Ben sat back, stunned. Aching like he’d taken a kick to the stomach. He wished he’d had the sense to dress before coming in here. He’d never felt so naked in his life.
“Do you not want to raise her? Is that it?” Were her feelings toward him interfering with her ability to bond with the baby she carried?
“Of course, I want my child! Do you listen at all?”
“Yes, I do,” he bit out. “I heard you loud and clear in Indonesia when you said your career meant everything to you and you didn’t want anyone thinking you were trying to get ahead by sleeping with the boss. You’re the one who wanted to end it, Henriqua. I was going to suggest we make changes so you could travel with me and we could have a relationship in the open.”
“What?” She staggered a little and nervously smoothed her blue sweater over her bump. Black pants hugged her hips and thighs, making the most of her lush bottom and curvy hips.
How did she get more beautiful every single time he looked at her?
“When you said that about your career—” His chest still felt tight recalling it.
He had to stand, unable to take her looking down on him. He paced off a few restless steps, catching at his towel before it slid off his hips.
“I didn’t know what to think. I knew you were right. I never should have slept with an employee.” He ran his hand over his damp hair. “And it didn’t sound as though you were as invested as I was,” he admitted baldly. “I was trying to spare myself from falling into unrequited love. I thought you were right to suggest time apart to see how we really felt.”
Her face contorted with anguish and she showed him her profile. “And that’s the other reason we had to end it,” she choked. “You weren’t in love and didn’t want to be.”
“I didn’t have a choice,” he shot back. Then, because he knew the time for anything but the stark truth was long past, he admitted, “Time apart didn’t work, Henriqua. I fell anyway. Hard.”
She snapped her head around, scanned his expression. Her mouth trembled. “Don’t lie to me. I couldn’t bear it.”
“Why would I lie?”
“Because I’m having your baby. I know how much family means to you and I don’t want—”
“Stop telling me what you don’t want. Tell me what you do want. Not what you’re willing to settle for. Not that you’ll give me our baby because you think that’s best for her. You could have offered me our baby without fetching papers that damned near got you both killed.” His blood boiled anew as he thought of it. “You weren’t just trying to clear your name. You were trying to clear mine. Why?”
She bit her lips and shook her head, expression helpless.
“Say it, Henriqua. I need to hear it. Tell me you love me.”
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