The Sheikh's Pregnant Bride (The Jawhara Sheikhs Series Book 1) (4 page)

BOOK: The Sheikh's Pregnant Bride (The Jawhara Sheikhs Series Book 1)
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Chapter 9

 

“Shira, have a great time,” Erin told her cousin, outside the baggage drop off at Reagan National.

“I’m so excited. I can’t wait to see Kale.” Shira had spoken to Kale at least once a day since his sudden departure for Jawhara.

“I’m sure he’s excited to see you as well.” Erin tried to keep the note of jealousy from seeping through in her voice. She envied her cousin and the relationship she was building with Kale. Unfortunately, she and Kam’s relationship didn’t seem to be one. Outside of speaking to him the morning the driver had arrived, she hadn’t heard from him since and it had been two weeks.

She had resisted the urge to have Shira ask Kale about Kam, wanting him to contact her on his own. She kept telling herself that he was busy running a country and that his silence wasn’t intentional. Her mind was only just barely buying it two weeks later.

“I wish you were coming with me,” Shira told her, hugging her one final time.

“I have so much going on here, you know that isn’t possible.”

Shira nodded, “I know. But wouldn’t it be fun?”

Erin nodded, “Probably. Send me an email letting me know you arrived, okay?”

“I will. Oh, that’s my flight, gotta go.”

“Be careful.”

“I will. Love you,” Shira called, walking backwards several steps, before turning and heading towards security.

“Bye,” Erin whispered, suddenly feeling very lonely. Turning back towards the town car, she allowed the driver to open the door. Sitting in the back of the sleek car, she tried not to let depression grab ahold of her. Shira had worked hard and deserved every good thing that came her way.

“Take me to the office, please.” She didn’t need to go back to the Charity Foundation, but also didn’t want to go home and be by herself. There were several new cases that had arrived at the shelter and she planned to immerse herself in work until these unwanted feelings of loneliness fled.

Arriving at the foundation’s office an hour later, she noticed that everyone seemed to have gone home for the day. The driver let her out right in front of the main doors, and she used her keys to unlock the doors and headed towards her office.  She was so lost in her thoughts she didn’t remember to re-lock the front doors.

Erin prepared the restraining orders for the new mother who had arrived at the shelter the night before. It seemed that her husband had lost his job and decided to take his frustration out on his wife and six-year old daughter. Both had needed medical treatment and were currently being sheltered in a safe house located across the river in Virginia.

Erin had just finished electronically filing the necessary paperwork when she heard a noise in the hallway. Deciding that one of her co-workers must have forgotten something, she rose from behind her desk and headed towards the foyer.

Rounding the corner, she was alarmed to see a strange man, looking very similar to the description the newest recipient of the foundation’s hospitality had provided of her abusive husband. “Excuse me? We’re already closed. The office will be open again tomorrow morning at 9 o’clock.”

“Where is my wife?” the strange man growled, menace evident in both his voice and body language.

Erin took a step back, hoping to put the front counter between her and the man. If she could get to the phone, she could depress the panic button and the local police department would be notified by the silent alarm system.

Seeing her retreat, the man quickly cut her off, preventing her from reaching the counter. “I’m going to ask one more time – where is my wife?”

“I’m sorry sir. I don’t believe I know your wife. Why would you think she would be here?”

“Listen you bitch, I know she came here. I want her home and I want her home now. I want my kid as well.”

Erin was starting to panic when she caught sight of Talib slipping through the front doors. She struggled to keep from calling to him, seeing that he was sneaking up on her would-be assailant.

In mere seconds, the man was laying on the floor, unconscious and she was speaking with the local 911 dispatcher. Talib was also on the phone, no doubt speaking to Kam and informing him of the situation.

By the time the police had taken her and Talib’s statements, she was so exhausted she headed straight home. Her phone rang repeatedly, but Erin didn’t want to speak with anyone at the moment. Especially Kam!

The feelings of exhaustion had been getting worse all week long, but she chalked it up to a stressful workload. Even the excitement of the afternoon hadn’t been capable of dispelling the tiredness she was feeling.

Hearing the phone ring once again, she unplugged the cord and headed to bed. Things would look better in the morning; they always did.

Chapter 10

 

Erin immersed herself in work, ignoring the increasing exhaustion she felt. When Shira had been gone for three weeks, Erin awoke in the morning, rushing for the bathroom where she promptly emptied her stomach of its meager contents.

Her appetite had been sadly missing in the previous few days, and now that she was throwing up, she decided that she must have caught a flu bug. Calling in to work, she then wrapped a robe around herself and stepped out to inform the driver she was staying home for the day.

She returned to the house and had a cup of tea and a piece of dry toast. When her stomach didn’t immediately rebel, she decided to take a bath and hoped the achiness she had been feeling in her chest would lessen.

