Hidden Love(4)

By: Carole Mortimer


It was because of this openly flirtatious look that she answered him more sharply, more bluntly, than she might otherwise have done. 'It's about time you turned up,' she snapped. 'Do you realize I've been calling you all afternoon--'

'Twice,' he put, in softly, seemingly unmoved by her attack.

She gave him an irritated look. 'Once at two-thirty, and once at five o'clock.'

'But hardly all afternoon," he taunted.

Rachel flushed. 'That doesn't change the fact that I put in the first call over four hours ago.'

'I was out---'

'That's obvious,' she scorned.

This time he seemed to stiffen at her criticism, his eyes hardening and narrowing, and his expression harsh. 'I don't have to explain my movements to you, Miss James---'

'No, you have to explain them to that poor woman in there having a baby---'

'The doctor said she's doing very well,' he frowned.

'She is. But you don't seem to have felt the need to go in and find out for yourself.' She stood up, feeling at a disadvantage being seated while he stood over her, although his extra foot in height still made her feel small and defenseless.

His mouth twisted mockingly. 'The last thing Kay needs is for me to see her in the middle of childbirth. She wouldn't thank me for it, let assure you.'

Rachel's eyes sparkled, deeply grey in her anger. 'There's nothing wrong in seeing a woman giving birth. In fact I think it's rather beautiful.'

'I'm sure it is, 'he dismissed. 'Now look, Miss James, I came in here to thank you for looking after Kay, not to receive criticism from you. For the fact that I happened to have been working all day, and to tell me I should go in there when I know damned well Kay wouldn't want that.'

'She's been asking for you,' she told him accusingly.

'She has?'

'Well, of course she has--.'

'I don't see any "of course" about it, Miss James--'

'My name is Rachel,' she cut in impatiently. 'And of course your wife has been asking for you. Any woman would ask for her husband at such a time!'

'Ah, her husband,' he said slowly, his eyes starting to glow with amusement 'Yes, I suppose a husband would be wanted at such a time.' His arms were folded across his broad chest, the cuffs of his shirt sleeves turned back to just below his elbow, a plain gold watch fastened about his right wrist. 'But you see,' he added mockingly, 'I'm not Kay's husband.'

'I… You aren't?' Rachel gasped

'Nope,' he answered confidently, those deep blue eyes sweeping over her with deepening amusement. She frowned. 'But she asked for you.'

'Yes,' he nodded, 'I'm sure she did.'

She had been so sure Nick was Kay's husband, was sure the doctor had thought so too. But then she hadn't really noticed whether or not Kay Lennox was wearing a wedding ring, and she hadn't asked specifically for her husband, just for Nick. Well, if he wasn't her husband he must be. Her mouth twisted as she looked at his arrogantly confident face, the mocking smile as she began to blush.

Heaven knew she wasn't a prude, the permissive society had been going on long before she was even horn, but surely there were enough illegitimate children in the world already without adding to their number.

'I'm sorry,' her voice was stiff with disapproval, 'I didn't realize you weren't married.'

Nick moved to one of the armchairs and sat down, the ankle of one leg resting on the knee of the other one, looking completely relaxed as he smiled up at her. 'I'm not-but Kay is,' he informed her softly.

Goodness, this was getting more and more complicated! Nick wasn't Kay's husband, but she did have one somewhere. And was the baby Nick's or her husband's?

'Before your imagination runs riot,' he taunted, the blue eyes narrowed, 'I think maybe I should tell you that I'm Kay's adopted brother.'

'Her-her brother? Rachel gulped.

'Yes.'

What an idiot he must think her! Although in all honesty - he had done nothing to correct her obvious misunderstanding, had known what she was thinking and had made no effort to acquaint her with the truth. This Nick-aptly named as far as she was concerned had been having fun at her expense. How ridiculous she must have looked when she tried to reprove him about not being married when he was expecting to be a father at any minute!'

Her head went back, her stature challenging, her eyes flashing deeply grey as her hair fell straight and gleaming to her waist, mahogany-dark, a startling contrast to her red tee-shirt. 'Very funny,' she snapped, gathering up the books she had brought with her, intending to have taken them to her next class. 'I'll leave now you're here.'

He moved with a speed that surprised her and was standing at her side even as she pressed the books to her breasts. He grasped one of her wrists. 'Don't go,' he said huskily, the pressure on her narrow wrist unsettling the books she was holding and causing several of them to crash to the floor. 'Sorry.' He released her, bending to pick up the books, the overhead lighting making his hair look like gold.