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Мортимер Кэрол

A Marriage To Remember

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CHAPTER FOUR

‘I CAN’T believe he did that!’ Mark strode angrily up and down in their hotel suite. ‘I just couldn’t believe it was actually him up on the stage with you when I came back from the dressing-room with your guitar. Arrogant bastard!’ He shook his head, as if he still couldn’t quite take in what he had seen.

Maggi could easily understand his anger and disbelief; she was sure a lot of other people who had been in that hall tonight were still stunned at having seen Adam Carmichael.

As she was!

It all seemed like a dream now that they were back at their hotel, Maggi having escaped from the stage at the end of ‘their song’, glancing back only once, to see that Adam wasn’t having the same success in leaving, the audience calling for more, refusing to let him go. And with good reason; Adam was, and always had been, a phenomenon in his own right. He had gone on in the last three years to be an entertainer much in demand all over the world. The audience tonight had been more than aware of just how privileged they were to hear him sing so unexpectedly.

But Maggi could well have done without it, and was still shaken by the way he had joined her on stage in that autocratic way. But then, he always had been the most arrogant man she’d ever met in her life; he didn’t believe any of the rules were meant for him, living his life by his own set of codes—and they were like no one else’s. When Maggi had first met him she had believed his arrogance to be self-confidence, had felt protected by it—it had only been later that she had learnt, to her cost, just how wrong she was...!

‘He ruined your comeback, damn him!’ Mark continued furiously. ‘You were going to do this on your own, and now he’s—’

‘What’s done is done, Mark.’ She sat in one of the armchairs, exhausted, mainly by all the emotional trauma of the evening. ‘There’s nothing we can do to change that,’ she added wearily, knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that the music festival had turned into a fiasco as far as the return of her music career went.

It had all been planned so carefully, the whole thing to be taken slowly: the music festival this weekend, a couple of other low-key gigs lined up for next month—nothing too exacting, just a slow introduction back into the world she loved best. But if the Press got to hear of the performance with Adam this evening...!

‘I can’t do the third evening tomorrow, Mark,’ she told him.

Mark stopped his pacing and looked across at her. ‘You have to, Maggi.’ He frowned. ‘You’re billed to appear and people will be expecting to hear you.’ Mark was another person who believed that the public must be given what they wanted.

She shook her head, a rueful smile on her lips. ‘They will be expecting to hear Adam too now,’ she pointed out with a heavy sigh. ‘And they will be disappointed,’ she added determinedly; there was no way she was going to perform tomorrow evening and have Adam do to her again what he had done tonight. ‘I—’ She broke off as a knock sounded firmly on the door of their hotel suite, her eyes wide as she gave a startled look in its direction.

She didn’t need two guesses as to who was standing on the other side of it; Adam had obviously managed to find her at last. She didn’t want to see him just now. If ever!

‘It’s Adam,’ she told Mark with certainty, standing up abruptly. ‘I don’t want to see him, Mark.’ She gave a shake of her head.

Mark’s mouth was set angrily, blue eyes blazing as he too turned towards the door. ‘But I do!’ he grated. ‘I—’

‘Then you see him,’ she dismissed agitatedly as that knock sounded firmly again. ‘I’m going to my room.’ She turned quickly on her heel.

‘This had to happen some time, Maggi,’ Mark called after her softly. ‘Isn’t it better to get it over with now?’

Speak to Adam? Be close to him once again? Know the full force of his personality? Know she had once loved him to distraction? Until he had destroyed that love as callously as he might have swatted a fly, when it no longer suited him to have her love. To look at him again and know all that?

‘No!’ she told Mark with a shudder of revulsion. ‘It isn’t better to “get it over with now”. I was over Adam a long time ago, said everything that needed to be said then; I have no reason to ever see him again!’ She strode determinedly from the room, unwilling to listen to any more arguments for reason from Mark, closed her bedroom door behind her and sat down heavily on the bed, because her legs were shaking too much to support her, reaction having set in with a vengeance.

