Maggie closed her eyes and thought of explaining that she’d fallen in love overnight, she’d pursued her man relentlessly and given him little choice about taking her to bed—events that had gone around and around in her mind and pointed an accusing finger at her each and every time.

‘Gastric upsets or the like?’ the doctor added.

Her lashes flew up.

‘I did mention how they could interfere with the pill,’ he said gently.

Maggie put a hand to her mouth. ‘I forgot all about that. I… I… was so carried away I didn’t even think of it,’ she admitted. ‘Oh, what a fool I’ve been!’

‘Tell me all about it,’ he invited.

Half an hour later, still in a state of shock, she drove home.

The doctor’s advice had been copious. Termination was her choice, but even the thought of it was horrific. If she didn’t go ahead with that, the father of the child she was carrying deserved to know about it and no child should be completely deprived of its father even if circumstances prevented its parents from living together. And in that event, she should seek moral support from her family.

‘If only you knew,’ she murmured as she unlocked her front door. ‘If only you knew! On the other hand, termination is out of the question, so…’

Three weeks later she was still grappling with her problems on her own when fate took a hand.

The property that had started it all was now officially on the market. It had been advertised and there’d been quite a bit of interest—none from the McKinnon organization or anyone bearing that name, however.

Maggie had been happy to be able to distance herself from it. As the agent who’d received the initial enquiries from the owners it should have been her ‘baby’. In other words, even if another on their team sold it, she would still be entitled to some of the commission, but she’d waived that right when she’d taken four weeks’ unexpected leave.

But there came a day when a woman rang in requesting an inspection and Maggie was the only one available to do it. Very conscious of the strain she’d put on the team with her unexpected leave, she temporized, then knew she should do it.

She arranged to meet the woman on the property at four in the afternoon and made a note of her name—a Ms Mary Kelly.

It wasn’t as beautiful a day as the day she’d met Jack McKinnon on this little bit of heaven, Maggie thought as she pulled her car up behind a smart blue BMW. There were dark clouds chasing across the sky and a threat of rain, but it was still lovely.

She got out and went to meet Ms Kelly, a smartly groomed woman in her forties who also sparkled with intelligence and had a decisive air about her.

As they began their inspection Maggie said, ‘Do you intend to live here, Mary?’ They’d quickly got onto first-name terms.

‘No. I’m doing this inspection on behalf of a— friend,’ Mary replied. ‘A second opinion is always helpful, isn’t it?’

Maggie agreed, but realized suddenly that her usual ‘selling persona’ wasn’t quite in place because she wasn’t feeling very well. She struggled on, however. She dredged up several ideas she had for the house, she enthused about the creek, she was just about to suggest a tour of the shed when a violent bout of nausea overtook her and she had to run for a clump of trees where she proceeded to lose her lunch and afternoon tea.

Mary was most concerned and helpful. She dipped her scarf in the creek, wrung it out and offered it to Maggie to wipe her face and hands.

‘Thank you,’ Maggie breathed and patted her face with the cool cloth gratefully.

‘Something you ate?’ Mary Kelly suggested.

‘No.’ Maggie shook her head, and for some reason, maybe because she’d told no one but her doctor, it all came tumbling out. ‘I’m pregnant and this is, so I’m told, morning sickness in the afternoon.’ She grimaced ruefully.

‘You poor thing,’ Mary said slowly and with a gathering frown.

‘Oh, it hasn’t been too bad! It just.. catches me unawares at times. There.’ She rinsed the scarf thoroughly and handed it back. ‘Thanks so much—unless you’d rather I kept it and sent it back to you properly laundered? Oh, by the way, no one at the office knows about it yet so—’ Copyright 2016 - 2023