Welcome back to Austen Promises!
I have good news! I’ve gotten stuck on the Thursday story and have instead pounded out the words to this one. I wrote 2 1/2 chapters this week, so I’ve decided to give you entire chapters, at least for a while.
This story is turning out to be longer than I had planned. My goal was 30,000 words, a nice, solid novella; however, I currently have more than 27,000 words and am no where near the end. I’m still hoping to keep it under 40,000 words (novella-length) but the way the characters keep making me change things, it might end up being over, which would make it a novel. We shall see who wins this battle of wills, me or Liz and Will! 😉
Rather than continue to add links to each previous post in this story, I have made a master list of them. If you’re new to Race Book 3, as it is currently being referred to, you can catch up on old episodes by clicking here.
Did you know that for a monthly pledge of as little as $1 at Patreon, you can have early access to all my blog posts, including my Thursday ones? Patrons also get a free copy of each of my books once it is complete.
Will said not a word as Coach wheeled them back to the motorhome. Once there, he hopped out, helping Liz step out, too. Then, he hurried her up into the RV, with Coach following.
Will sat his wife down on the couch, a frown causing a crease to form over his nose. “How do you feel? Have you eaten today? It was hot out there; how much water have you had?”
Liz squeezed Will’s hand. “Now, I feel fine. I ate before the race, and I don’t know how much water. A couple bottles, anyway.”
Will’s lips compressed into a thin line. “I don’t like this. You were throwing up and now you passed out. Something’s wrong, and even if the medic had not told you to call your doctor, I’d be making you do it.”
“I don’t even have a doctor yet,” Liz reminded him. When Will opened his mouth to speak again, she lifted her hand. “I’ll start calling around tomorrow and see who I can get.”
“You can call Doc ___. He’s who Dad and I see.” Will laid his free hand over their clasped ones.
As Liz finished speaking, Georgie came charging up the steps into the motorhome. “Liz! I heard you fainted. Are you okay?” The teen rushed to sit beside her sister-in-law, throwing her arms around Liz and causing Will to have to let go of his wife.
“I am now.” Liz hugged Georgie back. “I stood up too fast, is all. I’ve promised your brother I’ll go to the doctor as soon as I can get in to see one.”
“Doc ___ will get you in right away if you call first thing in the morning. Or have Mrs. R. do it. She always calls for me.” Georgie had yet to let go of Liz. “I haven’t been as scared in months as I was when I heard Jason talking to Charles. I couldn’t bear it if something happened to you. I haven’t had you long enough yet.”
Liz laughed. “So, after we’ve been sisters for a few more months you’ll be done with me and it won’t matter anymore if I’m around?”
Georgie’s eyes grew large. “No! I mean, that’s not what I meant! Ohhh, you!” She huffed at Liz. “You’re such a tease! I saw that wink.”
Liz grinned as she brought a hand up to smooth the hair back off Georgie’s face. “I’m sorry. You just make it so easy.” She hugged the younger girl again. “I agree we’ve not been sisters long enough, and I promise you I don’t intend to die on you anytime soon.”
“Good.” Georgie sniffed back tears and laid her head on Liz’s shoulder, not releasing either of them from the hug.
Coach moved to the other side of his daughter and sat on the arm of the couch. He rubbed Georgie’s back. “Liz will be fine, Honey, and so will I. So will your brother. I promise.”
“You can’t promise that.” Georgie’s voice was muffled.
“I suppose not,” her father conceded, but none of us plan on leaving you. “We love you and we intend to live long enough to see you happily married and with kids to chase after.”
Georgie lifted her face from Liz’s shoulder, accepting the tissue her brother handed to her. She wiped her eyes and blew her nose. “It might be a while.”
“As it should be,” Liz assured her. “You’re young yet. You might want to go to college first or get some other training, or work experience.”
“I want to work in the race shop. I was going to ask about working in Hospitality before I … before I went wild last fall.” The girl looked at her hands as she spoke.
Coach smiled. “I always love to hear that my children want to be involved with my business. Summer break is coming up in a couple more months. I’d be happy to hire you into Hospitality for the summer. When you go back to school, we can reevaluate. I want you to be certain you don’t want to go to college.”
Liz smiled at her sister again. “You’ve got the brains for higher education, you know.”
Georgie nodded. “I don’t want to leave my family to go to school.” She took a deep breath. “I had thought I could maybe take some business classes after graduation, at the community college, but I want to work at the shop while I do.”
