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Room for More (Cranberry Inn #2)

By:Beth Ehemann

Room for More (Cranberry Inn #2)
Author: Beth Ehemann





This book is dedicated to my "Roommates". You guys cheer me up on bad days and make the good days awesome. Thank you for making me one, grateful landlord.

Kacie,

I can't do this anymore. I'm leaving. Actually, I'm already gone. I listened to you when you said things would be great. They're not great. They suck. I have no freedom, I have to work all the time, and I never get to see my friends. This is not what I wanted and I've had enough. Sorry.

P.S. As a favor, I already paid the sitter and left you $100. Good luck.

Zach

Good luck?

I stood in my kitchen, staring down at the black letters, trying to force my brain to believe that I must be reading them wrong. My hands started shaking uncontrollably and my chest tightened as I sprinted to our bedroom and ripped the closet door open-nothing but empty hangers on his side. As I pulled his empty drawers out of the dresser completely, throwing them to the ground one by one, it hit me.

He was gone.

Really gone.

How could he do this? How could he do this now, after three years? Our twin girls were turning one next week. Didn't he want to be here for that?

The bile started to rise up in my throat as I put my hand over my mouth and ran to the bathroom, getting there just in time. After I was done emptying my lunch into the toilet, I sat back against the bathroom wall and pulled my knees up to my chest, putting my head in my hands.

"Are you okay?" Christina, our babysitter, asked quietly as she appeared in the doorway.

Without looking at up at her, I asked flatly, "Did he say anything to you?"

She sighed. "No. He just paid me and said he left a letter for you on the counter, to make sure you saw it."

A letter? He scribbled that bullshit on the back of a Lee Auto Parts receipt. That could hardly be classified as a letter.

I couldn't believe it.

Sure, we got pregnant much earlier than we should have and while it wasn't planned, we were making it work. It certainly hadn't been easy so far, but I thought that this was forever. That we were forever. I never imagined he would leave us, and certainly not like this.

Maybe I could stop him, make him change his mind. I jumped up off the bathroom floor and rushed past Christina, heading straight for the kitchen counter where I'd left my purse to find my cell phone. My fingers were shaking so badly, I could barely dial his number.

One ring, two rings, three rings, voice mail.

I dialed again.

One ring, voice mail.

He knew I was calling. He knew I was calling and he was sending me to voice mail. Where was he? What was going on?

My knees felt weak and my head light, like I might pass out, but I managed to make my way over to the kitchen table and sit down. Christina followed me into the kitchen, though she looked like she would rather be anywhere else. She was white as a sheet and nervously playing with the buttons on her sweater.

"Go home, Christina. Thanks for watching the girls." I was biting my lip so hard I tasted blood, but I didn't want to break down in front of her.

She let out a huge sigh as relief crossed her face. "Um, okay," she stammered. "The girls have been napping for about an hour, so … if you need anything, call me tonight." She started to make her way out of the kitchen, but she stopped halfway and turned back toward me. "Are you going to need me tomorrow?"

I let out a long breath that I had no idea I was even holding in.

"I don't know … anything. I'll call you."

"Okay." She hurried over and threw her arms around me, but I couldn't feel a thing. I was numb.

"I'm so sorry, Kacie."

She let go and turned to walk out the front door, the floorboards creaking behind her as she went.

My mind started replaying all the memories of the last three years with Zach like a movie in my head, scene by scene. We'd met at a bonfire after a football game, and I knew that night that he was the boy I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, or so I thought. We'd had a whirlwind high school romance, full of steamy make out sessions in his truck, sneaking out for late-night walks, and lots of skinny-dipping in the lake. We'd dated for a little over a year before we found out we were pregnant.

Then, when I was eight weeks along, we got the shock of our lives: twins.

I'd almost fallen off the table when the ultrasound technician beamed at me and said, "I hope you're ready for two!"

"Two what?" Zach said.

I didn't say anything. I knew. My wide eyes stared at the two little flashing lights on the screen and I needed no further explanation. The next few minutes were a blur as the tech explained to Zach what was happening. I was too busy falling madly in love with the little beings currently occupying about as much space as two gummy bears in my belly. I wasn't prepared for one baby at eighteen years old, let alone two, but I vowed that moment that for the rest of my life they would be the most important things in it.

I figured Zach would eventually share my excitement and feel the same way.

Wrong.

My first hint should have been halfway through my pregnancy when we received the news that we were going to be blessed with two girls.

Immediately, I started picturing two little girls in matching pink outfits with bows in their hair, asking me to paint their nails when they were old enough. And how lucky were they going to be to have each other? Built-in best friends. I was elated.

Zach?

Not so much.

"Seriously? Shit. If I have to go through this, I was at least hoping for boys. Fuck," he mumbled on the way home while I sat in the passenger seat rubbing my protruding belly with a smile on my face. I just knew that as soon as he held them, he would feel the way I was feeling.

They were born eighteen weeks later, weighing in at just five pounds each and absolutely perfect. Zach was as supportive as I expected him to be during delivery, at least in the moments he wasn't busy texting on his cell phone. My picture-perfect fairy tale was quickly shattered. Our first fight came when the girls were only eight hours old.

"You want to what?" I scowled at him. I could feel my face turning red with anger.

"Calm down, Kacie! It's no big deal. The guys just want me to come out for a few drinks to celebrate becoming a dad."

"But they were just born!" I hissed back at him, trying not to focus on my mom in the background, shaking her disapproving head at him. "I was hoping you were going to stay here in the hospital … with us. I thought that was the plan."

///



"Babe, I'll only be gone an hour or so. Then I'll come back and stay here with you tonight," he responded, flashing that mega-watt smile that I swear got me pregnant in the first place.

"We've waited nine months to meet them. How can you leave now?" I looked down at the two little pink bundles sleeping peacefully, one in each arm. Tears started to well up in my eyes, but I was determined to keep them there.

"Jesus. They're not going anywhere, Kacie. They'll still be here when I get back. I just want to see the guys, have a cigar, and celebrate, okay? Come on, just for a little bit," he cooed, turning on the charm. "Then, when I get back, it's just you and me and them. We can sit and talk about how awesome our future is gonna be together."

He knew just how to get to me. "Fine, just for a couple hours. When you come back, you're here with me one hundred percent, okay? No more phone, no more distractions, just us. Right?"

"Sure thing, babe!" he said as he kissed my forehead. He was out the door before I could say anything else.

I spent the rest of the evening trying not to make eye contact with my told-you-so mom, who hadn't been a big fan of Zach from the moment she met him. I was going to great lengths to sugarcoat thing

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