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The Price of Love
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The Price of Love
by AshleyTara

CHAPTER 32
Beach House

The waves crashed onto the sand and the clouds covered the October sun. Ivy sat on the porch of her beach house with a blanket over her legs and a cup of now only tepid tea in her hands. Sheíd been there for almost an hour now, contemplating on how to tell Sam her news. She was excited of course. A new baby! But she wasnít so sure how Sam would feel. She would have to decide soon because Sam and the girls were due to arrive for dinner in about an hour.

Theresa entered the house and put away her coat in the hall closet. She had expected to find Ivy already in the kitchen trying to make dinner, but she found the kitchen clean, empty, and dark. She felt a chilly breeze sweep through the house and discovered the French doors in the living room that led to porch were open. ĎOdd,í Theresa thought to herself. Then she spotted Ivy sitting out there alone with her blanket and her cup of tea.

Theresa, who had gotten into the habit of calling Ivy "Mother" now, touched Ivyís arm, "Iím home to help with dinner, Mother!"

Ivy was startled, "Oh! Hello Dear. You startled me. Will Pilar be joining us for dinner tonight?"

"No. She decided to help Luis and Sheridan arrange things in their new condo. Itís a big step for them to move in together, but a good step."

"Yes," Ivy answered absently.

Theresa sat down next to her mother-in-law and studied Ivy for a moment as she continued to gaze out onto the beach and the waves. She and Ivy had grown quite close the past few weeks since she and Ethan had moved into the beach house. Theresa knew Ivy well enough to see how distracted she was tonight. "Are you alright?"

Ivy sighed. "Iíll be fine, Theresa, itís everyone else Iím worried about."

"Why is that?"

"I had a doctorís appointment today at the hospital."

Theresa immediately got worried, "There was nothing wrong was there?"

"No, not exactly. It started out as a regular check-up. It was supposed to be the last one after my release from the hospital, but I started feeling sick last week. I finally told Eve about it today, so she ran some extra tests."

"And," Theresa prompted.

"And it turns out Iím pregnant."

Theresa threw her arms around her mother, "I think thatís wonderful! Iím so happy for you!"

"Thank you Dear, Iím happy, too, but Iím also scared."

"Oh donít be silly," Theresa babbled, thinking she knew why Ivy was so scared. "Lots of women are starting families late now. There are so many things they can do to ensure the health of the baby and the mother."

"No Theresa, thatís not what worries me. I donít know ifÖifÖif the baby is Julianís or Samís." Now Theresa saw where Ivyís concern was coming from. "It had to have happened the week I was hospitalized. That was the week Julian forced himself on me and it was the only time that Sam and I have been together."

"Mother," Theresa was trying to be comforting, "Iím sure everything is going to work out."

"I tried to get a paternity test done today, but Eve said an amniocentesis would be too dangerous with my pregnancy. Iíll have to wait to test the baby until itís born. Iíll love this baby no matter whose it is because itís my baby, too. Iím just worried about how Sam will take this. And if the baby is Julianís, heíll stop at nothing to take the baby from me, just to make me pay for his embarrassment."

Theresa tried to comfort her again, "Sam is a good man and I know how much he cares about you. Heíll make sure you and the baby are safe from Mr. Crane."

"I know youíre right," Ivy looked back out to the ocean. "I just couldnít stand to lose Sam again."

"Speaking of Sam, he, Ethan, and the girls will be here soon, so we better start dinner."

"Yes," Ivy said rising and looking at her daughter-in-law. She was so grateful to have Theresa around. Her own daughters had spoken to her only once since the divorce and the revelation of their brotherís paternity. They were having a hard time accepting their motherís new found freedom. No doubt Julian was partly to blame for that. She had always wished that they could grow up at home so she could be part of their lives. Theresa and Ivy began to walk to the large kitchen. She was trying to bond with Kay and Jessica, and she was making slow progress, trying to get to know each of them, finding out their likes and dislikes. She found by talking to them that Grace had really doted on Jessica and especially their cousin Charity, but had never really been close to Kay. It was too bad Noah had left for college before Ivy could really get to know him. She could tell he was not going to be as accepting as the girls. Ivy was washing a head of lettuce now and she turned her attention to Theresa who was cutting vegetables. "You know Theresa, you remind me more of your mama everyday now that you and Ethan are living here. When we were out on the porch, you knew I had something on my mind, and you got me to confide in you. Pilar was always able to get me to talk to her."

"Well, I think Iíll take that as a compliment," Theresa smiled.

"And rightly you should," Ivy smiled back. "Pilar is a wonderful woman."

"Yes, she is, but sheís not the only one I know."

Just then they heard the front door open and laughing voices come from the hallway. It was so nice to hear them all laughing, it meant that they were getting closer as a family. Theresa gave Ivy a look and Ivy grasped itís meaning. "Well, itís do or die time."

The laughing group entered the kitchen. Theresa ran to Ethan and gave him a kiss. "Itís good to see you, too," he laughed. "Hello, Mother," Ethan said kissing her on the cheek.

"Hello Darling. Kay and Jessica, Iím so glad came along. I was hoping you would."

"We wouldnít miss a chance to pick on our new brother," Jessica lightly punched Ethanís arm.

"Yeah, and besides," Kay added laughing, "I hear youíre cooking Ivy, and I wouldnít miss that for the world."

Ivy gave Sam a fake pout, "Sam, I donít think your daughters have much faith in my domestic abilities."

"Then I guess youíll just have to prove them wrong," Sam kissed the top of Ivyís head.

"I guess so," she smiled at him, "but first I have to talk to you mister. So, if you all wouldnít mind helping Theresa, weíll be back soon."

"Ivy, you donít think youíre going to get out of torching the chicken for us, do you," Kay teased.

"Donít worry, weíll be back soon, and then there will be blackened chicken for everyone." They all laughed as Ivy left with flair, dragging Sam behind her. She was glad that their relationship had gotten to the point where she was able to joke with the girls.

Ivy pulled Sam into the airy living room and sat him down on the couch next to her. "Okay, whatís so important that you couldnít wait to tell me until after dinner?"

"I went in for my last weekly check-up today."

Sam got concerned and leaned closer to her, holding her hand. "How did it go?"

"Fine. But Iíve been feeling sick the past couple of weeks and I told Eve about it today, so she ran some extra tests. Sam, she told me that Iím pregnant."

Sam nearly choked Ivy with the strength of his embrace, "Thatís great! I canít believe it, a baby."

"Iím glad youíre taking this so well."

"Whatís not to be excited about? Babies are a blessing, especially when I'm having them with you. And to think," Sam remarked slyly referring to his masculinity, "it only took one time."

"Sam, Iím very happy, too, but youíre forgetting one very important detail. That one time was also the same week Julian raped me."

She saw the light in his eyes die a little and her heart began to break. "I asked Eve if she could do a paternity test today, but she said being Iím having a baby so late in life that it would be too dangerous a procedure. Iíll have to wait until after the babyís born to find out."

"You mean weíll have to wait."

Ivy had barely heard him and wanted reassurance. "What?"

"Ivy, I love you, you know that. We just agreed that it would be good for both of our families if we took things slow. Iím going to stand by you and Iíll always love you and the baby, no matter whose child it is. Iíve always wanted to raise a child with you."

Ivy threw her arms around Sam, "This is one of the reasons I love you so much."

"And I couldnít even begin to name all the reasons I love you," Sam said kissing her stomach.

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