Inherited by Ferranti

By: Kate Hewitt

‘At least you had the decency to tell me this time,’ Marco answered before he could keep himself from it. He felt too emotionally raw to be measured or calm.

Her face paled but she simply nodded and turned away. He sank onto a sofa, his head in his hands, as he listened to her start to pack.

He told himself it was better this way. The past held too much power for them to ever have a real relationship, if that was even what Sierra wanted.

But it was what he wanted. What he needed. Was he really going to let Sierra walk out of his life a second time?

The force of his feelings felt like a hammer blow to his heart, leaving him breathless. He loved this woman, loved her too much to let her walk away. Again.

But that was what people did. His father, his mother, Sierra. They’d all left him, slipped out without saying goodbye, leaving him with nothing to do but wait and grieve.

But this time he had a choice. He had a chance to talk to Sierra honestly, to ask or even beg her to stay. He wouldn’t be proud. He loved her too much for that. The realisation sent adrenaline coursing through him and he rose from the sofa, pacing the room as panic roared through him. What if she said no? What if she still left?

Sierra emerged from the bedroom, her face still pale, her suitcase clutched in one hand. ‘I can call for a taxi...’

‘Don’t.’ The word came out like a command, and far too aggressive. Sierra blinked, then set her jaw. She didn’t like him ordering her around, and he could understand that. He respected it, liked her—no, loved her—more for it.

‘Please,’ he burst out. ‘Sierra, I don’t want you to walk out of my life again.’

She hesitated and he took the opportunity to walk towards her, take the suitcase from her unresisting hand. ‘Please listen to me for just a few minutes. And if you still want to leave after I’m done, I won’t stop you, I promise.’ His voice was hoarse, his heart beating painfully hard.

Sierra nibbled her lip, her wide eyes searching his face, and then finally she nodded. ‘All right,’ she whispered.

He led her over to the sofa and she sat down but he found he couldn’t. He had too much raw energy coursing through him for that. ‘I don’t want you to go,’ he said as he paced in front of her. ‘I don’t want you to go today or tomorrow or the day after that.’ The words burst from him, a confession that hurt even though he knew he needed to make it. For once in his life he was fighting for what he wanted, who he loved, and even in this moment of intense vulnerability it made him feel powerful. Strong. Love made him strong. ‘I don’t want you to go ever, Sierra.’

‘It hasn’t been working, Marco.’ Her voice was soft and sad. ‘There’s too much history...’

‘I know there is, but we’re giving the past too much power.’ He dropped to his knees in front of her and took her cold hands in his. ‘I love you, Sierra. I only realised how much when you were about to walk out that door. I’ve been a fool and an ass and whatever other name you want to throw at me. I deserve it. When you told me about your father, I didn’t know how to handle it. I felt guilty and hurt and betrayed all at once, and I was afraid you’d always associate me with him, you’d never be able to trust or love me. And maybe you won’t but I want to try. I want to try with you. Not just a fling, but something real. A relationship. Marriage, children—the fairy tale if we can both believe in it.’

Tears sparkled in her eyes and she clung to his hands. ‘I don’t know if I can. My mother loved my father and look what it did to her. It killed her in the end, maybe not literally, but she was never the person she could have been. She was like a shadow, a ghost—’

‘That wasn’t love. Love builds up, not breaks down. I have to believe that. I want the best for you, Sierra—’

‘To follow you around from one Rocci hotel to another?’ she burst out. ‘I don’t want to live in your shadow, Marco.’

‘And you don’t have to. We can make this work. I realise your life in London is important. I won’t ask you to drop it to follow me around. I want you to be happy, Sierra, but I want you to be happy with me. If you think you can.’ He held his breath, waiting for her answer.

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