The sheikhs triplet baby.., p.15
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       The Sheikh's Triplet Baby Surprise, p.15
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         Part #3 of The Sheikh's Baby Surprise series by Holly Rayner

  appointment the following day, and she wanted to focus on the babies’ health, above everything. Standing at the refrigerator, she stretched her arms high above her head, linking her fingers and feeling her stomach rise.

  Out of nowhere, the doorbell rang—three stark dings, each more insistent than the last. Amity frowned, glancing at the clock. It was nearly ten o’ clock, too late for visitors.

  She reached for her cardigan and wrapped it around her shoulders, combing her fingers through her hair. She hoped she didn’t look too disheveled. She waddled toward the door and opened it, blinking brightly, and found none other than Aziz himself standing there before her.

  Amity kept her mouth closed, despite an overwhelming desire to allow her jaw to drop, or to scream, or to rush back inside and demand that he leave. She glared at him icily—the man of her dreams, the father of her children. The man who had ruined her.

  Aziz held up his hands in defense. He was completely alone: a figure on her doorstep in a well-cut suit. He didn’t have the usual entourage, or the limo revving behind him. He seemed a bit lost, unsure of how he’d arrived at her door. But here he was.

  “Well,” he said. His eyes traced her stern expression. “You’re a sight for sore eyes.”

  “You don’t use that kind of expression in Al-Mabbar, do you?” she said, her voice tight.

  “I suppose not. Heard it in a movie once.”

  What was he doing here? She wanted to slam the door in his face. She wanted to spit with anger about the hush money. But she didn’t say anything. She waited, the moments ticking between them. The traffic hummed.

  “I just came from the airport,” Aziz said. He traced his left eyebrow with his finger. “Do you think I could come in?”

  Amity considered. She bounced from one leg to the other, anxiety riddling through her. “I suppose.”

  She opened the door wider and allowed him to enter. She heard him seal the door evenly, and she waited for him in the kitchen. She was starkly aware of the pizza smell emanating through the air. Dishes were piled high in the sink. Amity couldn’t help but imagine how strange this looked in Aziz’s eyes, given that he normally surrounded himself with glory. She remembered the sheet count on that bed in Al-Mabbar, and she shuddered.

  “I suppose you’re wondering why I’m here,” Aziz said. His words were strained. “And I suppose I should tell you.”

  “I can’t really imagine any other way to get through this conversation,” Amity murmured. She leaned against the refrigerator, her hands on her protruding stomach.

  Aziz paused, his eyes faraway. “I’ve acted atrociously,” he began. “Since I realized my image was sour a few years ago, I became obsessed with fixing it. I became obsessed with how others perceive me. This wasn’t exactly a healthy way to be.”

  Amity shrugged. She’d known people like him during her entire career. He didn’t need to explain this. Was this just riding his conscience, or what?

  “Because I was so obsessed with my image, I wasn’t thinking clearly, and I freaked out when I found out about the pregnancy. Reading that email, I just couldn’t understand why you hadn’t told me first. I jumped to the worst possible conclusion, Amity, terrified that you were planning to blackmail me, to smear my name if I refused to pay you off. But I have to admit, before my mind started whirring, I had this first, initial feeling of deep, absolute happiness. Happiness that I can’t really describe.”

  Amity frowned, twisting her head. What was he talking about?

  “After I came to see you, after I convinced you to get out of my life with our children—I can’t describe how bad I felt. No matter what I did: lock myself away, go out to the club, try to forget, I couldn’t imagine a life without you and our babies.” He shook his head, confused by his own thoughts. “I realized I was being cynical when I came to see you two weeks ago. And I realized that—perhaps for the first time in my life—I should follow my heart.”

  Amity couldn’t speak. She felt like her tongue was covering her throat, like she couldn’t get enough air.

  “I’d like to ask for your forgiveness, Amity.” He reached toward her and took her hand. She felt the warmth of his skin over hers. “Because above all else, I don’t want to hurt you.”

  Amity stuttered into her words. “I—I forgive you. Of course I forgive you,” she said.

  Aziz seemed to glow. He swallowed. Love and life generated from his eyes. “You know, I’ve always wanted to be a father. My father was a good man, as you know. Beloved by everyone. And he took good care of me when my mother passed away. He taught me how to love the world, how to give back to others, how life is nothing if we don’t share it with other people. I never knew if I’d meet the right person to settle down with, to have kids with.” He shook his head. “And I suppose we kind of stumbled into this, didn’t we?”

  Amity giggled. She felt her eyes pooling with tears. “I think you’ll be a wonderful father,” she whispered.

  “I know I would certainly work for it,” he murmured. He took a step toward her. “I know I would work every single day of my life to be a good dad to those three tiny people growing in your body. I know I would move mountains to look out for them and be a part of their lives.”

  Amity raised her eyebrows. “You know, I actually just took a sabbatical from work.” She shook her head blissfully, uncertain. “I wanted to give myself the space to be happy again. Or to figure out what happiness is, even.”

  “Outside of the pressures of work?” he asked her.

  She nodded. “Exactly. I’m trying to follow my heart. Just like you.”

  Aziz took another step toward her and placed his hand on her cheek, gently, easily. It seemed like their bodies fit together—puzzle pieces, inevitably joined. “Come back into my life, Amity,” he whispered. He kissed the top of her nose. He kissed her cheek. “Come back to Al-Mabbar with me, to my bed. When your belly gets too heavy, let me help you. Let me carry you,” he teased her, laughing slightly, even as tears formed in his eyes. “Come back and be my image consultant. Tell me what to do. Don’t you know that I’ve been waiting for someone like you my entire life?”

