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Authors: Cc Gibbs

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BOOK: Knight Takes Queen
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‘Of course. We’ll see that it gets there tomorrow.’

‘Thanks.’ Dominic paused with his hand on the door knob. ‘Why don’t you go home for a few weeks? We’ll be
leaving London most likely tomorrow and we have security in San Francisco. You and I can deal with business over the phone or by email. OK?’ At Max’s nod, Dominic turned the knob and pulled the door open. ‘Give my best to Liv and Conall. See you in a few weeks. I gotta go. I don’t want Katherine upset.’

Leaving his office, Dominic smiled at Helen. ‘Think that’s the last we see of her?’

‘I don’t know.’ Helen’s eyebrows shot up in dubious commentary. ‘You have a lot of money.’

‘Max is going to scare the shit out of them tomorrow.’

‘Good luck with that.’

‘Jesus, Helen,’ Dominic said, with a grin. ‘You don’t think I know how to scare people?’

‘I suppose. You do have the knack.’

‘Raised in my family, who wouldn’t?’ he said, derisively. ‘At least I got something out of all that grief. So you’re better off betting on me than the Danelli family when it comes to cold-blooded intent.’ He raised the folder slightly. ‘I’ll get this back to you tomorrow. Go home. We’re done here. Say hi to Mike.’

He was half-way down the hall when he heard the raised female voices. Breaking into a full-out run, he reached the top of the stairs seconds later and saw Katherine and Bianca facing off like cage fighters in the lobby below, Bianca towering over his wife.
Fuck, fuck, fuck
. He plunged down the steps in great leaping bounds, roaring at Forbes to move his ass.

The young security guard was standing paralysed near the door.

The receptionist, equally unsure how to deal with the two confrontational women, stood behind her desk, red-faced and rigid with indecision.

‘I am
his wife!’ Bianca’s face was inches from Kate’s, her mouth in a snarl. ‘You stupid

‘You wish,’ Kate snapped. She shoved her ring hand in Bianca’s face. ‘I’m his
wife. Take a look, bitch!’

‘I’ll give you a month! He likes variety! He likes
of women all at the same time! Everyone knows that!’

‘Maybe you’ll get another chance then,’ Kate sneered, looking up with fire in her eyes. ‘Maybe in a crowd you might get lucky.’

‘And maybe I can have you killed! You trashy little nobody!’ Bianca spat, tightening her grip on her purse chain.

‘Jesus, I’m really scared. Oh, wait, I have a Beretta in the car.’ Kate’s voice was brittle with disgust. ‘So get out of my face or
be dead.’

Oh Christ
, Dominic thought, Katherine must have found the drawer under the seat.
He could see the headlines now
. But he was almost close enough to reach Bianca.
. He lunged for Bianca’s arm as she swung her purse at Kate. Catching her wrist in a bone-crunching grip, he jerked her arm back so the catapulting purse reversed course and ignoring her shrieks of pain, ripped away the purse and flung it across the lobby.

Then he spun her around so his face was inches from hers. Ignoring her anguished squeals, he spoke with a barely
suppressed violence. ‘If you ever threaten my wife again, I’ll break this arm.’ He grabbed her other wrist. ‘Maybe both of them. Got it?’ He tightened his grip. ‘Fucking answer me.’

She haughtily raised her chin and nodded.

He almost hit her for that patrician insolence. But the word
flashed neon bright in his brain so he released her wrists instead and gave her a hard shove towards Forbes who’d come out of his trance and was closing in. ‘Get her the hell out of here,’ he growled.

Swinging back to Kate, he quickly scanned her from head to toe. ‘Did she hurt you?’ His voice was whisper soft. ‘Are you OK?’

‘I’m OK. But you better tell me you never touched that smug-ass, uppity bitch,’ Kate muttered, each word seething with distaste, ‘or you’re never touching me again.’

‘Never, Jesus … not so much as one finger. I swear.’

Kate scanned his face with a laser precision, then softly exhaled. ‘What an epic douche bag – and I mean epic – the bitch is nearly six feet tall. Although seriously, Dominic, I’m actually feeling sorry for you for having to marry her. I mean, Jeez, I thought I had a mouth. By the way, she didn’t like my outfit.’ She swept her hand over the flowery skirt, white blouse and tiny, spangled jean jacket. ‘Too common, she said. Your fault, I told her.’ Then Kate’s shoulders suddenly sagged and her eyes filled with tears. ‘Although you know what I hate her for more than marrying you? I hate her for having a baby when I couldn’t. There’s no fucking justice,’ she whispered.

