Chapter 17:

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 353
Comments: 1

Shayna pulled her convertible into the parking spot in the garage and got out of the car after picking up her briefcase. Max had sounded serious on the phone but hadn't told her much about why she had to get off the couch where she had sat down with a good book she never had any time to read and head back down to the office.

She got off the elevator and saw Max there and her eyes widened.

"Benjamin?"

He walked closer to her but she took a step backward. He noticed that not so subtle reaction and had the grace to stop in his tracks.

" Shayna I missed you so much…"

She put her briefcase on an empty receptionist desk.

"Yeah well that's nice considering that you dumped me."

His face looked remorseful, a gesture on his part almost a year too late.

"Well you know how it is," he said, "I got a little bit lonely when you stood me up twice."

She shot him a look.

"Austin's engagement had just broken up," she said, "He needed his best friend there."

He ran his hand through his blond hair, shaking his head at her.

"I needed you too darling," he said, "I had gotten that promotion at the company and I needed someone to help me celebrate."

"I just needed a rain check," she said, "You didn't have to run off with what's her name."

He walked over and made himself home on the chair in the lobby.

"It didn't work out with her either," he said, "Her childhood sweetheart came back in her life and they eloped."

Well good for them, Shayna thought, and for any woman who would find happiness away from this loser. Not that he didn't have a point about her not being there in their relationship but her friends mattered a lot to her too. And did he really have to run off to the first willing woman, a member of the bridal party in a wedding where he served as best man?

So what was he doing here anyway, but before she could ask that obvious question, he started talking again.

"I want us to start over again…"

She looked over at Max with a brow raised.

"Was this the emergency?"

Max looked back over at Benjamin.

"He wouldn't say but I really hope not."

Something in Max's expression brought Benjamin back down to earth.

"Well I needed a couple of things but I just thought I'd get the personal part out of the way first before we get down to business."

She folded her arms.

"Okay…I'm trying to be patient but I'm pregnant and feeling hormonal so I can't promise anything if I don't like what you dragged me down here for away from my book."

"You're…."

She nodded.

"Yes I am," she said, "See I didn't put my life in holding pattern waiting for you to come back Benjamin. I'm in a relationship and I'm very happy."

"Are you married," he said, "I don't see any ring."

"That's not your business," she said, "Speaking of which, why else are you here?"

He looked up at Max.

"I'd rather discuss this privately."

She just wanted him gone but maybe she'd hear him out…at least until she got tired of him.

"I'll be in my office," she said, "and I won't be there long."

The two of them left Max and went to her office where Shayna gestured him to a chair and closed the door.

"Private enough," she asked.

" Shayna I realize that our last conversation didn't go very well…"

"You do have a grasp of the obvious," she noted, "but let's get this over with because I want to go back home."

He took a deep breath.

"It's about Jim Tatum."

She felt something twist inside her.

"What about him?"

"He's up for parole soon…"

"Already," she said, "He's only been in prison for murder little more than a year."

Benjamin cleared his throat.

"He's asked me to find people who will put in a good word for him."

She couldn't believe what she had just heard. Yes, Benjamin had been his agent but did he seriously believe that the system would release a man serving serious time for murder and kidnapping?

"He didn't want me to even ask you but you'd be one of the most important witnesses on his behalf…"

She vetoed that plan quickly with a head shake.

"No absolutely not," she said, "and if that's why you're here, you'd better leave right now."

He hesitated.

"Surely you…"

"Now…or I'll throw you out," she said, "I might be four months pregnant but don't test me."

He didn't stand up and she just stood over him.

"Wait…there's something else…"

Austin and Parker left the diner. They had headed on there for a bite to eat after leaving the car show and having gone to the office so that Austin could wire the money to Whitney. Not a whole lot but just to help Shayna with the expenses for the defense. He looked at his watch, then checked his phone messages and saw that Max had called him earlier about a contract.

"Hi Max," he said, "What's up?"

"I called earlier about the Myer contract but I called Shayna to come down here to deal with a business situation only it was some man from her past."

