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|Fall From India Place(On Dublin Street #4)(62) by Samantha Young|
“Forever?” I gasped.
“I think that might be Hannah Nichols buried under those kids, but I can’t be sure.” An amused voice spoke from somewhere above me.
I tensed at the voice and I knew the kids felt my sudden change in demeanor because they stopped giggling. Turning my head, I searched him out.
An upside-down Marco appeared in my line of sight.
“Uh, hullo,” I managed.
“Need a hand?”
“Come on, Luke,” I heard Joss say and then suddenly she was there, bending down to pick Luke up off my chest. I sat up and she shot me a questioning look as she grabbed Lily’s hand. She was asking me if I was okay to be alone with Marco.
Um… honestly, I didn’t know.
But I nodded as I got to my feet. I watched her walk Luke and Lily over to the table with Liv and January.
My eyes moved to Marco, who was standing at the edge of the soft play area. Clinging to his big hand was the most beautiful little boy I’d ever seen. My chest ached looking at him.
He had Marco’s coloring, down to the striking blue-green of his eyes, and he had cute, tight black curls. He was tall for three, which could mean he was going to be as tall as his dad one day, and he was wearing this serious, curious expression on his face that was so like one of Marco’s expressions that the ache in my chest intensified.
Feeling emotions I hadn’t expected to feel, I looked up from Dylan and into Marco’s eyes and choked out, “He’s beautiful.”
Marco’s hand flexed in Dylan’s and he glanced down at his son with an adoring look of pride. “Yeah.”
Just like that, I remembered the awkwardness of being around him and I covered my uneasiness with a glare. “There are hundreds of day care centers in Edinburgh. This one? Really?”
Marco’s grin was slightly wicked. “Looks like the universe wants me to win as well.”
I would have responded with something cheeky or curt, except for the fact that Dylan was there. Not to mention that Marco couldn’t quite hide the sadness in the back of his eyes with those teasing smiles of his.
Not wanting to deal with how that made me feel, I glanced down at Dylan again. He kept looking between his dad and me, clearly wondering who I was.
“Dylan,” Marco caught his attention again, “this is Hannah. Hannah, this is Dylan.”
I smiled at Marco’s mini-me. “Hi, Dylan.”
He shifted a little closer to his dad’s leg. “Hi,” he replied quietly and clutched a soft toy to his chest. On closer inspection I realized the toy was a miniature of Sulley from Pixar’s Monsters, Inc.
I swear I almost melted all over the floor. “Sulley is one of my favorites.” I gestured to the toy.
Dylan’s eyes widened slightly.
“Do you like Lightning McQueen too?” I referenced the hero of the Pixar movie Cars.
“He loves Pixar movies.” Marco smiled softly. “You and he would get on great.”
I knew my smile was a little sad when I replied, “He’s fantastic. I think everything turned out the way it was supposed to for you, Marco.”
Determination etched his features. “It’s not all done turning itself out. Obviously.”
There wasn’t really a way to reply to that, but I didn’t have to. An attractive brunette had approached, grabbing my attention. She stopped beside Marco, touching his arm to get his attention too. “You’re not leaving just yet, are you, Marco?”
Marco stared at her a second and I knew him well enough to know he was distracted by the unspoken conversation between us, so it took him a while to process what she had asked. “Uh… I’m just picking Dylan up for my weekend with him. We have other plans today.”
The woman’s gaze flicked to me, and I could see the unhappy question in it. “Marco is one of the few single dads we see at the center. As you can imagine, he’s very popular.” The question suddenly became a back-off warning as she said to me, “I haven’t seen you here before. Which little rascal is yours?”
I wanted to vomit at her fakeness, her saccharine tone. “Oh, I don’t have a kid. I just come here to see if any of the single dads are looking for a ‘playdate.’” I gave Marco an exaggerated wink. “Marco’s a good playdate. One of the best.”
She looked aghast as Marco did a horrible job of choking back his laughter. “I… uh…” She looked at him and then back to me, consternation wrinkling her brow. “I, well, I’ll… uh… see you next time then, Marco.” She backed off, hurrying across the room toward a little girl.
Marco laughed. “Playdate?”
My eyes still on the brunette, I replied, “She wants a playdate with you.” I looked back at him, my gaze turning suspicious. The ugly heat of jealousy churned in my chest like heartburn. “Maybe she’s already had one.”
“Leah and Graham only moved to Morningside two months ago, and you and I were regular playdates then. Since we stopped, there haven’t been any other playdates for me.” He raised an eyebrow as he unconsciously reassured an increasingly restless Dylan with a squeeze of his hand. “But it’s good to know you’re jealous.”
“I’m not jealous.”
His grin was heated and knowing. It was a grin that reminded me of everything we’d had only a few short weeks ago.
I wrinkled my nose at him. “I have to get back to the girls.” My gaze moved to Dylan. “It was nice to meet you, Dylan. ’Bye.” I gave him a small wave.
“’Bye,” he answered with his serious little-boy expression.
Feeling emotional all over again, I whispered to Marco, “He has your eyes. He has your everything.”
The muscles in Marco’s jaw flexed, and I knew he was trying to hold himself back from saying something. To help him along, I gave them another small wave and walked away from them toward Liv and Joss.
The girls were silent as I took a seat with my back to Marco and his son.
“Is he gone?” I asked, staring doggedly ahead.
Liv looked over my shoulder. “Yeah. He just left with his beautiful little boy. Seriously? Those two together? Wow.”
“You’re crazy. You know that, right?” Joss said casually before taking a sip of a fresh cup of coffee.