The sheikhs twin baby su.., p.8
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       The Sheikh's Twin Baby Surprise, p.8

         Part #1 of The Sheikh's Baby Surprise series by Holly Rayner
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  ***

  It was just before dinner when we met with the doctors, and in a rambling, breathless rant, I expressed my worries about the procedure not working, begging for some answers. Omar sat next to me the whole time, silent and supportive. The doctors listened intently and didn’t make me feel guilty for being so worried about what was—or wasn’t—happening.

  When I was done, I felt like a weight had been lifted from the room. Even as a doctor myself, I was surprised at the intense anxiety that came with trying to conceive a baby.

  Dr. Issa stepped forward with a soft smile. “It’s normal for you to be concerned, Dr. Green. After all, this is the start of many more worries you will have—all of them normal. This is part of motherhood.”

  “But what can we do?” I asked urgently. “There has to be something else we can try to help this along.”

  The doctor was thoughtfully silent before she spoke again. “How is your stress level?”

  “Well, bad, obviously,” I half-laughed. “I’m stressing about not being pregnant already most of the time.”

  “Certainly, but is there anything else weighing on you that you may not have considered yet? What about your duties to the palace?” she turned to look at Omar.

  “The usual,” I said with a shrug. “I give His Highness and the Queen Regent a short exam each week—just the basics. One of the security staff has been ill lately, so I’ve been attending to him. He’s caught whatever bug it is that half of Al-Thakri have endured this spring.”

  “Is he stable?”

  “Oh, yes. It’s nothing life-threatening.”

  “And is there anyone under your care that is in dire straits?”

  “No, not at all,” I said, shaking my head. “It’s all very minor, as usual. Why do you ask?”

  “Even so,” Dr. Issa said, “work can be a stressful activity that can prevent you from focusing on relaxation. Perhaps you should think about taking some time off and having His Highness hire another doctor to take over for you, at least through the conceiving stage, if not the entire pregnancy.”

  I looked at Omar questioningly. We hadn’t talked about me quitting my duties since my decision to stay on and have his baby. But the look on his face was determined, and he was clearly taking Dr. Issa’s words to heart.

  “She will take leave,” said Omar without hesitation, nodding at me. “I will hire another physician to be on-call in her stead. I’ll make the arrangements at once.”

  “Are you sure?” I said to him in a quiet aside. “I hate the idea of not doing my job. That’s what I came here for, after all.”

  “You are doing your job,” countered Omar. “You agreed to be the mother of my child. That is your most important job right now. There are other doctors in the city; let them deal with the minor scrapes of my staff.”

  I felt a little uncertain about the decision. Being a doctor was all I knew—I hadn’t taken a break from it since I entered med school.

  “I’m afraid,” I admitted to him. “Work has been my whole life up to now.”

  “Well, now you have a different life,” said Omar softly. “At least for a little while. You deserve a break, Carrie. You’ve been working hard your whole life, saving others in war zones and the like. What could be wrong about taking a few months off to bring your own life into the world?”

  “I agree with His Highness,” said Dr. Issa. “Your reputation precedes you, Dr. Green. I’ve heard of your work in Africa. No one would ever doubt your commitment to your duties, or how much you love your work. Everyone deserves a break once in a while.”

  I took a deep breath. They were right. If my goal was to give Omar a healthy son who would take the throne one day, then I should do everything I could to make that happen, even if it meant taking a break from work.

  “Okay,” I told them finally. “I’ll step down from my position, at least until the baby is born.”

  “I think that is wise,” agreed Omar with a smile.

  After a few more of my nervous questions, we left the OB/GYN’s and walked casually back toward Omar’s office, where he had more work to attend to.

  Outside Omar’s office, Rafiq was in his usual protective spot. He gave me a sly glance when I passed him by. I returned it with a playfully sour one, but he only winked at me knowingly.

