Fall from India Place Page 56

“No.” I hurried toward him in denial. “He has a son… Cole, we can’t do this here.”

“Just tell me what’s going on and I’ll leave.”

I wasn’t sure I could get through an explanation that would work without breaking down, but I attempted it. “I found out that Marco got someone pregnant when he came back to Edinburgh four years ago. She was an old friend of his. They’re not together. But they have a three-year-old son.”

He frowned at me in confusion. “You broke up with Marco because he has a child?”

The incredulity in his voice made my anxiety spike even more, but I nodded, hoping my expression didn’t give me away.

Unfortunately, the trembling in my hands did. Cole caught the shaking as he scrutinized me from top to bottom, and as soon as he saw it, he stiffened. Understanding flitted through his eyes and he pinned me to the spot with the force of his realization. “It was him,” he said hoarsely. Renewed fury roiled in his gaze. “It was f**king him. You lied? It was him! He got you pregnant and f**ked off!”

“Cole —”

But he was already marching out of the room.

Panicked, not sure what he might do, I grabbed my bag and ran out of the classroom after him, struggling in my stupid heels. By the time I caught up to him he was striding across the parking lot toward his beat-up old car and he was talking on his phone to someone.

“Cole!” I shouted, but he ignored me and got in his car. “Shit.” I hurried after him, chasing him as he pulled out of the school gates. As soon as I hit the main road, I scanned the street for a taxi.

My phone rang. It was Adam.

My gut told me to answer it.

“Hannah, what’s going on?” Adam demanded. “Cole just called to ask what site Marco is working on. He sounds beyond pissed off.”

Seeing a cab, I threw my hand out, grateful when it slowed. My heart was racing frantically in my chest. “Adam, he’s about to do something really stupid. Where is he going?”

Adam gave me the site address and as I jumped into the cab, I relayed it to the driver.

“Hannah, what is going on?” Adam repeated.

“I need to go.” I hung up, turning my panicked attention to the driver. “Please, get me there as fast as you can. It’s an emergency.”

“I’ll try my best, love.”

I jumped out of that cab at the site entrance ten minutes later and I heard the commotion before I saw it. As I hurried around the office cabins, my heart plummeted at the sight before me.

Marco had Cole by the throat, his face twisted in anger. He thrust Cole away, but Cole barely staggered back before he swung out and clipped Marco in the face with his fist. There were two workers standing behind them, not doing much to stop them, and I could see more running toward the scene.

Marco punched Cole and suddenly I was in action.

“Stop!” I screamed, running toward them, pushing past the crew that was gathering. “Cole, stop i —”

Cole’s elbow slammed into my head as he pulled back his arm in preparation to punch. The pain burst down the side of my face, dazing me, and I stumbled back, feeling hands on me, steadying me.

I blinked, trying to refocus, and when I did, I saw Cole staring at me in horror and an enraged Marco behind him, ready to lunge.

“No!” I pushed past Cole and collided with Marco, pressing my hands to his chest. “Marco, please,” I pleaded.

Marco’s handsome features were stretched tight, his jaw clenched hard. I could tell he didn’t want to stop, but he did, taking a step back in silent acquiescence.

Head throbbing, heart pounding, legs trembling, I spun around to placate Cole. I ignored the men who had gathered around us. “He doesn’t know, Cole. He doesn’t know.”

Cole’s nostrils flared. “He still f**king left you.”

“Yeah. He did. But everything else… he doesn’t know.”

“I don’t know what?” Marco asked impatiently behind me.

My shoulders tensed. I’d never wanted this moment to come.

Cole opened his mouth to speak.

“Don’t you dare,” I snapped.

“He needs to know.”

Feeling nauseated at the prospect I replied, “And now he will. But I’ll be the one to tell him.”

“Will someone please tell me what the f**k is going on here?” Marco growled.

“And me.”

I turned my head at the unfamiliar voice. A tall man wearing a hard hat and a yellow safety jacket over a suit was glowering at Cole.

“You want to tell me why you attacked one of my men on a worksite?”

“I’d like to know the same thing.”

That voice was familiar. I blanched as Braden and Adam emerged through the crowds of men. They stopped by the guy in the suit, who I presumed was Marco’s site manager. Braden and Adam looked harried. Their eyes blazed with annoyance as they took in Cole and Marco, but their expressions turned concerned when their gazes fell upon me.

“Mr. Carmichael?” The site manager looked surprised. “I didn’t know you were planning a visit today. I can assure you this has never happened before.”

“Keep your trousers on, Tam.” Braden brushed him off. “That’s my little sister.” He looked back at me. “Hannah, what’s going on?”

Feeling my cheeks pale at having all this attention on me, I took a step toward Braden and Adam’s comforting presence. “I need to speak with Marco privately. I’ll explain everything to you, but first I need to explain it to him.”

For a moment Braden was silent as he considered this. It was clear he wanted to know what the hell was going on now so he could decide whether he wanted to help finish what Cole had started with Marco. Finally, he gave me a taut nod and then turned to Tam. “My sister needs the use of the office cabin.”

“Of course.” The site manager gestured toward it. “It’s empty.”

Before I could do anything, I felt the warm press of Marco’s hand on my lower back. He gently guided me forward as the site manager started yelling at everyone else to get back to work.

I wanted to rip away from Marco’s touch, hating the ache inside of me, that torturous longing that couldn’t seem to get on board with the whole not-forgiving-him thing. However, I let him keep his hand there and I didn’t know if I did it for him or if I did it for me.

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