Fall from India Place Page 57

Once inside the quiet cabin, I stepped aside from the door and watched Marco as he strode toward the manager’s desk. He whirled around to look at me, a million questions in his eyes. Ignoring the throbbing in my head where Cole had clipped me, I dipped my gaze to Marco’s lip. Cole had split it open. “I’m sorry about Cole,” I muttered.

“I could give a damn about what he did. I want to know why he did it.”

It took all the courage I had to meet Marco’s eyes.

“Hannah?” he prompted, his patience clearly waning.

The last time I’d felt this sick was after discovering he had a son. Ignoring the cold chills I was feeling, I rubbed a shaking hand over my dry lips and fought the nausea.

“It wasn’t because you have a son,” I told him quietly.

The air around him instantly grew still, his look sharpening.

“I don’t know how to say any of this,” I confessed.

“Well, you better find a way because I lost patience with this shit weeks ago.”

Exhaling, I nodded. I just needed to say it. Just say it.

Breathe, Hannah.

“When you left me five years ago I was in a really bad place. I thought at first I was just heartbroken, that that was why I wasn’t feeling great. But a few months after you left I was out with Jo and Cole and I felt this indescribable pain. I passed out from it.”

Marco’s expression tightened and I could see in his eyes that he didn’t want to hear what was coming but recognized that he needed to. I didn’t want to tell him because I knew in that moment that what I was going to tell him was going to hurt him, too.

I fought the tears and powered on through. “When I woke up it was almost forty-eight hours later and I was in hospital.”

“Hannah…” He seemed to plead with me.

That’s when the tears started winning. “I miscarried. But it wasn’t just a miscarriage; it was something called an ectopic pregnancy. That means the egg implanted inside one of my tubes instead of the womb, but because I didn’t realize I was pregnant, the egg grew until it ruptured the tube and I started bleeding internally.”

“You almost died?” he asked, his voice deep and thick with the emotion I could see blazing in his eyes.

“Yes. I had surgery. They removed the damaged tube.” Saying it out loud just reminded me of all the resentment I’d been feeling, and without meaning to I let it spill out of me. “I lied to my friends and family about who got me pregnant. I protected you. I protected you, but you weren’t there to protect me. I had to cope with having a miscarriage at seventeen. And you weren’t there for me. And I know you had your reasons and I tried to forgive and I tried to forget.” I swiped at my tears, but they were falling too fast for me to keep up. “But you weren’t even back in Edinburgh a few months when you got Leah pregnant. You were there for her, Marco, and as much as I know it’s not rational, I feel like you betrayed me somehow. You were supposed to be the love of my life, but how can you be? I went through all of that alone only to discover that the supposed love of my life was there for some other girl when he was never there for me.”

The small space was thick with a stifling silence, broken only by my labored breathing.

I waited for him to say something. Anything.

Without warning, he turned around and slammed his fist into the cabin wall. “Fuck, f**k, f**k!” He punched it repeatedly, the wall crumbling like paper.

“Marco!” I moved toward him to stop him, but my voice had already done that. He sagged into the wall, his forehead resting against it as his shoulders shuddered.

“Marco,” I whispered, my emotions confusing me all the more when an ache inside me begged me to comfort him. I walked over to him and he turned his head to watch me approach.

There was anguish unlike anything I’d ever seen in his eyes as they looked deep into mine. “You were this precious, beautiful gift that came into my life when I needed it the most,” he said quietly. “I never felt safe as a kid. I knew what it was like to not feel safe and I hated the idea of anyone I cared about ever feeling that way. I started to care about you pretty quickly, so it feels like I’ve always only ever wanted to protect you, you know. And I didn’t. So I did betray you. And I’m so sorry. I’m so, so sor…” His voice fell away as he dragged his hand down his face, pushing away from the wall and turning away from me.

The door behind us opened and I glanced over at it to see Braden standing in the doorway. He took in my tearstained face and red eyes, the broken plaster on the wall, and Marco’s obviously bad state. Eyes soft with sympathy, Braden asked me gently, “Do you want me to take you home?”

I glanced back at Marco, but he hadn’t turned around to face me. He needed time to deal with this.

Me? I didn’t know what to feel. I just knew that a man like Marco didn’t lose control of his emotions easily.

I just knew that he loved me. Deeply.

And I just knew that it was all one huge painful mess that I couldn’t fix.

“Yeah,” I whispered, brushing tears off my cheeks and moving over to Braden.

I rested against him as he wrapped his arm around my shoulders and led me out of the cabin. Walking toward the cab he had waiting, I glanced over my shoulder, back up to the cabin. There was still a massive part of me holding back, trying to protect myself from being hurt by Marco again, but that didn’t mean that I felt right walking away from him when he needed me. In fact, the guilt plagued me all the way home.


Adam had told Cole to go home, cool off, and give me time to calm down before facing me, but I wasn’t mad at Cole. Maybe I should be, since he was the one who forced me into that position, but I couldn’t bring myself to feel that way. Braden took me home and I called work, explaining I had a family emergency – there was no way I could return to school and teach when my eyes were swollen from crying, I had a bruise forming on my forehead, my heart hurt, and my head was thumping.

Braden stayed with me, making me a cup of tea with a splash of whisky in it. He just sat on the couch with me, giving me the quiet I needed but also the comfort of his presence. He left when Joss and Ellie turned up at my door, and I knew he’d been the one to rally the troops.

Not long afterward, Liv showed up, and she had Jo on speakerphone. Ellie and Joss had left the kids with Mum and Dad, and Jo was close to popping, so she was at home with Cam, but obviously wanted to be a part of the discussion.

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