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Christian laughed. “I just now decided that I’m going to ask her to marry me again.”

Ed’s eyes opened wide. “Are you sure about that? That’s going back on everything you told her.”

“I was in pain. I was devastated. Let’s just say I don’t think I was in the right mind set. But, yeah. I’m ready to marry her and be there for the kids. I know I won’t replace their father, but I can help them learn who he was. I can bring that part of their life back.”

Ed was shaking his head, but smiling. “I think you have come back to us, little brother.”

He was ready to be back. The pain, devastation, and self-pity had turned him into someone he not only didn’t like, but that he didn’t know. It had to be over. The sun was up for another day and he’d better take the time to make the most of it.

All he had to do now was convince Tori that he wanted to be the man in her life—even if she was pregnant with the child of another man.

Chapter Seventeen

The phone had rung off the hook all day long. Victoria never thought a dental office could have so many problems, but it just must have been in the air.

The doctor already had four emergency procedures that had come in and Victoria had to reschedule his entire day. Actually what happened was the appointments just had to be tacked on at the end of the day. In other words, she would have to stay. Then, the afternoon receptionist called. Her son fell at school and she was taking him to the emergency room with a broken arm.

Victoria was stuck.

She called Sonia to beg for help, but with Craig on a business trip she had no back up either. Plus, all of her kids had doctor’s appointments. It wasn’t something she could reschedule very easy.

There was a panicked surge that ran through her body when she called Christian’s cell phone.

“Hello?” His voice was hushed when he finally answered. “Tori, is everything okay?”

“I’m fine. Did I catch you at a bad time?”

“I have a moment,” he said, but she could hear him moving as though he’d walked out of one room and into another. “What’s up?”

“I’m stuck at work until six-thirty. I can’t get to the kids and Sonia can’t help me out.”

“I’ll get them.” The offer was so quick she almost wondered who she’d really called. She’d expected some sort of argument that he’d do his best, but he couldn’t promise, and he’d see what happened in the next few hours…

“Tori, what time do I have to get them?”

“They need to be picked up by four.”

“Okay,” he drew out the word. “I’ll need to stop by your office and get your van to get them in. I’ll be to you by three. That should be enough time, right?”

“Yes,” she nearly sighed. “Chris, this means the world to me. Thank you.”

“I’m here for you and the kids, sweetheart. I’ll see you around three.” His voice had grown soft again as though someone might be there.

A jealous pang shot through her, but she brushed it away as much as she could. “I’ll see you then.”

Christian looked down at his watch. He had two hours to convince the planners of the baseball stadium that it needed some changes. If the meeting ran over he’d have to walk out on it and that was going to cause Ed quite a headache. But he wasn’t going to go back on a promise he’d made to Tori—not again.

The planners were open minded to his suggestions and the smile on his uncle and his brother’s faces were priceless. He’d stepped up to the plate, he’d nearly struck out, but it looked like maybe he’d make a home run with this project after all—and with Tori.

As the meeting wrapped up, he checked his watch for about the thousandth time.

“Do you have a hot date?” Ed said walking around the enormous table in the board room, his uncle following right behind.

“I promised Tori I’d pick the kids up. She’s stuck at work.”

He saw the exchanged look between his uncle and brother. Each of them had a cocky grin on their face.

“Christian Keller is going to the daycare to pick up the kids. Did you hear that, Zach.”

“Don’t think I’ve heard better news in years.” He gave Christian a wink and walked out of the room.

“Laugh all you want.”

Ed placed his hand on his brother’s shoulder. “I’m not laughing. I’m very happy for you.”

Christian looked down at the stack of papers he was piling together. “I love her, man.”

“You always have. Since the moment you first saw her at that fundraiser.”

“What if she won’t marry me?”

Ed shrugged. “All you can do is ask and find out, right?”

Yes, that’s what he’d do. But he needed to remind himself if she said no, he couldn’t just walk away. He still had made a promise to Dave and he’d keep it. She wouldn’t get rid of him quickly, but he really hoped she’d say yes.

As he drove to her office, his mind was racing with everything he wanted to do to make a proposal special. He wasn’t just going to pop the question. He needed to ease into it. He needed to woo her a little, make her want him back.

It had been a few weeks since he’d been hanging around. Things were comfortable. The kids were comfortable. Maybe tonight when she looked at him with those blue eyes, he’d finally lean in and kiss her goodnight as he walked out the door. And tomorrow night the kiss would be longer.

As he pulled up to the office, he noticed the parking lot was packed. He pulled up behind her van and double parked. If this was how her day was going she’d need something special for tonight.

She had an angry older gentleman at the desk and a phone to her ear when he walked through the door.

“Mr. Peterson, he’ll be right with you. I promise it won’t be more than ten minutes.”

The man grunted and took an empty seat. Christian walked up to the desk and she held up a finger to him. “Yes, he can take you next week. Right. We will call you the night before. Thank you,” she said as she hung up the phone. She blew a loose blonde curl from her eyes. “I owe you.” She pulled her car keys from the pocket of her scrub top and handed him a twenty. “I’m out of gas too. I just realized that about a half hour ago.”

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