The sheikhs secret love.., p.16
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       The Sheikh's Secret Love Child, p.16

         Part #2 of The Sheikh's Baby Surprise series by Holly Rayner
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  The following day, Rosie and Amy stood side by side, swishing in their scrubs. They were preparing a patient who had just gone into labor. Amy thrust a pillow beneath the young woman’s back while Rosie checked her watch; her shift was due to end in just a few minutes.

  “This will be you in not too long,” the blond woman moaned, looking at Amy’s bump. “But hopefully you won’t be alone like I am.”

  Amy gave her a warm smile, glancing at Rosie. “Sometimes, it’s better to be alone. At least that way you won’t have to baby both your husband and your newborn.”

  The girls exchanged a brief giggle, while Rosie spoke with the doctor about the girl’s progress. She still had a long way to go, even as sweat rolled down her forehead and cheeks. She looked like she was close to crying, and the pain was growing all the time. Rosie remembered this all too well from her own experience.

  Amy and Rosie left the room together, Amy penguin-walking toward the break room. She sighed, giving her best friend a tired look. “Jared called Josh about last night,” she murmured, wanting to keep the conversation intimate. “He said he really liked you, but that he didn’t think it would go anywhere.”

  Rosie bowed her head. “He’s a great guy, Amy. He really is. Smart and good-looking and with plenty of aspirations.” They entered the break room and refilled their water bottles, keeping watch over their beepers just in case of emergency. “I just didn’t see myself with him, is all.”

  “You’ll never see yourself with anyone unless you try,” Amy said, her shoulders slumping. “Why not give it another try? Why not call him?”

  Because it’s not meant to be, Rosie wanted to say. But she knew that Amy would scoff at such a response. The Rosie Amy had known for the past nearly ten years had never gone on about fate. Rather, she’d had her head firmly on her shoulders. She’d been reasonable. Rosie wanted to return to that persona, but she was finding it difficult.

  “Maybe I will call him,” Rosie lied. “I see what you mean. And it’s not like he was horrid.”

  “You deserve to at least have sex with him,” Amy joked, trying to lighten up. All day, her face had showed that she was in pain, but she was too stubborn to go home.

  “You need more water?” Rosie asked, her voice kind. She filled the bottle and handed it back to Amy without response, placing her hand over her head. “You shouldn’t work much longer. You know that. It’s getting too late in the pregnancy.”

  “I’m trying to save up as much as I can first. That house in the suburbs is more expensive than they talk about,” Amy murmured through her white teeth. “And Josh just bought a condo in the city, so he doesn’t have to commute every single day. You know, because he feels like he’s ‘losing his identity’ or something.”

  Rosie frowned, her heart sinking. She hadn’t heard mention of any problem with Amy’s husband.

  She sat down beside her friend and placed her hand on her knee. “Amy, I’m so sorry. He needs to be there to take care of you…” Her voice trailed off.

  But Amy only shrugged, bringing her fingers up to her friend’s red hair. “I didn’t want to tell you. I didn’t want you to think that love wasn’t real. Besides, you make being a single mom look really, really easy, so complaining about my situation wouldn’t have done anything. I need to grow up. Like you.”

  Rosie blinked back tears. “It’s not easy, Amy. I wish I wasn’t doing it alone. And I’m not grown up. Not at all.” She felt herself choking. Nothing seemed fair. Her best friend was being mistreated by someone who was meant to love her, to treasure her and their family. Her shift was ending as they spoke, but Rosie couldn’t walk away from her friend in that moment.

  They sat in silence for a few seconds, both streaming through their anxious thoughts. Rosie’s eyes drew up to the television in the corner of the room. The news usually played all day long, which, she often joked, added to the dismal nature of the hospital. But in that moment, something on the screen caused her jaw to open wide.

  Hakan’s face. She would have recognized it anywhere, since it looked remarkably like the face of her own son. She did a double take, flashing her eyes from Amy and then back to the screen, lost in confusion. What was Hakan doing on the break room television? It felt like an invasion.