Erin had just finished dressing when someone knocked upon her front door. Wandering over, she didn’t check to see who was on the other side; it was the middle of the morning and daylight outside.

Opening the door, she was surprised to see Talib standing there, holding out the phone for her to take. Giving him a narrowed look, she took the phone and placed it at her ear, “Kam?”

“What is wrong? Why did you not go to work today?” Kam demanded from the other side of the world.

“I’m just a little under the weather, is all. A small flu bug. I’m sure I’ll feel much better tomorrow.”

“You need to see a doctor. Hand the phone back to Talib.”

“No! I don’t need to see a doctor. I’ll be fine.” Erin hadn’t spoken to him for over a month and yet he still thought he could order her around.

“Habibti, you are not fine. “

“Quit calling me that,” Erin demanded, feeling her anger at his highhandedness rise.

“Habibti? Why?”

“Because it doesn’t apply to our relationship - that is if we even have one…”

“Make no mistake. We have a relationship, and the endearment most definitely applies to you.”

“Kam, why are you doing this? You’ve been gone a month, I’ve only spoken to you twice now, and each time it’s because you want to tell me what to do.”

“Erin, I am only trying to ensure your safety. If you are ill, a doctor must be summoned.”

Erin laughed, “Kam, this is America. We don’t summon doctors here. We go to the doctor’s office or the hospital. The days of doctors making house calls in the country ended a while ago.”

“Talib will retrieve a doctor, if you need one,” Kamal informed her with no hesitation.

“I don’t need one. Have you seen Shira?”

“Shira is a wonderful girl. She will make Khalil a perfect wife….”

“What?! Wife?! And who is Khalil?” Erin was astonished, she had just spoken to her cousin the night before last, and she hadn’t been able to talk about anyone other than Kale.

“Khalil and Shira are perfect for each other. I have given my blessing to their union.”

Erin was speechless.
He had given his blessing to their union? What was this, the middle ages?
“Kam, is Shira aware of this?”

“Why would she need to be consulted? She is comfortable with Khalil and he with her. They will make a good union. She is lucky to be marrying so well.”

Erin sputtered, “Marrying well? Kam, are you listening to yourself?”

“Of course. In Jawhara, it is every girl’s dream to marry well. Short of marrying myself, your cousin could not find a better match. “

“I think Shira might have something to say about her future being arranged for her like this.”

“Shira will be told when the time is right.  According to our customs, Khalil cannot marry until I have taken a bride.  He knows this and is willing to wait for the next several months.”

“You’re getting married?” Erin asked, unable to stop the words from tumbling from her lips. She sat down as she felt her dreams shatter.
She had been so stupid. She had allowed herself to visualize a future between her and Kam and he was getting married to someone else. This turn of events was a little too close to those that had surrounded her relationship with Steven. When would she learn?

“That is a topic for a later time. I will inform Talib that you do not need a doctor this evening, however, if you are still ill in the morning, one will be summoned. Goodnight.”

Erin stared at the phone, resisting the urge to hurl it across the room.
His Majesty definitely needed lessons in how the non-royal portion of the world lived. Arranging her cousin’s marriage? Preposterous.

Erin opened the front door and tossed the phone out without looking to see if there was anyone standing there to catch it. Hearing it ring seconds later, she slammed the door shut in her wake. Taking several deep breaths, she started to calm her breathing down when her stomach made itself known once again.  Rushing for the bathroom, she gave into the nausea.

After rinsing her mouth and cleansing her face with a damp washcloth, she climbed back into her bed. She needed to call Shira, but it would have to wait until she was feeling better.

                                                                                    *****

Erin struggled to fight off the nausea for the next several days, but when Friday rolled around and she was still not feeling better, she made her own appointment to go see her physician.

She had returned to work the day after her phone confrontation with Kam, just to ensure that Talib would not force some unsuspecting physician to make a house call. She had no doubt that Kam would make good on his promise to
summon
a physician for her.

She didn’t want Kam to hear about her doctor’s appointment, so she made up an excuse for the driver, “I’m going to do some shopping after work. You can drop me off at the Crystal City and I’ll call you when I ready to return home. It will probably be late, around 8 or 9 pm.”

“Yes, Ma’am,” his voice conveying his trepidation at following her orders without first checking in with her ever present, but seldom seen bodyguard. After the incident in her office, Talib had made his presence more visible, but still kept a discreet distance and unless Erin looked for him, he was usually out of sight.

Erin watched and was pleased when he didn’t immediately pick up his radio. Maybe she could get inside the mall before he was able to tell Talib of her change in plans.  She knew her actions would most likely precipitate another phone call from Kam, but she really didn’t’ care.

