Novel Name : Hot Revenge Box Set 4

Chapter Vitale

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Chapter VitaleMichael
“I’m pregnant.”
Charlotte’s mother chews at a lip as Beth holds her hand. “I… I thought I couldn’t… I thought I was too
old. I’m forty-eight for God’s sake… When Larry was here, I didn’t… I mean… we didn’t…” She
splutters to a halt and sits staring at her fingertips, picking at one thumbnail with the other. “You must
think I’m stupid, letting something like this happen...” She slants eyes toward Charlotte… “… Again.”
“I see.” I glance over towards James, still framed in the doorway, now gazing up at the ceiling,
grimacing as he rubs the back of his neck.
“Interesting news, James,” I say, twisting in my seat to face him. Out of Mitch’s line-of-sight, I eye-point
her, waving palms downwards…
Cool it…
Moving as though the earth might just cave in under me, I pull up a chair, sit by my ‘mother-in-law’. “In
the first place, Mitch, I don’t think you’re stupid. I can understand why…”
Choose your words…
“… why you might not have believed there was an issue. Secondly, for the avoidance of doubt, you are
not old.”
Her mouth opens and closes but nothing comes out.
“So…” I glance down at the pregnancy tester, and its blue line. I prise her hand from Beth’s,
sandwiching it between my own. “So…how do you feel about it, Mitch?”She raises emerald eyes to me, so like those of her daughter’s. But they’re glossy and fluid.
James, apparently recovering his composure, joins us, snaking out a long arm to pull up a chair and sit
with us. In soft tones, he says, “… Um… An… interesting situation… Are you… happy about this,
Her voice chokes. “I’ve not gotten that far. I only knew for certain half an hour ago. I still can’t believe
it… Oh, God…” Shuddering, she tugs free of me, dropping her face into her hands. “What am I going to
James reaches out, tilts up her chin. Peeling her right hand from her cheek, he squeezes the fingers
between his own, then kisses them. “Mitch, you’re family. Any child you produce is family. Whatever
you decide to do, your family will support you.”
Mitch’s breathing is rapid and short. Cheeks scalding red, her pupils are black pinpricks stabbed
through jade. “What do you think Larry will say?”
James and I share a look, then he releases her to me.
“Mitch…” … I take her left hand, playing with the emerald and platinum band on the fourth finger… “…
you’re wearing his ring. Unlikely as it might seem, Larry Klempner’s ring is on your finger. I seriously
doubt any other woman in history has been able to make that claim.”
She plays with the ring, screwing it around the finger. “Do you think it was a proposal?”
I huff air. “Well, I’m blowed if I know what else it could be. Yes, he wants to marry you.”
She winds the ring in circles, around and around the finger.
“I think…” I continue… “… from what we know of him, over a period lasting decades, it’s the only thing
he ever has really wanted…”James Hmmms agreement.
“… All the rest of it, I would say… The trafficking… The money…. Blessingmoors… Even his
mistreatment of Charlotte when she was young… All of it… seems to me to be simply something that
filled the gap inside him. Larry believed he was abandoned as a child. He believed you simply
abandoned him for Conners. Sometimes when you get to the core of what went wrong with someone,
you have the answer on to set it right. Not always. Some people are beyond redemption. But
sometimes they can be rescued. When Larry understood that neither of those things was true, that he
had not been abandoned by the two people who meant the most to him, he changed. Even more so
when you accepted him back again. He’s a different man to what he once was. Yes, he wants to marry
“I don’t think,” she whispers, “that he expected parenthood to be part of the deal.”
I laugh, trying hard to inject some joy into the sound. “Mitch, Larry’s already accepted parenthood. That
first time we saw him, in prison still, after he realised he was Charlotte’s father, he was so proud. He is
still proud. You can see it every time he looks at her.”
Mitch’s throat ripples and she bites her lip. “You think? Really?”
“I’m sure.”
She blinks, looks to James, who nods agreement. “Ah-ha.”
novelbin“But… but…” She slants eyes to Charlotte… “… Jenny’s twenty-six. She’ll have a baby brother or sister
a full generation apart…”
“Mitch.” I speak sharply but clasp her hand more tightly in mine. “Calm down. There is only one…” I
press a forefinger to the back of the hand. “… important question here. Everything else… Absolutely
everything else… is detail.”Her breathing shudders, but she relaxes.
“That’s better. Now, Mitch, do you want this baby? Whatever you decide, everyone here… I know
without asking that James agrees…” James nods vigorously… “ … And I am happy to speak for
Richard too… “ Now Beth nods… “… Everyone here will support you in whatever you decide. Larry…
whenever we see him again… whatever he thinks… will have to take that on board.”
Mitch blinks hard…
“Yes, I want it.” She splutters… “Him… Her… Whatever... I want the baby.”
“Then that’s the end of the discussion.” I squeeze her hand again. “This is a big house. I always hoped
we… me, James, Charlotte… would fill it with children. But we is a moveable feast. It includes Richard
and Beth, and Adam too, now he’s dropped by to say hello. And now it includes you and…” My words
dry up and I make a helpless gesture in the general direction of Mitch’s stomach.
The clip of leather on tiles…
“Has something happened?” Richard hovers by the door. Striding across to Beth, he lays a hand on her
shoulder, “Is everything alright, my Love?”
“I’m fine,” she smiles. “Really… But Mitch has some news. She’s a bit… unsettled.”
“News? What news… Ahhh…” He too sees the pregnancy test. “Er… “ His gaze darts around the table.
“Yours, Mitch?”
She inhales. “Yes, mine.”“And are you… pleased about that?”
Mitch is silent for some seconds, but then she looks to Charlotte, to Beth, to James, then back to me.
I give her hand another squeeze. “It’ll be fine.”
The smile is watery, but it’s there. “Yes, I’m pleased.”
“Yay!” Richard spreads out his hands then, pulling Mitch up from her chair, enfolding in a bear-hug. “I
think that makes it champagne time.” Her breath huffs out as her ribs cave under his embrace.
“Perhaps…” I suggest… “…for breakfast, Bucks Fizz? And, given Mitch’s condition, some elderflower
fizz for her? We still have some in from Beth’s pregnancy.”
“Even better…” Richard hesitates at the fridge door then casts back to Mitch. “Looks like I’d better
order another case of the elderflower, then? No more wine for you for a few months.”
Her mouth twitches, and finally, she smiles. “I guess you’re right on that.”
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