Jensen sighed. “Will you at least let one of us go with you? Joss is right about one thing. You’re extremely vulnerable right now and that gives Tate the upper hand. And when he learns of your pregnancy, he’s going to push hard for a reconciliation.”

“I guess we’ll have to see, won’t we?” Chessy said lightly. “At any rate, expect me back tonight. He’s cooking dinner because he says there’s something he needs to tell me. Maybe he wants a divorce. But it’s obvious we need to clear the air. I need … closure. I need to know where this is headed because I can’t go on like this. I have to make plans for me and my child.”

“Honey, a man does not cook dinner for a woman he’s planning to dump,” Dash said dryly.

“I’m going,” Chessy said emphatically. “Now please let me by so I’m not late.”

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“Only if you promise to call if you need us,” Jensen said. “One of us will be over immediately if you need help or support.”

She leaned up on tiptoe and kissed Jensen’s cheek and then Dash’s. She hugged both Kylie and Joss before disentangling herself and headed for the door.

“Thank you all,” she said sincerely. “I’m so lucky to have friends like you.”

She hurried down the sidewalk to her car before she could change her mind and completely chicken out of her dinner with Tate. She had a whole horde of butterflies in her stomach and her pregnancy wasn’t helping in that regard. She just hoped she could make it through dinner without losing the contents of her stomach. That certainly wasn’t the way she wanted to break the news to Tate of his impending fatherhood.

Would he be happy? It saddened her that she had no clue. It had been him who’d wanted to wait when she wanted children earlier in their marriage. But he’d thought they should be more financially secure first.

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But when was it enough? It seemed that no matter how much money he brought in, no matter how many clients he netted, it was never enough. He’d always put her off and said maybe next year. Or when he reached his goal of X number of portfolios that he managed. She knew for a fact that he’d surpassed his supposed goal on three separate occasions. And yet he still hadn’t agreed to have children.

It was very possible that he wouldn’t greet this news well at all. She may end up a single mother with an absentee father for her child.

Guilt surged through her chest for making assumptions and jumping to conclusions. Tate wasn’t a horrible person. He’d be a good father. She knew that much. It didn’t matter if this child was planned or not. He’d love him or her every bit as much as Chessy already did.

When she arrived at their house, she parked and got out only to be met at the door by Tate. He looked as though it took everything he had not to pull her into his arms or touch her in some way. But instead he merely stepped back and swept his arm inward in silent invitation.

Her nerves a mess, she walked inside, feeling as though she was in foreign territory rather than the house she’d made a home over the last five years.

“Come into the kitchen while I cook dinner. I’ve already gotten a start on the crepes.”

Anticipation made her mouth water. “Crawfish and crab crepes?”

He certainly knew her weakness and his smile proved it.

“I may have made your favorite,” he said slyly.

She sighed. “You don’t play fair, Tate.”

He shrugged in response. “I warned you, Chessy. I’m not going down without a fight. I believe in us. I love you. There’s no way I’m just going to let you go without throwing everything I have your way.”

Well, that answered the question of whether he was going to ask for a divorce. Was his big thing he wanted to tell her simply an opportunity to beg for forgiveness again? And how much longer could she stand up under the onslaught when she loved him with every aching breath?

She loved him, yes. Without question. But trust him? No, she couldn’t say she fully trusted him any longer. Not when he’d repeatedly chosen his clients and career over her.

“Is that what you wanted to tell me tonight?” she asked.

“It’s one of the things,” he said calmly. “But not the thing. We’ll discuss that over dinner. While the crepes are in the oven, I’d like to hear about you. You sounded upset on the phone and you said you hadn’t been feeling well.”

She shook her head. “We’ll discuss it after dinner. After you’ve told me what it is you have to say to me.”

He looked frustrated with her stubbornness but he didn’t press. Instead he opened a bottle of wine and poured one glass and started to pour another until she held up her hand.

“No, don’t,” she said quickly. “I don’t want wine. I’m afraid it will upset my stomach.”

“So you have been ill,” he said grimly.

“I’m separated from my husband,” she said in a terse tone. “Do you expect me to be radiant? I’ve been miserable, Tate. This is never what I wanted. You chose this for us, not me.”

Anger sparked in her blood and she could positively feel her blood pressure rising. She took several calming breaths, knowing it did the baby no good for Chessy to become so upset.

Tate’s eyes darkened with sorrow. His hand shook as he reached for his glass of wine.

“I didn’t choose our separation,” he said quietly. “Never that. I f**ked up. I get that. It was stupid. I just reacted without thinking. It’s a mistake I’ll pay for dearly for the rest of my life. I hope you can find it in your generous, loving heart to forgive me. To give me yet another chance to make things right. I don’t want to live my life without you, Chessy. I can’t bear the thought of it. There will never be another woman for me. You’re it. And I want it all, but I want it with you.”

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