“Right here will be fine. I’ll meet you back here, in this same spot,” she told the driver after he opened her door and assisted her from the vehicle.  Entering the mall, she immediately turned towards her left and headed towards the western exit. Her physician’s office was located three blocks over, but the walkways were covered and crowded with people anxious to start their weekends.

She glimpsed behind her, smiling when she saw that Talib did not appear to be following her.  When her cell phone rang, she glanced at the number to see that Kam had already been notified of her defection. Turning the ringer off, she made her way to the doctor’s office, arriving just in time for her appointment.

She fought back her nausea and dug down deep for her reserve of energy
. She just needed to get through the next several hours and then she would sleep all weekend. Maybe she just needed some vitamins to get her over the hump.

Chapter 11

 

“What?” Erin whispered, looking at her doctor as if she had suddenly grown two heads. “Pregnant?” she whispered.

“Yes. I take it by the expression on your face that this is a surprise?”

Erin could only nod in response.
She was pregnant? Oh Lord, she was pregnant with Kam’s baby!

“I’m going to write you a prescription for some prenatal vitamins, and also for some gum that should help with the nausea. It doesn’t taste the greatest, but believe me, it really does work if you can struggle through the first minute or so.” The doctor issued this statement with a smile of encouragement. She herself had fought morning sickness for the first several months of her pregnancy and found the gum, while chalky tasting, capable of quelling the ever present urge to empty her stomach.

Erin nodded again, still speechless.
She was pregnant. She was pregnant!

“Erin, are you okay?” her doctor asked.

“I will be. Thank you, doctor.”

She finished dressing, taking her time as thoughts of the future crowded her tired brain. 
What was she going to tell Kam? How was she going to tell Kam? Oh Lord, what was she going to tell her parents?

She was so lost in trying to answer those questions as she left the doctor’s office, she didn’t see the town car sitting at the curb, or Talib and the driver leaning against it with their arms crossed over their massive chests.  She turned towards the walkway, which would take her back to the mall, and was so lost in her thoughts she didn’t hear her name called.

Talib hurried after her, hesitant about touching her to stop her from walking away, but seeing no other option open to him. Gently taking her upper arm, he pulled her to a stop and turned her towards the car. “Erin, the car is this way.”

Looking up at the tall man holding her arm, Erin was relieved to see Talib standing there. When she looked forwards, she almost cried to see the vehicle sitting there as well. She didn’t have the energy to make the trek back to the mall, and right now, she only wanted to get home so she could crawl under her covers and hide from reality for a few more hours.

Talib helped her into the waiting car and then climbed in after her. She looked at him questioning, but when he made no effort to explain his presence, she turned her head towards the far window, laying her head back against the seat cushion.

Talib watched her relax into the seat and then fall into a deep sleep. The dark circles beneath her eyes spoke volumes about her current physical state. Connecting a call to Kamal, he spoke softly, “Your Majesty, we found her.”

“Where?”

“She was in a doctor’s office.”

Kamal cursed in Arabic before demanding, “Put her on the phone.”

“Your Majesty, she is asleep. She has dark circles beneath her eyes and fell asleep immediately upon settling into the seat.”

“What’s wrong with her?”

“I’m sorry, Sir. I was not able to question her before she fell asleep.”

Kamal thought about this for a minute before asking, “Did she have any paperwork with her when she exited the building?”

Talib glanced at her bag, which was sitting on the floor at her feet. It was opened and he spied several pieces of paper that bore the same logo as the sign outside the doctor’s office. Retrieving them, he replied, “Yes, Sir. I have them in my hands right now.”

“What do they say?” Kamal demanded. His woman was ill and had sought to keep the knowledge from him.

“They appear to be prescriptions. One is for prenatal vitamins and the other is for a gum?”

Kamal was stunned and speechless, “Talib, be very careful how you answer the next question. Did you say that she has a prescription for prenatal vitamins?”

“Yes, Sir. The writing is very plain on this sheet.”

“I will call you back.” Kamal hung up and stared at the wall opposite his desk in the palace office. His woman was pregnant with his child. He had no doubt as to the father’s identity. Erin had spent no time with other men since his departure. It was also evident that the pregnancy was making her ill. Coming to a decision, he called Talib back.

“Go directly to the airport. Khalil arrived earlier this morning to take care of some last minute details with the marketing team. I will let the pilot know that you are coming. Bring her to me.”

“Yes, Your Majesty. “ Talib gave the directions to the driver and then sat back. He decided to enjoy the peace and quiet while he could. If experience had taught him anything, it was that the woman sleeping across from him was not going to be happy to find herself on a jet heading to Jawhara when she awoke.

BOOK: The Sheikh's Pregnant Bride (The Jawhara Sheikhs Series Book 1)
4.34Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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