‘Hey.’ Dominic took her face in his hands and bent his head so their eyes were level. ‘You’ll have a baby,’ he said very softly. ‘I promise.’

‘Yeah, OK.’

‘That doesn’t sound like a ringing endorsement. That sounds like you don’t believe me. Come on, baby, give me some conviction. I promise, I deliver, then you take it from there – OK? Tell me that’s how it works. And don’t you dare fucking give me any excuses because what happened to us isn’t going to happen again.’
He even half believed it as he promised her what she most desired in order to stem her tears

She smiled just a little. ‘OK, you’ve convinced me.’

‘That’s better. Now let’s go home and pack or have someone pack for us and tomorrow morning, we head back to the States. Sound good?’

‘Sounds heavenly.’

‘Stick with me, baby,’ he said with a smile, taking her hand and moving towards the door. ‘From now on I have heaven on permanent order.’


When they arrived home, they found that Nana was on her way to the hospital to see them, so phone calls were exchanged and with their departure set for tomorrow, Leo and Nana went off for another day of museums.

‘Was that rude of me?’ Kate asked, after ending her call with her grandmother and setting her phone down beside her chair in Dominic’s study. ‘We were both doing that what-do-you-want-me-to-do thing until I finally said, “Nana, go. You might not have another chance for a while”.’

‘That’s not rude, baby. I think she probably wanted to go anyway. And, hey, selfishly, I have you to myself now.’

Kate made a little face. ‘I was thinking the same thing. Although, maybe it’s just because we haven’t been together very long. Maybe we’ll get bored after a while and—’

‘I can make sure you’re not bored,’ Dominic said, softly.

She smiled. ‘I know. I love that about you. But I’m just saying – married couples eventually get hobbies and stuff, don’t they?’

‘Don’t ask me. As for you, baby, just so long as you’re still within sight while you’re doing your hobbies, go for it. But I have no intention of sharing you.’ He smiled. ‘Ever.’

Kate grinned. ‘Same page, here. I was just trying not to be clingy.’

‘I never said I didn’t like clingy.’ Except that was exactly what he had said, to the other thousand women who’d briefly entered his life in the years past. Even Julia had been aware there were boundaries. Dominic leaned forward slightly and smiled. ‘Right now, though, I do have work to do. Join me if you like or you might rather take a nap. You’re still really pale, baby.’

‘Maybe I will lie down for a few minutes.’ Whether her row with Bianca had sapped her energy or whether this was typical for her recovery, she

‘Want me to carry you upstairs?’

She waved her hand, no, as she rose from the chair.

‘I’ll be here when you wake up.’ Dominic pointed at a stack of folders on his desk. ‘I have to go through these. We’ll have lunch when you come down. Any requests?’

She smiled. ‘Besides chocolate cake you mean?’

‘Keep fucking with me, baby, and you’ll be feeling this.’ He held up his hand and winked.

‘Then chocolate cake for sure.’

He grinned. ‘Get the hell out of here. I have to work.’


She returned an hour later, refreshed. Pushing open the study door, she saw Dominic at his desk, the phone to his ear.
He held up his hand, three fingers raised. She mouthed,
I’ll be back
, and shut the door. There was no point in disturbing him when he was busy. She didn’t need his attention every minute; she could be grown up and mature. Maybe.

Although, with everyone busy, this was a good time to do a last look at her apartment. Dominic’s staff would pack for them, but in case there were things she wanted to bring home tomorrow, she could set them aside.

Martin asked if she wanted a driver.

‘I’ll walk,’ she said. ‘It’s only a few blocks.’

He looked for a moment as if he might baulk, but apparently thought better of it. ‘Call if you’d like someone to pick you up, Mrs Knight.’ And he gave a nod to the houseboy to open the door for her.

It was late morning, the neighbourhood was quiet with people off to work or school, yoga lessons, shopping, whatever wealthy people did with their days. The pavement was relatively empty, the sun high in the sky, the air balmy.

When she let herself into the apartment, she stood for a moment in the entrance hall, her back against the door, remembering the evening Dominic had come back – the second time. The time they weren’t fighting. When he’d asked her to marry him, when he’d told her how happy he was that she was having his baby.

But she blinked away the tears that welled in her eyes and smiled instead because Dominic had promised her more children. And when he said he’d do something, he did it. Both his stubbornness and sense of responsibility had been
honed in the raging cauldron of his childhood;
No Excuses
had been permanently inked on his psyche.

And right now, with her emotions still shaky, she needed that precious certainty.

