This Man Confessed (Page 130)

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‘What went down?’

‘Yes, did they speak? How was Jesse?’ John sounds really curious, which is pricking at my own curiosity.

I spill it all. ‘Jesse practically made a public announcement to the restaurant where we were eating. He told the bloody world that we were married and expecting twins.’ I pause and let John get his sudden burst of laughter under control. ‘Anyway, this woman kept staring at me and when I asked Jesse if he knew her, he went all peculiar and hauled me out of the place. His mum found us by the car, started rabbiting on about twins. You know, because Jesse was a twin.’ I watch as John nods his head thoughtfully. What is he concluding from all of this?

‘Was that it?’

‘Yes, I got him away from her. He was so upset.’

‘And afterwards, he didn’t drink?’

‘No,’ I sigh. ‘But I have a feeling he would have, had I not been there.’ I keep seeing his face, the face that resulted in binge drinking and whippings. ‘Did you know them?’

‘Not really. I don’t ask questions.’

I’m nodding to myself. I know John has been around forever, and he was Carmichael’s best friend, so he must know more than he’s letting on. ‘How’s Sarah?’

He shifts in his seat and turns that menacing face to mine. ‘Better than she was.’

I wilt in my seat. I have nothing to say to that, so I shut up, unwrap my bagel and let John drive me the rest of the way in silence.

I audibly sigh when John pulls up at the kerb. ‘What’s up, girl?’

I gather my bag and exit the car before I can convince John to drive me to The Manor. ‘It’s time to advise my boss of a certain Danish client.’

‘Oh,’ he says slowly. ‘Good luck.’

I think I actually blow the sarcastic sod a raspberry. Good luck? ‘Yeah, thanks, John.’ I quip, slamming the door and hearing that deep baritone laugh getting quieter as the car door comes between us. I take a deep breath of confidence and stride into my office. I‘ve never dreaded coming to work, but now I really do.

Tom’s screech is the first thing I hear. ‘Oh my God! Ava!’

Then I hear Victoria. ‘Oh wow, you have a real tan!’

Then I see sparkling Sal, sparkling again. ‘Ava, you look so well.’

Then I clock my desk and stop dead in my tracks. Balloons… everywhere. With babies on them. There’s a pack of nappies on my desk, too, and a How To guide on becoming a mother. But the worse thing of all, and I pick them up to check I’m seeing right, are the gigantic maternity jeans laying across the back of my chair, or covering my chair completely, more to the point. As if my morning wasn’t depressing enough, with my dress not fitting and the lack of a Jesse wake-up call, I’ve now been reminded that I’m going to look like a whale. He really has told everyone. I’m going to kill him.

‘I knew it!’ Tom scurries over to my desk. ‘I knew you were pregnant. But twins! Oh wow, this is so exciting! Will you name one after me?’

I discard the maternity wear and flop into my chair. I’ve been here two minutes and I’ve already had enough. Double babies means double excitement, as well as double weight gain and double anxiety. ‘No, Tom.’

He gasps dramatically. ‘What’s wrong with Tom?’

‘Nothing,’ I shrug. ‘I just won’t be naming any of my babies it.’ He snorts his disgust and stomps off, without even wishing me congratulations.

‘Congratulations, Ava.’ Sally bends down and hugs me. I knew I could rely on Sal. ‘Coffee?’

‘Please. Three sugars.’ I return her hug, getting Sal’s great t**s thrust in my face from my seated position. ‘How are you, Sal?’

‘Amazing.’ she gushes, dancing off to the kitchen. I quickly conclude that Sal’s love life must be back on track.

‘Where’s Patrick?’ I ask to no one in particular because there’s no one standing at my baby infested desk anymore. Tom is sulking across the office, obviously ignoring me, and Victoria is daydreaming, staring at me. ‘Hello.’ I wave my hand at her.

‘Oh, sorry! I was just wondering what shade you would call that’

‘What?’

‘Your tan. I’d say deep bronze.’ She scribbles something down, and I know it says deep bronze. ‘So, babies now?’

I take instant defence to her tone. ‘Yes.’ My short, snappy answer pulls her head quickly from her writing pad. The long blonde locks get flicked over her shoulder and she smiles. If it’s fake, then she’s doing a great job. ‘Congratulations, Ava.’

‘Thank you,’ I smile, doing a terrible job. ‘And thanks for all this.’ I gesture to the balloons wafting around my head.

‘Oh, that was Tom.’ She returns to her computer.

‘Thanks, Tom!’ I throw a pencil across the office, catching him a treat on the side of his head. It knocks his glasses off kilter, and he gasps in shock. ‘Sorry!’ I press my lips together to supress my laugh.

‘Workplace bullying!’ he squawks, and I lose the battle to keep quiet. I start jerking in my chair as Sally places my coffee in front of me on a frown, and then turns to see what I’m laughing at. She starts chuckling, too.

‘Where’s Patrick, Sal?’ I ask, having not gotten any answer from Victoria.

‘He’ll be in at noon.’ She answers. ‘He’s not been around much.’

‘No?’

She shakes her head, but says no more and returns to the pile of invoices at the filing cabinet.

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