I manage to sleep through the entire rest of the night, and according to my watch, it’s almost nine o’clock when I wake up the next morning.
Ethan isn’t in the bedroom anymore, but there’s a piece of paper on his side of the bed. It’s a note for me. He scribbled in black ink: Making breakfast downstairs. Didn’t want to wake you.
He’s so thoughtful.
I reach for my purse that I left on the nightstand. The first thing I do is grab my phone—still no service. I wonder if Ethan had better luck. I doubt it.
I do a few stretches in the bed, then I force myself to get up. I walk over to the gigantic window near the bed and stare out at our surroundings. Oh my God, there is a lot of snow. Everything is covered in a thick blanket of white. Every tree, every bush—the road we took to get here is decimated by snow. I’m sure the BMW is probably just a big lump of white at this point.
We aren’t getting out of here soon. That much is certain.
I have to make the best of this time. I can’t bring myself to take a shower in that bathroom, but I brush my teeth with my finger using what I assume is three-year-old toothpaste. It makes me feel a little better.
My honey blond hair is a complete rat’s nest after last night. I splash some water on it, then do my best to comb it
out using my fingers. There’s a hairbrush on one of the shelves in the bathroom, which still has a few dull red strands in it. I’m not touching that hairbrush. My fingers will have to do the trick.
I throw on my jeans and blouse from last night as well as my socks, which are dry but slightly crusty. It does seem a bit of a shame to be wearing my old clothing when there’s an entire walk-in closet filled with designer outfits in approximately my size, but I’m not touching any of that stuff. It’s too creepy.
When I get down the stairs, I can hear Ethan singing to himself in the kitchen. I pass by the living room and discover he’s taken the portrait down again. I’m obscenely grateful that he took it down again so I won’t have Dr. Hale staring at me. We just have to remember to put it back before we leave.
When I get to the kitchen, Ethan is wearing the Yankees shirt again and the too-long blue jeans. Now that I’m closer, I can make out what song he’s singing. “I’m Walking on Sunshine.” He always likes to sing in the shower or while he’s cooking—he actually has a nice singing voice—but he rarely belts it out quite like this. He is in a really good mood. “Hey, Tricia.” He winks at me as he stirs something in
the frying pan. “Sleep okay?”
I nod. “What are you making?” “I found some eggs.”
As he says the words, the smell of eggs hits me. All at once, my stomach lurches. I try to suppress it, but I can’t. I race over to the kitchen sink and vomit up the residuals of the bologna sandwich I ate last night while Ethan looks on in horror. The vomiting seems to go on for several minutes, followed by another good minute of retching.
I guess this is what morning sickness is like.
“Jesus Christ.” He shuts off the stove. “Are you all right?”
“Uh-huh.” I run the faucet and scoop up a little water with my hand to rinse out my mouth. I hate vomiting. Not that anyone likes vomiting, but I find it particularly distasteful. “I’m fine.”
“Was it something you ate?” “No. I just…”
“You just what?”
Ethan is staring at me now, his forehead bunched up. He’s really worried about me. I could lie and blame it on the bologna sandwich, but I have to tell him eventually. May as well get it over with.
“There’s something I need to tell you, Ethan.” His eyes darken. “Okay…”
Tell him. Just tell him, you wuss. What’s he going to do— fly into a furious rage, murder you, and bury your body in the snow?
“I’m pregnant,” I blurt out.
His mouth falls open. The fork he had been holding clatters to the kitchen table. “You’re…”
“I’m so sorry. It wasn’t intentional, obviously. It just happened, you know? One of those things.” I’m rambling now, but I can’t help it. “I was using my birth control and… Did you know antibiotics keep birth control from working? I didn’t know that. And anyway, so, I just found out. Well, about a week ago. And I know we said we were going to wait two years, but…”
“Hang on.” He holds up a hand. “This is for sure? You’re definitely pregnant?”
I hang my head. “Yes. I… I’m sorry.”
“That’s so…” Ethan is quiet for a second, searching for the right words. I brace myself. “That’s so… great! That’s fantastic.”
I take a step back, trying to figure out if I’ve heard him right. “What? I thought you wanted to wait.”
“Well…” He scratches at the back of his neck. “I thought
you wanted to wait. Honestly, I wanted to start a family
right away, but I didn’t want to freak you out. I’ve already traveled and done all that stuff. But what I really want right now is to have a baby…” He reaches out to take both of my hands in his. “With you.”
It feels like an enormous boulder has been lifted off my shoulders. “You mean that? You’re not just saying that to make me feel better?”
“No! Why do you think I’ve been wanting to buy a house? I want to fill it with kids!”
“Oh my God.” I squeeze his hands in mine. “This is such a relief. I thought you were going to be so angry when you found out.”
He raises an eyebrow. “When do I ever get angry with you?”
He has a point. He’s never angry with me. Annoyed sometimes, but he always seems even-tempered around me. But there was that phone call I overheard with his employee. Where he was screaming at the poor guy. But I can’t bring that up.
He chuckles. “No wonder you’ve been acting so nutty. It all makes sense now.”
I bristle slightly. I don’t think I’ve been acting that nutty. Although I suppose I did barricade the bedroom door at three in the morning.
“I’m going to throw out these eggs.” Ethan lifts the frying pan off the stove. “They obviously don’t agree with you. I’ll make you some toast.”
“You don’t have to do that.”
He leans over and kisses me on the tip of my nose. “Will you please let me take care of my pregnant wife?”
“Fine then.” I feel myself smiling. “Also, thank you for taking the portrait down again. It was really freaking me out.”
“Right.” I watch as he scrapes the partially cooked egg off the frying pan. “I assume you took it down again this
Ethan looks at me like I’ve lost my mind. “No, I took it down last night. Remember? We were sitting together on the couch and it was freaking you out, so I took it down.”
“No.” My good mood is evaporating. “You said that you put it back up last night. Like, when you went down for water?”
“I never put it back up. Why would I do that?”
“Because you said you did!” Beads of sweat are sprouting on my palms. “At three in the morning, I asked you if you put the painting up again and you said you did!”
“No. You asked me if I moved it last night. And I said I did. I moved it when we were sitting on the couch. I took it down. You saw me take it down.”
Oh God. This is not what I needed to hear. “Ethan, last night when I went downstairs, the painting was back up. So if you didn’t do it, somebody else did.”
He drops the frying pan in the sink with a clank and turns to look at me. “I don’t understand what you’re saying, Tricia. You think somebody came into the living room and put the painting back up? Then later in the night, they took it back down? That’s what you think?”
Well, when he says it like that… “I know it sounds crazy.”
“But I know what I saw.” “Do you?”
I glare at him. He is seriously losing all the good-husband points he earned a few minutes ago. “Yes.”
“I’m just saying…” He folds his muscular arms across his chest. “It was three in the morning. The house is really dark. You were kind of sleepy and out of it. Is it possible you could be mistaken?”
“No. It’s not possible.” “Are you sure?”
I want to shout at him that I know what I saw. I could never imagine those green eyes staring at me. It’s not something I could make a mistake about.
But the more times he asks me about it, the more I wonder. It was the middle of the night. And the house is very dark. Is it possible that I could have thought I saw it, like a mirage?
“I guess it’s possible,” I mumble.
Ethan seems satisfied with this. But I’m not. Something is going on with this house. I’m sure of it, even though he doesn’t believe me.