  “Do you feel better?” asked Omar once we were alone. He poured us both a glass of pure spring water from one of the underground wells on the palace property, iced and garnished with cucumber.

  I took a glass from him and nodded. “I do, in fact. Much better. Thank you for indulging my neurotic nature.”

  “It’s nothing,” said Omar with a smile. “My only concern is you and your health.”

  I blushed and looked away. “It’s not every day a girl gets to hear that from the ruler of a kingdom.”

  Omar seemed suddenly nervous. He ran a hand through his thick black curls and cleared his throat. “So I will go about the work of finding you an immediate replacement on the staff.”

  “That would be great. Do you need my help in the vetting process?”

  “No, no,” laughed Omar. “We’re trying to get you away from work, remember?”

  I turned red and laughed. “True. I guess I just hate not being able to help.”

  “You are helping,” said Omar. “But my staff can handle the transfer. In the meantime, I’ll ask Dr. Issa if she’d be willing to pick up emergency duties in the palace grounds until your replacement is found.”

  “That’s a good idea.”

  He cleared his throat again, then looked away. “Since you’re no longer under my employ, there’s something else I wanted to ask you, Carrie.”

  “Oh?” I asked, fidgeting with the telescope that was stationed by one of the office’s floor-to-ceiling windows. “What’s that?”

  “I wondered if perhaps you would like to go on a date with me.”

  I turned so fast, I knocked the telescope off its settings. Omar only laughed.

  “You—you what?” I asked. “You want to go on a date? Like… a real date?”

  “Yes, a real date.” I was sure I could see a red tint to his beautiful face.

  “I… I had no idea you felt that way about me.”

  My heart raced as Omar shrugged self-consciously. “It wasn’t exactly an easy topic to approach. You were my employee, after all, and with all this succession business… sometimes having power doesn’t actually provide one with the power he truly needs. The time was never right to ask. But now, I feel, is as good a time as any.”

  I was breathless, my head swimming with happiness. “Omar, I would love to go on a date with you.”

  He beamed and stood straighter, taking a few steps closer to me. “You would? Carrie, you don’t have to agree to this just because of the baby, you know. I fully understand that it’s not the same.”

  “It’s not that,” I promised with a shake of my head. “I’ve wanted to go on a date with you for a while, too.”

  Omar beamed. He picked up my hand and planted a sweet, long kiss on it. With the other, he pushed my hair out of my face and caressed my cheek. “I’ll arrange for us to have dinner in the gardens tonight. Would you like that?”

  “That sounds perfect,” I whispered.

  Omar grinned in a way that made my knees weak. He turned back to his desk for just a moment, rummaging in one of the drawers, until his hand emerged, holding a small velvet box.

  “For you,” he said, holding the box out to me. “I got them for you the night after I asked you to carry my heir. I was going to save them for his birthday, but I think you should have them now.”

  Stunned, I took the box and opened it gently. A pair of gold and ruby earrings glittered inside, looking very much like the cufflinks I had picked for Omar the night of his mother’s party.

  “They remind me of fire—of you,” he added. “I want you to have them.”

  “Omar,” I said softly, touching the earrings with my fingertip. “These are so beautifu
l. No one’s ever given me something like this before.”

  “It is the first of many gifts,” he promised. “You’ll find I’m a bit of generous heart that way. I can’t help it.”

  I felt like a school girl, the way I smiled back at him. My heart fluttered at the glittering in his eyes as he looked at me.

  “Why don’t you head into town? Buy whatever you’d like to wear tonight. And anything else you want, especially for the baby. You should ask my mother about her favorite spa—she swears by its healing powers. Give yourself some pampering. You deserve it.”

  “Is that a royal decree?” I teased.

  He pursed his lips in a playful smile. “If it must be, yes.”

  “Well then, I wouldn’t want to disobey a king.”

  “I’m only a sheikh, my dear.”

  “Not for long, you aren’t.”

  EIGHT

 
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