City Lives One DEVLIN
Devlin Delaney’s hands shook as she took the slim wand from its packet. In a few minutes she’d know if her dearest wish was to be granted. To be pregnant with Luke’s baby would make her happy beyond belief.
Her blue eyes darkened in sadness. How different this was from when she’d first thought she was pregnant all those years ago. How frightened she’d been. So young and naïve and single. Deluding herself that her boss and seducer, the eminent and respected gynaecologist Colin Cantrell-King, loved her and would stand by her. That had been a forlorn wish. Colin had packed her off to an abortion clinic in England.
Devlin shivered as she remembered her desperation and fear in that place, all the doubts and anxieties that had beset her. She’d felt as though she was swimming in the darkest, thickest fog . . . alone. And then the morning she was due to have the termination she’d simply packed her bags and walked out of the clinic and never looked back.
Her baby, Lynn, the greatest joy of her life, had changed her from a spoilt, rather selfish young woman to one who took responsibility for her actions and in the process became caring, strong and motivated.
Devlin swallowed and tears blurred her eyes. Her baby’s death in a car crash had quenched her spirit so completely that she’d thought she’d never climb out of the darkness.
But then Luke had come into her life, sent to her like a guardian angel. They’d gone into business, created the luxurious City Girl health and leisure complex, and, in the process, fallen in love and married. Luke was her rock. The greatest blessing in her life. And he was waiting anxiously in the bedroom to know if he was going to be a father.
She wiped her eyes and did the test. It wasn’t fair to dawdle. She slipped the wand into her dressing-gown pocket. He was standing by the bedroom window looking out towards the twinkling lights of Howth when she padded in to him and slipped an arm around his waist.
He dropped an arm around her shoulder and smiled down at her.
‘How long do we have to wait?’
‘Just another minute or so. My heart’s thumping so fast I can almost hear it.’
‘Are you sure this is what you want, Luke?’ Devlin stared up into her husband’s amber eyes, searching for reassurance.
‘Of course it’s what I want, Devlin. More than anything. As long as you’re happy about it.’
‘Oh Luke, I want your baby so much. I’ve always hoped this day would come. I can’t believe it. It’s a bit like a dream.’
‘It’s no dream. You keep seducing me against my will. You’re a nymphomaniac. I’m not safe anywhere. It was bound to happen.’
‘Stop it, you. Be serious.’ Devlin giggled.
‘I am serious,’ he protested. ‘Very serious. I mean, Devlin, jumping me in the lift . . . if your public saw you. And what about the time we went for a walk down in Wicklow and you—’
‘Stop it. You’re as bad. Remember the time at the airport?’
They smiled and wrapped their arms around each other, happier than they’d ever been.
‘But we’ll have to decide where we’re going to live. London or Dublin. And I’d like a house with a garden. Apartments are no places to raise children.’ Devlin’s brow furrowed.
Luke laughed. ‘Will you stop panicking, Delaney. You’re an awful woman for jumping the gun. We don’t even know if you are pregnant yet. Let me see that thing.’
Devlin took the wand from her pocket. They glanced down at it together.
‘Oh my God!’ he exclaimed. ‘It’s blue! It’s blue! Devlin, we’re pregnant! We’re pregnant!’
‘Oh Luke, you idiot.’ Devlin was half laughing, half crying as he swept her up in his arms and hugged the daylights out of her again.
‘I think I’ll do another one just to be sure,’ she murmured, rubbing her nose against his.
‘I’ve a better idea,’ Luke grinned as he carried her over to the bed. ‘Let’s make sure, sure.’
‘I forgot I’d married a genius . . . and you call me a nymphomaniac.’
‘Well, you couldn’t call me one,’ Luke teased and Devlin burst out laughing.
‘I love you. I really, really love you,’ she whispered.
‘I love you too, Devlin, with all my heart.’
Devlin drew him down to her and kissed her husband soundly.
• • •
Afterwards, drowsy, replete, and utterly content, Devlin lay cradled in Luke’s arms. ‘It just gets better and better,’ she murmured.
