Pregnancy of Revenge(63)

By: Jacqueline Baird

'Aldo is fine, hardly a mark on him, and confined to his room for life if I had my way. It is you I am worried about.'

'No need, I'm okay, but what are you doing here?'

'I could ask you the same question,' Jake said curtly. 'Unconscious in bed and why? Because you decided to scale a cliff to rescue that little devil instead of waiting for the emergency services.' A muscle jerked at the side of his mouth. ' Dio —when I saw you climbing up alongside Aldo...' He shook his head in disbelief. 'If I live to be a hundred I will never forget that image. I nearly went out of my mind. I was sure you were going to fall in a crumpled heap at my feet.'

'You wish,' she mocked, and pulled her hand from his. His concern was too little and too late, as far as she was concerned.

'This is not a game, not something to joke about,' he grated, the tension in every line of his body evident as he added, 'You are my wife, you are carrying my child, and you could have killed the pair of you.'

She would never do anything to harm her child, and she had been as careful as she could. But it wasn't in her nature when any child's life was threatened to stand by and do nothing when she knew she could help. That Jake could think otherwise showed exactly how little he knew her. She might have told him so, but Marta appeared with Dr Bruno and a nurse in tow, and Charlie was grateful for the interruption. She didn't want to see Jake, didn't want to argue with him.

She did her best to ignore Jake's brooding presence as Dr Bruno conducted a thorough examination and pronounced the baby fine, and allowed the nurse to treat her cuts and bruises. Then they congratulated her on her act of heroism, and, horrified, she learned she had appeared on the television news.

'But how?' she asked, sitting up in bed. 'I saw you grab the man's camera.' She addressed her comment to Jake but avoided looking at him directly.

'The police cars have video cameras, as does the fire service; they film all their rescues,' Jake informed her, scowling. 'You are now the lead story on the local news station. And given you're a very beautiful and wealthy woman and you climbed a cliff to rescue a young boy, you will probably be splattered all over the national news, if not international.'

Charlie went pale. 'Oh, my God, in fact, they'll probably dig up your life history, and the house will be besieged by paparazzi—'

'Now, Jake,' Dr Bruno cut in. 'Don't upset your wife; she has had enough for one day. But she is a remarkably fit young woman and the baby is fine, so you have nothing to worry about.'

'Are you sure about that?' Jake queried. 'I think she should be in hospital. She might have hidden injuries. What about a full body scan?'

Charlie looked at him as if he had taken leave of his senses, but the intense expression on his handsome face told her he was serious.

'I am the doctor here, Jake, and I can assure you Charlotte is fine.'

'But she was unconscious,' Jake said. 'Surely she must stay in hospital one night at least.'

'She is the child's mother,' Charlie said in exasperation, sick of the two men talking about her as if she weren't there. 'And I was not unconscious. I fainted. And I fainted because I had little breakfast and no lunch, and after all that exercise I'm starving.' She almost laughed out loud at the stunned expression on Jake's face.

'There you are.' Dr Bruno chuckled. 'When a patient wants food there is not much wrong. Get Marta to feed her. As for you, Charlotte, eat and rest and no more climbing, until after the baby is born.' Turning to Jake, he added, 'as for you, Jake, do try and take better care of your wife. I don't understand you young men of today. In my day a new husband would never have dreamt of leaving his wife alone such a short time after the wedding.'

Jake didn't say a word. He couldn't, because nothing occurred to him but the gut-wrenching knowledge that he had nearly lost her. Dr Bruno was right; he should have taken better care of her. He looked at Charlotte, and her beauty and the shining spirit in her blue eyes shamed him. And all he had done since she had come down the cliff was yell or scowl at her. How could she possibly know it was because he had been terrified at the thought of losing her—still was... ?

When Marta bustled in and told him to keep out of the way, she would look after Charlotte, he let her. After the arrogant way he had behaved over the past few weeks he no longer felt he had the right to object. It would be amazing if Charlotte even spoke to him again, and as for loving him, as she had declared frequently in the past—no chance.