulled a compact out and smoothed an invisible line from her flawless face. “I don’t think it’s good for business though.”
“What isn’t?” Kimberly asked sweeter than she meant to.
“You, dear. I mean this is a small town and people talk. I’d hate for rumors to fly.”
“Then close your mouth and they won’t,” Kimberly retorted as she strode over to the counter, and stuffed a glazed donut into her mouth.
Clare clickity clacked out the door and into the office. “Sorry J-Jeremy,” Kimberly said with a mouthful. “She just b-burns me.”
“She has a point though.”
He went to the refrigerator and grabbed a carton of milk, pinching the ends open and handed it to Kimberly. “I mean about the gossip mill around town.”
“I’m a jaded woman, Jeremy.”
“Oh, stop it.” He adjusted his tie. “So no sign of him”
“Th-That man who you know… got you in the family way.”
Kimberly giggled. “Are we on an episode of Leave it to Beaver?”
“Hey, I’m trying here.”
“I’d rather not talk about it if you don’t mind. Let me just say he’s long gone.”
“Did you text him?”
Kimberly had enough of this conversation. “Seriously, if it bothers you to have a scarlet woman working here, then fire her.”
“You want me to fire Gladys? I’d never keep everything straight then.” He laughed. “She’s the best secretary I have ever had.” He winked.
Kimberly nodded in agreement. “I bet. She’s also the best baker on the block. I’d be lost without her.”
Jeremy added in a mock serious tone. “She’s over sixty though, and I’m not so sure she’d appreciate being referred to as scandalous.”
Obviously Jeremy hadn’t seen Gladys during happy hour either, Kimberly guessed, but mums the word. “You’re probably right.”
Kimberly watched as Jeremy turned to retrieve a fallen candy wrapper and placed it into a trash can. She was a little irked that the man thought her incapable of stooping to pick it up herself.
She was pregnant, not dead.
Although she hadn’t minded the view, Jeremy had a great ass! The blue business suit he wore today meant he most likely had a new client meeting him or a date. Since Clare was here, she must be the lucky duck. She followed Jeremy with her eyes until he turned and she feigned thumbing through a magazine.
As he laughed, Kimberly asked, “What?”
“Reading that magazine might be easier if it wasn’t upside down.”
With a flick of her wrist Kimberly slapped it closed. “Oh… I don’t know what’s gotten in to me lately.” Other than being in a room with drop dead gorgeous and muscle bound Jeremy that is.
“Maybe you’re just scattered today.”
“Scattered?” she roared.
“No, I meant pregnant women get like that sometimes.”
She raised a dainty brow, “And how would you be knowing?”
“Well, I-I don’t.”
“Then keep your unsolicited opinions to yourself,” she said, as she whirled around and snapped on a pair of Jessica Simpson designer sunglasses. “I think I’ll leave for the day. Us pregnant gals get pretty heated sometimes. Besides, Weenie has a doctor’s appointment.”
His mouth gaped open. “Weenie?”
“Yes, my miniature dachshund.”
“Oh, of course.” He rubbed the back of his neck. “The thing is that I had hoped you could stay. You’re better than me at handling all those questionnaires.”
Yeah, while he’s out gallivanting with Clare no doubt.
“I’m sorry. I just can’t.” Kimberly knew it was her job, but she didn’t want to linger in his office. You’d have thought he ran a cologne factory in there.
Kimberly’s cell rang chiming out a Beyoncé tune, “Single Ladies.” She picked up her iPhone, pressed it to her ear, and answered. The phone case was pink as were the rhinestones, which was her favorite color at the moment. “Yes, I’ll be on time,” she mouthed. “It’s the vet.” She continued to hold the phone against her ear while leaning on the table that centered the room. She listened closely to the receptionist as she laid down the law about her previous missed appointments.
The door to the store swung open and Kimberly could hear the rattle of Clare’s chatter, and that of a mystery man, a voice she didn’t recognize.
“Oh my God,” the man yelled. “It’s Pretty in Pink!”
Gasps rung out and Kimberly dropped the phone. “Can’t you see I’m on the phone?” Kimberly asked the rude and debonair man. This man didn’t wear a suit and tie like Jeremy’s usual clients. He wore khaki pants with an aqua polo, which had a small microphone attached.
“I’m sorry, but you’d be the perfect model for a perfume ad I’m doing.”
He gazed into Kimberly’s blue eyes, neither of them saying a word until Clare snarled. “That won’t do. She’s pregnant.”
Kimberly put her hands up. “Guilty as charged.” She moved from the table and leaned against the counter that held the usual morning fare of coffee and donuts.
“Oh my,” the man said.
“Oh my indeed.” She pursed her lips and then added, “Hasn’t there already been a Pretty in Pink, like movie?”
“You’re right; of course.” His eyes bulged and he hastily spoke into his Bluetooth. “Clive Baxter here. I was reminded again about the movie thing, but hey, what about Pretty and Pregnant?”
Kimberly raised a brow and darted for the door with Clint on her heels. “Don’t leave, please. Talk into the speaker and tell Corrine how far along you are.”
Kimberly bit her lip so hard the baby must have felt it because she was rewarded with a healthy kick! “Oh my,” she exclaimed as she rubbed her belly. “Six months,” she said. “Give or take a month.”
“So you don’t know for sure?” Clare rasped.
“No, but I’m fairly certain who the father is.”
“I’ll call you back,” Clive said as he pushed a button to end the call. “So you’re not married, I take it.”
“Nope,” Kimberly said. She then shook Clive’s hand, “Thanks anyway.”
“Please, let me work this out.”
“I don’t see how,” Clare said. “Who is going to buy a perfume called Pretty and Pregnant anyhow?” She screwed up her face. “Pregnant women are just, you know… gross.”