  She leaped up from her seat and turned up the volume, her eyes swarming with tears. Hakan was being interviewed by the Seattle news.

  “We welcome Sheikh Hakan Al-Raffayk Bin Zayn back to Seattle for the first time in two years,” the female reporter gushed. “Sheikh Hakan, can you explain to us your reasons for returning to the city?”

  Rosie could hardly breathe as Hakan’s syrupy voice burst through the speakers. “Thank you for this kind welcome, Jessica. As I’ve said before, I think Seattle is one of the most marvelous cities in the world, and this is why I’m launching a brand new television station, Zeitgeist, to promote the rich artistry of this city. I want the station to be a reflection of the caring and beautiful people that live here.”

  He nodded, then, his eyes making contact with the camera for a moment. “We’re holding an opening ceremony this evening, near the water, at the Edgewater Hotel, where I stay every time I come here. Can you believe it? they’re letting me cut the ribbon. Trusting me with that massive pair of scissors.”

  The news anchor took the microphone back and laughed into the camera. “Seattle’s television scene just became a great deal more eclectic, I think we can all agree. Stay tuned for an in-depth look at the Sheikh’s life, his work in the media, and his time in the United States. Thank you.”

  The news flashed to commercials, and Rosie stood, awestruck, unsure of what to do. Her body felt frozen.

  Behind her, Amy was calling her name. “Rosie. Rosie. Hey. Snap out of it.” Finally, Amy heaved her pregnant body up from her seat and placed her hand on her friend’s shoulder. “Rosie. Seriously, you’re scaring me,” she murmured. After a pause, she finally said the words: “That’s him, isn’t it?”

  Rosie nodded slowly. Her heart had begun to pound, causing a slight headache to form behind her temple. “I can’t believe it. He said it’s his first time back since—since—”

  “Since he left you to care for your baby all by yourself,” Amy answered, her voice stern.

  Rosie didn’t say anything. Her mind was reeling. She blinked toward Amy, wanting to voice her plans, but Amy spoke once more. “He asked you to leave him alone, Rosie. I don’t think this is the kind of man you should trust. What will happen if you go to him? He’ll just break your heart again.” Amy paused, sensing she was being tortuous again. “Aren’t you supposed to be moving on?”

  Rosie bowed her head. “Last night, I asked Jared whether or not he believed in fate. And he said of course he didn’t. He said it was foolish to think so. I think I used to believe it was foolish, as well, but Hakan was right. We were brought together for a reason. And now, the very fact that I caught him on television—when he’s been on my mind nearly constantly since he left—means that I need to go to him. I need to get answers. If not for me, then for my son.”

  With that, Rosie fled the room, grabbing her bag of clothes as she marched. She didn’t have time to change from her scrubs. Her mind was whirring, wondering what she would say to him; considering how she would get close enough to say all the wretched things she wanted to say. Would she spit in his face, or kiss him? She’d never felt so volatile.

  She rushed to the bus stop and pulled her phone from her pocket, dialing her mother. “Mom. Mom, it’s me. I’m on my way home now, but I wanted to ask if you could watch Zak tonight. Maybe all night, if possible.”

  “Well, that’s fine, honey,” her mother began, speaking slowly. “Don’t suppose you have another date with that engineer?”

  “Um. Kind of,” Rosie whispered, jolting forward as the bus took off into the street. It was better to lie at the moment. “I can explain everything tomorrow. But when I get home, I’ll only be back for a second.”

  “Don’t worry about
us,” her mother affirmed. “We’re just playing with blocks. He’s almost saying ‘Grandma’ now. Isn’t that something?”

  “Sure is, Mom. Sure is.”

  Rosie felt her heart swell in her chest. How could this wretched man not know about the glorious ways in which his son was growing, changing, and learning? How could he dismiss it—dismiss them both—as nothing?

  She would go to him. She would demand answers. And she would finally have a resolution for the most terrible, most wonderful thing that had ever happened in her life.

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