Over to you, Kyra ...
Hey everyone! Thanks to Clare for letting me take over your blog today!
The following snippet was written originally as part of a Game On epilogue before I decided to turn the book into a series. What happens here is relevant to Sidelined, because the revelation in this part comes up at the start of Sidelined, and the “after effects” of the news will ripple through the last two books. The reason I’m sharing it is because I think it’s a good glimpse into what happened to Leah and Radleigh after Game On. It COULD be considered a bit spoiler-y for those who haven’t read Game On, but the book has been out for two years now, so I’m hoping you’ll forgive me LOL! The other reason I wanted to share it is because it seemed a shame to waste a perfectly good scene – it needed a home, and that home is right here!
He drove me home, and I tried to revive myself enough to have a conversation with him but seeing how tired I was, he didn't push me too hard. When we got in, I managed to swallow a cup of coffee and a ham and cheese sandwich before passing out in bed.
When I woke up, it was dark, and when I looked at the clock, it told me it was one-thirty a.m. Radleigh was fast asleep beside me. The glow from the lamp outside cast light over him and he looked…. perfect. I felt bad for having been asleep practically from the moment he had collected me from the airport, and I leaned over and gently kissed him on the cheek. He didn't stir though, and I didn't want to wake him just because I had finally regained consciousness so I carefully climbed out of bed and quietly made my way downstairs to the kitchen to satisfy my rumbling stomach. I'd barely eaten anything all day, and I knew if I didn't find something soon, I would keel over.
I had a rummage through the cupboards and the fridge, before striking gold when I searched the freezer. Pulling out a box of two frozen pizzas, I almost laughed out loud when I found another box underneath. Hurriedly unwrapping them all, I put them in the oven to cook, then found a bag of crisps to munch and a bottle of water to drink while I waited.
I was truly ravenous.
Taking my snacks into the living room, I turned the lights on and sat down on one of the big, black leather sofas. Looking around at the décor, the hardwood floor, the gigantic television on the wall, games consoles gathered in the corner, I thought for about the millionth time that this really was a bachelor pad. There wasn't a part of me that wanted to change it though. I loved it the way it was. It would take a while for me to relax enough to treat the place as if it were my own, but I'd get used to it eventually.
And now it is mine.
Reality began to crash over me and I let out a small groan.
Aside from the nerves of moving to another country, there was another reason for my lack of sleep over the past few days. There was something I needed to talk to Radleigh about, and I'd intended to do so the moment we got home, but I'd been so tired, the only thing I'd had the energy for was going to bed.
I curled myself into a ball on the sofa and ate my crisps, thinking about the upcoming weekend to distract myself. The idea of seeing my friends made me smile. I'd spoken to Freya every other day when I’d been in Cornwall, and when I'd given her the news I was moving back to America, she'd screamed so loud she'd almost deafened me. Being away from her had been tough, and I couldn't wait to see her to get the full lowdown on what had been happening between her and Will.
I jumped at the sound of Radleigh's voice and turned to see him walking towards me wearing only a pair of boxers. His hair was dishevelled and a tingle shot through me just from the sight of him.
"Hi," I said with a smile.
It was the first time since I'd arrived that I'd had a really good look at him, and I put my unfinished bag of crisps down on the coffee table and stood up to hug my gorgeous, slightly sleepy-looking man.
"I wondered where you were," he said, his arms encircling me.
Yup, right there. Best place in the world. For just a second I allowed myself to push my worries aside and sink into him, resting my head against his chest.
"I'm hungry. I'm cooking pizza. Well," I added, with a grin, "I'm actually cooking four pizzas."
"Yeah, but they're only small. I'm starving."
I gazed up at him with innocent eyes and he laughed. "Can I at least have one?"
I nodded. "You can. I'm very generous."
We smiled at each other, and he held me tightly. "I'm so glad you're here."
"Me too.” I ran my hands own his back. “Now give me a kiss before I die from waiting any longer."
"I love how you feed my ego." His voice was low and husky, and he slid his hand round to the back of my neck and leaned forward to kiss me.
The second our lips touched, everything that was worrying me left my mind, and I pressed myself closer to him, running my hands down his back, relishing the feeling of being with him. Before I was even aware of what was happening, we were wound around each other on the sofa, making up for the last two weeks we had been apart.
No. This was not supposed to happen…you want to talk to him, remember?
The thought sobered me, and before things could go any further, I put my hand up to his chest and gently pushed him back.
"I'm sorry," I sat up a little to straighten my clothes. "I can't. Not yet. I need to talk to you about something."
My seriousness stopped him from complaining, and he shifted sideways a little so he was no longer on top of me, but lying beside me instead. I gently kissed him as an apology for stopping the fun we'd been having. The truth was, I would much rather have carried on than have to have the conversation I was about to have with him, but it needed to be done. Sooner rather than later.
