Home > Happily Ever All-Star: A Secret Baby Romance(5)

Happily Ever All-Star: A Secret Baby Romance(5)
Author: Sosie Frost


“I wouldn’t normally ask this—”

“Uh-oh.”

“Can’t you pull some strings? I’d take anything you’re willing to give, Doc.”

Likewise.

But denying his medical clearance was the only logical and safe course of action. He was an amazing athlete, but he was so concussion prone. And he was probably still recovering from what should have been career-ending head trauma.

“I’ll do anything, Rory,” he said. “The sooner this is done, the better. I gotta start learning the plays and getting comfortable with Jack Carson. It’s hard enough playing on a new team, let alone starting fresh after an injury.”

This was a bad idea. “There’s a verbal test you can take…but I’d feel a lot more comfortable with a thorough exam.”

“You want MRIs? I got em. Tests and scans and blood work and a complete physical. All yours, Rory. I’ll give you whatever you want so I can play some football. Can you help me out?”

Oh God, that smile. I spent years trying to memorize it. Now I just wanted to ignore it.

“Okay, I’ll do this like an interview,” I said. “I’ll ask you a series of questions—most are just generic wellness surveys, others will be memorization and logic tests. I want to get a standardized, point-based review of your current cognitive abilities.”

Jude took the chair opposite my desk, studying me like it was the first time he’d laid eyes on me. Probably hadn’t seen me without a bra before, so there was that.

“Gotta say, Rory. You’re really impressing me with all the medical stuff. I’ve been surrounded by doctors for the past year and a half, and it’s nice to have a familiar face.” He shrugged. “Prettiest doctor I’ve had too.”

I plopped into my seat. Too quick. The motion swirled an already churning stomach.

Everything lurched.

This wasn’t happening.

I gave the universal motion for a time-out and bolted from the room. I’d stashed a waste bucket in a supply closet halfway down the hall for just this sort of emergency.

Confetti cake for lunch was a bad, yet flashy, idea.

Streaks of red, blue, and yellow stained within an eruption of pink. My morning sickness bedazzled in a glitterastic moment of disgust. Granted it was festive, but it only reminded me, in a rainbow of regret, that I was in absolutely no condition to flirt with Jude.

I pitched the trash can in the restroom’s larger garbage bin and hurried back to Jude.

“Sorry,” I said.

“Everything okay?” He rubbed his head. “Usually girls like it when I call them pretty.”

“And don’t think I haven’t heard the stories.” A good misdirect. “Last I heard, you were the league’s most eligible bachelor.”

He groaned. “People keep saying that like I’ve got a crown and scepter.”

“Had an article in a couple of magazines.” I grinned. “Eric saved them.”

“Yeah. Eric also took out a half-page ad in my local newspaper to torment me.”

“Most guys would like a good wing-man.”

“Not me. My focus is, and always has been, on the game. No distractions. I eat, live, and breathe football.”

Great. He was going to hate me.

I’d kept a copy of the paper test with my clipboard. I hardly needed to ask the questions. I knew the result I’d get.

“Answer these as honestly as you can,” I said. “Name?”

“Jude Owens.”

I smirked. “Age?”

“Thirty-three.”

“Birthday?”

Now he took offense. “Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten.”

It was hard to forget when he shared mine. “You tell me, and I’ll let you know if you’re right.”

“February eighteenth.”

“Perfect. Team position?”

“Running back.”

“Medications?”

He hesitated. “Uh…Ritalin.”

“…Really?”

“Helps me focus.” He leaned forward. “And… Propranolol.”

“Oh.” The word trembled from my lips. I hated asking it. “Migraines?”

“Not so many anymore. It’s really been improving these last few months.”

“Good,” I said. “And what about your life? Any sex—symptoms? Any recurrent problems from your last concussion? Dizziness?”

“No.”

“Nausea?”

“No.”

I snorted. “Lucky you.”

“What?”

“Nothing. Any changes in your sleeping patterns? Taking longer to fall asleep?”

“I don’t know. Don’t have anyone in my bed to ask. Well…except for Phillip.”

The clip board dropped, and my heart with it. “W—What?”

“My dog.”

Hallelujah. “You have a dog?”

“It’s a long story.”

“Okay…” I cleared my throat. “Any irritability or change in mood? Sadness? Anger issues?”

“I’m feeling a lot better now that I’ve seen you.”

I wagged the pen at him. “Flattery will get you nowhere, Mr. Owens.”

“Yeah…” Jude sighed, running his thick fingers through his hair. Did he really have to smile when he said it? “You’re probably immune to my charms by now.”

“Fully inoculated. You’ll have to try harder. I’m partial to flowers and candy.”

“Well, hell, if I’m allowed to bribe the doctor, I might as well ask her to dinner.”

“What makes you think she’d say yes?”

“Because I can hear your stomach growling from here.”

That wasn’t a growl, it was a warning. Time to get this test done before my heart raced my stomach out through my mouth.

“Okay, follow this pen.” I held it before me, tracking his vision as he followed it to the left and right. His eyes were gorgeous, the color of silvered light and the fierce strike of metal against metal. But his gaze broke several times, zipping down.

I didn’t like that. Was it inattentiveness? Could he focus on the object?

“Jude…you aren’t watching the pen.”

He rubbed his neck. “Sorry, Rory. Instinct I guess.”

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