Cherished: Love in London Series 2 (7 page)

BOOK: Cherished: Love in London Series 2
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12

A
loud sob
escaped her throat as she willed the second line to disappear. She covered her mouth as she felt her body crumple to the floor as she convulsed into sobs.

Mia came rushing into the bathroom, a stricken look on her face. She dropped to her knees, grabbing Amber’s hand.

“Amber! What’s wrong? Are you okay?”

Amber pulled her hand away and buried her face against her knees. She shook her head as her sobbing continued. Mia ran to the kitchen to get her a glass of water, returning within seconds. Amber was hyperventilating at this stage, panic stricken.

“Amber! Stop, take a deep breath. Please, drink some water.” She brushed Amber’s hair out of her face and put the glass to her lips. She took a few deep breaths to calm herself and then sipped the water.

“Amber, you’re scaring me. What’s wrong? Talk to me.” Mia’s concern was written all over her pretty face. She looked around her and spotted the pregnancy test on the sink.

Indicating towards it, she looked at Amber. “May I take a look?”

Amber miserably nodded her head as Mia tentatively stood up, reaching for it. She gasped when she saw the result. Her eyes misted over as she sat down with Amber.

“Amber, you’re pregnant, bella. Is that why you’re so upset?”

Amber sniffed loudly. “Yes, Mia.” Fresh tears filled her eyes. “What a mess I’ve gotten myself into.” She began crying again and Mia took her in her arms, comforting her and lightly stroking her hair.

“I know this has come as a shock, Amber, but I can promise you, Nico will be thrilled. You saw him at the party with the twins – he couldn’t get enough.”

Amber pulled back and looked at her in confusion. “Why would he be happy, Mia? I mean, look at us, we’re so different.”

“That doesn’t matter, Amber.” She spoke in a soft and soothing voice. “I see the way he looks at you and how you look at him too. You’re both denying your feelings for each other.”

Amber sniffed and looked away in disgust. “Feelings for each other? It didn’t take him long to move on, did it?”

Mia drew her eyebrows into a frown. “What do you mean, move on? I don’t understand? Amber, I’ve never seen my brother so miserable in all my life, since you left last Sunday.” She threw her hands up in the air in confusion. “I don’t exactly know the details or what went down with you two, but he is literally ripping everyone’s head off at present. There seems to be a pattern forming.”

“Didn’t seem that way to me. It’s clear he has already moved on and found my replacement.”

“Replacement?” Mia shook her head. “What replacement?”

Amber stood up and walked into the kitchen, replenishing her glass of water. “It doesn’t matter, Mia. I just need to move on too….and figure out what I’m going to do with my life now.”

“Amber, why do you keep talking about moving on and replacements?” Mia followed her into the kitchen.

Amber set her glass down harder than expected. “I saw him, Mia,” she cried out. “At the party last Friday? With that beautiful Italian girl he was with. They certainly looked very cozy together!” Angrily, she picked up her glass and took a big swig of water.

Mia thought for a moment. “I think you mean Angelina.” A small smile crept over her face and Amber glared at her.

“If you’re referring to the stunning brunette, then yes, I guess it
was
Angelina.” She made a face as she said her name out loud.

Mia’s smile broadened.

“What? Why are you smiling at my misery?”

“Amber, bella. Angelina is our cousin.”

Amber’s face paled. She slowly set down her glass. “What? Your
cousin?”

“Si. Our very happily, married cousin. She was instrumental to a deal, I don’t know the details, but she pulled off something big for Moretti Investment Banking. That’s why they were celebrating.”

“Oh.my.God. But I thought—” She broke off, blushing deeply and feeling stupid at jumping to conclusions.

Mia came around to where she was standing. “I understand, Amber. I would also be wondering who that bitch was too if I was in your place.”

A smile spread across Amber’s face. She covered her face. “I feel so stupid.”

Mia hugged Amber. “It’s okay, Amber, your hormones and emotions are all over the place right now. Why don’t you take a hot shower and I’ll make us a light lunch – you need to eat. And if you want, I’m happy to come with you to the doctor if you’d like some support.”

Amber nodded as she felt her eyes well up with fresh tears. She felt so relieved to hear that Nico hadn’t moved on and that her fears were unrealised. Still, she was scared as hell for the conversation she would no doubt soon be having with him.

