Authors: Demelza Watts
? Hi, it’s Mia. Please call me when you get this message.”
Mia sat on her sofa later that evening, her head pounding from the revelations of the day. Together, they had formed a plan and, with the phone records as proof, even if she couldn’t be taken to task legally, Louise and her scam would be exposed.
An hour later, he returned her call.
“Hey, Mia. How are you?” He sounded defeated and Mia’s heart tugged at the resignation in his voice.
“I’m okay, thanks.” She spoke softly, picturing his face. “Are you possibly free tomorrow to join me and Nico for lunch? Louise as well? We have someone we’d like you to meet.”
He thought for a second. “You want Louise to come too?”
Oh hell, yes
. “Yes, we’d really like her to be there too.”
“Okay, Mia. Sure, I’ll let her know. It’s not like she’s doing anything anyway, besides spending my money on maternity clothes.”
Mia winced. “Well, glad you can make it. Is one o’clock good for you?” He agreed and she reeled off the details for a restaurant in the City.
“See you tomorrow.”
he next day
, Mia met Nico at 12.30. She was a bundle of nerves as she sipped her mineral water, running through their plan one final time.
“Mia, just don’t be offended if Gino lashes out at you. This is almost too much for any man to bare. He may be initially angry at you for doing this behind his back.”
“But it wasn’t just my idea.” She protested. “Mamma and papà were fully behind this too.”
“I know and I completely support their decision. I’m just saying. Gino’s been a broken man for the past month and this may be too much for him all at once.”
Mia nodded. “I understand, Nico. I feel sick myself.”
“I know. The sooner Gino knows the truth the better.” He glanced at his watch. “They’ll be here any minute now.” He sipped his wine and Mia regretted not ordering anything stronger than her water.
At exactly one o’clock, the door opened and Gino walked in with Louise following closely behind. He smiled wearily as he approached them and Mia quickly ran her eyes over him.
Even in his misery, he looked so damn handsome. Wearing his staple Levi’s, he wore a soft cashmere navy jumper over a pale blue Oxford shirt. His grey eyes pierced hers before he quickly looked away. Louise tried to hold onto his arm from behind and, looking irritated, he turned to help her.
Nico and Mia stood up to greet them, both struggling with their false smiles towards Louise.
“Gino, Louise, thanks for coming at such short notice.”
“No problem, Nic. Good to see you both.”
Mia silently wanted to throw up. No one ever addressed her brother as
— he hated it. She watched as he forced a smile and sat down.
“So, Mia, it’s nice to see you again.” She looked pointedly at Mia, smiling, but her eyes were cold.
Mia didn’t say anything, but picked up her glass to drink her water. She felt Gino’s eyes on her, but didn’t look up.
“So, I’ve not eaten here before. What’s good on the menu? I’m eating for two now, right, darling?” She flashed Gino a grin as she picked up the menu.
“Actually, Louise, I don’t think we’ll be staying for long.” Mia couldn’t wait any longer. She checked her watch and looked over Louise’s shoulder. Jack would be here any minute and they had arranged the seating so that Louise would have her back to the door. She smiled as she saw the door open and watched as Jack caught her eye.
Right on time.
His face was solemn, his lips pursed in a thin line as he made his way over.
“What do you mean? You invited us to lunch, didn’t you?”
“Well, we thought there was someone you would like to meet first.”
Gino raised his eyebrow, looking at both Mia and Nico. “Who else is coming?”
At that moment, Jack arrived at their table. Louise was sipping her water and did not immediately look up. When she did, her face drained of all colour.
“Hello, Louise. Long time, no speak.”
“Er, hi, Jack.” She looked at Mia with panic in her eyes. “What are you doing here?”
“Louise, who’s this?” Gino sat up, watching the interaction between the two.
“Do you want to tell him, or should I?” Jack’s face had reddened as he spoke through gritted teeth. Louise quickly gave Gino a reassuring smile and scraped her chair back.
“Jack, please, can we go somewhere and talk?”
“No. I don’t think so.”
Mia and Nico watched silently as Gino stood up. “What’s going on here?” His tone was hardened as he glanced at both Louise and Jack.
Louise shot both Mia and Nico a dirty look. “It’s just a big misunderstanding. Please, Jack, another time.”
“Shut up, you bitch.”
She flinched, but didn’t say anything.
“Excuse, me. Just hold on a moment here.” Gino looked at both Mia and Nico with anger and frustration for their silence. “What’s going on here? Either explain or leave!”
“I’m happy to explain. This woman here is carrying my child.”
Gino’s face paled as he sat down. “What are you talking about?” His voice was ice as he looked at the two of them.
Nico stepped in, speaking softly. “Gino, you need to hear him out. His name is Jack.”
“Sorry, but I don’t need to be here.” Louise grabbed her bag and started to stand up. Mia stood immediately, towering over her, eyes flashing. “
the hell back down.”
hree days had passed
. Three long days, where she couldn’t get hold of Gino. His phone was turned off. She recalled the drama that had unfolded at the restaurant. Louise had caused a huge scene, drawing the attention of the other diners. She denied the truth fiercely, until they produced the phone records detailing their conversation about the abortion. Jack produced his bank statement, which showed the twenty thousand pounds transferred to her account.
Knowing that she couldn’t lie any further, she began to sob, openly begging Gino for his forgiveness. Gino was silent through the heated argument. When he saw the final proof, he looked at her with such disgust in his eyes that she shrank away from him. Warning her never to contact him again, he walked away, closely followed by both Mia and Nico, who left Louise and Jack at the table. By the time they had left the restaurant, Gino was nowhere to be seen.
