Authors: Paige Toon
Tags: #Fiction, #General
Praise for Paige Toon
‘I loved it – I couldn’t put it down’
‘Another perfect summer page-turner from Paige Toon’
‘Wonderful, addictive, sharp and sexy’
‘Charming and romantic. Real old-school chick-lit, like they used to make in the old days’
‘Brilliant . . . one of the rising stars of chick-lit’
‘Laugh-out-loud funny and touchingly honest. This is summer’s poolside reading sorted!’
‘This witty and sexy debut novel is perfect holiday reading material’
‘A great achievement . . . I really enjoyed it and I love the way it starts. You’re in there from the word go’
‘A fab debut and great summer read’
‘Loved this book – all the warmth and fun I’ve grown to expect from the talented Ms Toon’
‘A fun read – pack it with your bikini’
Also by Paige Toon
Lucy in the Sky
Johnny Be Good
Pictures of Lily
First published in Great Britain by Simon & Schuster UK Ltd, 2011
A CBS COMPANY
Copyright © Paige Toon, 2011
This book is copyright under the Berne Convention.
No reproduction without permission.
® and © 1997 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.
The right of Paige Toon to be identified as author of this work has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988.
Simon & Schuster UK Ltd
222 Gray’s Inn Road
London WC1X 8HB
Simon & Schuster Australia
A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library
B Format ISBN 978-1-84983-126-0
Trade Paperback ISBN 978-0-85720-649-7
eBook ISBN: 978-1-84983-127-7
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either a product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual people, living or dead, events or locales, is entirely coincidental.
Typeset by Hewer Text UK Ltd, Edinburgh
Printed and bound in Great Britain by Cox & Wyman, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 8EX
Love you, little one
‘He’s not mine, is he?’
That’s the question I fear the most.
You see, I have a secret. My son is not fathered by my boyfriend, but by one of the most famous people alive. And he doesn’t even know it.
My boyfriend doesn’t know, either. No one does. That’s the only way it can be. It’s a crushing burden to carry, but it’s mine to carry and mine alone.
I’m terrified, so terrified that the truth will come out. Because my son doesn’t look like my boyfriend. He looks like his rockstar father. And sooner or later, the world is going to realise . . .
‘Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday, dear Barney,
Happy birthday to you.’
I’m singing this very quietly so as not to wake him. He’s had a busy day with his nanny, grandad and me, and now he’s crashed out in his cot. He’s going to grow out of it soon. I can’t believe my baby has just turned one. It’s frightening how time flies.
Bit of a bummer that his daddy wasn’t here today. I say that flippantly, but inside I’m not happy. Not happy at all. Then, suddenly, I’m fine again. It’s the guilt. It balances out the anger. I can’t stay cross with Christian for long. That word: ‘Daddy’. It’s a lie. I’m a liar. And I hate myself for it.
I can hear my parents clattering away in the bathroom next door. They’ll be in bed soon, and then I’ll have the living room to myself. I’m getting the urge again. My head is prickling with the thought of it. It will be the first time I’ve done it in six months. The last time was when Christian and I had a big fight. That was before I knew. Before I knew for sure. But I’d suspected it for a long time.
Oh, Christian . . . What have I done?
One year and nine months ago, I had sex with my boyfriend’s best friend. It sounds horrendous when you say it like that. Don’t get me wrong, it is horrendous. But there was a history there. I was in love with Johnny. I was in love with him first.
I look back once more to my sleeping baby, who is no longer a baby. I lean over his cot and kiss him softly on his forehead as tears fill my eyes.
I’m so sorry, my darling. I don’t know what to do.
If I told Christian now and he threw us out, as of course he would, how would my son be affected? Would he remember the person who was his father for the first year of his life? Christian is away such a lot at the moment that we’re almost getting used to life without him. Maybe it wouldn’t be such an upheaval. Maybe it would be okay. Oh, who am I kidding?
I think my parents have finally retired to bed. I get up and quietly walk out of my bedroom into the living room. My laptop screen is dark, the screensaver having switched itself off hours ago. I take a seat on the sofa and pull the computer onto my lap. My head is prickling again. I shouldn’t be doing this.
‘I thought you were in bed?’
I almost jump out of my skin at the sound of my mum’s voice.
‘You frightened me!’
‘Sorry, I wanted a glass of water.’
I quickly push down the laptop lid and put the computer back on the side-table, the urge momentarily quashed. ‘I was just checking my emails,’ I lie as I get up and join my mum in the kitchen.
‘Can’t you do that in the morning?’ she asks, pulling a bottle of water out of the fridge. ‘You’ve had a busy day,’ she adds.
‘I know, I know,’ I brush her off, not enjoying being told what to do, especially now that I’m a responsible parent myself. Allegedly.
‘Have you spoken to Christian?’ she asks as she decants water into a tumbler.
‘No, I haven’t called him back yet,’ I admit.
‘Don’t you think you should? I’m sure he’d like to know about Barney’s birthday.’
I bite my tongue and take the bottle from her, pouring a drink for myself. ‘I will,’ I reply shortly.
‘Good,’ she says annoyingly.
I follow her out of the kitchen and switch off all the lights, taking one last look at my laptop sitting silently on the side-table in the living room.
You’ll keep . . .
I follow my mum down the corridor to the bedrooms. She and Dad are sleeping in Barney’s room to the left of the bathroom, while he and his cot have been temporarily relocated into my bedroom on the right.