“Oh Mia, I’m so glad you’re here. I’m so scared.”

“I promise you, Amber. It will be okay.” Mia smiled at her with nothing but concern and kindness. “But you do need to talk to him soon. I’m afraid our Italian men have a lot of pride, Amber, and at the moment, his has been bruised and damaged.”

“I’m so sorry,” Amber whispered.

Mia rubbed her shoulders. “You have your reasons, Amber. Trust me, my brother is not perfect, but he deserves a chance. You both do.”

Amber nodded, swallowing the lump that had formed in her throat. “Do you know when he’s back?”

“Yes, he was meant to be back this weekend, but the deal wrapped up early so he was talking about flying in on Thursday morning.”

“Okay, I’ll call him then.”

Mia stayed with Amber for the remainder of the afternoon. It was good to have some company and Mia was a breath of fresh air, full of life and enthusiasm. She made it a point to make Amber laugh and cheer her up and sensitively, she didn’t discuss the pregnancy any further.

A
mber took
the rest of the week off from work. On Wednesday, she went to the doctor and after doing a repeat test in the surgery, her pregnancy was confirmed. She was just over five weeks along and the kind nurse had advised her about the prenatal supplements to start taking. Amber took it all in mechanically, but at the same time she felt disconnected from herself. She still couldn’t believe this was happening to her and it felt like a dream. Aching to call Beth, she decided to hold off for a couple of days until she figured out what she was going to do. She needed time to work through everything that had happened to her over the past few weeks, which had now irrevocably turned her life upside down.

Touching her stomach as she walked home, she was unable to fathom that a tiny ball of cells was developing into a new life that she and Nico had created. Feeling emotional, tears welled up in her eyes at the prospect of being a single parent. How on earth would she cope, she wondered.

She had convinced herself overnight that Nico would be furious at the news and wouldn’t want any part of it. It would mean an end to his famous bachelor status and she wasn’t sure he would be ready to give it all up and settle down with her. A small part of her wondered if she could move back to Taunton and get her old job back – perhaps she could hide from Nico forever. Soon realising that this would lead into an even bigger mess, she went to bed early, deciding that she would call him first thing in the morning and face her fears.

S
he woke
up early on Thursday morning. After a restless night, she frowned at her reflection in the mirror, noting her pale skin and the dark shadows that were still present beneath her eyes. Groaning at her appearance, she got ready and went to make herself a cup of herbal tea for she had cut out the caffeine from her diet. Besides, the smell of coffee wasn’t doing her any favours at present anyway.

After breakfast and a bit of lounging around trying to read, she saw that it was almost eleven o’clock. It was now or never. Her hands shook as she reached for her phone to locate Nico’s number in her contacts. Taking a deep breath, she hit the call button.

It took a moment for the call to connect, but then it started ringing normally which told her he was on British soil, rather than listening to a foreign ring tone. She held her breath, waiting for him to pick up as her heart pounded away. It rang several times and Amber was certain it would go to his voice mail. As she was about to give up and end the call, he picked up.

“Moretti.” His tone was cool and efficient. After not hearing his voice for days, she suddenly realised how much she missed him.

“Nico? It’s me, Amber.” Her voice was soft and unsure. For a moment, he didn’t say anything and Amber began to wonder if he heard her.

“Amber. How are you?” If he was pleased to hear from her, she couldn’t tell. His tone was detached and business-like. Amber felt her heart constrict.

“Nico. I need to see you. Can we meet?”

“Now isn’t a good time, Amber. I’m just on my way to a meeting. Can it wait until later this afternoon?”

“Yes, sure. Just text me when you’re free. I can meet you in town or, if you want, you’re welcome to come over to my flat. But only if that’s not out of your way.” She closed her mouth and clenched her jaw, aware that her nerves had caused her mouth to ramble.

“Fine. I’ll see you later at your flat. I’ll try to be there by five o’clock if that works.”

“It works. Thanks, Nico. See you later.”

“Ciao.” He ended the call and Amber sat back on the sofa, taking a deep breath. She was sad at his efficient tone, but consoled herself that she couldn’t warrant any warmth from him after their last goodbye.

