From Ex to Eternity(9)

By: Kat Cantrell

“My shows always go off without a hitch. Did you hurt yourself?”

“I’m fine.”

His phone beeped and he picked it up to tap through the message. “It’ll be about twenty minutes. Can you live with that or shall we try the escape hatch?”

Twenty minutes in the close confines of an elevator with her ex-fiancé. If he tried anything, she’d stab him with her heel. There was wood in a stiletto, wasn’t there? “I’ll wait. I didn’t have anything to do today besides lounge around at the pool.”

“Me either.”

She rolled her eyes. “Yeah, I know. You’re the big man on campus. How come you’re not CEO of something by now? Too permanent?”

His sculpted lips pursed, and dang it if it didn’t set off a flutter to recall how masterfully that mouth could pleasure her body. The curse of celibacy. Her neglected body needed to catch a clue about how totally unattractive Keith Mitchell was.

Well, not on the outside, but on the inside, where it counted.

“I have no desire to be the CEO of anything,” he said. “I’m my own boss. I can pick my challenges and move on, instead of being mired in entrenched bureaucracy at a company long-term.”

Yep. Meredith had called it. At least Cara had found out about his allergy to commitment before she’d married him. But now she had a ton of other questions.

She should shut up. Being stuck in an elevator didn’t mean she had to say everything on her mind. “Just for morbid grins, once we’d gotten married, how long would it have taken you to develop the seven-year itch—six months?”

So apparently she did have to hash it out right this minute.

His crisp suit rustled as he shifted into a different position. “I let it go earlier, but let’s clear this up now. I didn’t leave you at the altar. I’m sure it’s more fun to tell the story that way. Gets you a lot more sympathy.”

She laughed but it rang hollow. “Semantics, Mitchell.”

“It’s not. I wouldn’t have subjected you to the public humiliation of walking down the aisle to an empty spot where I was supposed to be.”

“Well, bless your heart. I really appreciate you sparing me the humiliation of having to call off my wedding minutes before it started. Oh, wait. That is what happened. Fill me in on the part where you were acting noble.”

If this was a reconciliation attempt, he should stick to his non-long-term day job.

“Cara.” He heaved a sigh. “Timing aside, we weren’t meant to be. Our marriage would have been a disaster. Surely you’ve come to accept that during the last two years.”

“That was a lame excuse then and time hasn’t improved it. I needed you and you left.”

“You needed a wedding and a husband. Anyone with the proper equipment would’ve done. It just took me a while longer to wise up than it should have.”

“I was in love with you!” She curled her hand into a fist and imagined planting it right in his arrogant jaw. A girl could dream. Probably it would break her hand before it rearranged his pretty face.

“Right.” He smirked. “Just like I was in love with you.”

He didn’t believe her.

All vestiges of Southern grace evaporated as a snarl escaped her clamped lips. “Unlike you, I wasn’t getting married because of the baby. I was deluded enough to believe we were going to be a happy family.”

“That mythical happy family would have been a little difficult considering you lied about being pregnant.”

“What?” She shook her head but the roaring in her ears just swelled. “I didn’t lie about being pregnant.”

“You flashed a fake smile and said, ‘Guess what? False alarm.’ Convenient how you discovered it moments before the ceremony. That’s the reason I spared you the walk down the aisle, because you told me before instead of after.”

“False al—” She recoiled so hard, the back of her head smacked the wall. “I had a miscarriage, you son of a bitch.”

* * *

“A miscarriage?” Keith’s pulse stumbled and his lungs contracted. “How is that possible?”

“You’ve heard of the internet? Do a search.” Cara crossed her arms and looked away, but not before he caught the tremble of her lower lip in the phone’s glow.

That punched him in the gut. “On what planet does ‘false alarm’ mean a miscarriage instead of ‘not really pregnant’?”

The harsh tone had come out automatically. If he couldn’t keep better control over himself, he might check out the escape hatch regardless, which would be very difficult to maneuver with his foot in his mouth. But if she’d really been pregnant, everything he’d assumed about her, about their relationship—hell, maybe even about himself—was wrong.

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