She had sung on a stage with Adam this evening—something she had been sure would never happen again. Something she had sworn would never happen again!

Even now she still had trouble believing it had happened. It had been just like old times, their voices harmonising as if it were only yesterday when they’d last sung together.

They had been the perfect couple, both on and off the stage. Everyone had said so.

The love they had shared had deepened their performance when they’d sung together. Until tragedy had struck so unexpectedly and Maggi could no longer sing at Adam’s side. It had been then, when she’d already felt as if she was in the depths of despair, that she had learnt all too forcibly just how tenuous the love that Adam had professed to feel for her was.

She could hear the murmur of voices in the other room, knew that whatever Mark had said when he opened the door to Adam it hadn’t been enough to get the other man to leave. Not that she would have expected it to be. Adam had been arrogant enough three years ago; his solo success since that time had probably just made him more so!

Mark’s voice was rising in anger now, and Maggi felt herself cringe inside as she heard the slow coldness with which Adam made his replies. He always had been able to rip a person to shreds with that icy control, and no matter how angry Mark might be, and however justified his anger, Maggi knew he was no match for Adam’s cool determination.

Mark’s voice seemed to be getting louder. ‘I’ve told you, Adam—’

‘I don’t give a damn what you’ve told me,’ Adam returned harshly. ‘I intend to see Magdalena before I leave.’ Even as he made this last statement the bedroom door was flung open, Adam almost filling the doorway as he stood there, his six-foot-four height only inches away from the top of the doorframe.

‘Nice bedroom,’ he drawled mockingly as he strolled nonchalantly into the room, just as if it hadn’t been ages since they had last spoken, as if there hadn’t been all that heartache with the passing of those years. ‘I’m sure the two of you are very comfortable here,’ he added hardly, grey eyes still icy cold as he met Maggi’s rebellious gaze. ‘You always did like your creature comforts, didn’t you, Magdalena? And a nice big bed was one of them.’ He looked pointedly at the king-size bed she still sat on. ‘Preferably with a man inside it!’ he added harshly.

Maggi gasped at his insulting tone, and in the outer room she could see Mark’s hands clench into fists at his sides; she knew that his volatile temper was in danger of exploding. But it would be no match for the freezing concentration of Adam’s!

She drew in a deep breath and stood up, feeling at a complete disadvantage sitting on the bed. Not that standing up made too much difference to that; Adam always had had the ability to make her look—and feel!—like a little girl disguised as a woman, her shortness and slenderness of frame emphasised by his height and sheer masculinity.

‘How right you are,’ she returned, sounding much more calm than she actually felt. ‘But I do draw the line at having two men in my bedroom at the same time!’ she told him levelly, walking over to the doorway where Mark still stood. ‘Shall we all go through to the lounge?’ She looked at them both pointedly.

Adam shrugged broad shoulders beneath his black silk shirt. ‘I’m quite happy for this conversation to take place in there,’ he dismissed with a mocking twist of his lips. ‘It was your boyfriend here who had a problem with it.’ He looked contemptuously down his aristocratic nose at Mark as he strode past him; he was several inches taller than the younger man, despite Mark’s own six feet in height.

Maggi walked slowly back into the sitting-room, aware of the two men behind her; they were so different as to be almost opposites. Mark was easygoing, comfortable to be with, undemanding, whereas Adam, ten years his senior, had never been any of those things; he was the most demanding man she had ever met, and, far from finding him comfortable to be with, she had always been very aware of him in every way, her senses constantly alive to his mere presence.

Which was probably why she had been so sure last night that he was at this music festival; she had sensed he was there!

‘You’re looking well, Magdalena,’ Adam told her softly once they were all assembled in the sitting-room.

That name again!

