The Heir From Nowhere(5)

By: Trish Morey

Ten minutes she hadn’t had.

So much for being relaxed and composed before she met the father of the child growing inside her.


She blinked against the lunch-time sun, pushing her sunglasses higher on her nose as she descended the last few steps to the crowded boardwalk, suddenly wishing she’d worn something lighter. She’d wanted to cover herself up but it was much too hot for jeans and her old cardigan and she felt tatty and dated. Families strolled by as she hesitated on the last step, speaking in languages she didn’t recognise, the children laughing with painted faces and hanging on to fat balloons that bounced against the air as they ran. Couples walked hand in hand, sharing secrets, oblivious to everything and everyone. Lunch-time joggers darted between them all, all lean limbed and firm skinned under Lycra and nylon and wired for sound.

Angie pulled her thin discount department store cardigan tighter around her shoulders as she made her way through the crowds, half wishing she’d never agreed to a meeting here. Darling Harbour had sounded both cosmopolitan and exotic when she’d heard Mr Pirelli’s secretary suggest it as the meeting location and she’d made out she knew exactly where she was supposed to be, too embarrassed to admit she hadn’t been here for years.

Besides, she’d been so relieved that he’d agreed to meet her at all, she wasn’t about to argue about the location.

It was a good sign, wasn’t it, that he wanted to meet her? And if he met with her, surely that meant he would want the child? She held that hope close to her heart, nurtured it. It was all she wanted, for this child to be with its rightful parents, to be cherished by them.

And if they decided they didn’t want it?

She sucked in a mouthful of the salt-tinged air. Well, there were other options, other couples unable to have children who would adore a tiny baby as their own. This baby would make someone happy, she was sure of it.

She pulled a crumpled note from her pocket, checked again for the details of where she was supposed to meet and scanned the surroundings, feeling a sizzle of apprehension when she recognised the green arch of the Harbourside Shopping Centre the PA had told her to wait outside. Her steps slowed as she approached. She was close now but, with the shifting crowd milling around the water’s edge, it was impossible to pick out individuals. What if he hadn’t waited? What if he’d given up and left?

Then, as she drew closer, she saw a couple sitting at a table holding hands, their heads bowed, the mood intense. She hesitated, her heart thudding hard in her chest. Could they be them? Could this be the parents of the child growing inside her?

Even as she watched, she saw the woman swipe tears from the corners of her eyes. Angie felt those tears like a tug against her womb. Surely it must be them? This was the right place and she was late. Was that why she was crying—because she feared Angie wasn’t going to show?

Yet still she wavered, unwilling to intrude on this private moment. She looked around, shifting from one foot to the other, searching for any other more likely looking couple. There was a party of Japanese students lining the edge of the boardwalk, and an Italian family seated at a nearby table enjoying gelati and then there was a man in a white shirt with his jacket slung over his shoulder standing with his back to her.

Her eyes almost skated over him.


All too soon they skated back. He stood tall and dark and somehow compelling, even from this angle, and when he turned his head to talk to the slim woman Angie had missed standing beside him, his profile only added to his appeal. A strong nose and jaw, and a dark slash of brows atop eyes that seemed focused on the woman beside him.

Another couple, she surmised, and way too unlikely. The woman looked cool and collected and nowhere near anxious enough to be meeting the woman inadvertently carrying her child, while surely he was too perfect, too virile-looking. For even while she knew fertility had nothing to do with looks, somehow the prospect that this man needed help seemed too far-fetched. Her eyes slipped away. And then she heard a cry of anguish and turned in time to see the woman on the bench jump up, the man reaching for her hand to stop her.

Guilt consumed her. She shouldn’t have been so late. She should never have hesitated and added to her distress. She dragged in air, desperate to find a way through the sudden tangle her nerves had become, forcing herself to take the few tentative steps towards the couple.

‘Over there. Could that be them?’

Dominic’s eyes followed in the direction Simone indicated, settling on a couple sitting at a table not far away. He sucked in air. Could this be the woman who’d called? Was the man sitting alongside her husband? They were clearly not tourists, not the way they were dressed, and the woman’s expression, her tightly drawn features and reddened eyes signalled that something was definitely not right between them.

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