A baby, Antonio thought as he stared down at the infant on the cover of the book in his hands, he and Gwen were
going to have a baby. His heart constricted with some unknown emotion and it was so strong that it literally stole
his breath. He knew from the crease in the spine of the book that she was about halfway through reading it and
it made him wonder how long she had known about the baby. He took a deep calming breath then finally found the
strength to tear his eyes away from the book and look at her. He wasn't at all surprised to see tears pooling in
her golden brown eyes.
"Were you..." His voice cracked and he stopped to clear his throat. "Were you going to tell me?"
Her eyes widened for a fraction of a second then she shook her head causing her blond hair to slice through the
air. "I... I only found out a few days ago."
"So you weren't going to tell me?" He asked searching her eyes.
"I... I don't know what I was going to do. I wasn't exactly expecting..." She broke off and shaking her
head again. "I'm still getting used to the idea, you know?"
"I know what you mean." He said closing his eyes and raising a hand to his hair. "I feel like I
was just blinded by the lights of an oncoming semi."
"Tony, I... I don't expect anything from you."
His eyes flew open at that and he leveled her with a look. "Why the hell not? Don't you think you have a right
She flinched at the anger in his voice and then went pale. Really pale.
"Gwen?" He asked standing up and walking toward her in concern. "Are you -"
That was as far as he got because she suddenly lost her balance and felt into his arms. Looking into her eyes and
seeing they were slightly dilated, he realized that she must have gotten dizzy. Probably from not eating, he thought
shaking his head and leaning down to place an arm underneath her knees. He used the other to brace her back then
he quickly picked her up and carried her to the couch. He laid her down gently, trying not to jar her anymore than
necessary, then rocked back on his heels and knelt beside her. "Sweetheart? Have you eaten anything today?"
She shook her head no then mumbled something that sounded like ' too queasy.'
He nodded then raised a hand to the back of her head and raised her up slightly so he could move the pillow lying
behind her underneath her head instead. "You just wait here and I'll fix you something, okay?"
"You don't -"
"Yes, I do." He said cutting her off and placing a light kiss on her forehead. "You need to eat
something and from the way my stomach is growling, I'd say I do too."
She gave him a small smile then closed her eyes and whispered, "Okay."
Antonio stared down at her for a second longer then shook his head and walked toward the kitchen. He hoped he could
find something to fix that wouldn't upset her stomach. He knew from Luis that ginger tea seemed to help alleviate
Sheridan's morning sickness, but looking in Gwen's cabinets, he found none. In fact, he didn't find much of anything.
He opened the refrigerator hoping to find something in there, but it was pretty much empty too. Damn, he thought
running a hand through his hair, what the hell had she been eating? He would have to run to the store or something.
He didn't want to leave her, but he had to get something for her to eat.
"Gwen, sweetheart, I think I'm going to have to run to the store. You don't seem to have much in here."
When he didn't get a response, he turned and saw that her eyes were still closed. He shut the refrigerator door
then made his way back into the living room to check on her. He saw the rise and fall of her chest so he knew she
was breathing, which made him relax slightly. He kneeled down next to her and checked her pulse. When he found
it strong, he let out a breath he hadn't been aware he was even holding and then forced himself to relax. She had
just fallen asleep, he thought shaking his head. He had noticed the circled under her eyes when she opened the
door so he figured she hadn't been sleeping well. Too much stress probably.
Damn, he thought standing and running a hand over his face, he should have been here. If he hadn't let his pride
get in the way, he would have come after her weeks ago and he would have been there when she found out she was
pregnant. But he was here now, he thought and the least he could do is take care of her. He bent down and placed
an arm underneath her knees and another at under her back then he lifted her and started to make his way toward
one of the rooms down the hall. She stirred slightly, but she soon relaxed against his chest. He found her bedroom
on the first try and gently laid her down to settle against the mattress. He couldn't contain his smile as she
rolled over to rest her cheek on her hands.
He reached out, unable to stop himself and tucked her blond hair behind her ear. Then he shook his head and stepped
back away from her. He didn't want to wake her, he thought giving her one last look then turning and walking out
of the room. The moment he entered the living room again, he scanned it for her keys. He found them lying on the
table next to the couch and grabbed them then walked toward the front door to make sure one of them would unlock
it. He'd hate to leave without a way to let himself back in. Gwen needed her rest and he didn't want to have to
wake her until he at least had something for her to put in her stomach.