She sat down in one of the armchairs, more tired from the strain of the evening than she cared to admit. She sat forward in the chair, unable to relax, the darkness of her hair falling forward over her shoulders. ‘How did you expect me to look, Adam?’ she returned scornfully, deep blue eyes clashing with icy grey. ‘Broken and defeated?’ As she had undoubtedly been on the day he’d left her life three years ago!

At the time she hadn’t believed, after what had already happened to her, that her life could get any worse than it already was; how wrong she had been! She hadn’t allowed for Adam, for his cold selfishness.

His mouth tightened. ‘No, I—’

‘As you can see, Adam—’ Mark was the one to interrupt him ‘—Maggi is happy and well—and doing just fine without you!’ he added challengingly.

Glacial eyes were turned in his direction. ‘When I want your opinion, dear cousin—’ Adam drawled the last two words insultingly ‘—I’ll ask for it! At this moment I happen to be talking to Magdalena.’

Cousin. Yes, these men were first cousins. It was hard to believe they could be related, that their mothers had been sisters, but it had been through her friendship with Mark that she had first met Adam, having accompanied the younger man to a family wedding. Adam had got up to sing during the reception and Mark had encouraged Maggi to join him. Even then, though their performance was completely unrehearsed, it had been obvious to the people listening that there was something magical about the two of them singing together.

Adam had been at the wedding with his long-term girlfriend, Jane, and Maggi had been dating Mark for almost six months. But something had happened between the two of them that day, and when Adam had telephoned her a couple of days later, having got her number from Mark, and suggested they go through some songs together with the intention of actually performing them in front of an audience in the future, Maggi had felt no hesitation in agreeing to meet him.

If only she had hesitated! If only she could have known the heartache that would follow, then she would never, ever have gone near Adam after that telephone call.

‘As Mark has already told you,’ she firmly answered Adam now, ‘I am very well, thank you.’

Adam’s mouth twisted again at the formality of her tone. ‘I’m so glad!’ he returned tauntingly.

Her head went back challengingly. ‘Are you?’

Adam’s jaw tensed, a warning of his building anger.

‘What sort of question is that? Of course I’m glad you’re fit and well again,’ he bit out harshly.

‘I would have thought Maggi’s scepticism was only too well deserved,’ Mark derided dismissively. ‘You haven’t exactly been falling over yourself with concern for her welfare in the last three years!’

Adam was very still, a nerve pulsing in his now tightly clenched jaw, the lines beside his nose and mouth, acquisitions of those years, becoming more pronounced. ‘And just how would you know what I have been doing?’ he grated accusingly. ‘You seem to have had your hands full during that time bedding Magdalena!’

‘Mark, no!’ Maggi had time to shout before she rushed across the room to stop his fist actually making contact with Adam, managing to put a restraining hand on his arm. ‘He isn’t worth it, Mark,’ she told him quietly, her gaze softly compelling on his flushed face. ‘He never was,’ she added heavily, knowing it was true.

It had taken her a long time to accept it—weeks, months of pain and disillusionment, before realising that after two years of living her life for and with Adam he was no longer there for her, not physically or emotionally. That perhaps he never had been.

It was said that you never knew the extent of a person’s love until faced with adversity; Adam had turned and walked away the first time their relationship had come up against a serious obstacle.

She turned to look at him as he stood so mockingly in front of Mark. ‘Our relationship is none of your concern, Adam,’ she told him flatly. ‘Nothing that has happened in my life over the last three years is,’ she added determinedly.

Adam’s mouth curved wryly. ‘I’ve been waiting most of that time for some family announcement of a wedding between the two of you.’ He looked at them both coldly. ‘Or did she turn you down a second time, Mark?’ he added scornfully.

Again Maggi put a restraining hand on Mark’s arm. Adam had always liked to bait the younger man. The friendship she’d had with his cousin before knowing him had always been a sore point with him, even though it had been Adam she had loved. It was true that perhaps if she had never met Adam she might have one day married Mark. But she had met Adam, and so the question of any marriage between herself and Mark was now ridiculous. As Adam must know only too well. He was just playing his games again—and she, for one, did not want to play!