“That’s a pretty wise decision.” Liz glanced up at Coach. “I’m not your dad, but I bet he likes it, too.” She leaned over to kiss Georgie’s cheek and whisper in her ear. “I’m so proud of you.”
Georgie blushed and finally looked up. “Thanks,” she whispered back.
“I think it’s a great idea!” Will seconded his wife’s opinion. “What about you, Dad?”
“I agree.” Coach pulled Georgie into a hug. “I’m proud of you, Sweetie. I’ve seen a lot of maturity in you recently.”
“Thanks, Dad.” Georgie whispered the words, burying her face in her father’s shirt and slipping her arms around his waist.
A few minutes later, Coach released his daughter and stood. “We need to get to the airport pretty soon. How are you two feeling?” Will was the first to reply.
“Tired, at least I am. I have a bit of a headache, too. Let me shower and change and I’ll be ready to head out. Will you drive?”
Coach nodded. “I will. How about you, Liz?”
“I’m tired, as well, but I packed our suitcases before the race.” Liz shrugged. “I might need to eat something on the way to the plane, but other than that, I’m feeling fine.”
“Good. Georgie and I will leave you alone to get ready. We’ll pick you up in twenty minutes.” Coach kissed Liz and waved to his son, then he and Georgie slipped out the door to return to their own motorhome.
The next morning, Will was on the phone with the Darcy family physician as soon as the office opened. He’d let Liz sleep in a bit, and when he had made appointments for himself and his wife, he wandered back into the bedroom with a breakfast tray in his hands. He was surprised to see an empty bed and Liz nowhere to be found. As he set the tray on the bedside stand, he heard the unmistakable sound of retching coming from the bathroom.
Three quick strides had him at Liz’s side as she emptied her stomach into the toilet. Will grabbed a washcloth from the cupboard, turned the hot water spigot on, and ran the cloth under the stream of water. Leaving the water to run, he squeezed the excess out of the cloth before kneeling beside Liz. He pulled her braid back over her shoulder, smoothing the flyaway strands out of her way. When she had finished and slumped down on the floor, he began wiping her face with the cloth, standing up to rewet it with the now-warm water and shutting the faucet off.
“Shh,” Will pulled Liz into his arms as she cried. “It’s over for now.” He ran his hands over her arm, whispering reassurances into her hair as his mind analyzed everything he knew about his wife’s illness. He gritted his teeth as worries assailed him.
“I’m sorry,” Liz sobbed. “I hate to puke, and I hate feeling sick.” She pressed her head into Will’s bare chest, her tears soaking the thick hair covering it.
“It’s okay, Darlin’.” Will kissed Liz’s head. He laid his cheek on her hair. “I made us both appointments with the doc. The receptionist said they could squeeze us in at three.”
Liz’s head moved up and down, spreading the wetness over Will’s chest. As he wrapped his arms tighter around her, his eyes wandered around the room, as they often did when he was working out a problem in his mind. They came to rest on the cupboard beside the sink, which was still hanging open from his mad grab for a washcloth. His attention was arrested by a box of supplies Liz kept for her monthly needs. His brow furrowed as he contemplated the box, wondering if it was related to her illness. She’s never thrown up or fainted before when it was that time, he reasoned. Surely that’s not the problem now. Not certain enough of himself in that area to ask about it, Will tucked the thought into the back of his mind and instead focused on helping Liz recover from her episode and getting food into her.
Two hours later, after Will and Liz had eaten and showered, they heard an unexpected knock on the back door. Will hurried into the kitchen from the living room, where he and his wife had decided to sit and watch movies until it was time to leave for the doctor’s office. His eyebrows rose nearly to his hairline as he saw who stood on the other side of the door.
“Come on in! What brings you over today?” Will hugged the visitor.
Edie Reynolds, Coach’s housekeeper and the Darcy children’s former nanny, accepted Will’s embrace, as well as a kiss on the cheek. “Georgie told me Liz has been sick, and when I heard the symptoms, I decided a visit was in order.”
“I’m glad you did.” Will gestured to the other side of the room. “Liz and I have been watching movies this morning. Go on in. I promised to bring back snacks. Can I get you anything?”
“Whatever Liz is having will be fine, thank you.” Edie smiled at Will and made her way to the archway between the living room and kitchen.
