Fall from India Place Page 51

He was saying it all. Explaining the situation. I heard it. I know I did. But the past was so much louder than his explanation.

“I get Dylan every other weekend and we alternate holidays, but his mom, me, and her fiancé, Graham, are pretty tight. We have a good relationship, which is great for Dyl. And Dyl…” Despite my distraction I saw a happiness in his eyes I’d never seen before. “Hannah, he saved me. You want to know why I got over all the shit my grandfather dealt me? Dylan. Everything changed when he came along. I have someone who needs me to have faith in myself so that he can grow up and have faith in himself. But also I need to have faith in myself so that he has faith in me that I’ll always be there for him.” He gave me that half smile of his I loved. “Kid thinks I’m a goddamn superhero… but he’s the one that saved me. He’s the reason I wanted another chance with you. He made me feel like maybe I could deserve you.”

I knew that was a good thing. I knew that.

But that feeling of happiness for him, that relief for him I knew was in me somewhere, was buried under a mountain of irrational fury.

“Hannah, baby, please say something. I’m sorry I kept this under wraps, but I wanted to give us a chance first. I thought if I told you right away it would scare you off, and I needed the chance to remind you how right we are for each other. I knew after last weekend that you and I are solid, so I was going to tell you today and then introduce you to Dylan next weekend. Leah already knows about you, but I needed to be sure about us before Dylan meets you. I’m sure, babe. You know that. But I had to be sure that you loved me back, that this was serious, and that we definitely have a future.”

It was the most he had said in one breath since the first night he’d come to my flat.

I stared at him, keeping my silence while I tried to keep a lid on my emotions. Something like panic flickered in his eyes. Beautiful eyes. Eyes I loved.

Eyes I wanted – no, needed – gone.

I searched for a semblance of numbness to get me through the next five minutes.

“Hannah —”

“I don’t want kids,” I said dully, holding on to the numb sensation.

Marco blinked in confusion. “What?”

I took a step toward him, trying to herd him out of my home. “I don’t want kids. Ever.”

He narrowed his eyes. “You’re a schoolteacher.”

“So?” I shrugged, my expression carefully blank. “I don’t want kids. Mine or anyone else’s.”

“Hannah, just take a minute. We need to talk about this. This is us.”

Looking him directly in the eye, I replied with calm and authority, “As of right now there is no us.” The calm slipped somewhat. “You should have told me you had a son.”

Suddenly my upper arms were gripped in his hands, his body brushing mine, his face close. “Why are you acting like this? This isn’t you.” He gave me a little shake, as if trying to loosen me up, get back to something that made sense.

It worked.

I wrenched out of his hold, my face twisted in anger. “You don’t know me.” I shoved him, stumbling away from him. “Obviously.”

“Goddammit. I can’t believe this shit.” His voice lowered to a growl. “You’re not even going to discuss this? Just… we’re over? After everything? After spending the best few weeks in the f**king history of weeks, you’re seriously showing me the door without talking it through?”

Struggling not to let my rage and pain explode all over him for fear I might actually do physical damage, I clenched my hands into fists at my sides and held on to self-control. “This isn’t a little thing, Marco.” The self-control was slipping already, my voice climbing higher on every word. “You kept a son from me. A son! And yes… we are over! You lied!” I panted, shuddering from the weeping wounds inside me. “I don’t want kids. I certainly don’t want yours. So get the f**k out of my life and stay there.”

If I hadn’t been so tightly clasped inside the past’s vicious grip, I might have faltered in my resolve at the expression in Marco’s eyes. The incredulity. The loss.

Then his face tightened with his own fury.

He leaned into me, eyes sparking with fire as he hissed in my face, “It’s a good thing I did keep Dylan away from you, because I wouldn’t want him around whatever shit this is.”

Wearing a look of disgust, Marco turned around and stormed out of the flat.

I jumped at the sound of my front door slamming and immediately swayed with dizziness. My hands groped for the couch to steady myself.

I took a few shallow breaths.

My feet started to move, walking me through a fog, cold little pinpricks of nausea covering my face. I reached the bathroom and lifted the lid on the toilet seat seconds before I threw up the past…

The wind was bitter and bracing on North Bridge. It whipped my short hair back and stung my cheeks. It felt good.

I smiled at Cole as he walked beside me. Jo was just a little ahead of us, talking on her phone to Cameron.

Three months ago. Well, just under. That’s how long since I saw Marco – my last image of him was India Place… that horrified look in his eyes as he dressed and then hurried from the room. I didn’t expect to hear from him after he’d taken my virginity and then rejected me, but after four weeks of nothing I finally went to ask after him at his uncle’s restaurant. Imagine my total and complete heartbreak to learn that he’d left for America weeks ago. Without saying good-bye.

My family and friends had noticed my despondency. They were worried. I was worried. When I didn’t feel numb, I felt like crap. I’d had a sickness bug that I couldn’t seem to shake, and I had pains. I didn’t feel like myself and I knew if I didn’t go to the doctor soon, my parents would force me to.

Everyone was taking their turn with me. Trying to cheer me up. Today was Jo and Cole’s turn. Cole and I were friends, not close friends since he was a year younger and we went to different schools, but I found his presence soothing. He didn’t ask a lot of questions, which was always nice when you didn’t have a lot of answers.

Jo grinned over her shoulder at us and murmured something into her phone.

“What do you think she’s saying right now?” Cole squinted against the winter sun.

“That we make a cute couple,” I answered wryly.

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