"Leah, what's wrong?" His eyes filled with concern, making me think that just maybe this might be okay.
I squirmed in my seat, knowing there was really no other way to say it than to just blurt it out, and I couldn't back out now.
"I think…I think I'm pregnant," I said, averting my eyes from his face so I didn't have to see his initial reaction.
There was a long, terrifying silence, before he said, "Pregnant?"
My eyes swivelled back to his face, and unable to resist the sarcasm, I said, "You know what that means, right?"
"Pregnant," he repeated as if he hadn't heard me. "Pregnant?"
This was the kind of reaction I'd been dreading. Even though it wasn't definite, and I had no idea what the hell I wanted, I was afraid the news would freak him out. Maybe I should have waited until I knew for sure, but if I was pregnant, I wanted him to be there the whole way. Not that I could guarantee that he would be there. Radleigh had changed a lot, but whether that change included a sudden journey into fatherhood, I wasn't so sure.
"Yeah," I said. "Pregnant."
"But…how can you…I mean, I know how. But…how?"
Why do men become stupid when confronted with big news? "Before I just started talking – what were we about to do?"
"We were about to have fantastic sex."
"Right. And do you happen to have a condom stuffed down your boxers?"
"And that is how. You know as well as I do that we haven't exactly been…careful."
"There isn't always time," he said, with a grin.
"Radleigh, focus," I said, though I couldn't help but laugh at the truth of his words.
"Sorry." He sat up, still looking somewhat stunned by my news. "So, are you ever planning on finding out for sure?"
"Yeah. I don't mean to scare you any further, but I actually have a home pregnancy test in my suitcase."
He opened his mouth to speak, but no words came out. The panic he was feeling was clearly written all over his face which did nothing to ease my own worry.
The fact was, I had been blocking out the possibility of me being pregnant as much as I could until I got to Los Angeles. I told myself that whatever happened, I needed to be with Radleigh the moment I found out for sure. I had absolutely no idea if he would be happy if the test came back positive, I didn't even know how I would feel. All I knew was that I loved him, and I didn't want to once again find myself carrying a child that was unwanted by the father.
"You wanna do it now?" he asked, breaking me from my thoughts.
I shook my head. "I don't know."
"How long have you suspected?"
"About a week. I just…I wanted to be here when I found out. I didn't want to do it alone. I can't do this alone."
"Okay," he said, gently stroking my hair. "It's okay."
"It is?" I asked, tears forming in my eyes. "Radleigh, if I'm pregnant-"
"If," he interrupted, "Let's not panic until we know if you are."
There was another long silence, and Radleigh said, "Can you please do it now? I can't stand not knowing."
The truth was, I wasn't sure how much longer I could stand it either, and I slowly nodded. "Okay."
Radleigh kissed me gently on the forehead. "Everything will be fine."
'Easy for you to say,' I thought, as I stood up.
"I'll be a few minutes," I told him.
He nodded. "I'll go and get the pizzas. I need to distract myself while you pee on the stick."
In spite of my nerves, I laughed. "Don't eat them all."
"I won't. I promise."
Looking down at him, I said, "I love you."
"I love you too."
Giving him one last smile, I headed upstairs to get the pregnancy test kit out of my suitcase. I sat on the bed for a full five minutes, holding the test in my lap, too afraid to use it. I remembered the last time I’d had to use one of these tests. That time, I simply refused to believe I was pregnant. It was just a precaution that I was taking the test; I didn't really think the result would be positive, and when it was, my whole world changed.
This time, I was sure. Before I even took the test, I was convinced I knew the result, and confirming it was really just to make it real. To have solid proof. That didn't make it any easier though.
I eventually stopped putting it off and went into the bathroom to do what needed to be done.
What passed were the longest two minutes of my life, counting down the seconds until the truth was revealed.
That first moment when you look at it; that's the decider about whether or not you even want a baby. Seeing the result could either fill you with dread or elation. Having a child with Radleigh was something I wanted…I just wasn't sure I wanted it right away, when things were so new. We'd never really talked about it, apart from that brief, light-hearted conversation we'd had on the London Eye. There was so much more to talk about, and I swore that if the result was negative, we would discuss things properly and be a lot more careful in the future.
One hundred and twenty seconds later, it was finally time to look at the result. Taking a deep breath, I picked up the test in my shaking hands.
There, in the little window, was a plus symbol.
I'd been counting on that initial reaction to tell me how I felt, but it didn't come. The only thing washing over me was numbness. I don't know why I was so shocked. Deep down I'd known what the outcome would be. I threw the pregnancy test into the bin, quickly washed my hands, then made my way rather tentatively back downstairs.
