Having Justin's Baby

Having Justin's Baby
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There's no turning back once Paige makes a colossal mistake that could cost her the best friend she's ever had. How can life possibly stay the same for her and Justin after they spend one passionate night together? If only her fiancé hadn't run off with another woman. And if only Justin hadn't been there to comfort her when she'd been so utterly vulnerable….But now she's pregnant and Paige can't turn back the clock and things couldn't get any more complicated. Because this innocent little baby puts a whole new spin on the term "just friends."

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Having Justin’s Baby

Pamela Bauer

In loving memory of a very dear, courageous

brother-in-law, Clarence (Bill) Greising.

















THE SOUND OF THE PHONE ringing woke Justin Collier from a deep slumber. His right hand snaked its way under the sheet to reach for the cordless on the nightstand next to his bed.

“Justin here,” he said in a sleepy voice against his pillow.

“It’s me.”

“Paige?” He sat upright. “What’s happened? What’s wrong?”

“Nothing’s wrong,” she assured him. “Everything’s right. Really right.”

“Then why are you calling in the middle of the night?”

“It’s not the middle of the night,” she said with a chuckle. “Where’s Kyle?”

“I assume he’s in his bed.” He looked at the clock and grimaced. “Do you realize what time it is?”

“I didn’t wake you, did I? I thought you’d be on summer hours.”

Until a few months ago, Paige Stephens had shared a house in the Twin Cities with Justin and his friend Kyle Landon. The three had been inseparable since they were kids. Justin and Kyle were partners in a landscape business in St. Paul, but this summer Paige was working at the Cascading Waters Resort on Lake Superior. No way would she be calling at this hour unless it were an emergency.

“Yes, but that doesn’t mean I get up at five. You should know that—you used to live here or have you already forgotten us?”

“Of course I haven’t forgotten you!”

“Good. So what’s so urgent that you had to wake me before the sun is even up?”

“I’ll tell you, but first I want you to get Kyle.”

“You want me to wake him up?”

“Yes. I have something important to discuss with both of you.”

“At five o’clock in the morning?” Justin groaned in resignation. “All right. I’ll do it.” Wearing only a pair of boxers covered with images of the characters on Family Guy, he made his way down the hallway.

“Lucky for you his door is open,” he grumbled into the phone. It had been a long-standing rule that a closed door with a sock covering the knob served as a Do Not Disturb sign.

“Kyle,” he called out repeatedly from the doorway until his friend and business partner stirred.

“What’s up?” he asked as he sat up in bed. “Did I oversleep?”

“No, Paige is on the phone. She wants to talk to both of us so I’m going to put her on speaker.” Justin pressed a button, then said, “Go ahead, Paige.”

“Hey, Kyle. Sorry to wake you.” Her voiced echoed as if she were speaking in a tunnel.

“Hey—no problem. You know you can call anytime.” A sappy grin spread over Kyle’s face. Justin should have expected it. It had been that way since the fourth grade. One word from Paige and Kyle turned into a marshmallow.

Paige and Kyle made small talk until Justin finally cut in. “So are you going to tell us what’s so important that you interrupted our beauty sleep?”

“Yes. I figured out who I want to be maid of honor at my wedding,” Paige replied. “You.”

“You who?” Justin asked. “I only see two men here. I believe a maid of honor is a woman.”

“Traditionally it is, yes, but there’s no reason why it can’t be a guy. It’s supposed to be the bride’s closest friend. That would be the two of you.”

“You want us to wear dresses?” Kyle’s voice rose a pitch.

“No, I don’t want you to wear dresses,” she said with a hint of impatience. “I want you to stand up for me—just like you have for the past twenty years. You’d wear tuxes, like the other men in the wedding party.”

“But we’d be standing with the women,” Kyle pointed out.

“There aren’t going to be any women,” Paige told them. “It’s a small wedding. I’m only having a maid of honor, and Michael is only having a best man.”

“So there’ll be four men and you?” Justin asked.

“You guys sound like you don’t want to do it.” There was a plaintive note in Paige’s voice.

“We didn’t say that,” Justin told her, although one glance at Kyle told him that not even his lifelong crush on their former housemate was going to persuade him to be a maid of honor at her wedding. He was gesturing “no way” with his hands and shaking his head.

“Then what are you saying?” she demanded to know.

Justin avoided answering the question. “Is your fiancé okay with this?”

“I haven’t run it by him yet,” she admitted.

“Don’t you think you should?” Again it was Justin who spoke.

“I will, but first I wanted to ask you guys. I mean, you’ve been my best friends since the fourth grade. It wouldn’t feel right to ask someone else.”

Silence stretched between them, prompting her to ask, “You are going to do it, aren’t you?”

Justin was about to say, “Let us think about it,” when Kyle spoke. “Of course we’ll do it.”

Justin glared at him, but Kyle paid no attention. “Or at least one of us will.”

Justin frowned. “What do you mean one of us?”

“I know the three of us have been friends for a long time and it’s always been one for all and all for one,” Kyle said, “but don’t you think Paige should have only one of us as maid of honor. After all, Michael is having one best man.”

“But I can’t choose between the two of you,” she protested.

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