‘Mark and I don’t need marriage to cement our relationship.’ Again Maggi was the one to answer him. ‘We know how we feel about each other,’ she added challengingly, feeling some of the tension leave Mark as her hand still rested on his arm.

Adam’s mouth thinned disapprovingly. ‘So does everyone else when the two of you are openly staying here together!’ He looked around him pointedly.

‘Moral indignation, Adam?’ Mark taunted, completely in control again now, squeezing Maggi’s hand in thanks for her support before moving slightly away. ‘That’s rich, coming from you.’ He looked at the other man contemptuously.

Neither Maggi nor Mark, she was sure, had any intention of telling Adam that this suite had two bedrooms: one for Mark and one for herself. If he chose to believe the two of them shared the bedroom they had just left, then that was Adam’s problem. He only had his own warped morals by which to judge other people...

Adam looked coldly at the younger man for several seconds before slowly turning back to Maggi. ‘I didn’t come here to talk to the monkey,’ he bit out disgustedly, his gaze dark on Maggi’s face now. ‘I spoke to the organisers of the festival after you left earlier,’ he told her smoothly. ‘They were very pleased with the way things went this evening.’

‘You had no right to talk to any—’

‘I’m sure they were,’ Maggi interrupted Mark’s angry outburst, glaring steadily at Adam.

He nodded unconcernedly. ‘They would like us to repeat the performance tomorrow evening.’

‘No,’ she told him flatly, having already guessed what he was going to say; the organisers of the festival would be very silly not to try and cash in on the fact that Adam Carmichael was willing to perform. ‘For one thing, I’m sure a world-famous celebrity like yourself must have a more pressing engagement—’

‘None that I can think of,’ he dismissed easily, looking at her challengingly now, hands thrust deeply into the pockets of his black trousers.

‘And for another,’ she continued as if he hadn’t interrupted, ‘I’m a solo performer myself now. I don’t sing with anyone else.’ It was a flat statement of fact which held no challenge. ‘The organisers either accept that, and I go on stage alone tomorrow evening, or I don’t perform at all,’ she added.

His mouth twisted. ‘You’re better than you ever were, Magdalena,’ he acknowledged dryly. ‘So I’m sure they will accept that.’

‘Then there’s no problem, is there?’ She gave him a humourless smile, immune to his praise, knowing that it was being given on a purely professional level; that was one area where Adam was always completely objective. As she knew only too well.

He shrugged those broad shoulders. ‘The problem is, we were always better together than apart.’

Maggi drew in a harsh breath. ‘It’s a little late in the day for you to realise that!’ she snapped scornfully.

‘I always knew it, Magdalena,’ he told her softly. ‘It’s just that there were commitments three years ago, commitments you weren’t able to meet—’

‘You know damn well why she wasn’t able to meet them!’ Mark exploded. ‘Good God, man, she—’

‘That’s all old ground, Mark,’ she interrupted firmly, her voice a little shriller than she would have wished. But to talk of the past was still hurtful for her; she couldn’t deal with it objectively. ‘It certainly has no relevance to here and now. It must be all too obvious that we have completely separate lives now, Adam. And I want it to continue that way,’ she added hardly. Knowing Adam in the past had ultimately brought her only pain; she had no illusions left where he was concerned. She certainly didn’t want her life involved with his again—not in any way!

‘Musically—’

‘Musically too,’ she cut in. ‘It’s late, Adam,’ she continued. ‘It’s been a long day, and I would like to get some sleep.’

He made no move to leave. ‘You do realise there are bound to be repercussions from our being on stage together tonight?’

She wasn’t so naive that she didn’t realise their joint performance this evening would give rise to speculation about a new merging of talents; she just didn’t want to deal with it now. Certainly not when Adam was present!