Kimberly balled her fingers into a fist. “I outta…”
“Sit down before you upset the baby,” Jeremy insisted. “I’m sure the vet can wait.”
“I’m sure he can’t. I have already missed three appointments this month.” She gasped and added, “I’ll be blacklisted!”
Jeremy tried unsuccessfully to not smile. “Oh no, they won’t give you that recommendation into the kennel club for sure now.”
Kimberly shook a finger at Jeremy, and then turned to Clive and stated, “Seriously, I believe Clare is right. I mean, who would buy a perfume called Pretty and Pregnant or worse yet, who’d want the woman representing it to be an unwed mother to be?”
“Listen now, if I’ve learned about anything in the advertising business, it’s that there is always a way,” Clive said. “And it’s not always…” he clammed up when he looked at Clare. “I hope you don’t mind Clare, but I need a moment alone with, what is your name, dear?” he asked.
“Would that be steal like thief or steel like unbreakable?”
“That would be Steel like unbreakable, but with an e on the end, S t e e l e.”
“Wow, I love it and so will Corrine.”
“I’ve heard enough,” Clare spouted as she moved toward the door, but before she made it there, Jeremy reminded her to keep her mouth closed citing client confidentiality. “Whatever,” she spat. “Are we still on for tonight, Jeremy?”
“Sure,” he said. “I’ll be over to pick you up for dinner at seven.”
She nodded, a beaming smile plastered to her lips, glaring in Kimberly’s direction before she whirled out the door.
“What’s her deal?” Kimberly asked. “I don’t see this working. I mean how do we get around the husband angle?”
Clive scratched his chin for a moment and then volunteered, “I could marry you.”
“Out of the question!” Jeremy shouted.
“Am I cutting in on something here?” Clive said, motioning to Kimberly.
“Of course not,” he spat.
“Well pardon me,” Kimberly said as she turned to go out the door.
“Good going, champ,” Clive said, “But you do realize I wasn’t finished talking to Ms. Steele?”
Jeremy leaned in. “Not without me.”
“Do you personally know her?” he hinted.
Jeremy expelled a breath. “Yes, I mean not the way you think. She works for me.”
“No, she handles the questionnaires for my new clients.”
Clive smiled. “Okay, so she helps you out, but not as an assistant, and she’s pregnant.” He cleared his throat, “Is the baby yours?”
“Of course not! I do have some scruples.”
“Pregnant or not, that woman is a knock out.” He went for the door. “I guess I’ll have to catch up with her. I’ll let you know how it goes.”
When the door closed, Jeremy crossed the room and poured himself a cup of coffee, but after taking a sip he flung the cup into the sink, breaking it with a bang.
God damn that woman and her sexy pregnant ass! So he wouldn’t lie to himself any longer. Clive was right. Kimberly was a knockout and every man within throwing distance knew it. Nobody cared or noticed that she was pregnant, but it sure was an obstacle for him. What kind of man attempts to seduce a pregnant woman? Not him, that’s for sure.
Kimberly was the one he could count on when he was overloaded, and now, with Clive interested in using her for an ad, that caused a rift. What if the man had set his sights on her or wanted to take her to California? Lord knows he wished that he had made a move before Kimberly got in the family way. He didn’t think badly of her about it though. She spoke with him at some length about what she should do as she contemplated her choices. These days nobody would know if a woman snuck off to get an abortion, but he was glad that Kimberly hadn’t done that. It could well be a mistake she’d never recover from.
So, the elusive boyfriend was out of the picture, eh? That was great and all, but how does a man exactly romance a woman that is six months pregnant? He doesn’t, Jeremy thought. It’s better to just forget about it. Besides, he was seeing Clare now.
Jeremy went into his office and using his iPad, he searched for the local vet. There was just no way that Redwater had more than one. When he moved to Michigan seven years ago, he opted for this small town that was in the thumb of Michigan. Its pristine beaches were on Lake Huron. It had all the appeal of a small town, with tourists who flocked here during the summer and winter for outdoor activities.
“Cole’s Vet,” he said out loud as the door opened. When he looked up he saw Gladys standing there, wringing her hands. Her purple polyester pant suit looked like it was ripped from the seventies and her gray hair was pulled up into a severe bun.
She peeked from atop her black framed spectacles. “I’m sorry Mr. Preston, but I need to leave early.” She began. “My mother took a fall at the nursing home.”
“Well go on then, keep me updated,” he said with a frown. “Did I have any more appointments today?”
“Nope, just Clive Baxter and I couldn’t help but notice that he left already.”
Jeremy laughed. “I’m sure you did. I doubt anything is missed by you.”
“I’m not a gossip, Mr. Baxter.” She cleared her throat. “I have good observations skills is all, and Kimberly looked a bit rattled when she left. Not the baby, I hope.”
“She was late for an appointment.” He stood and gathered a stack of papers from his walnut desk and slid them into his briefcase. “I wouldn’t worry about her, but I sure would love to see her to lose those high heels.”
“I told her that too,” she gushed. “I’m afraid the poor girl just doesn’t like to take advice no matter how well intended.”
Jeremy walked with Gladys to the door, locked up, and they walked the few steps to the parking lot, which only had room for six cars to park. The sun blasted his eyes and he flipped on shades. He admired Lake Huron, which was viewable from his vantage point. The only thing standing between him and the lake was a huge parking lot of the beach and picnic area, with grills and playground equipment. He donated his time and money so that children had safe equipment to play on while at the beach. Children. That had him thinking about Kimberly again. He had to get to the vet before Clive caught up with her. He wouldn’t allow himself to stay out of the loop.