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|Echoes of Scotland Street(On Dublin Street #5)(63) by Samantha Young|
Before I could answer, Cole’s ringtone sounded from his pocket. He pulled it out and glanced down at the caller ID. He frowned apologetically. “Sorry. I have to take this.” He tapped the screen and held the phone to his ear. “Marco?” Cole tensed.
So did I.
“Shannon and I are on our way.”
We were? Where?
Cole shoved his phone in his pocket and pushed back from the table. “To make this more awkward than it already is, Shannon and I have to leave.” He winced. “Hannah just went into labor.”
* * *
“I would never have guessed any of that. Hannah seemed so cool and together about the pregnancy.”
I was snuggled up next to Cole in the hospital waiting room and he’d just finished telling me a little bit about Hannah’s history. Everyone had turned up at the hospital when she went into labor, but five hours later most of the family had to leave to get sleepy children home to their beds. Marco was with Hannah, who’d finally dilated enough centimeters to be sent to the delivery room. The clock on the wall told me Cole and I had been there for over ten hours. As for Clark and a much-recovered Elodie, they were looking after Sophia, and Dylan was with his mum.
That left an exhausted Cole and me. To stay awake we’d been drinking coffee and chatting until we were hoarse. I discovered why Cole wanted to stay after he told me about his best friend’s history.
Apparently when Hannah was seventeen she’d been on a day out with Cole and Jo when she suddenly collapsed.
“It was awful,” he said, eyes bleak with the memories. “There was all this blood and I didn’t know what it meant. I had my suspicions because what else could it be? But this was Hannah . . . Anyway, she was unconscious, deathly pale, and still as Jo and I waited for the ambulance to come. When they lifted her into the ambulance, I just knew . . .” His eyes were suddenly bright. “She was dying. I felt it in my gut.”
“Oh my God, Cole.” I gripped his arm, shocked.
“They rushed her into surgery. Her heart stopped on the table, but they brought her back. By this point her whole family was at the hospital and they kept asking us questions. I was numb with shock. Hannah and I weren’t really close, but I thought she seemed like a cool girl, a quiet girl who wouldn’t get into trouble, and all I kept thinking was if she came out of it I’d be a better friend. A friend who would have known something was going on with her in the first place. Thankfully she came out of it. She’d been pregnant and didn’t know it. There was a complication and one of her tubes burst, so she was bleeding internally. They performed surgery, she made it through, and they told her that she could still have children. However, the whole thing marked her.” His expression hardened a little. “The kid had been Marco’s. I didn’t discover that little nugget of information until just after he and Hannah rekindled things. She wouldn’t tell anyone in her attempt to protect him. After it happened, things were bad for her at school, she was depressed . . . and I wanted her to have someone. So we grew close. I became her best friend. She still didn’t tell me the truth. I put two and two together much, much later.”
“Did Marco know?”
Cole shook his head. “Nah. I confronted him, violently,” he admitted ruefully. “Until Hannah arrived to break it up, and she explained that Marco didn’t know about it. That’s why he’s still living.”
I burrowed a little closer to my wonderfully overprotective boyfriend. “So Hannah has issues about being pregnant?”
“Yeah. She was terrified to have kids. She even thought about walking away from Marco because she was convinced she wouldn’t be able to get past it.” He sighed, playing with the hem of my T-shirt. “Sophia was an accident. Hannah was petrified but she stayed strong. This time around she’s been okay, but she’s had her moments. Knowing she’s anxious makes me anxious, so I just want to be here until that kid comes popping out.”
I kissed him, a soft brush of my lips against his. “You are such a good friend.”
He slipped his hand under my shirt, running his knuckles over the flat of my stomach. “It really doesn’t bother you, does it? My friendship with Hannah.”
“No.” I tilted my head, trying to think how I could explain it so he’d really believe me. And then it hit me. My gaze dropped from the stark white ceiling to his eyes. “There are moments when you’re talking or laughing together that I see this look on both your faces . . . this really familiar look.” My throat was suddenly thick with emotion. “It’s familiar because it’s the same look Logan always gave me.”
Cole’s expression softened. “Shortcake, you need to go to him.”
The door to the waiting room suddenly blew open and Marco was standing there, exhausted but beyond happy. “It’s a boy.” He grinned.
Laughing, Cole got up off the hard, uncomfortable chair and walked over to shake hands with Marco. “Congrats, man. Mum and baby are all okay?”
He nodded, rubbing a hand over his close-shaven hair. “They’re perfect, Cole. I mean my wife just told me we’re never having sex again, but other than that we’re perfect.”
* * *
It wasn’t long before the whole tribe descended on the hospital in the wee hours of the early morning to come and meet the newest member. I’d never met a group of people so closely tied, and as I stood on the fringes of their lives, watching them take turns to hold baby boy Jarrod D’Alessandro and kiss his mother’s cheek, I felt a pain in my heart so sharp I couldn’t breathe.
And I couldn’t stand to watch anymore.
Retreating from the room, I hugged myself as I blew down the corridor, desperate to find somewhere I could take a minute to find that momentary peace I was always seeking these days.
I wasn’t even halfway down the corridor before I found myself stopped and yanked back around by a concerned Cole.
He took one look at me and he didn’t even have to ask. He pulled me against his hard chest for a hug. “I mean it, Shannon. You need to speak with your brother. He’s a big part of you. You have to face what he has to say to you, no matter what that might be.”
I wrapped my arms around him, holding on tight. I knew he was right. “This is my third favorite thing about you.”