Page 56 of The Secret Father

‘I got the impression you liked my body last night.’

‘That’s below the belt.’

A smile quivered on his lips. ‘Wasn’t that your specialist subject?’


‘All right, all right, is this better?’ He folded a bath towel around his middle. ‘Did you wear this for your meeting with the medical administrator?’ He picked up the navy cotton striped top that matched the navy canvas trousers she’d travelled in yesterday.

‘It was a casual meeting.’

‘It must have been. Anyway, I’m in a similar situation to you; I’ve nothing to wear.’ He regarded the clothes that hadn’t been off his back for almost a week with disfavour. ‘I’ll ring down to Reception and get some things sent up.’

‘The boutiques in the foyer won’t be open yet.’

‘Then they can open early,’ Sam replied. ‘I think you’ll find they’ll be flexible.’

This statement proved accurate. A selection of items appeared whilst Sam was still in the shower.

‘Anything to suit?’ he asked as he walked in towelling his dark hair vigorously.

‘Plenty,’ she observed drily. She frowned at yet another designer label. ‘How did you know my size?’ Even the lingerie, which made her mouth water, was an exact fit.

Sam cupped one hand. ‘Thirty-four C,’ he said, squinting at his approximation.

‘That ability must come in very useful!’ she commented with a flush.

‘It does,’ he confirmed. ‘Keep anything you like and I’ll send the rejects back.’

‘I can’t afford these,’ she observed regretfully.

‘Who’s asking you to pay?’

‘I can’t accept clothes from you.’

‘Why not?’

‘It wouldn’t be…it wouldn’t be appropriate.’

‘You can owe me.’ His voice suggested the subject was beginning to bore him.

Of course, he’s got more important things to think about than what knickers I wear, she thought guiltily. She selected a pair of tailored cream linen trousers and a striped silk shirt.

‘I’ll pay you back.’

He looked impatient, but didn’t argue the point. He was impatient, but she managed to persuade him to eat breakfast before they left for the hospital.

Marilyn didn’t appear surprised at her presence. She nodded in recognition as Lindy walked in beside Sam. As she listened to the attending doctor’s assessment, Lindy’s heart sank. The impressive list of injuries were not in themselves life-threatening. The scans showed there had been no permanent brain damage, but…

‘What are you trying to say?’ Sam brusquely halted the meandering commentary littered with technical jargon.

‘He’s saying the kidney damage is permanent, Sam.’

The doctor shot her a surprised glance. ‘You’re a doctor?’

Lindy nodded. Sam hadn’t flinched, but his jaw tightened and he looked to the medic for confirmation.

‘Is Lindy right?’

‘I’m afraid so.’

Marilyn let out an anguished moan and flung herself into her husband’s arms. ‘My poor baby,’ she sobbed.

‘What exactly does this mean?’ Sam persisted.

‘The boy will need to be on dialysis for the rest of his life.’

‘What about a transplant?’

‘That is, of course, an option, but a suitable donor doesn’t always come up overnight. We have tissue-typed Benjamin, of course…a close relative would be best… A sibling?’

‘I’m pregnant.’ Marilyn wiped the tears from her face. ‘Does that rule me out?’

‘Honey…’ Her husband drew her closer to his side.

Sam looked with surprise from one to the other. ‘Congratulations. That leaves me.’

Lindy flinched, even though she’d known he was going to say it. This was the man she accused of being an unnatural father!

‘There’s no guarantee you’ll be compatible, Mr Rourke.’

‘Do what you have to do.’

‘We can arrange counselling if the tests prove…’

‘I don’t want counselling. I want you to get on with your job.’

‘We wouldn’t contemplate surgery until the boy’s recovered from his other injuries.’ That said, the doctor retreated tactfully.

‘Oh, Sam, how can you ever forgive us?’

‘There’s nothing to forgive, Marilyn.’

Lindy would have retreated herself if Sam hadn’t been blocking the doorway. She felt like an interloper. This was a private moment and she had no place here.

‘We had no right to ask you not to see Ben. We should have told him you were his father. I played on your guilt deliberately.’ The admission made Marilyn’s eyes fill with tears. ‘It wasn’t fair to you or Ben. It was selfish. When I saw you sitting at his bedside, I knew I’d been wicked.’