Hidden Love(7)

By: Carole Mortimer

'Oh, I?'

'Going to wet the baby's head?' Kay teased.

'Something like that.' He gave a soft laugh, his hand still firm on Rachel's elbow. 'Take care, honey. And give my new niece a kiss from me when she wakes up.'

'When she's older I'll tell her how brave her uncle was at her birth,' Kay's eyes twinkled with humor.

'Time to go now,' the nurse told them softly, taking the baby and putting her in the waiting cot.

Rachel collected her books from the wafting-room before accompanying Nick outside. 'I really can't go for a drink with you,' she repeated the refusal he had interrupted in his sister's room.

'You aren't under age, are you?'

'No,' she flushed. 'I'm eighteen. I just have to get home and read up tomorrow's classes.'

'Has anyone ever told you work too hard?'

Danny had, frequently. But she was determined to do well in this business course; she didn't want to remain just a secretary when she left college at the end of next year but to make a viable career for herself in the world of business.

'I'm really very grateful for the offer, but…'

'But you still refuse.'

They were walking across the car park now, Nick leading her to the side of a sleek Jaguar, its red color visible to her in the bright evening light. Rachel's eyes opening wide with appreciation as he unlocked the passenger door for her. Being a lawyer must pay well!

'I have to refuse. As you said, those books are heavy going, and I always read the appropriate chapter for the next day's classes the evening before.'

'Very conscientious,' he' taunted. 'In you get,' he encouraged.

Rachel climbed into the low seat, the car perfectly matching its owner, sleek and powerful. As Nick slid into the seat beside her she was instantly aware of the intimacy of the inside of the car, Nick's electricity was a tangible thing. She was pleased and flattered that such a man wanted her to share in his celebration, put it just wasn't possible.

'I'm sorry,' she muttered as he flicked the ignition, the engine purring into life.

'Do you have night school tomorrow?' he asked.

'Tomorrow?' she blinked at him.

'Hmm,' he nodded as he maneuvered the car out into the traffic, “We could celebrate tomorrow if you aren't busy.”

'Won't you be visiting your sister?'

'Not all evening. Richard should be back by then anyway.'

She was tempted---how she was tempted! And why not? A drink and a chat; what harm could it do?

Besides, a man like this couldn't possibly have any real romantic interest in her. No, his invitation was just another thank you for helping his sister; 'Then I'd like to come for a drink,' she accepted shyly.

'And dinner?'

She gave a happy laugh. 'And dinner. Thank you.'

'Fine. Now you'd better direct me to your home, we can't keep driving around all night,' he mocked lightly.

She gave him the directions, relaxing back in her seat as he put on a Barbra Streisand cassette. She shot him the occasional sideways glance, hardly able to believe he was going to take her out to dinner tomorrow. With his expensive elegance she would have to review the contents of her wardrobe. Maybe she shouldn't have agreed to dinner, she really didn't have anything to wear, and…

'We're here,' Nick prompted softly.

'Oh!' She looked out of the window, seeing the dearly familiar house she had lived in all of her life.

'Oh yes. Well, thank you.' she opened the door, turning to get out.

Nick's hand on her arm stopped her. 'Eight o'clock tomorrow?'

'Er-Fine.' The temptation to spend an evening in the company of this man was just too much. 'Goodnight. '

He leant forward, kissing her lightly on the mouth. 'Goodnight, Rachel. I really am grateful to you for helping Kay.'

She blushed, lightly as the kiss had been given. Could it be that he didn't see her as a schoolgirl after all? 'Then I'll have to make sure I choose an expensive dinner, won't I?' she said cheekily.

Nick's throaty chuckle showed he appreciated her humor, and she turned and waved to him before going into the house, leaning weakly back against the door. This morning, even this afternoon, she hadn't even met him, and now she was looking forward to her date with him tomorrow.

As she went into the sitting-room she wondered what her parents would make of him. They were watching the late evening j news as she came in, her mother plump and homely as she knitted a jumper for a neighbor’s child, her father intent on the world events of the day. They were nice ordinary people, and she loved them very much, but she was aware that Nick was anything- but ordinary. He was like an electric charge to the system, full of forceful energy, with a lazy charm that captivated.

'Boy or girl?' her mother asked softly as she sat down beside her on the sofa.

Her father gave her a vague look, his affection evident in his smile. 'Hello, love.'

'Dad,' she answered in a hushed voice, knowing she wasn't to talk any louder until the news and weather had finished. 'It was a girl, Mum,' she answered the query, 'I hadn't realized newborn babies were so tiny.' She had been awestruck at the miniature perfection of the baby's hands and feet, her thick thatch of golden hair.