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|Fall From India Place(On Dublin Street #4)(50) by Samantha Young|
His smile disappeared. “We have a lot to talk about when we get back.”
My stomach flip-flopped. “Why don’t we talk about it now?”
“I’d rather we talk about it back home. It’s a pretty big deal.”
“It is about your mysterious weekends, right?”
He nodded. “Yeah.”
“Okay, let’s hit the road now, because the suspense has been killing me for weeks.”
Marco pulled up outside my flat. “You go in. I’ll drop the rental off and get a cab back.”
I leaned over and pressed a soft kiss to his mouth. “Text me when you’re nearly at the flat. I’ll put the kettle on for you.”
I got out of the car, grabbed my bag, and ducked my head back in the passenger door, everything I wasn’t quite ready to say but definitely felt shining in my eyes. “Thank you for a beautiful weekend.”
His mouth kicked up at the corner. “It’s not over yet, Hannah.”
I reluctantly shut the door on that rather thrilling comment and hurried into my building out of the cold. As much as I loved my flat, I really did miss the cottage already. Pottering around the flat, putting on the heat, tidying up the mess I’d left in my bedroom after Marco had dropped the surprise getaway on me, I couldn’t ignore the kaleidoscope of butterflies in my stomach. I was beyond nervous about Marco’s upcoming discussion with me. In fact, it was an understatement to say I was growing a little impatient with the “family thing.” I’d even spoken to Joss about it. She reckoned Marco was waiting until I said “I love you” before divulging whatever this unspoken commitment was.
“It’s obviously important. It’s not hard to guess he just needs to know you two are serious before he tells you,” she’d opined.
“But we are serious.”
“Have you told him you love him?”
“Then how does he know how serious you are?”
I wondered now, after he had said, “I love you,” if there hadn’t been some truth in what Joss said. We had grown much closer over the last two weeks. Perhaps Joss was right. Maybe he had just needed to know I was serious about him.
In an attempt to take my mind off it until he returned to finally clear up the whole mystery, I decided to do some housework, starting with my bedroom.
I’d barely begun when my phone went off. Assuming it was the text message from Marco, I was more than a little surprised to see Suzanne’s name on the screen. I swiped it, opening her message.
Don’t shoot the messenger. I was at the German Market last weekend and saw this. I thought it through and finally decided you needed to see it.
My heart now flipped in a much less pleasant way as I clicked on the photo attachment to enlarge it – and felt the world narrow around me.
The photo captured Marco by one of the market stalls. He was carrying a little boy and smiling at a pretty brunette who was laughing up into his face.
The little boy… he had Marco’s coloring… Marco’s smile…
The phone slipped from my hand and I felt my knees wobble.
Suddenly I was on the carpet, attempting not to throw up at the implications of the photograph. My heart was racing too hard. I couldn’t breathe properly.
I willed myself to calm down, exhaling and inhaling in measured breaths until my heart rate slowed.
Trembling, I reached for my phone and flicked open the picture again.
Suddenly everything began to make sense and I knew, I just knew, what Marco was returning home to tell me. I forwarded the picture to him so he’d know I knew too.
Suzanne just texted this to me.
It felt like forever as I waited on the floor for an answer, but it was only a minute or two at most before my phone rang. I clicked the ANSWER button.
“Hannah” – Marco sounded out of breath – “I can explain. I’ll be ten minutes.”
I heard the click as he hung up.
This was bad. This was… I knew it. I was right. If it were anything else he would have explained over the phone. I knew what he’d say when he walked through that door.
Just like that, the past blindsided me, taunting me for my earlier smugness.
Not wanting him to find me on the bedroom floor, pale with shock, I got to my feet and walked into the sitting room. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I was a jittery mess.
The buzzer went off.
In a daze, I let Marco into the building, opened my door for him, and returned to the sitting room. I frowned at the mess I was supposed to be tidying up. I had books scattered all over the flat because I was reorganizing them into the bookshelves Marco had built for me.
I whirled around to face Marco as he strode into the room, his eyes glittering, his face flushed. He was coming straight for me. “Don’t.” I held up my hands to stop him. He froze. “Explain first.”
I watched the muscle tick in his jaw. “I was going to tell you.”
“Tell me what?”
He cursed under his breath, rubbing a hand over his close-cropped hair. “That I have a son.”
The words hung heavy in the cold air. I closed my eyes against the truth.
“His name is Dylan. The woman in the picture is Leah, his mom. I was at the market with them last weekend along with Leah’s fiancé.”
“You have a son?” I opened my eyes, sure the pain of that truth was blazing clear for him to see. “That’s what today’s talk was supposed to be about?”
Marco’s features were strained as he nodded. “He’s three.”
I did the calculations in my head and they took my breath away. “When you…” I was starting to shake. “When you came back to Scotland you… you knocked someone up?”
He took a placating step toward me, as though I were a wounded, abandoned dog, unpredictable but needing comfort. “Hannah, Leah and I were friends at school. Sort of. We hung around with the same people. I was back in Edinburgh a couple of months and I was still trying to sort my head out about Nonno, everything, and a friend invited me to a party. I thought loosening up might help. I got really drunk. Leah was there and she was wasted too. We hooked up.” He said it gruffly, like he felt guilty about it. “She got pregnant. We didn’t want to be together, but I’d never leave my kid the way I was left.”