Radleigh was just heading into the living room with the plate of pizzas when I reached the bottom of the stairs, and he stopped when he saw me.
"It’s positive. I'm pregnant."
He didn't say anything, but continued on in to the lounge, and panic gripped me again. I followed him, and found him sitting on the sofa with a slightly vacant expression on his face. I was almost tempted to slap him out of his trance, but instead I sat down beside him.
"It would be great if you said something." I said.
He turned his head towards me. "I didn't think any of the things that came in to my head were appropriate responses."
"The truth is the only response I'm interested in, Radleigh."
He let out a deep breath. "I don't know how I feel about it."
"You're not happy though."
When he didn't answer, I began to feel like everything was suddenly about to come crashing down around me. Things had been going far too well for too long, and this was the event that would put a stop to it.
"I guess I can take that as a no."
"Could you give me a second to think?" he snapped. "It's the middle of the night, I've just woken up, you haven't even been here for twenty-four hours and you drop this news on me! I don't know if I'm happy, or angry, or-"
"Angry?" I interrupted, standing up. "How can you be angry about this? This is as much down to you as it is to me!"
"I never said it wasn't, Leah. But I wasn't expecting this."
"Well, neither was I!"
"You had a whole week to prepare for this. I had five minutes!"
"Do I look like I was prepared for this? Sure, I had a week to think about it, to worry about the result, but the one thing I couldn't prepare for was how you'd react! I haven't been sleeping because I've been so damn scared of what you'd say, and believe me, I have imagined every response there could possibly be. But imagining the outcome doesn't make me any more prepared than you."
I paused to take a breath and Radleigh said, "I'm sorry, okay? It's just….so fast."
"Well….what do you want to do? I mean, do you want us to have a baby?"
My outburst had clearly shaken him, and he looked slightly afraid that I might start yelling again, which instantly made me feel guilty. I sat down on his lap, and gently said, "We have to make this decision together. I don't want you to tell me what you think I want to hear, because that won't help either of us. We need to be honest."
"I don't want to upset you, Leah. I don't want to say the wrong thing."
"You don't need to tell me anything right now. We'll eat, and sleep and you can think. We can both think. We'll talk about it more tomorrow."
He shook his head. "I want to talk now. But…”
"Leah, the smell of that pizza is killing me. I want to eat first."
Relaxing a little, I wrapped my arms around him. "That sounds good to me."
The two of us began munching our way through the pizzas in silence, and I knew Radleigh was lost in thought. I didn't want to push him for a decision about his feelings because I still hadn't really reached one of my own.
Well, not one I was ready to admit yet, anyway.
When the food was gone, we sat quietly for a while, me still on Radleigh's lap with his arm around me. It was kind of peaceful, in spite of the uncertainty of things. All I could hear were the sounds of the clock ticking on the wall, and our gentle breathing as we pondered what we wanted.
After a while, Radleigh rested his hand gently on my stomach and I looked up at him.
"This may be crazy soon," he said, "but I would really love it if we had a baby."
Afraid I had misheard him, I sat bolt upright. "What?"
He laughed at my surprise. "I want us to have a baby."
"Are you sure? I mean…this is an enormous commitment."
"Yes, I'm aware of that. Leah, you just moved halfway across the world to be with me. If we weren't committed, would you really have done that?"
"If you don't think now is the right time, it's fine. But you wanted to know what I think. And I want to have a baby with you."
Relief began to flood through me. This was the honest reaction I had been waiting for. I'd needed to hear what Radleigh wanted before I knew for sure how I felt. If he'd said he didn't want the baby, I would have been heartbroken. But he did want it, and while I knew it wouldn't all be plain sailing, I was pretty sure we could do it.
A smile spread across my face as the full realisation began to hit me.
I was pregnant. With Radleigh's child. After everything that we had been through, things were actually working out.
"Oh my God," I said, with a small laugh. "We're really going to do this?"
He nodded. "If you want to."
"I want to."
He wrapped his arms tightly around me, smiled and said, "Then we'll do it."
Isolated and unsure who to turn to, Bree finds herself falling back into a dangerous friendship, and developing feelings for the only person who really listens to her. Torn between her loyalty to her husband and her attraction to a man who has the perfect family she always wanted, she has some tough choices to make.
While Bree tries to figure out what she wants, a tragedy rocks the Westberg Warriors, triggering some dark memories, and pushing her to take a look at what’s really important.
Kyra grew up on the South Coast of England and refuses to move away from the seaside which provides massive inspiration for her novels. Her debut novel, Game On (New Adult Contemporary Romance), was released in July 2012, and she scored her first Amazon Top 20 listing with her New Adult novella, If I Let You Go.