Beginning in the reception room, then moving through the flat, opening cupboards and drawers, she selected items to take with her. She started a pile on the bed in her room: a T-shirt with a line from Keats she liked, a pair of turquoise suede chunky heels, the pearls she’d worn that first night in Amsterdam, some tortoise-shell hair clips Dominic had given her, the small crystal vase Dominic had brought over with the white roses and note. Opening the drawer in the bedside table, she lifted out the small card where Dominic had written that he’d try to be a good father. Re-reading it, she smiled and slipped it in her jacket pocket.

At the last, she walked into the spare bedroom for probably only the third or fourth time since she’d moved into the flat. Standing just inside the doorway, she surveyed the room decorated in soft robin’s egg blue and creamy yellow, the bed with the padded headboard matching the toile bedspread. The small chaise in cream silk, the painted desk and splendid yellow silk drapes on the floor-to-ceiling windows that overlooked the garden

And if the closet door hadn’t been slightly ajar, she might have turned and left. She walked over, intending to close the door, saw all her clothes inside and pulled the door wider. Lord, Dominic had bought her so many gorgeous things; she’d even become semi-comfortable with his largesse. She
slid a funky purple blouse that always made her smile off the hanger, a pair of jeans she’d be able to wear again, the flowered raincoat she’d worn in San Francisco. Tossing them on the bed, she moved to the bank of blue built-in drawers next to the closet.

Pulling open the top drawer, her heart skidded to a stop.

She couldn’t catch her breath.

Only a soundless tortured cry escaped.

Neatly folded inside the drawer were rows of little newborn clothes for the baby that hadn’t been born, for the small life lost. She stroked them one by one, her heart breaking, tears sliding down her cheeks. Then she opened the other drawers, each one filled with precious tiny clothes. All the ones she’d unwrapped that night with Dominic – when he’d told her how happy he was about the baby, how they’d build a life together – the three of them.

And in the very bottom drawer were her at-home clothes he’d bought to fit her growing tummy: the T-shirts with ‘Mummy’ written across the front in glitter and paint, the beautiful silk top with a screen print of Raphael’s ‘Madonna and Child’ that Dominic had seen in a window and knew she’d like, the soft sweat pants and loose mommy jeans.

She was sobbing openly in great shuddering breaths by the time she reached the last drawer and scooping up an armful of baby clothes, she sat down hard, holding the scented softness to her face and inhaling the sweetness of baby and the bitterness of shattered hope.

Then, moments later, only nominally aware in the nightmare
of her anguish, she emptied the drawers, carried the clothes to the bed and gently laid the detritus of that small life and her happiness on the spread, incongruously printed with scenes of bucolic bliss. It almost hurt to breathe, she was so overcome with despair. Kneeling on the bed, she slowly sank downward and burrowing deep into the soft pile of clothing like a wounded animal seeking shelter, she wrapped herself in her misery and succumbed to the bleakness of the world.


An hour later, Dominic found her curled up in a foetal position, cocooned in the baby clothes, pale and stricken, her face washed with tears, her body trembling with exhaustion.

She didn’t see him, so he quietly backed out of the doorway, moved down the hall into a bathroom. Shutting the door, he immediately called Jake because he’d walked over too.

‘Bring the car to the flat,’ he said. ‘Quickly.’

He didn’t wait for an answer, immediately punching in Martin’s number. ‘Notify the pilots to be ready for take-off in an hour. Tell Leo to bring Nana to Heathrow ASAP. Jake’s coming for us. I’ll call you from the plane.’

He made an abbreviated call to Max. ‘You and Roscoe will have to take over for a few days. Sorry to throw this at you, but I can’t leave Katherine unattended right now.’

‘We’ll manage,’ Max said, not asking questions. If Dominic was walking away from his business when he never did – or hadn’t until he’d met Katherine – it was serious.

‘I’ll give you a call when I can.’

Then Dominic walked back into the spare bedroom, lay down beside Kate and took her in his arms. ‘I’m so sorry, baby.’ He brushed her cheek with his lips.

‘It’s over,’ she whispered with an awful sadness.

‘I know.’ His breath was warm on her temple, his voice soft with compassion. ‘We’ll go home and—’

‘Not yet!’ A look of terror passed over her face.

‘No rush, baby,’ he said, his voice softly soothing. But he brought it up again, five minutes later, because she was still sobbing and his concern was growing. Her rebuff was almost manic that time, her breathing erratic after crying so long. Twice more he tried to coax her to leave and each time, she doggedly refused.

With a patience rarely exerted other than for Kate, Dominic cajoled once again. ‘Please, baby. You’re going to make yourself sick.’

‘I’m not leaving.’

He recognized that mulish jut of her chin. ‘We can’t stay here indefinitely.’

‘Why not?’

