He brushes a hand across his brow. “My . . . accident played havoc with my recollection of events. Some things I remember clear as a bell; others . . . not so much.”
What does that mean? I shake my head. “You never proposed. But I didn’t expect you to. From the beginning, I made it very clear I did not want a relationship.” The implication of his lack of memory shocks me. “You truly don’t remember?”
Did he forget some of the things we did? Some of the words we spoke? My heart sputters before taking on a beat again. Did he forget me? Surely, that’s not possible. And yet . . .
Awkwardly, he comes to his feet, and, leaning on the cane, he stutter steps up and down the rug behind the couch. “Sorry. If I don’t exercise the leg, it stiffens.”
I thread my hands on my lap, hoping I can hang on, but everything is unraveling too fast. I came prepared to argue he was not the baby’s father, only to have him strip the lie, and now I’m facing the possibility he doesn’t remember me. I swallow back a sob. How could he not after all we did? After all we shared?
He stops pacing and faces me, as if he’s come to a resolution. “Whether I proposed or not is immaterial. The facts remain the same. You’re pregnant, and I don’t want my child to be born a bastard. So the offer stands. Marry me.”
The urge to run away from him, from his proposal, prompts me to my feet. “I don’t want to marry and you have no proof the child is yours.”
He stalks to where I stand, driving the cane so hard it leaves a dent on the rug. “It won’t be forever. Only long enough to make the child legitimate. I’ll make it worth your while.”
My breath catches. A lump grows in my throat. “What do you mean?”
“The day we marry, I’ll put ten million at your disposal, for you to do with as you wish. When the child is born, I’ll add another ten.”
How could he? As if I would accept such a thing from him? “You think I would marry you for money?” I spit out.
“Wouldn’t you?” His eyes flash with fire as he towers over me. “You’re drowning in school debt. Having a hard time making your rent. And you’re expecting a child. How are you going to pay for it all?”
My breath grows short at the thought he knows so much about my life. No doubt how he found out. He probably asked Jake, his chief of security, to investigate me. How dare he? I grab my purse. “I’m leaving. And you’re not stopping me, not this time.” Swerving around him, I race to the door, sling it open, only to find Samuel on the other side, blocking my way. Confused, I turn back to Storm.
“You’re right. I’m not.” His arrogant grin tells me I’m not going anywhere. He nods toward Samuel. “But he is.”
SHE’S ANGRY, and why shouldn’t she be? If I’d discovered someone had been looking into my affairs, I would be as well. Her anger doesn’t faze me. She must be made to understand how important this is to me. If she still balks, I will follow through on my threat to talk to Thomas Carrey. I have an ace up my sleeve with him and Smith Cannon as well.
“Come sit, Liz. So we can discuss this like reasonable beings.” Fire flashes in her eyes. My barb about ‘reasonable beings’ stings. Excellent. I mean to keep her off balance to get her to do what I wish.
She stomps back from the front door and, after rescuing the plate from the floor, drops into the same spot she vacated on the couch. I do the same, except this time I sit next to her. Her eyes widen with surprise and a touch of wariness.