‘I think the only repercussion that is likely to occur as a result of tonight’s one-off performance,’ Mark cut in dismissively, ‘is that the general public will see that Maggi Fennell and Adam Carmichael are—publicly, at least—friends again, despite all the media speculation.’ His mouth twisted. ‘Privately, of course, it’s a completely different story!’ He turned to comfort Maggi. ‘I don’t think too much harm will come out of this evening, love,’ he assured her gently.

‘You’re a fool, Mark,’ the older man told him coldly. ‘But then, you always were. Magdalena—’

‘Get out of here, Adam,’ Mark bit out shortly.

‘I—’

‘Can’t you see Maggi has had enough?’ the younger man interjected forcefully.

She could feel Adam’s gaze on her now, didn’t need to look at him to know he was looking at her. And she knew what he would see, knew that her face was pale, ethereally so, her eyes made to look even darker because of the shadows beneath them. She had never been particularly robust before her illness, but now her health was delicate to say the least. Tonight had been a strain she could well have done without.

‘You’re right,’ Adam finally, grudgingly conceded. ‘I’ll come back in the morning, for breakfast, and we can talk about this then—’

‘No!’ Mark was right; she had had enough. By rights Adam shouldn’t even be here, let alone be dictating what they would and wouldn’t do. Her eyes flashed. ‘I’ve told you, Adam.’ She looked at him unblinkingly. ‘We have nothing left to say to each other. About anything,’ she added to save his protests. ‘I don’t want you to come back here, tomorrow or any other time. Now, if you’ll both excuse me, I’m tired and I’m going to bed.’ She didn’t wait for a response from either man, turning sharply on her heel and going back to her bedroom.

It was only as she closed the door thankfully behind her that she realised she must have stopped breathing during that short walk to the bedroom; she gasped air into her starved lungs as she leant back against the door.

Seeing Adam up on the stage had been one thing but having him here in her hotel suite was something else entirely, his proximity bringing back memories she had deliberately buried in the back of her mind. She’d had to. For her own sanity. To think of the better times, the happier times with Adam, when she’d been so ill and desperate for him, would have driven her completely insane!

She sat on the bed as she heard the murmur of male voices again outside, then the firm closing of the suite door seconds later. Adam had gone...!

‘Come in,’ she called as a soft knock on her bedroom door followed his exit from the suite. She smiled wanly at Mark as he came concernedly into the room. ‘He’s gone?’

‘Yes,’ Mark rasped.

She nodded. ‘Let’s not have an inquest about it, hmm, and just hope we’ve seen the last of him?’ That would perhaps be too much to hope for; Adam no doubt had other ideas on the subject. But there was always the possibility that he would one day do something completely unselfish and surprise her!

‘I don’t understand what he’s doing here; my mother said he was in America,’ Mark muttered irritatedly.

Maggi raised startled brows. ‘Your mother keeps you informed of Adam’s movements?’ She had never realised that, had simply believed Mark showed no interest in Adam, as she didn’t.

Mark was still scowling. ‘As you know, we’re the only family he has, and with someone like Adam it’s best to know exactly what he’s up to!’ He gave a rueful smile. ‘A lot of good it did me this time,’ he acknowledged in self-disgust. ‘Look, like you’ve already said, it’s been a long evening for you,’ he said, before coming over and kissing her lightly on the cheek. ‘The best thing is probably for us both to get that good night’s sleep, and think about this again in the morning.’

Maggi didn’t want to think about Adam at all; if she did she would never get to sleep! But she knew what Mark meant. Emotions were just running too high at the moment for any logic to be applied to the situation.

She smiled up at Mark gratefully. ‘Don’t forget to call Andrea,’ she reminded him indulgently as he went to leave the room.

He paused to grin at her. ‘Not unless I’ve ceased to value certain parts of my anatomy!’ he conceded lightly, chuckling softly to himself as he left the bedroom.