‘Yeah!’ Luke smiled down at her.
‘What would you prefer, boy or girl?’ Devlin snuggled closer.
‘I don’t mind. I just can’t believe that I’m going to be a father. Let’s not ask when you go for your scan. Let’s have a surprise.’ He gently stroked the softness of her still-flat belly. ‘Are you all right about the baby, Devlin? I mean I’m sure it’s going to bring back memories of Lynn. Promise me you won’t keep it all bottled in. Share it all with me, won’t you?’
‘I had a little cry in the loo, when I was doing the test,’ she confessed. ‘I was just thinking how joyful this is and how devastated I was when I discovered I was pregnant with Lynn. And then how happy I was when she was born. She was a beautiful baby, Luke.’
‘I know she was. How could she not be with you as her mother,’ Luke said gently. ‘And this baby isn’t a replacement for Lynn. No-one will ever replace that precious little child for you. So if you get a bit down, please don’t hide it from me. Promise.’
‘I promise, Luke. But I want this to be a good time for you.’ Devlin took his face in her hands and smiled at him.
‘All my times with you are good times,’ Luke said huskily as he lowered his head and kissed her passionately.
Later, Luke made tea and toasted-cheese sandwiches and they sat snuggled up in front of the fire eating their supper.
‘Will you still think I’m sexy when I’m waddling around with a big bump?’ Devlin asked.
‘I’ll always think you’re sexy,’ Luke assured her. ‘I even think you’re sexy with a big dribble of butter and melted cheese running down your chin. Here.’ He handed her a napkin.
‘You’re such a brat, Luke Reilly.’ Devlin wiped her chin. ‘I’m looking for reassurance here. When I was pregnant with Lynn I was like an elephant.’
‘Does this mean I’m in danger of being squashed if you jump on me in lifts, or wrestle me to the ground under oak trees in the country? Is my life in danger?’ Luke stared at her in pretend horror.
‘Oh Luke!’ Devlin laughed.
‘Devlin, honestly I don’t care what you look like. I love you. I’m delighted you’re pregnant. I’ll go to classes and decorate nurseries and do whatever you want. I just want to be with you and share every moment of this with you and I want it to be the happiest time of your life.’ Luke reached over to her and took her face between his hands.
Devlin promptly burst into tears.
Luke looked horrified. ‘For God’s sake, what’s wrong?’
‘I’m just so happy,’ she sniffed. ‘Don’t mind me, it’s my hormones.’
‘Oh God! I’d forgotten about The Hormones.’ Luke smote his forehead. ‘Are pregnancy hormones worse than PMT ones?’
‘A hundred times worse,’ Devlin assured him, half laughing, half crying.
‘Interesting times ahead, so.’ Luke raised an eyebrow. ‘But don’t worry, I’ll cope. I’m made of stern stuff. Do you want another sanger, now that you’re eating for two?’
‘Oh yeah, I’m ravenous,’ Devlin declared.
‘OK, sit there and put your feet up. One Reilly special coming up.’ Luke kissed the top of her head and departed to the kitchen.
Devlin sat in the fire’s dancing shadows and watched the flames flickering up the chimney. Scented candles cast a gentle glow around the room. Enya, soft and soothing, sang in the background. Peace enveloped her. How lucky she was. When this baby was born her life would be perfect. She’d have everything she’d ever wanted. Was it possible to experience perfect happiness? Right now Devlin knew she’d never been as happy in all her life. She was so happy she was almost afraid. The griefs and sorrows of her past were a constant reminder that what was given could also be taken away.
Don’t think like that, she chided herself silently. Live in the now, wasn’t that what it was all about? One of the beauty therapists at City Girl, who specialized in aromatherapy and reflexology, had a little poster in her room that always comforted Devlin.
The past is gone, to be no more
Tomorrow may never come
Enjoy today and be at peace
And you and God are one.
‘Enjoy today and be at peace,’ she whispered to herself as she rubbed her hand gently over her tummy, longing for the moment when she would feel the first faint flutterings of life.