Font Size:  

‘It sounds like I missed a lot of fun,’ Marco observed, his eyes sliding to Kate, who had not moved since he’d entered. ‘Are you going to show me your dress, Freya?’

‘You want to see my dress?’

Her astonishment sent a slug of guilt through Marco, who found himself remembering the way he had sought his own father’s approval, how much an ‘Excellent’ or a pat on the head had meant to him.

‘Yes, I would.’

Freya’s eyes went to Kate, who nodded, and the child rushed off.

Kate walked over to her phone and switched off the music that had been playing in the background.

‘So you are a dance teacher too?’

She shrugged. ‘I took lessons for a while.’

‘Are you good?’

‘Not good enough.’

‘Are you going to show me your dress too?’

Kate flushed. ‘Your mother insisted. She thought—’

‘My mother thought right.’

‘She was very kind; she is so beautiful...’

‘And you are struggling with her unorthodox relationship with my father.’

‘I wouldn’t dream of—’

‘Everyone else does. My parents’ marriage had effectively ended years ago. The pressure to provide an heir took its toll. I suspect they were drifting and probably behind the scenes beingencouragedtowards separation.’

‘But they stayed together.’

‘Because thenIhappened, after they had given up hope. The only reason divorce would have been sanctioned was the need for an heir, but here I am. Do not look so sad. It is not an unhappy marriage, just different. He does love her, you know, but, as he is fond of saying, what the heart wants...’

‘Do you believe that?’

He looked at her before dropping into an armchair in an elegant heap. ‘I believe that love is used as an excuse for selfishness among other things. It’s been a long day. I could do with a drink.’

‘This is a nursery, so there is no bar, but all you have to do is click your fingers and you can have whatever you want, so I’m told.’

‘Is that a fact?’ he purred, looking at her mouth. The moment of crackling, stomach-quivering tension stretched until he broke it, rising with restless grace to his feet and dragging a hand across his dark hair. ‘Sorry, Nanny.’

Kate didn’t know what he was apologising for, but she was glad she was no longer subjected to that soul-stripping, truth-drug stare that made her want to tell him what a good kisser he was.

‘It doesn’t really matter what I believe, does it?’

She didn’t say anything even though he glanced her way as though expecting her to argue the point, making her think it was a point he had argued with himself over the years.

‘Mymotherbelieves that Rosa makes my father happy. Their relationship preceded that of my parents but there was never any question of him marrying Rosa. She came from the wrong sort of family. Back then those sorts of things mattered.’

‘And they don’t now?’

‘I don’t know what the world’s coming to. Non-virgins have even been known to marry into the family.

‘The bottom line is my parents are both lovely people and they have a relationship that works for them, but I don’t even pretend to understand.’

Articles you may like