The Playboy of Puerto Banus(63)

By: Carol Marinelli

And then he saw her.

Red, angry, with black hair and fat cheeks.

And as he held her he was more than willing to be completely responsible for this little heart.

The midwife asked if they had a name as she went to write on the wristband and he looked at Estelle. They had chosen a few names, but had opted to wait till the baby was here before they decided. There was one name that had not been suggested till now.

‘Gabriella?’ Estelle said, and he nodded, unable to speak for a moment. The name that had once meant so much pain was wrapped now in love, and his mother’s name would go on.

‘Gabriella Sanchez Connolly,’ Raúl said.

‘She needs a middle name,’ Estelle said.

‘What about your mother’s?’ Raúl said, but Estelle already had her mother’s name, and thanks to Spanish tradition Connolly was there, too.

Together they held and gazed at their very new daughter, quietly deciding what her full name would be.

‘I want to ring Andrew and tell him he’s an uncle,’ Estelle said, her eyes filling with selfish tears—because though she could not be happier still she wanted to share the news. She wanted her brother to see Gabriella, as she had held Cecelia the day she was born.

‘Why would you ring?’ Raúl asked. ‘They are waiting outside. I will go and bring them in now.’

Raúl stepped out into the waiting room.

His eyes were bloodshot, his hair unkempt, he was unshaven and there was lipstick on his collar—only this time Angela was smiling.

‘It’s a girl,’ Raúl said. ‘Both are doing really well,’ he said.

Amanda burst into tears and Andrew shook his hand.

‘Baby!’ Cecelia said, pointing to her little cousin as Estelle showed off the newest arrival to the Connolly clan and thought that Raúl had somehow made an already perfect day even better.

‘Come and see,’ Raúl said to Angela, who was standing back at the door.

‘She’s beautiful.’ Angela looked down and smiled at the chubby cheeks, seeing the eyes of Luka and Raúl. ‘Just perfect—does she have a name?’

‘Gabriella,’ Raúl said, and looked at the woman who had been like a mother to him, even if it had been from a distance. ‘Gabriella Angela Sanchez Connolly.’

Yes, Spanish names could be complicated at times, but they were very simple too.

It was a perfect day, and later came a blissful night, with Estelle sharing a drink of champagne with her family till Cecelia was drooping in Andrew’s arms.

‘We’re going to get back to the hotel,’ Andrew said, looking down at Gabriella. He gave Estelle’s hand a squeeze. ‘Mum and Dad would have been really proud.’

‘I know.’

And then it was just the two of them, lying in bed together, on their first night with Gabriella here.

‘There is a text from Luka.’ Raúl gave a brief eye-roll as he read the message. ‘I have a feeling Angela may have hijacked his phone and typed it.’ Raúl’s voice was wry. Things were still terribly strained with Luka, but Raúl, very new to being a brother, was trying to work through it.

Not that Luka wanted to.

‘You’ll get there,’ said Estelle.

‘Perhaps,’ Raúl said.

‘Thank you for today.’

Gabriella, who was snuggled up in her cot beside them, made a small noise, and Raúl thought his heart might burst with pride and love as he gazed at his sleeping daughter.

‘Thank you,’ he said. ‘I never thought I could feel so much happiness.’

‘I meant for bringing my family over. It means so much to me to have them here.’

‘I know it does.’ He turned his gaze from his daughter to his wife. ‘I know, thanks to you, the importance of family—even a difficult one.’ He kissed her tired mouth. ‘And no matter what happens I am never going to forget it.’