"Which one?"

"Benjamin, he called the office this afternoon saying that he had urgent business," Max said, "That turned out not to be the case."

Austin sighed. He had never liked Benjamin even before he had dumped his best friend just because she had taken him out to dinner a couple times to help him through his broken relationship with Whitney just as he had done for her with her exes.

"Is she still there now?"

"In her office, talking with Benjamin," Max said, "She seems to be handling it just fine."

"She needs her rest Max," Austin said, "She's been working way too hard on all these cases and she needs to have some time off."

"Austin, that's for her to decide," Max said, "You can't make that decision for her even right now."

He knew that, most definitely he had figured it out when Shayna had checked him several times when he had tried to get her to take it easy in her pregnancy but only because he saw how tired out she had been at the end of each day. Her morning sickness had faded but the stress that this must be adding to her life still couldn't be good for her or their baby.

"You need to trust her judgment," Max counseled, "She's a very smart woman who loves her family."

Austin knew that even though she had been hesitant to talk about this marriage thing. He had wanted to head off to the altar to legalize their relationship before their baby was born and she just felt as if she needed for them to spend some time getting to know each other in their new roles. They had been most of their lives but they hadn't been lovers that long and facing parenthood for even less time. He knew that it had seemed to come suddenly for her and for him too but he wouldn't take any of it back.

"I know that Uncle Max," he said, "but I'll be right there."

Austin clicked off his phone and turned to Parker.

"I've got to go get to the office and conduct some business," he said, "It just came up but your product sounds promising so maybe I can have Dennis call you."

Parker nodded.

"You need to go down there and do the right thing," he said, "She's the mother of your child and I know that you've loved her for far longer than you're willing to admit."

Austin sighed.

"I know that now," he said, "but I think a part of her wonders why I never acted on it until now."

"She's smarter than that," Parker said, "She's just waiting for you to make it clear that's been the case."

Austin nodded and said goodbye to his friend walking back to his car. He got into it, started the engine and headed on over to his office.

"I told you to leave…now."

Benjamin folded his arms.

"Oh come on Shayna gal…"

She threw him a dangerous look.

"I'm not a gal," she said, "Certainly not to you."

He retreated.

"Okay fine, I'm sorry but if you don't do it for Jim, do it for his mother in the convalescent home."

She sighed, running her hand through her hair, leaning against her desk.

"I can't do that," she said, "He's a remorseless killer."

Benjamin nodded.

"I know that," he said, "He doesn't quite get it but perhaps with some compassion shown him, he'll learn."

"He's a sociopath Benjamin," she said, "It took Austin and me too long to see him for what he really was under the surface and we had to do something very difficult."

"I'm not saying…"

"He killed a man in cold blood in front of Austin," she said, "and then he threatened to kill me when he thought I was someone else blackmailing him and he tried to kill Austin…"

Benjamin frowned.

"What's this about Austin," he said, "You sure bring up his name a lot."

She smiled.

"That's because I love him," she said.

His eyes widened.

"You've got to be kidding me," he said, "You…he…though it does make some sense…"

She sighed.

"Just get out of her…"

She opened the door and he looked over there right into the eyes of Austin who stood there with his arms folded.

"You need to leave Benjamin…"

Shayna looked up at him.

"I'm handling this just fine Austin," she said, "I said no to everything he asked including helping Jim get paroled."

Austin's brow furrowed and she knew it was due to anger.

"Now you really better leave…"

Benjamin stood up and brushed off his suit.

"Or you'll…what?"

Austin just looked at him.

"I don't think it needs to come to that," he said, "I think you're going to stand up and walk on out of here."

"Austin…"

Austin looked over at her.

"Don't worry about it," he said, "Jim's not getting out of prison and he has no right to come to you for help."

"I'm not giving it Austin," she said, "I'm done here and I just want to go home."

She looked at him and he smiled at her.

"Then let's go, you want to head on back and meet me there?"

She just nodded.

"I just need to finish up here and I'll be ready to go."

