One Tiny Miracle...(2)

By: Carol Marinelli


‘But is it coming onto the market?’ Ben persisted.

‘Perhaps. Though, really, it has none of the specifications you outlined. That house needs a lot of work, it still has the original kitchen and the garden’s a jungle...’ Only Ben wasn’t listening and the real-estate agent suddenly had that horrible sinking feeling that he was losing his grip on his certain sale. ‘The apartment complex is maintained, regularly serviced, there’s the gym and lap pool for tenants,’ he pointed out, pushing what he assumed were the benefits of living here for this tall, rugged-looking bear of a single guy, with the title of doctor. He had been so sure that low maintenance was the key to this sale.

He was wrong.

Ben was fast realising that high maintenance would be fantastic!

This was a garden and a house he could lose himself in, what with house repairs and oiling decking. And how about a boat...? How much better to fill up his limited spare time renovating a house or out on a boat on the bay than to be confined to modern, sleek lines of the apartment or burning off his endless energy in a lap pool? For the first time in a very long time, Ben found himself interested in something that wasn’t work, and, staring at the house, he could almost glimpse a future, a real future... So, instead of closing the deal and moving into the plush apartment complex, to the agent’s obvious annoyance, Ben took a gamble, put his furniture into storage and rented one of the cheap furnished units at the other end of the street, prepared to sit it out till the house came on the market.

It was win-win really, Ben thought this morning as he walked along the beach access path to the front of the house. In that short space of time, the bottom had fallen out of the housing market and the developers were having trouble selling the luxury apartments. Already the price had gone down a few thousand, so, if nothing happened with the house...

For Sale by Auction

He saw the board and gave a smile as he read that the auction wasn’t far off, just a few weeks away, in fact. And there was an ‘open for inspection’ scheduled at the weekend. Walking back toward the beach, this time he noticed the glorious skies and the stillness of the morning, seagulls sitting like ducks on the calm water, a dog running in and chasing them away. And then he saw her, standing in the glassy ocean, the water to her knees, legs apart and stretching, her hands reaching for the sky. She stood still and held the position and then slowly lowered her arms.

And then did it all over again.

God! Ben rolled his eyes. He had a great physique and made a very half-hearted attempt to keep it, relying mainly on walking a thousand miles a day in Emergency then burning it off with a swim, but this new-age, welcome-the-day-type stuff, or whatever she was doing...

Please!

Still, Ben conceded there was something rather spectacular about her lack of inhibition, something about her that made Ben smile as he walked.

And then she turned and his smile vanished as she bent over...doubled over, actually. Ben saw her swollen stomach and realised she was pregnant and visibly in pain. Picking up speed, he walked a touch more quickly along the sandy pathway and onto the beach—not wanting to overreact as maybe it was part of her exercise routine. But, no, she was walking uncomfortably out of the shallows now, still bent at an awkward angle, and Ben broke into a light jog, meeting her at the foreshore. He stared down at a mop of dark curls on the top of her head as, still bent over double, she held onto her knees.

‘Are you okay?’ he asked in concern.

‘Fine,’ she moaned, and then looked up. She had amber eyes and big silver earrings and was gritting her very white teeth. ‘Stupid yoga!’

‘Are you having a contraction?’ He was assessing her. Not wanting to just dive in and place his hand on her stomach, he thought he ought to introduce himself first. ‘I’m Ben, I’m a doctor...’

‘And I’m Celeste.’ She blew out a breath and then slowly unfolded. ‘And I’m not having a contraction, it’s a stitch.’

‘You’re sure?’

‘Quite sure!’ She stretched and winced and then rubbed the last of her stitch away. ‘Stupid new-age stuff!’ He couldn’t help but smile and then so did she. ‘According to my obstetrician, it’s supposed to relax both me and the baby. It will kill us both, more like!’