Adam was so wrong about her own relationship with Mark; far from the two of them being lovers, Mark had developed a deep relationship with the woman who had been her physiotherapist for three years. Maggi was so pleased for them both; she liked Andrea enormously, and Mark more than deserved to find happiness.

Andrea was working in France at the moment, with a young child who had been involved in an accident, but she would be back in a few weeks, and in the meantime Mark was helping Maggi, taking care of all the details which she still found it something of a strain to deal with.

Three years... That was how long it had taken her to learn to walk again after the accident...

She and Adam had been coming back from a gig one night, both of them tired. Adam had been driving the powerful white Mercedes with his usual skill, but had been given no chance to avoid the other vehicle that had suddenly veered across the motorway onto their side of the road and hit them almost head-on. What had been so miraculous about it was that Adam had escaped almost unhurt, with just a few cuts and bruises, whereas Maggi had had a serious pelvic injury and had broken both her legs, giving the doctors serious doubts about her ability to ever walk again.

She had been in hospital for weeks, barely aware of her surroundings, let alone what was going on in the outside world. When she had left the hospital almost three months after the accident, it had been in a wheelchair.

But if she had thought there had been pain while she was in hospital it was as nothing compared to the misery she had suffered once she was at home. Life, as they said, had to go on, and what no one had told her, during those months when she was in hospital, was that Adam’s life had certainly gone on—without her!

Such had been their popularity in those days that the two of them had been engaged to sing for months in advance, having bookings as far as eighteen months away. The performances they were to have fulfilled directly after the accident had been cancelled, but the ones following that hadn’t been—and Adam had gone on to make them with someone else!

Maggi had met Sue Castle in the past, she and Adam having appeared together on the same bill as Sue a couple of times, but it had come as a complete shock to her to find that Adam was singing with the other woman, and very successfully too.

Of course, Adam had explained that it was only a temporary arrangement, that once Maggi was back on her feet the present arrangement would be terminated. In the meantime Maggi had been left at home, battling to recover from the injuries that still made it impossible for her to walk, while Adam had disappeared night after night with the other woman. Until the night he hadn’t come home...

Maggi gave a shudder of revulsion at the memory, standing up abruptly. Even now she didn’t want to think about it, didn’t want to remember that final humiliation. Adam hadn’t replaced her in just the musical side of his life but in every way, leaving Maggi feeling totally superfluous, a useless waste of space and time as far as he was concerned.

But she wasn’t superfluous now—not to herself, at least. She had spent her time building her life back up, putting the pieces back together. And she had succeeded; she had finally managed to walk again, to sing again, to resume her career. And if she knew part of her would never recover from Adam’s betrayal perhaps that was a good thing too: she would never be so stupid about emotions and love ever again...

‘I’ve ordered breakfast to be served in here,’ Mark told her when she emerged from her bedroom into the lounge the next morning. ‘I thought you would prefer it,’ he added with a grimace.

As Mark had probably guessed, it hadn’t been a good night. Her sleep, when she’d finally managed to drift off, had been filled with the nightmares that had once occurred with sickening regularity but which were now a rarity. At first, when she’d still been in hospital, the dreams had been about the accident, but later, once she was home again, those dreams had been about Adam—an Adam who seemed never to be at home, who always seemed distant and preoccupied when he was.

She smiled at Mark gratefully as she sat down to pour them both a cup of coffee. ‘Good idea,’ she said brightly, not wanting him to see just how disturbed a night she had really had. ‘What are the plans for today?’ She helped herself to some toast she didn’t really want, lightly buttering it as she looked at Mark questioningly.

‘I thought perhaps you should rest today—’

‘But I rested yesterday, Mark. And the day before that,’ she recalled ruefully. ‘We haven’t seen anything of the area yet,’ she reminded him.

‘The forecast is for rain today.’ He frowned, drinking his own coffee.

