Fall from India Place Page 61

“I didn’t know there was a right or a wrong kind,” he whispered hoarsely.

“Perhaps not. But maybe I need a shot at an easy kind.”

“Or maybe you just need to give us a shot with all this shit out in the open,” he argued. “Hannah, when we were kids I was messed up. I didn’t give us a chance. But those two months we had before Christmas were the best f**king weeks of my life, and they would have been perfect if we’d just been honest about everything. Now all that is out there, and we can start over. It can be great. It can be easy.”

I wanted to believe that, but I was too scared. I wasn’t even going to lie to myself about it. I was terrified.

Marco could hurt me like no one else could because I loved him with everything I had. I’d allowed his mistakes, our mistakes, to bend me. However, I couldn’t let us break me.

Wiping the tears from my face with trembling hands, I prepared myself to finally make a decision.


“Marco…” My voice came out as a whisper and I had to clear my throat to get the volume back. “Because of you I’ve never given anyone a chance. If you want the whole and absolute truth, there’s never been anyone since you. I lied when you asked me when the last time I had sex was. I’ve only ever been with one man and that man is you.”

“Hannah —”

“It’s time I gave myself a chance to fall in love with someone else.”

“You don’t mean that.”

“I do. We’re not good for each other. You need to move on.”

“No,” he growled down the phone in a surprising and yet not so surprising response. “You’re mine. I’m yours. Don’t you dare run from that.”

“I’m not running.” More lies. “I just need a fresh start.”

“Hannah, I love you.”

“Please don’t… don’t make this harder than it already is.”

“No. Don’t give me bullshit clichés. I need to see you. We can’t do this over the phone. We can talk and we can work it out.”

Terrified at that thought because I knew that just seeing him would weaken my resolve, I hurried to deny him. “I don’t want to see you. I’m moving on, Marco, and I need you to do the same for me. Do this for me.”

I could hear that his breathing had grown shallow. “I can’t. It might be the most selfish thing I’ll ever do, but I can’t give you up. I won’t. If I thought it was what you really wanted, really needed, I would. But it’s not. You’re scared. I know you’re scared. I’m going to do everything I can to take that fear away.”

“Stop being a stubborn idiot!” I snapped, feeling desperate.

“Pot, meet kettle,” he answered, his voice edged with determination. “We’ll see which one of us can be the most obstinate, Hannah, because, babe, I’m never giving up on us. If it takes a week, a month, a year, whatever, the future is us. I’m spending the rest of my life waking up in the morning with you beside me and getting through each day knowing that when the sky turns dark I’ll be spending the night inside you.”

His sensual, beautiful words knocked me for six. “You are such a bastard,” I breathed.

Marco laughed shortly, harshly. “I see I’m winning already.”


“So Beth is having a Daddy’s girl day?” Liv asked Joss, her tone telling us just how cute she thought that was.

Joss grinned, putting her cup of coffee down on the table. “After her excitement at the zoo last year, and her current obsession with all things animal, Braden decided to take her to that Safari Park in Stirling but discovered it was closed for the season, so he’s taking her to Deep Sea World. He wanted some daddy-daughter time.”

I smiled. “He’s a good egg, that one.”

Joss made a face. “That he is. Makes it really hard to be crabby at him.”

Liv, Joss, and I were at an activity center in Morningside that had a café just on the edges of the play area. Since it was in the same building as a full-time day care, there were a number of staff to watch the kids while their parents could have lunch and chat, but still keep an eye on their children. From our table we could see Lily and Luke in the soft play area supervised by a couple of nursery assistants. January was in her pram next to Liv, sleeping peacefully for once.

It had been a week since my conversation with Marco. I’d thrown myself into work and done what I could to distract myself from the wreckage of my love life. That wasn’t easy at first because Marco must have updated Nish a little and she came to me in the staff room to apologize. Since then she’d been watching me carefully, as if I were made of glass, and every day she’d ask me in this sweet but unintentionally annoying tone if I was all right.

I’d also had to update Michaela on everything. Suzanne had told Michaela her own version of events, and obviously her account had some inaccuracies. Poor Michaela now found herself in the awkward position of being friends with two people who no longer wanted anything to do with each other. I assured Michaela I wouldn’t make it difficult for her. I couldn’t assure her Suzanne would do the same.

All of this made it hard to put the wreckage out of my mind. Even worse was my flat and those damn bookshelves. This meant I jumped at any opportunity to get out of the flat. I’d babysat for Liv and Nate the night before, and now I found myself hanging out with Joss, Liv, and their kids to avoid my home. Not that it was a hardship to hang out with them.

I looked over at Lily to find her watching us. She waved when she caught me looking.

“I’ll be right back.” I hopped up out of my seat and grinned at Lily in a way I knew made her laugh.

“Lily Billy,” I called out to her as I approached.

I played with her and Luke, letting them crawl all over me before pretend-chasing them. I was probably making them hyper, and Joss and Liv wouldn’t thank me for it later, but it felt good to laugh hard with the kids.

“Oh, my gosh,” I panted, attempting to catch my breath as I lay on the floor with Lily trying to tickle me and Luke sprawled across my chest in an effort to use his weight to keep me there. They were giggling like crazy. “I can’t move, Luke Carmichael. You’re too strong!”

He giggled harder. “I’m goin’ keep you here, Nanna.”

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