Hired Girlfriend, Pregnant Fiancée? - Page 61
‘Of course I am.’
And if he wasn’t fine now he soon would be. Of course he would. At some point surely the palliative effect of work would kick in, relieve these ridiculous symptoms.
The ache he felt in the morning when he woke up, the horrible emptiness of his apartment, the sudden sterility of the furniture he’d once barely noticed. The echoing absence of Gabby, the solitary meals. The obsessive checking of his phone and email in case he’d missed a message. The dreams, and the way his head would turn every time he saw someone who looked even remotely like Gabby.
What was the matter with him?
They approached the restaurant and he halted as he saw Alessio look up towards Gemma, saw the way his best friend’s face softened, the sheer love in his eyes.
Suddenly—just like that—he knew exactly what was wrong with him, and came to a sudden halt.
The realisation transfixed him to the spot as knowledge flooded him with its truth. Dear Lord. He was an idiot, a fool…denser than platinum. He loved Gabby—he loved her. And he had to tell her right now. The urgency was illogical, but absolute. Even if she didn’t love him back—and why should she?—he wanted to tell her. He wanted her to know.
Zander turned to his family. ‘Sorry, guys. I need to make a call.’
Phone in hand, he raced out. Relief flooded him when she answered the phone.
‘Gabby—where are you?’
‘Actually, I’m at Bath Station, about to get on a train to come and see you.’
‘That’s brilliant. I’ll come and meet you when you get in to London.’
‘I’ll see you in an hour and a half.’
Which didn’t give him long.
He raced back inside the restaurant. ‘Mum, I love you. Happy birthday! Got to dash. It’s an emergency. Not a work one.’
* * *
Gabby looked out of
the window as the train pulled into the station, wondering anew why Zander had said he’d meet her. Presumably to save her trekking across London to his office? Well, she’d deliver her carefully rehearsed speech and then she could turn around and get on the next train back.
As she alighted from the carriage and headed to the barriers she frowned. That couldn’t be Zander, could it? Every iota of her body identified him as the man she loved, but why would he be carrying an enormous bunch of heart-shaped helium balloons?
For a moment hope peeked up over the parapet of pessimism—until suddenly she remembered that it was Laura Grosvenor’s birthday. They must be for his mum. Maybe Frank had asked Zander to pick them up for him, or…
Now she was through the barrier and there was Zander, looking dishevelled, as though he’d raced across London, his face flushed and his hair rumpled.
And so utterly gorgeous.
Her heart ached with love and she yearned to throw her arms around his broad chest. Bad idea. She needed to give her rehearsed speech and then leave. At speed. Preferably before he even had a chance to respond.
‘Hey,’ she said, keeping her eyes away from the balloons, deciding it would be best to ignore them. ‘Thank you for coming to meet me. Especially on your mum’s birthday. I am so sorry. I hope I haven’t spoilt the plans?’
‘Nope. You haven’t. Not at all.’ He ran his free hand through his hair. ‘Gabby…?’
It was now or never, and she tucked a strand of hair behind her ear and tried to recall her carefully prepared speech. But her brain had become scrambled, messed up by his sheer proximity which seemed to have dispersed every rehearsed word.