  Amity tossed her head back, allowing laughter to flitter through her. She was crying full-force, then. She reached up and latched her fingers around Aziz’s hand, kissing his fingers, his palm. “I won’t be your image consultant,” she whispered then.

  Aziz frowned. His face looked gray with the news. “I’m sorry to hear that,” he said softly.

  “But—” Amity began, her eyes flashing, “I will return to Al-Mabbar with you. Not as your image consultant, no. But as your girlfriend.”

  Aziz couldn’t speak for a moment, his mouth gaping, but then suddenly, he let out a great, uproarious laugh. He wrapped his arms around her and kissed her cheek, her ear, her nose, before landing on her mouth. He kissed her passionately, easily, and she wrapped her arms around his neck. His scent filled her nose, and she felt her body yearn for him. This time, she wasn’t going to let him let her go.

  They wound their way to the bedroom, then. They collapsed on the bed and latched onto each other’s clothes, slipping them off to reveal smooth skin and rippling muscles and everything else they hadn’t been able to memorize the only other time they’d been together. Aziz draped his hand over her naked, pregnant belly. “You are the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen,” he whispered.

  “Give it another month,” Amity teased, kissing him. “I’ll be the biggest thing you’ve ever seen.”

  “I’m going to feed you sandwiches till you pop,” he laughed. “I’ll make sure you’re so well-fed, you won’t be able to stand it.”

  “I’ll gain a million pounds,” Amity said.

  “Maybe two million.”

  “But with your billions, you can easily sort me out with weight loss surgery, right? Smooth sailing from here on out,” she giggled.

  “I’m not so sure about that,” Aziz said. “All right, that’s it. I’m going to closely monitor your sandwich count.


  “I’m going to eat as many sandwiches as I want!” she cried.

  “So be it.”

  He looked at her with kind, eager eyes—eyes she knew she could look into for the rest of her life. She reached up and kissed him once more, allowing her mind to close off, allowing her body to take hold. They wrapped around each other beneath the sheets and let the humming Los Angeles night go on without them. They didn’t need it. In fact, they were on their way out the door.

  EIGHTEEN

  The following week, Amity had packed up her few belongings and handed her keys over to Flora, who she’d put in charge of watching over her place and eventually handing over to a realtor, if she decided to sell it.

  “Thank you for this,” Flora said, her eyes mopey. “I think Mark’s going to kick me out soon.”

  “You already moved in with him?” Amity asked, shocked.

  “I like to move fast. Too fast,” Flora said. She was zany, impossible. But something about the girl’s spirit made Amity love her all the more.

  She wrapped her arms around her, kissing her lightly on the cheek. “Come visit us any time in Al-Mabbar,” she whispered. “Hey, maybe Rama will want to take you out.”

  “As if I’d want to go out with him,” Flora said, flipping her hair. She walked Amity to the door, where Aziz was waiting with her things, with one of his typical limos stalling outside. “He really knows how to travel in style, doesn’t he?”

  “That he does,” Amity whispered. Her eyes met with Aziz’s. She felt like the world was turning just for them.

  Flora waved to them as the limo swept them away, toward the airport, where a private jet would whizz them off to another life. Palm trees whisked by them, one after another, and the ocean seemed to gleam an extra bright turquoise color, as if it were saying good bye. Amity leaned her head against her Sheikh’s shoulder, unsure how she’d gotten so lucky. Her belly bulged out before her, a reminder of both the past and the beautiful, uncertain future.

  NINETEEN

  Amity had to admit: being pregnant in Al-Mabbar was a rather more glamorous prospect than being alone, at home, in Los Angeles. The mansion welcomed her back with open arms—the one maid in particular, Addy, giving her a joyous hug and several I-told-you-so winks as she entered Aziz’s suite. She rubbed her hands over Amity’s belly, speaking excitedly. “We will make you a grand feast!”

  With three babies growing inside of her, Amity had grown accustomed to continued hunger, and she agreed wholeheartedly. Aziz wrapped his arms around her from behind as the maid walked away, kissing her on her neck.

  “You’re making me feel so pampered,” Amity said, giggling. “I didn’t expect such luxury.”

  “Luxury, in a billionaire’s mansion? You’re right. It doesn’t fit, does it?” he teased. He watched as she lay back on the bed, her belly protruding above her. “You want to take a nap?”

  “No,” she murmured. She tapped the bed beside her. “I want you to lay with me. I want to feel what it’s like to be still, here, with you.”

  Aziz joined her on the bed, stretching out beside her, kicking his shiny shoes off his feet. He took her hand in his.

  “I’ve never been so happy to be anywhere,” she whispered to him then. “I’ve never been so happy to be with anyone.”

  “I feel exactly the same,” he breathed back.

  They lay like that until dinner, when Addy called them to the intimate dining room, where the first course was laid before them, along with dates and figs and other Middle-Eastern snacks. Amity shuffled her palms together before taking a date and popping it in her mouth. Immediately satisfied, she eased into the chair beside Aziz, and they spoke excitedly, deep into the night, about their plans for the fall, before the babies came.

  “We’ll make a beautiful nursery,” Aziz exclaimed. “You can paint it whatever colors you please. We’ll have custom bassinets made, one for each of the babies. And we’ll hire a night nurse and a day nurse, just in case you grow too tired.”

  “I want to be there for my children,” Amity said, amazed at his endless ideas. “But perhaps one or two nurses wouldn’t be the worst thing.”

  “Plus. I’m going to want some time with you. Some time to ourselves.”

  “Our family is about to grow exponentially, so I hope you realize our time alone is very, very limited,” Amity said. She sipped her sparkling water, feeling happiness fill her chest, her limbs, her face. She flipped her hair back, elongating her neck. She knew she glowed with that
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