Austin smiled and shot Benjamin a quick look before focusing on her.

"I'll be waiting…"

They lay on the couch in front of the television where they had been watching a movie while eating some popcorn and snuggling under a comforter. Being wrapped in his arms, nothing beat that, she thought as she felt his lips on her own.

"Austin…this is the best part."

He stopped for a moment.

"Oh I know…"

She chuckled.

"You know what I mean," she said, "This is where they find the missing treasure."

"Oh…"

She sighed.

"I really told him where to take it," she said, "I couldn't believe the gall."

"By asking you to help Jim…"

She nodded.

"So I showed him the door…and told him to walk through it."

Austin had seen Benjamin leave, his face red but he hadn't said one word, just stomped off to the elevator.

"This is so much nicer," she said, "It's moments like these that make me realize that even when the world gets crazy, home is always there waiting."

"I'm always going to be there," he said, "I wouldn't be anywhere else. Don't want to be and I'm just glad I figured it all out."

"Me too," she said with a smile.

Then his lips captured hers again and they forgot about the movie for a while.

The doctor looked at her and she had that look in her eye again. The reproachful look and Shayna knew the lecture would be coming.

"You're looking pretty tired," she said, "How many hours are you working?"

Shayna tried to count inside her head but it couldn't be all that much because she was just putting in a regular schedule, no wait…there were those late nights and very early mornings and often no break between the two..Which had happened twice this week…so far?

She sighed.

"It's been hectic at work," she said, "I've got a lot of cases right now that have to get ready for and there's this trial… with another attorney."

The doctor folded her arms.

" Shayna …working's great but you need to take it easy," she said, "Your tests are good but you need to put some time each day to take it easy…"

Shayna nodded.

"Okay…you're right," she said, "I'll do that…but I've got so many people dropping by and calling me on the progress of their cases…even the ones not helping me."

The doctor smiled.

"Your job just be difficult," she said, "but I'm ordering you to go home and take a week off…you don't want to risk complications…"

No, she definitely didn't want that, but to drop everything, that would be difficult. Try impossible with her workload.

"She's definitely going to be doing that," a voice said from the doorway.

Shayna looked up and saw Austin and then remembered he had said he would be running late for the prenatal appointment. She sighed at him.

"Austin…I have a full calendar…I can't just drop my clients."

"I know that and no one's asking you to do that," he said, "but you've got to take it easier for yourself and our child."

"Okay…I am a little tired," she said, "but the Garner pre-lim I had promised to help with…"

Austin smiled.

"The courts called the office," he said, "It's been postponed for a month while the opposing counsel donates a kidney."

She nodded.

"Okay…I know how to relax…I do…really."

Austin ran his hand through his hair.

"Just for a week like the doctor just said," he said, "It'll give you some time…us time to shop for the baby."

She gave him a funny look.

"You want to help me do that?"

"Of course…that's what fathers do…"

"Austin…you hate shopping," she said, "But we need furniture for the nursery."

"Fine then that's what we'll do…after you go home and get some rest," he said, "You really are tired."

"I've been resting…"

He turned to the doctor.

"I was out of town on business," he said, "If I had any idea…"

The doctor just shook her head bemused.

"Well I'll leave it to you to slow her down just a week," she said, "Then she'll come back in and we can see."

She gave Shayna and Austin her final instructions and then picked up her clipboard and left them. Shayna turned to Austin and put her hands on her hips. She cut quite the picture, six months pregnant and wearing some maternity outfit that actually didn't make her look like she was playing dress up.

"Austin…I've got to get that paperwork done…"

He sighed and placed his hands on her shoulders.

"You're going home to rest," he said, "I'm going to be keeping a closer eye on you and I won't be traveling for the duration of your pregnancy."

She shot him a look.

"How are you going to manage that," she said, "You and Max have to fly to Boston next week on that case and then Miami after that on that conference."

"Max will handle that…and Ethan's back and can handle more," Austin said, "We're going to have plenty of time."