The day dragged by slowly. She made an effort with her appearance, washed her hair and put on some light make-up. She wasn’t sure why she was doing it, but if he was going to tell her that he wasn’t interested any longer, she at least wanted to feel good about herself.

A
t five o’clock sharp
, the buzzer went. Butterflies set off in her stomach and she felt a lurch of excitement and dread within her. She buzzed him entry and stood waiting at the door. After a few moments, he came into view. He looked even more handsome than the last time she saw him. His hair was as messy as usual, but she guessed by now that he probably styled it that way. Her eyes flicked over his strong tanned body, which was concealed under a tailored navy suit with a sharp white shirt. Looking up, his green eyes sought hers, riveting her to the spot. She froze as her senses leapt to life.

“Amber.” He stood there with a small smile, waiting for an invitation into the flat. She tingled as he said her name, his nearness kindling feelings of fire within her. She felt heat spread through her body and face. Coughing, she tried to regain some composure.

“Nico. Thank you for coming. Please, do come in.” She stood aside as he took a few strides past her and into her flat. Inhaling his scent, which she had grown to love, she gently closed the door behind him and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear.

“Amber, you said you needed to tell me something.” Nico was cool and professional as he sat on her sofa. She took a big breath, realising that he wasn’t going to make it easy for her. She sat down opposite him.

“Can I get you a drink?”

“Some water would be great, thanks.”

She felt his eyes burning into her back as he followed her movements around the kitchen. Unfortunately, just then a bout of nausea hit her hard, and she had to steady herself and take deep breaths to let it pass. Please, please, don’t let me throw up, she prayed.

Within a moment, Nico was by her side. He reached tentatively for her arm. “Amber, are you alright? You don’t look so good.” His concerned eyes betrayed his cool demeaner.

She smiled as the nausea thankfully subsided. “So I keep hearing.”

He looked confused. She took a sip of water. “Nico, I have to tell you something, but I need you to sit down, please?”

He went back to the sofa, and she slowly resumed her seat too.

“I figure this will never happen to me again in my life, so right now, I don’t care and I’m just going to put it out there, okay?”

He nodded slightly, frowning at the same time.

Her voice trembled. She took a deep breath and finally spoke. “Nico, I don’t know how to tell you this,” she paused, looking away, “but I’m in love with you. I know it’s too late for us as I realise I’ve totally messed things up. But I just wanted you to know that it was never you. It’s just me and my screwed up childhood that’s caused me to never trust or fall for anyone.”

“Amber—”

She held up her hand, pulling on her internal strength to get out what she needed to say. “Please Nico, let me finish or I’ll never get this out. I don’t trust easily, I thought I was happy, that I didn’t need anyone. But I have fallen for you, even though I’ve tried so damn hard to resist.” She held up her hand again, silencing him as she could see him begin to protest. “The thing is, and I completely understand that you no longer want anything to do with me, but I’m afraid we’ll always be connected.”

“I’m not sure I understand. What are you saying?”

“Nico, I’m pregnant. It happened after our first time together.” She paused, waiting for the news to sink in. “I guess your swimmers are extra strong or something.” She tried to make a light joke as she saw the shock register across his face. He sat back on the sofa and she could almost see the thoughts running through his mind.

Surprising her with his agility, he was up within a flash and sitting next to her, reaching for her hand. She could see his beautiful green eyes glistening.

“Amber, wow, this is a shock—”

She pulled her hand away. “Nico, please, you don’t have to feel obligated to me. I just wanted to let you know. We’ll be fine on our own. Please go back to your bachelor life. I’m not tying you down.” Her voice cracked as tears filled her eyes.

“Amber, would you stop rattling on and on and please give me a chance to speak, woman?” He pushed her hair back and took her face between his hands, holding it still as he looked her in the eye.

“Amber, from the moment I met you, you captured my attention and then my heart. You’re right, I do have a reputation, but half of what you read is made up. I’ve not dated
one single woman
since I met you two months ago. All my life, I have been driven to work, and I never wanted to settle down. That’s until I met you. You’re the most stubborn, frustrating and possibly the feistiest girl I’ve ever met.”

BOOK: Cherished: Love in London Series 2
9.44Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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