As he draped a sheet over her while she slept, he thought back to her behavior these past few weeks. His wife must have felt so alone. So anxious about the future. And she had dealt with it all by herself. That was going to end.
Now that he knew her incredible, life-changing secret, he was never going to let her go through an ordeal like this on her own again. They were a team. Even if it meant he would have to pry out every secret of hers from now on, he was going to take care of her no matter what.
It was dark by the time they landed in New York, but that didn’t stop Dane from calling Dr. Beckford and demanding an appointment. Beckford had sounded shocked, but had graciously relented to letting them come to his apartment for Allyson’s test results.
The doctor let them into his apartment, a disapproving expression on his wrinkled face. “Well, now that you’re both here I can tell you that Allyson is indeed pregnant.”
“Is she okay?” Dane asked desperately. “Is the baby okay?”
Dr. Beckford held up his hands. “Everything is fine. I’ll schedule an appointment for next week and we can discuss prenatal care then. I’ll answer any questions you might have.”
Allyson launched herself at the doctor and wrapped her arms around him. “Thank you so much, Dr. Beckford! Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
“You’re very welcome.” Beckford blinked, the faintest hint of a smile on his weathered face. “Though I had nothing to do with it.”
After thanking Dr. Beckford profusely, they headed home to their new house. Everything was just as they had left it. The tree was up, decorated with red and gold ornaments. Garlands had been hung up the banister. There was a wreath on every door. While the decorations at the villa had been nice, their New York house felt like a home. Their own sanctuary.
“Did we conceive the baby in this house?” Dane asked when they turned in for the night.
His wife planted a kiss on his lips and then switched off the light. “I’m almost certain we conceived the baby in this bed.”
He whistled softly. Everything was taking on a profound meaning so quickly. Which made sense, considering that Christmas was such a special time. Now it was going to be even more special. “Do you want a boy or a girl?” He held her close, enjoying the sensation of her warm body so near his.
“That doesn’t matter,” she said. “I just want a happy baby.”
“Same here,” he said. “But you’ll be its mother, so I already know our baby will be happy.”
“I love you, Dane,” she whispered to him in the dark.
The next day he woke up bright and early. He got dressed quickly and quietly stepped out of their bedroom, leaving his wife to sleep. There wasn’t much time to get things ready, but he was determined to give Allyson the Christmas she deserved.
Soon, their parents arrived. They worked all morning, ushering the caterers in, setting up the table, directing friends and family to the house. After he helped to set the table, he headed back upstairs and found Allyson brushing her teeth.
“Merry Christmas,” he said, suddenly realizing it was the first time either of them had uttered those words as a married couple.
“Merry Christmas,” she said, but with all that toothpaste in her mouth it sounded like a garbled mess.
He laughed and kissed her cheek. “You get dressed and then come downstairs. I’ve got a surprise for you.”
Leaving her upstairs, he headed back down to the living room and helped their guests get seated. He was taking a bottle of wine out of the ice bucket when she stepped into the room.
Allyson looked stunning. Her dark hair had been pulled back into a bun, and she wore a bright red dress that matched her luscious red lips. Looking at her glowing so brightly, he knew how lucky he was to have her love. Out of all the men in the world, she had chosen him. That was something he would never take for granted.
At the sight of all the guests and the well-set table, her eyes widened.
“Surprise,” Dane said.
“Oh, my goodness—you’re all here already,” Allyson said excitedly. Which was true. Even her sister, Monica, was making an appearance. Christmas was so important, it looked like her older sister was willing to set aside their differences to celebrate the holidays.