She felt warm at the thought because she really did miss him. Things had been a little tense the last time he had brought up the M word, meaning that they should tie the knot before the baby came. She had been too overwhelmed with everything going on to give it much thought. She knew that they hadn't been involved that long. They had an affair and she'd gotten pregnant and now marriage? It wasn't that she didn't want to share that with him but she wanted them to sit down and plan their futures first before taking that major step.

"Austin…I just might go home and take a short nap," she said, "but only for an hour and then…"

"Two hours…and then you're getting some food," he said, "I'll have it delivered."

She considered that.

"Pizza, right?"

He had been keeping track of her ever changing cravings and yes, that had been the latest one.

"I'm having it flown express on the Lear from Hawaii…"

She smiled widely then, placing her hands on her abdomen.

"Oh my gosh, you didn't…"

"I did."

"I've missed her pizza so much," she said, "You know Rosa's makes the best."

He knew that when Rosa had lived in L.A. she had always been a great chef even though she ran a dry cleaning service. Pizza had been her hallmark and she had dreamed of some day starting a restaurant.

He had called Rosa on the phone and had explained the situation for her and Rosa said of course, she would have some custom made pizzas in warmers ready for the plane trip from Honolulu International. She would make sure they were delivered there herself.

Austin had hung up with Rosa feeling much better and that had been before he had sped to meet Shayna at the doctor's but had ran into afternoon traffic. He had just arrived to hear the doctor tell Shayna that she needed to take a week off and he was determined to make sure she did just that.

"Come on…"

He put his arm around her and they left the office to head on back to his beach house.

She had always enjoyed spending time at his house in Malibu because of its proximity to the beach. Many hours had been spent either walking along the edge of the water where it met the packed sand and listening to the seagulls or sitting on his deck looking out at the blue water and feeling the salty air carried by a breeze stroke her skin.

Austin had brought her back here and she settled herself into the bedroom underneath a comforter to rest her eyes…just for a minute because she really didn't need that nap…no she had just said that to make them drop it. She felt loss not being bombarded with cases because that was the life that she had known and the thought of a week off… but then she thought about how much she looked forward to when her baby would arrive. She stroked her abdomen, over where he or she lay growing in preparation for the delivery…not that she wanted to think about that part right now…no not until it was time to prepare like sign up for Lamaze maybe…she thought closing her eyes of holding her newborn with its eyes looking up at her. This baby hadn't been planned but she did want it, sometimes she was overwhelmed by that feeling that washed through her at the most unexpected times.

That she and her friend had created life together and that they would remain bonded together by that act of creation. She knew she wanted more than that, she wanted him but what did he want? After all not too long ago, he had been engaged to another woman and then when that engagement had gone bust, he had played the field again. What if that happened to her, because their affair had after all, been open ended, and probably still would be if her birth control hadn't failed.

She closed her eyes trying to push all these thoughts out of her mind, which was going a mile a minute and she took some deep breaths because after all, she really did feel tired…exhausted come to think about it and she soon drifted off with the man that she loved being the last thing on her mind.

Austin checked on her every so often and saw her curled up on the bed underneath a comforter, her hands tucked beneath her head. She had looked so tired when they reached the house and it hadn't been too hard to prod her in the direction of the bedroom. Now she rested peacefully, a content expression on her face and he thought about everything that had been happening. Life had been frenetic at the office, what with his exes showing up with their own crises asking for his help in fixing them. Even asking Shayna 's help as a lawyer to address them, showing up all the time and pushing her too hard.

When he thought about it long enough, Austin wanted to go to Hans and throw him against a wall for making his own defense on fraud and conspiracy charges so much more difficult than it had to be. He stopped himself from succumbing to that temptation because he knew it would upset Shayna that he felt he had to fight her own battles and she would say that she was the Harvard trained lawyer in this relationship.

Oh and that brought up some unsolicited thoughts about how every time he brought up marriage, she kept putting him off, saying they needed to spend some time together and he backed off. But he wanted his child to have his name sure, but he wanted Shayna to know that he intended to be in for the long haul and he had realized that he wanted for them to be a family.

