The Baby Contract(37)

By: Barbara Dunlop



 She pulled herself to her feet. She staggered a few steps, losing precious time.

 “Come on, Mila,” he said under his breath.

 She broke to a jog, then to a run, steadier with each step.

 There was less than a minute left on the clock. He wanted desperately to give her more time.

 Then she saw him.

 Her steps slowed.

 “No,” he called out.

 She stopped.

 “No!” he shouted at her. “Go. Run. You can do it!”

 He heard voices behind him and realized half the building had emptied to cheer her on.

 A smile came over her face, and she started again, running faster. He backed off, over the line to wait for her to get there.

 She closed in on it while the crowd counted down the seconds.

 She made it across with six seconds left, and Troy punched a fist in the air. He grabbed her, hugging her tight around the waist, hoisting her muddy body into the air.

 “You’re hired,” he told her. “You are so, so hired.”

 Then he kissed her while the crowd rushed around, patting her on the shoulders, congratulating her.

 He slowly lowered her to the ground.

 She was grinning from ear to ear.

 “Charlie,” he said, never taking his gaze off Mila. “Better get someone to build a new locker room.”

 “Yes, boss,” said Charlie.

 “Everybody else?”

 “Yes?” they answered in unison.

 “Get out of here.”

 There were good-natured chuckles as they all backed off.

 “Mila,” he whispered, brushing her muddy hair from her sweaty forehead.

 “Yes, boss?” she answered.

 “You’ll take the job.”

 “Yes.”

 “And will you marry me?”

 Her clear green eyes went wide in her muddy face.

 “I love you,” he said. “I love you so much.”

 She hesitated for a moment.

 He stilled, waiting with apprehension.

 “Can I do both?” she asked in a hesitant voice.

 It was his turn to grin. “I’m sure hoping you will.”

 “I’m hired?” she confirmed.

 He laughed. “You’re also engaged.”

 “I don’t know which will make my family happier.” She came up on her toes to kiss him.

 He couldn’t seem to stop himself from pressing his luck. “Which makes you happier?”

 She brushed her hand across his cheek. “That I get to love you, and be with you, and share your entire life.”

 “Good answer, my love. We are going to make one heck of a team.”

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