“Give him time, Mia. This is a huge shock for all of us. I’ll call him later.”
She nodded sadly as she made her way home. That was three days ago and neither she nor Nico could get hold of him. She had begun to worry as she dialled Nico’s number.
“Any news, Nico?”
“Morning, sis. No news, I’m afraid… I’m sure he’s fine. He’ll be back with us soon.”
“I don’t know, Nico.” She sighed, tears forming in her eyes. “I’m worried about him. Do you have any idea where he could be?”
Nico thought for a moment. “There’s only one place I can think of. He has mentioned in the past that he has a beach hut in Cornwall that he sometimes likes to escape to.”
“Do you have the address?”
“Please, Nico. I need the address.”
n hour later
, she was on the train to Cornwall. She didn’t know if he would be there, but she was going out of her mind with worry and couldn’t sit in her flat any longer, wondering where he was.
Six hours later, the train pulled into its final destination at St Ives in Cornwall. She took her bag and stepped out. It was already dark outside and the cold wind from the sea immediately attacked her hair, causing it fly out in all directions. Smoothing it down, she made her way out of the station and looked for a taxi — thankfully there were plenty of them waiting for passengers and she gave the address to the driver.
Mia’s heartbeat picked up as the taxi made its way up the steep road along the coastal path, silently praying that this wouldn’t end up being a wild goose chase. Soon a lone beach hut came into view, although she wasn’t sure why it was called a hut when it clearly looked the epitome of luxury. Perched on a grassy verge, Mia could imagine that the beach-front view along with the noise of the Atlantic Ocean crashing against the cliffs, would make a heady combination.
As they drew closer, she was silently thankful that she spotted the lights on. The taxi drew to a stop and Mia thanked him as she walked out.
“Should I wait, miss?”
Just then, she spotted Gino’s silhouette against the window. “Oh, no thanks, I’m fine.” She smiled at the friendly man as she walked towards the door, relief flooding through her body that he was well and safe. Her heart was racing as she rang the bell.
A moment later, Gino swung open the door, shock registering in his eyes.
“Mia, what are you doing here?”
“Um…freezing?” She shivered and he quickly moved out of the way, letting her inside. He slowly shut the door behind them as Mia stood awkwardly in the doorway.
“Come in, please.”
She followed him into the sitting room, her eyes drawn to the cozy log fire.
“This is beautiful.”
“Thanks. It’s a great place to think.” He sat on the sofa, indicating for her to do so as well. “Can I get you a drink?”
“No, I’m fine, thanks.”
Silence. “You came all this way? How did you know where to find me?”
“Nico said he remembered you mentioning this place.”
A small smile tugged on the corner of his mouth as he stared into the fireplace. She followed his gaze, finding the flames hypnotic.
“So, I got totally played, huh?” He shook his head, picking some lint off his trousers.
“I’m sorry, Gino.” She spoke softly, desperately wanting to reach out to him, but instead stayed put in her place.
“My life’s a fucking mess.”
This time she moved closer. She took his large hand in hers as he watched her. “It’s not, Gino. Look how much you have going for you. Louise was messed up…I’m just glad you found out now.”
“I still don’t know how you found out, Mia. Tell me.”
So Mia spent the next few minutes explaining about her and her parents’ concern, the conversation she overheard and the use of the PI. If he was shocked he didn’t say anything.
“I feel like such a fool. I see everything now. All the little bits that wouldn’t add up. She slipped up on the due date a couple of times, but blamed it on pregnancy hormones.” He shook his head, smirking. “I can’t believe the lengths she went to.”
Mia was silent as she held his hand. With her other hand, she reached up to lightly stroke his face and he lent into it, closing his eyes. She couldn’t bear to see him so broken.
“Why are you here, Mia?” He looked at her with confusion, torment and hurt. “You tried to warn me and I was too stupid to listen.”
“It doesn’t matter, Gino. It all worked out in the end.” She smiled, squeezing his hand for comfort. He was silent as he looked at the flames.
“So what’s the ending for you, Mia?”
“Ending?” She whispered as he turned and their eyes met, gazes locked. Suddenly, the air between them became charged. “I was hoping that this is just the beginning.”
With courage, Mia lent forward and kissed his lips. Unresponsive initially and disappointed, she started to pull away. Within a second, Gino gripped the back of her head and pulled her to him, kissing her with a passion she had never felt before. She moaned into his mouth as his tongue traced the soft fullness of her lips as wild desire swept through her. Abruptly pulling away, he lifted her onto his lap and looked at her with smouldering eyes. Mia’s heartbeat continued to pound as her lips burned in the aftermath of their kiss.
“I’m messed up, Mia. I’ve fucked up.” He ran his hand over his hair, fighting their connection. “You’re better off without me.”
“Don’t ever say that, Gino!” She lifted his chin with her finger, as her eyes filled with tears. “I love you. I’ve loved you for so damn long.”
Before he had a chance to answer, she threw herself at him and kissed him with reckless abandon, giving every single fibre of her being to him in that kiss.
Reluctantly, they came apart and Mia noticed the tears in his eyes. “I love you too, Mia.” He kissed her with such tenderness that her face was wet with tears. “I’ve been a fool but I’m never letting you go again.” He tenderly brushed away her tears with his thumb, and his smile rivalled the sun. Pulling her closer to him, he wrapped his arms around her, filling her with warmth and joy. Mia leaned into him as he softly kissed her head. The flames continued to burn brightly in front of them, reflecting the depth of the passion they felt towards each other. Mia smiled contentedly. Their world was finally falling back into place.
you for reading Desired - I hope you liked reading Mia’s story!
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