This Man Confessed (Page 10)

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He rolls his eyes and sighs. ‘You’re mother is a pain in the f**king arse.’

‘Don’t wind her up, then.’ I laugh.

He shifts off me and pulls me to the edge of the bed. ‘She needs to accept who has the power.’ he says candidly, starting to re-cuff me.

My amusement increases. ‘You’re touching me. Of course you have the power.’ I attempt to pull my hand free from his grip, but the clanging of metal soon tells me he’s already managed to secure me. I look up at him. He grinning that roguish grin.

‘I’m sorry.’ He shakes our wrists, instigating another clanking of the handcuffs. ‘Who has the power?’

I scowl at him. ‘You can have the power for today.’ I brush my hair over my shoulder and rearrange my diamond.

‘You’re being very reasonable.’ he says quietly, swooping down and tackling my mouth. I grip his shoulder and soak up his attentive tongue and the warmth of his big palm secured at the base of my back. ‘Hmmm.’ he hums. ‘You taste delicious, Mrs Ward. Ready?’

I shake myself back to life. ‘Yes.’ I’m all breathy and hot.

His eyes drift down to my stomach, and his hand slowly lifts. I flinch when his hand connects, and he freezes, his fingers resting lightly on my belly. I don’t know why that happened. He doesn’t look up, he just waits a few silent moments before spreading his fingers, and then circling big, soft, rings on my stomach. I wish he would stop doing this. Neither one of us has spoken about it, but it can’t be avoided for much longer. He must sense my lack of enthusiasm. This little situation is my biggest burden of all. I don’t want a baby.

I pull back and his hand drops. ‘Come on, then.’ I can’t look at him. I start towards the door, but I’m soon halted when Jesse doesn’t follow, the metal of the cuffs cutting into my flesh. I wince a little.

‘Are we going to talk about this, Ava?’ he asks shortly.

‘Talk about what?’ I can’t do this, not now—not on my wedding day. We’ve had weeks of skirting around this, and for once it’s me who’s evading all talk. I’m in complete denial, I realise that, but it’s hitting me harder each day. I could be pregnant.

‘You know what.’

I keep my eyes down, not knowing what else to say. Time seems to slow, enhancing the awkward silence between us, and as I hear him draw breath to speak when I’m clearly not going to, the door crashes open and my mum charges in. I’ve never been so pleased to see her.

‘Can I ask,’ she starts, all stern, ‘why you two didn’t just run off somewhere to get married? You have guests downstairs, dinner is being served and I’m thoroughly fed up of running around trying to control you.’

‘We’re coming.’ I pull at the cuffs, but he doesn’t budge.

‘We’ll be a few minutes, Elizabeth.’ Jesse counters shortly.

‘No, we’re coming.’ I argue, silently begging him to leave this exactly where it is. I give him pleading eyes, and he shakes his head on a sigh. ‘Please.’ I say quietly.

His hand delves into his hair in frustration and his jaw tightens severely. He’s not happy, but he relents and lets me pull him from the room. I can’t believe he has chosen today of all days to push for a talk on this. It’s my wedding day.

We make our way downstairs, the silence between us remaining uncomfortable, but my mum is oblivious. I’m feeling mad. Why today?

Chapter 3

The summer room looks incredible. Hints of green foliage peek out from among the masses of calla lilies adorning every spare space. The chairs are draped in white organza with big green bows fastened to the back, and the tables are scattered with fern leaves. Tall glass vases, full of crystal clear water and tall calla lilies dominate the tables.

Simple, understated elegance.

I’ve picked my way through a three course meal with no wine, played with my napkin and indulged anyone who’s approached in conversation. I’ve done anything to avoid looking at Jesse. John has given a short, sweet speech as Jesse’s best man. There was no talk of their history as friends, no mention of Uncle Carmichael or the early days. John doesn’t do humour, although he seems to find Jesse’s way with me quite amusing.

And my Dad. I’m close to tears as I watch him battle his way through his post-it notes, reminiscing on my youth, advising every one of my feisty streak, and then proceeding to tell them about the time I got caught shoplifting a penny sweet and ate the evidence.

He raises his glass and turns towards us. ‘Jesse, good luck.’ he says seriously, prompting a chorus of laughter from all of our guests and a huge smile from Jesse, who raises his glass, too, then stands himself, keeping his arm down so he doesn’t yank at my wrist. My dad is applauded as he sits and downs a straight whiskey, my mum rubbing his shoulder on a smile.

Jesse places his water on the table and turns towards me, dropping to his knees and taking my hands in his. My back straightens, and my eyes make a quick scan of the room, noting all attention is pointed right at us. Why can’t he play by the rules?

His thumbs are working fast circles on the backs of my hands, and then he plays with my rings, turning them on my finger before straightening them up. He lifts his glorious greens, and I’m blasted by twinkling pools of pure happiness. I make him happy, even when I’m avoiding something we really do need to talk about. After my continuous battle to get this man talking, it’s now me who’s skirting around things. It’s me running away from it, even if I am running away from a problem he’s created.

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