His phone rang and he clicked it open.

"Hello Max…"

"Austin, I'm just calling to tell you that I booked that flight to Boston and I'm taking Dylan down to Miami for the conference."

Austin felt relief fill him, and he rubbed his forehead.

"That's great…I've got Shayna home at my house and she's getting some much needed sleep," he said, "The doctor laid down the law and told her she's not to return to work for at least a week."

"Anything wrong?"

"No…she and the baby are doing well but she's just so tired and stressed out by her workload."

Max sighed.

"Hans called and I told him not to call back until he starts being his own advocate and not dump it all on her desk."

"She's his lawyer but he's not cooperated one bit with her even though he promised her and Whitney he would start doing that."

"Well I'll gate keep here along with Kylie and you just take care of her…"

Austin definitely planned to do that.

"I will…we're ordering delivery pizza," he said, "It should be landing in LAX in an hour and on its way here."

"That sounds great," Max said, "My one regret is that I moved to L.A. after Rosa sold her cleaning business…"

Austin said goodbye and put his phone away before going back into the bedroom and sitting on the bed, next to her where she still slept and picking up a Zane Grey novel he had picked up always meaning to read.

Shayna opened her eyes and as they focused, she saw him reading some book with a cowboy on the cover. She smiled at him stretching her arms.

"How long have I been out?"

Austin looked at his watch.

"A couple of hours and no…I wasn't going to wake you."

"It's okay…I really was more tired than I thought," she said, "but the nap really helped."

She noticed that the room had darkened and the last of the sunlight had filtered through the blinds.

"Are you hungry?"

She looked up at him and nodded.

"Actually I am," she said, "I've just been too busy to feel hungry for a while."

"Our dinner should be arriving soon by shuttle," he said, "I've got some sparkling grape juice in the frig to go with it."

She smiled again.

"That sounds really good…"

"We'll take it out on the deck and listen to the waves," he said, "and I have a couple movies that we could watch on the couch."

She definitely liked that plan…no matter what type of film they watched. After about a half hour, their attention usually focused on each other. She smiled, as she thought that even with her changing body, Austin still looked at her as if she were the most beautiful woman.

"That sounds great," she said, "and tomorrow I might go check out some furniture."

He smiled, because a realtor had contacted him about a nice house just perfect for raising a family in sitting on a good-sized plot of open land that once housed a ranch. It would be just perfect for the both of them and their baby.

Now all he had to do was to keep her relaxed and rested until he could take her out and show it to her.

"Sure, we'll make a day of it," he said, "and then maybe we can go to lunch at the Farmer's Market and go to the Art Museum."

She shot him a strange look.

"Austin…you don't like museums…"

He shrugged.

"Can't I take my favorite lady out on a date," he said, "check out the culture in our fine city?"

"Well if you put it that way…there's an exhibit on pre-Columbian art that I've been meaning to check out when I wasn't too busy."

"Now's the time," he said, "then some candlelight dinner at that place on the pier so we can look out over the ocean."

Damn, he had her convinced that taking this resting break from her busy life might actually be fun for the both of them. And face it she loved spending time with him, even walking hand in hand on the beach together.

"Okay…"

The doorbell rang and he ran to get it. It must be the pizza being delivered after its flight from Hawaii. Sure enough when he opened the door, he smelled the delicious pizza immediately but his eyes widened when he saw who had delivered.

She just shook her head at him while carrying a couple boxes of food contained in warmers.

"Don't just stand there Austin," she said, "Tell me where you want me to put this."

He just looked amazed.

"Rosa what are you doing here?"

She just tilted her head as she smiled.

"To make sure that poor girl Shayna isn't getting too skinny of course," she said, "and that you're taking good care of her."

Without waiting for an answer or invitation, Rosa just charged right on in his beach house.

 


Submitted: April 09, 2012

© Copyright 2022 Marzy Dotes. All rights reserved.

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chloe1628

This was such a good story.
I loved reading it
Well done!

Tue, May 22nd, 2012 11:40am

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