The Heir From Nowhere(3)

By: Trish Morey

Because the impossible had happened.

The unthinkable.

And somebody was going to pay!


ANGIE set the receiver down, her hand still trembling, her cheeks damp with tears. But what had she expected? That the man would welcome the news she was carrying his child as if it was some kind of miracle?

Hardly. She swiped at her cheeks with the back of her hand, pulled a tissue from a box and blew her nose. After all, it hadn’t felt like any kind of miracle when she’d been given the news. Far from it.

Still, did he have to sound so angry? Anyone would think it was all her fault.

She put a guilty hand over her still flat stomach, home to the child she’d never really wanted, the child she’d only agreed to have because Shayne had so desperately wanted a son, the child that had turned out not to be his.

Maybe it was her fault.

Unnatural, Shayne had called her. A real woman would want babies, he’d said, saving the most hurtful for when they had to cancel a holiday in order to scrape together the money for the procedures because he’d managed to get a subsidised place in the Carmichael Clinic, the best fertility clinic in Australia.

A real woman wouldn’t need IVF to get pregnant.

And then, when finally the IVF had succeeded and she was pregnant and it looked like Shayne would have the child he’d wanted so desperately, the clinic had called with the news of their terrible mix-up and she was a failure once again.

Because a real woman wouldn’t want to carry another man’s baby. Because a real woman would take the clinic up on their generous offer to fix it.

Maybe Shayne was right.

Maybe this was her punishment for not being a real woman. Cursed with a child she’d never really wanted and that wasn’t even hers, and yet unable to bring herself, as Shayne had so eloquently put it, to fix it.

Fix it.

He’d made it sound so simple, like taking out the rubbish or tossing away old clothes. But this wasn’t about a bag of trash. She wasn’t carrying around a bag of old clothes. Whether or not she’d wanted it, there was a baby growing inside her belly. A life. Someone else’s child.

And after all the effort the clinic had gone to, all the tests and injections and procedures and hand-holding to get her pregnant, they thought they could just turn around and somehow make it better?

It was never going to happen.

Besides, it wasn’t only her decision to make. Not when there was a couple out there who’d put their heart and soul into creating this new life. Not when this child was rightfully theirs. Whatever happened now, whatever they decided, at the very least they deserved to know of this baby’s existence.

She squeezed her eyes shut as her fingers curled into the denim of her shorts. Poor baby, to end up with her of all people, the woman who never really wanted a child in the first place, the woman who’d only agreed in order to save her marriage.

What a joke!

‘I’m sorry, baby. But we’ll meet your dad soon. Maybe even your mum too. They’ll want you, I’m sure.’

And if they didn’t?

A solitary tear slid down her cheek as she thought back to the phone call, remembering the deep and damning tones of the man’s voice, as if she’d been to blame for visiting upon him some momentous disaster. Then again, it probably felt like some momentous disaster to him right now. She’d gone through the same stages herself. The shock. The disbelief. The sheer bewilderment that came with discovering that a mistake so fundamental could have occurred in a medical facility, a place that was supposed to specialize in making dreams come true, not in creating nightmares.

And then she’d borne the full brunt of Shayne’s reactions. He’d gone from shock to fury in the space of a heartbeat. Fury that the baby he’d been bragging about to family and friends for a month wasn’t his at all. Fury with the clinic for messing with his plans. Fury that had changed direction and headed straight for her when she’d refused point-blank to have the abortion the clinic had offered and that he’d demanded.

Oh, yes, she understood full well how shell-shocked Mr Pirelli would be feeling right now. But for all his aggravation, for all his strident accusation, he could have hung up on her. He could have simply denied the child was his.

But he had taken her call and he had agreed to meet her tomorrow. And right now that was the best she could bequeath to the tiny baby growing deep inside her—the chance for it to be with its real parents, the people who had gone through hell and back to create it, the people who had first rights to this child.

A car slowed outside. She glanced up at the clock on the wall above her head, saw that it was almost six and for just a moment imagined it must be Shayne home from the foundry, and for just a moment panicked that she hadn’t started dinner yet.

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