For some reason, although Maggie was perfectly confident with Trent now, although she experienced no pain now and wasn’t afraid to be left alone, the quiet, empty apartment acted as a catalyst for her.

She started to think of the future. She started to question Jack’s feelings for her, and hers for him.

There had been no repeat of what had taken place in the den a few nights before Trent was born, but that wasn’t so surprising in the circumstances, and she might have been partly responsible for it anyway. She had been preoccupied with her baby and getting herself fit again for him. Jack, apparently, had had a lot of work to catch up on. And her mother had been with them all the time.

Yet, lately, little things about him had started to catch her unawares.

She’d been talking to him over breakfast one morning when she’d found herself breaking off and watching the way he was drumming his fingers on the table. It was a habit she’d first noticed at Cape Gloucester and it suddenly reminded her of his fingers on her skin, exploring, tantalizing her until she was weak with desire…

She’d had to get up without finishing what she was saying on the pretext of hearing Trent.

He’d come back from one trip, but had only been able to spend half an hour with them before going off to a meeting. She’d unpacked his bag for him and she’d suddenly buried her face in one of his unlaundered shirts, feeling a little dizzy with longing for his tall, strong body on hers.

So not a lot has changed there, she thought, while she waited for Jack to come back from New Zealand. I still don’t know where he stands, though, but I do know he’s been wonderful in every other way.

She was sitting on her bed as she thought these thoughts, with Trent lying beside her obviously deeply interested in his teddy bear.

She leant over and tickled him under the chin. He made a trilling little sound, then grabbed her hand and started to nuzzle it.

‘But in the end, honey-child,’ she said to him, ‘what it boils down to is this—if your mama thought only of herself in times gone by, that has to change. OK, I know! You’re hungry.’

* * *

Jack got home just after Maggie had given Trent his six p.m. feed and was settling him.

She was still in the nursery when she heard him arrive and called out to him. ‘In here, Jack!’

He came through a few minutes later looking rather tired. He wore khaki trousers and a round-necked T-shirt under a tweed sports jacket.

‘A busy trip?’ she queried.

‘Yep.’ He stretched. ‘How’s my son and heir?’

‘He’s fine. He was talking to his teddy bear today. Jack.’ Maggie hesitated, then knew there was only one way to do what she had to do and that was to plunge right in. ‘This is a very proper baby.’

Jack stared at his now-sleeping son for a long moment, then sat down on the end of her bed. ‘I never thought he was a porcelain doll.’

‘No. I mean, he’s very well organized. He does everything by the book.’

Jack frowned. ‘He’s only eight weeks old. How can you say that?’

Maggie was still sitting in her wheelchair, attractively dressed in slim white trousers and a floral seersucker jacket trimmed with green. Her dark gold hair was tied back with a scrunchie; her green eyes were clear and free of pain.

‘I’ll tell you. He adapted himself to a four-hourly schedule right from the start under extremely difficult circumstances. He burps beautifully and he mostly sleeps between feeds just as the book says he should. He has one wakeful period, after his two p.m. feed, where he’ll accept conversation and he quite appreciates being carried around for a bit. He now sleeps through the eight hours from ten p.m. to six a.m.’

‘Is there anything he doesn’t do by the book?’ Jack asked with a grin. ‘He sounds almost too good to be true.’

Maggie considered. ‘He hates having his hair washed. He gets extremely upset, but even that isn’t going against the book exactly. They do warn that some babies hate it.’

‘Screams blue murder?’

‘Yes. Otherwise—’ she shrugged ‘—there’s nothing he doesn’t do very correctly.’

‘What are you worried about, then?’ Copyright 2016 - 2024