“Excuse me I’m looking for Sarah DeLacey.”
She didn’t need the touch of his fingers resting lightly on her shoulder, nor the sound of the gravelly voice to recognize the man standing behind her crouched frame. With a smile and word of assurance for the toddler grappling with his building blocks, she rose and turned.
Would he recognize her after all these years? Ten years had passed beneath the bridge called ‘Life’. Her hair no longer flowed down her back in a smooth black curtain. Now it stood on end in carefully styled spikes of multi-hued blonde. Her once make-up-free face was carefully masked beneath skillfully applied cosmetics.
“There’s no one here of that name.” She used her maiden name now.
From beneath her colour coordinated lashes she studied her ex husband. He’d broadened out and toughened up. Money did that to a man. The sensual lips narrowed in a line of discontent, and his grey eyes resembled ash-covered ice chips. His bronzed skin had darkened from his sojourn in the tropics building exclusive resorts in exotic locations. She’d followed his meteoric rise to fame and fortune in the media, unable to avoid the zillions of pictures of him with a different woman welded to his arm each time. The coverage rose exponentially with his wealth.
Finally, she got real and stopped looking.
No whisper of a successor to her reign as his wife. No surprise there. Sarah knew his mother would persevere with her quest to see off any potential threats to her reign in her son’s home with the same speed and efficiently as she had been dispatched ten years ago.
Would she use the same lies? ‘Another man, Jason.’ Shock had rendered her speechless when her husband believed and accused her of his mother’s innuendoes. She’d shaken her head when she read the disbelief in his eyes. Died a little more each time his mother’s poisonous words etched deeper into his psyche. Until, when she’d announced her pregnancy, he’d disbelieved her and chucked her out.
Why would Jason DeLacey search her out now?
With a strange feeling of detachment she watched his eyes fill with confusion. “Her mother told me she worked here.”
He muttered the words in an undertone, but she still heard and understood them. What she didn’t understand was why her mother told Jason where to find her. She felt the blood drain from her face and reached for a chair.
“Are you O.K.?” Confusion turned to concern as he reached out to grasp her arm.
“I’m fine,” she lied. “I simply stood up too quickly.” Striving for a nonchalance she didn’t feel, she moved away from him. How could Jason’s touch still send her body up in flames? If she didn’t get rid of him soon she’d incinerate on the spot.
A wail from the far side of the room brought her back to reality and swiftly she crossed to the table of little girls drawing pictures. Without fuss she calmed the furor and settled the dispute, then turned back with the futile hope that her ex had gone.
Far from it. He’d followed her across the room and was staring at her. Confusion now warring with impatience. “You remind me of someone.”
When had the clear and coherent Jason DeLacey taken to muttering? This man held audiences captive while lecturing on the importance of construction and architecture blending in with the environment. The same man who remained unfazed while heading negotiations in boardrooms and conferences around the globe.
She decided discretion was the better part of valour and kept her mouth shut.
This was the man who’d fathered her son then turned his back on them both. Best she not forget that before she did something stupid, like beg him to take them back. Time to encourage him to leave. “I’m sorry we can’t help you. Perhaps you got the wrong location?” She saw realisation snap into place. Saw the fury darken his eyes to gun-metal-grey.
“Why?” The pain in his voice almost finished her off. Then the image of her son’s face imposed itself on Jason’s.
“You come here…” Gasping for breath she tried again. “You turn up out of the blue and ask why I didn’t fall into your arms? You arrogant b…”
“I found my mother’s diaries last week.”
“So?” Did he think that uncovering his mother’s lies, her obsession to control her son against intruders such as a wife and expected child, ten years ago, would send her flying back into his arms? Just because she’d never stopped loving him didn’t give him the right to expect instantaneous forgiveness.
Nate would arrive from school soon.
She remembered the first time Nate asked, “Mum, why doesn’t Dad visit us?”
How to tell your four-year-old child his father refused to acknowledge him? That his grandmother crowed when she’d left. “He wasn’t ready for fatherhood.” She refused to lie to Nate.
“You mean he didn’t love me?”
“He didn’t give himself a chance to love you.” She’d hauled him into her arms. “His loss.”
The doors crashed open and she watched her nine-year-old son explode into the room.
“Oh my God!” Jason staggered back a couple of steps before turning to look at her, his face ashen. “What have I done?” His pain ripped her heart in two.
“Mum?” Nate’s eyes flicked from her face to Jason’s. His shoulders went back, his chin raised, and he marched to stand in front of his mother and faced his father for the first time.
“I don’t know who you are, but I don’t want you upsetting my Mum.”
“Neither do I.” Jason’s gaze captured hers. “A long time ago I lost priceless treasures. I’m here to find out whether there’s any chance of recovering them.”
“You mean a treasure hunt?” Nate’s eyes gleamed. “What sort of treasure?”
“The only sort that matters.” Jason hunkered down and extended his hand.
Her heart won over her head as Nate connected with his father.
About the Author: Sherry Gloag enjoys reading and is an aspiring writer of contemporary romances, because she like stories with a happy ending. She lives in the East of England, where, like those who may enjoy watching the 'Changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace', she enjoys watching the changing of the seasons in the countryside. Visit Sherry at her website: http://sherrygloagstheheartofromance.yolasite.com/.