When I started to tire I went back to the house. Madam was waiting for me with a cup of her special hot chocolate. I didn’t know how she knew I was hurt, but she always did.
“It’s okay,” she said softly. “Have faith. He will come around.”
I sat by the fireplace and drank the chocolate. When my father came back from his stay abroad, Sergio went to pick him and Laura up and bring them over. I was so happy to see him. He looked bright and alive. His skin had lost its papery feel. As for them they couldn’t believe how beautiful Torrington Hall was. They went around in a stunned daze. I installed them in the east wing where they could have some privacy. Also I knew Laura would want to have Diana over and I figured this way she could come in through the east entrance and go straight to their suite of rooms. I would not need to see her.
My father and I walked the grounds together. We talked and laughed. One day, he put his hand on my belly and with tears in his eyes told me, he was so proud of me sometimes it felt as if his heart would burst out of his chest.
The weeks turned into a month.
One night, I was fast asleep when I felt him come to me.
Instantly, I opened my arms and he slipped my clothes over my head, pulled my panties down my legs, and entered me. I could smell the alcohol on his breath as I held on tightly to him while he thrust into me like a man possessed. A man who could take it no more and snapped.
When I climaxed it was suddenly over very quickly.
He pulled away from me then and sat at the edge of the bed with his hands clawed in his hair. I knew he had not come yet. He looked so tormented that my heart bled for him. When I reached out to touch him, he jerked away and looked at my naked body the way a man who despises his weakness looks at the object of his addiction. With a groan of self-loathing, he stood, zipped up his trousers and left.
I had taken to talking to my child so I put my hand on my stomach and told my little seed that everything would be fine. He just needed to find his way home again. Valentine’s Day came and went. Luca never came or even called. Madam bought me a little cupcake with a red heart on it and a card. The message on the card said, One day. One day.
I slipped into his bedroom one morning. He had not been there for weeks, but the faint smell of his cologne lingered in the air. I walked to his bed and lay on it. Obviously, the pillowcases had been changed a long time ago, but I still buried my face in his pillows. When I turned my head and looked at the bedside table, I found myself looking into the laughing eyes of a small, dark-haired child. I reached out a hand and touched the innocent face. He seemed so alive, so vital.
God, how could she? How could she?
One month rolled into another and another. I went for my scan. “Oh, look at his little willie, the nurse,” joked.
I went back home. “It’s a boy,” I told Melania, with tears in my eyes.
“Time for some hot chocolate,” she said with a sad smile.
I sat by the fireplace and drank my hot chocolate quietly. I was preparing myself to call Luca. When even the last dregs of chocolate were gone, I picked up my phone and called him. He answered on the third ring.
“I went for a scan today. It’s a boy,” I whispered.
He made a sound. It was a cross between a sob and grunt of pain. Then the line went dead in my hand. I put the phone down and gently laid both my hands on my swelling belly.
“See, your daddy loves you so much, he can’t even speak,” I told my unborn son.
Then I went to find Melania. She had become like a mother to me. Laura could never really be my mother because Diana was so possessive of her. Now Melania had become that figure I’d always craved. I lay on her bed and must have fallen asleep, because when I woke up it was morning and Melania was gone. I could see by the dent in her pillow that she had slept next me.
Spring came and it was beautiful. There were fields of daffodils on the grounds. The morning sickness and the tiredness were all gone and I walked the beautiful grounds for hours. My father went for his operation. I hoped I would see Luca at the hospital or that he would at least call, but he never did. I ran in to Diana once at the hospital and I could see that she was heading my way, her eyes on my belly, but I turned around and walked away from her. I was not letting her poisonous eyes touch my child.