Once he found the right key, he locked the door and made his way toward his rental car. Since he once lived in
Chicago, he knew there was a grocery store not far from here. If he hurried maybe, he would get back before Gwen
woke and found him gone.
Gwen woke to the smell of freshly baked bread and what smelled like pasta. She remembered getting dizzy from not
eating and Tony carrying her to the couch, saying he would fix her something. She must have fallen asleep. She'd
tossed and turned all night last night so she figured the sleep had done her good. Now that they'd gotten caught
up on their sleep, she and the baby needed to be fed. She smiled and placed a hand on her growling stomach. "I
hope what your daddy is fixing tastes as good as it smells."
She heard a sound at the door and looked up to see Tony standing there with a tray full of food in his hands. Had
he heard what she said? He broke out into a huge grin and she figured he did.
"Hey there, sweetheart." He said walking into the room and placing the tray on the table beside her.
"I was just about to wake you. Did you have a good sleep?"
She nodded and rose up into a sitting position then leaned back against the headboard. "Yes, I did. I didn't
realize how tired I was until you laid me on the couch. Thank you by the way."
"You don't have to thank me. I'm just glad I was here." He handed her a cup and she raised her brows
at him in question. "It's ginger tea. Luis told me it helped alleviate Sheridan's morning sickness. I thought
it might help you too."
"I'll try anything." She said taking a small sip. It tasted better than she thought it would. In fact,
she rather liked it. "This is really good. What else did you bring me?"
He laughed then sat down beside her. "Some pasta and some freshly baked bread I bought at the store. It's
not much, but it's something. I know you don't want to eat anything too greasy."
That was true enough. She'd tried to eat some eggs yesterday morning, but that was a big mistake. She hadn't lasted
five minutes before running to the bathroom to rid herself of them. She shook her head then laughed when her stomach
growled. "I guess I better eat before Junior gets upset."
Antonio laughed then leaned over and grabbed the tray. "No, we wouldn't."
He placed the tray over her legs and she saw that there was only enough for one. She looked at him in surprise.
"Have you already eaten?"
"Yeah, a few minutes ago. I wanted to give you a little longer to sleep."
She nodded then grabbed her fork and dug into her pasta. The pasta was either really good or she was either really
hungry. She figured it was a combination of both. It didn't take her long to clear her plate of it's contents.
She would have been embarrassed had it been anyone, but Tony sitting beside her watching her eat. She was just
too glad he was there to be embarrassed about anything. She had missed him too much of that. "That was really
"Thanks. I'm pretty good at ready directions from a box."
She laughed again and for the first time in weeks felt genuine happiness bubble inside her. "Well, my stomach
She reached for her napkin to wipe her mouth and that was when she saw it, sparkling underneath the lights. It
was old, probably antique, but it had to be one of the most beautiful rings she had ever seen. It had one solitary
diamond in the center and on both sides of that were two small emerald stones. Tears sprang to her eyes as she
saw Tony pick it up. When he reached for her hand, her heart practically leapt into her throat. She raised her
eyes to his and sucked in a breath at the emotion in them.
"This ring has been in my family for generations. Each father has passed it down to his eldest son at birth.
It's been a tradition in my family that each son propose with this ring. I thought I would be the one to break
the tradition, but I guess I was wrong." He reached up and wiped a tear off her cheek. Then continued. "The
moment I laid eyes on you, I knew I had found someone special. I knew deep in my heart that you were someone, I
would never be able to forget. I want us to be a family, Gwen. I want to us to raise this baby together. Marry
me, Gwen. Build a life with me."
Gwen looked down at the ring in his hands then back up at him unable to believe he was actually proposing to her.
It was all because of the baby, she thought shaking her head. He wasn't proposing because he loved her... he was
proposing because of the baby. And that was why she couldn't say yes. She couldn't... wouldn't marry a man that
didn't love her. That's not what she wanted for her or for her baby. "I'm sorry Tony. But I can't marry you."