‘Because you’ve been crying for about two hours, baby, and you’re shaking.’ He resisted enumerating the score of other reasons.

‘No I’m not.’

But she wasn’t able to suppress her shudders, her body tightly wound, her senses on emotional overload. ‘I don’t want you relapsing,’ he said quietly, and rolling off the bed
with Kate in his arms, he came to his feet. Ignoring her initial shocked squeal, then her indignant screams,
Stop, stop, I want the baby clothes!
he strode from the room. There was no way in hell he was going to stop and moving swiftly down the hall, he mutely endured her wild, pummelling blows and wilder insistence he go back.

‘I want the baby clothes!’ she shrieked.

‘We’ll have the clothes sent,’ he lied.

‘No! Damn you!’ She pounded him with her fists. ‘I want them

‘Later. We don’t have time now. We’re going to the airport.’

‘God, Dominic, please, please!’ she frantically implored, like a martyr in extremis pleading for divine intervention. ‘Let me just take a few! I’ll be quick! I won’t keep you!
Dominic! Don’t do this to me!’

He took a deep breath. He’d never heard Katherine begging with such anguish. ‘Sorry, baby,’ he murmured. ‘I’m probably doing this all wrong, but we’re getting out, moving on, leaving this misery behind.’ He knew about soldiering on no matter what. She hadn’t had the practice in her family cocoon of unconditional love. ‘And if crying would help I’d say go for it. But it doesn’t. Not. One. Single Bit. I know.’

‘Shut the fuck up,’ she sobbed. ‘You don’t know what you’re – talking about so just –
the fuck up!’

‘I’m not going to. We’re going to pick ourselves up and keep on going. I’ve done it ten million times, baby, so I know
it works. We’re going to have a good life. This isn’t the end of everything. You have to figure that out.’

‘It feels like the end right now!’ she cried, and slapped him hard.

He didn’t so much as flinch or miss a stride. ‘Everything’ll look better tomorrow.’

‘No, it won’t, it
, you unfeeling bastard!’ Her voice was ascending into hysteria again, the green of her eyes flashing with temper. ‘God dammit! I’m not
! Put me down!’

‘I’m sorry, baby. I really am.’ He felt powerless against her pain. His he could manage. He’d had years of practice shutting down his feelings. He’d learned long ago how to lock them away. He was good at it. ‘Maybe Nana can help. They’re on their way to Heathrow now.’

‘No one can help.’ Kate’s voice was suddenly soft with defeat, the energy draining out of her as if she’d finally resigned to the empty futility of the struggle. ‘Not Nana, no one. It’s really over, isn’t it?’

‘This part is, baby. I’m sorry.’ He kissed her gently. ‘We’ll feel better at home, right?’ When she didn’t answer, he dipped his head again, so their eyes met. ‘We’ll try at least, OK?’

Her lips clenched tight to stop the trembling, she sniffed, then nodded.

‘Thanks, baby. I knew you wouldn’t let me down.’

As they approached the front door, he was grateful her hysteria had passed. Although, he had no compunction
carrying her out to the car screaming bloody murder either if he had to.
Fuck the world
had always been his tried-and-true maxim.

On exiting the flat, they found Jake standing by the car, the back door held open.

A look of understanding passed between the two men.

‘Heathrow?’ Jake asked, as if he were a mind reader.

Dominic nodded. Another exchange of male glances. ‘Quickly.’


Dominic stepped into the car with Kate, seated her in his lap, the door was shut and seconds later, Jake was sliding behind the wheel.

‘I’m sorry for being such a hard ass,’ Dominic whispered. ‘I’m a little out of my depth here. Fuck – more than a little. But I figure we just tread water till we get it right or somehow make sense of this fucking tragedy.’

Kate exhaled in a great rush of air. ‘It’s all super sad and pathetic. I’m not sure it’ll ever make sense.’ She lay her head on his shoulder and softly sighed. ‘It doesn’t feel like it will right now.’

‘Maybe we should talk to a therapist.’

She lifted her gaze. ‘Do you want to?’

. ‘I will if you want to. Whatever you want, I’ll do. You know that, baby. Just tell me.’

‘I don’t know,’ she mumbled. ‘I don’t know how to deal with this pain. Nothing’s ever hurt like this before – it’s like there’s no end in sight.’

‘I could get us some books about’, he stopped, not wanting to say, baby, or miscarriage, ‘what we’re going through,’ he finished instead. ‘Others have suffered this loss too. It might help to read about it.’

She wrinkled her nose. ‘I’m too selfish. I don’t care about anyone else. I know what I feel and it sucks.’

BOOK: Knight Takes Queen
8.91Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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