Liz had been about ready to get up and go see who the visitor was when Edie stepped into the room. “Mrs. R,” she exclaimed, jumping up. “It’s great to see you! Come in, come in.” Liz waved the elderly lady into the room and urged her to sit, after giving her a tight hug.
“I hear you’ve not been feeling well.” Edie examined Liz carefully as she spoke. “I don’t mean to be ignorant, but you do look pale.”
“Yeah, I was sick again this morning.” Liz shook her head and shrugged. “I have no idea what’s going on with me. Will made an appointment with his doctor. He wrecked yesterday, you know.”
“Yes,” Edie replied, “I saw that. I’m just happy he wasn’t hurt badly. Wrecks like that one used to take lives, you know.” She paused. “I’m not really here to talk about Will, though.”
Just then, Will entered, carrying a bag of popcorn, a plate of veggies and dip, and three bottles of water. He set it all down on the coffee table and then sat himself down beside Liz.
Accepting a bottle of water from Will, Edie continued. “I’m here to talk about you, Liz.” She took a swig of water, then screwed the cap back on the bottle and set it on the end table beside her. She picked up the small paper bag she had carried into the house. “I think I know what’s wrong with you, just based on what Georgie and Coach told me.” She tossed the bag to Liz. “This might tell you.”
Confused, Liz opened the bag, then reached in and grabbed the box inside, slowly pulling it out. Her eyes widened as she caught sight of the packaging.
“What is it?” Will leaned over, trying to see.
Liz addressed Edie. “Do you really think …?” She pulled the box completely out of the bag.
Edie nodded emphatically. “I do. When was the last time you had a period?”
Liz’s eyes grew wide as Will pulled the box out of her hand. She jumped up to pull her cell phone off its charger on the other side of the room.
“A pregnancy test?” Will’s voice squeaked up at the end of his question. His eyes grew to match the size of his wife’s as she hurried back with her device, swiping it to wake it up and then tapping to open her calendar.
“Oh my gosh,” Liz exclaimed. Her finger frantically swiped to the right, going backwards in her digital calendar, which was like a diary of her life. “It’s been … oh heavens! It’s been at least three months.” She dropped the phone into her lap as her hands came up to cover her mouth. She stared at Will, her eyes huge.
Will’s jaw had fallen, leaving his mouth hanging open. Closing it, he swallowed. His eyes had not left Liz’s face. Suddenly, he looked at the box in his hands and began ripping it open. “How do these work?”
Edie tried to keep the smile off her face as she watched Will and Liz. “She has to pee on the stick. Each test is a little different, so she’ll need to read the directions.”
Hearing his former nanny’s words about instructions, Will fumbled with the box until he pulled out the instruction sheet. His mind was in such a whirl, though, that he could make no sense of the words.
Liz still had her hands over her mouth. Her eyes had filled with tears, so Will knew she’d not be able to assist.
“Let me have it, Will.” Edie stood and leaned over to snatch the instructions away. She sat back down, skimming the words. She found the directions for use and explained them. “Do you understand, Liz?”
Liz had lowered her hands, but then grabbed Will’s. The two of them clung together. She swallowed. “Keep the results window faced away and pee on the other end.”
Edie chuckled. “Yes, that’s it.” She waved her hand toward the hallway. “You’d best go do it now. Will looks ready to burst.”
Nodding, Liz accepted the stick from Will and walked on shaky legs to the bathroom. She was careful to do as Edie had told her and then lay the test device on the counter. She returned to the living room.
“Nothing has happened. It’s still just one line.” Liz bit her lip.
“You have to leave it sit for five minutes.” Edie’s lips twitched.
Will looked at his watch. “Okay,” he breathed. “Come sit with me, Babe, while we wait.”
Liz rejoined Will on the couch as he set a timer on her phone. Then, they conversed briefly with Edie, talking mainly about the previous day’s race and Will’s wreck. When the timer buzzed, the couple froze for a second.
Edie laughed out loud. “Get on in there and check that thing, before I do it for you!”
Liz and Will grinned sheepishly at each other and at Edie. Then, they rose, her hand in his, and made their way to the bathroom. Will took the lead, walking with quick steps. Liz had to move fast to keep up. They charged into the small room, and Liz wrapped her arms around Will’s waist. He reciprocated, and they held each other as they stared at the stick.
“Do you see what I see?”
Will swallowed. “I do.” Tears rose, choking him. “We’re pregnant.”
What do you think? Feel free to leave me a comment below. <3