‘That shouldn’t bother us too much in the car.’ Maggi smiled. They had driven up several days ago in Maggi’s BMW, deciding they would prefer the freedom of having their own transport during their stay; she was surprised Mark now seemed reluctant to take advantage of it. She looked at him closely. ‘Has something happened, Mark?’ He hadn’t actually looked at her since she’d come into the room, and he seemed to be having trouble meeting her gaze now.

He looked startled. ‘What do you mean?’ he said sharply. ‘What could have possibly happened? I told you, I just thought you might like breakfast in here.’

Maggi was more convinced than ever that there was something wrong; Mark was one of the most amiable, even-tempered people she knew, and yet at the moment he was definitely agitated about something. There was only one person who was guaranteed to make him feel that way!

‘Have you heard something else from Adam? Is that it?’ she prompted ruefully. ‘You really shouldn’t let him get to you, Mark,’ she dismissed, with more self-confidence than she actually felt; Adam had always been a force to be reckoned with. ‘We—’

‘I don’t give a damn about Adam,’ Mark told her as he stood up abruptly. ‘Except that his mere presence here seems to create the usual problems.’ He scowled darkly.

She shrugged. ‘Maybe he’s gone now; we certainly made ourselves more than clear last night!’

‘I doubt it!’ Mark grimaced. ‘But it’s really irrelevant now whether he’s gone or not.’ He gave an impatient shake of his head.

Maggi frowned up at him. ‘Why now? Mark, what’s happened?’ She demanded to know this time, knowing that something certainly had.

He gave a heavy sigh. ‘I was hoping you wouldn’t have to know about this. I was going to shield you from it as best I could, but the situation seems to be spiralling out of control, and—’

‘Mark, you still aren’t making much sense.’ Her frown deepened to one of puzzlement. ‘If it isn’t Adam, what situation are you talking about?’

‘It isn’t Adam himself, but of course he’s involved in it. Up to his neck—as usual!’ Mark’s expression blackened. ‘I’ve had to stop all telephone calls coming into the suite, and the hotel management delivered a message a short time ago to inform us that members of the Press are starting to arrive here at the hotel. They have managed to put the reporters off so far by claiming you aren’t registered—which is basically true, because the suite is booked in my name.’ He was talking almost to himself now. ‘But I somehow doubt that’s going to stop them for long—’

‘Mark, what is this all about?’ Maggi stood up too now, her agitation evident. He gave another heavy sigh, reaching down behind the sofa. ‘A newspaper was delivered with breakfast. I took one look at it and sent down to Reception for the rest of this morning’s publications. I wish to God I hadn’t, because they just got progressively worse!’ he groaned.

Maggi’s hand shook slightly as she reached for the newspapers, the colour leaving her face as she saw the first headline. FENNELL AND CARMICHAEL RECONCILED IN MORE THAN MUSIC? She picked up another newspaper, swallowing hard at the more personal leader of this one. MAGGI AND ADAM BACK TOGETHER? And the last one she looked at had her swaying on her feet. HAVE MAGGI AND ADAM SECRETLY RECONCILED?

Reconciled... Yes, she and Adam were still married, had made vows to each other in church—vows Adam had broken all too easily when it had suited him to do so.

There had been speculation about them in the Press for months after their separation three years ago, but it had eventually died down, leaving Maggi to apply quietly to Adam for a divorce. It was an application he’d chosen to ignore; the papers had never been returned to her, signed or otherwise.

Maggi had believed it best that they quietly break their ties with each other, but obviously this hadn’t suited Adam at all. Perhaps his marriage to her had become a good safeguard against any other woman expecting a commitment from him! Whatever his reasons, she was still married to him.

Now the speculation about the two of them had begun all over again... Although she didn’t think even Adam himself could have realised those repercussions that he had discussed would involve such personal speculation about the two of them. Or perhaps he had...? No, she was being ridiculous now. God, surely some part of her didn’t still hope those nightmarish three years without Adam had all been just that—a nightmare? That would be madness itself!

.

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