Baby Out of the Blue(217)

By: Anne Mather

She took it out, turning it over in her hands, her eyes briefly scanning the feminine writing and the name written there before she handed it to Jake.

‘I think it’s a letter of your mother’s,’ she said. ‘It’s addressed to someone in New Zealand. She mustn’t have been able to post it before she died…’

Jake opened the envelope and read through the pages one by one, his dark eyes absorbing each and every word, the only sound in the room the soft rustle of paper that hadn’t seen the light of day in close to thirty years.

‘What does it say?’ Ashleigh asked softly as she saw the sheen of tears begin to film over his eyes.

Jake drew in a deep breath and looked at her. ‘You were right, Ashleigh. You knew it all along.’

‘Kn-knew what?’ Her voice wobbled along with Jake’s chin as she watched him do his best to control his emotion. ‘W-what did I know?’

‘This is a letter to my father,’ he said, wiping a hand across his eyes. ‘My real father.’

‘You mean…?’

‘Harold Marriott was infertile.’ He looked down at the words he’d just read as if to make sure they hadn’t suddenly disappeared. ‘He had testicular cancer as a young man and after the treatment was unable to father a child.’

‘So you’re not…’ She couldn’t get the words past the sudden lump in her throat.

‘My mother was five months pregnant when she married him,’ he said. ‘She hadn’t told my real father of my existence because he was already married, but when she knew she was dying she decided to write to him…but, probably due to her sudden decline in health, the letter was never sent.’

‘Oh, Jake…’

Jake pulled her to him and hugged her tightly, his head buried into her neck. ‘You were right, Ashleigh. You were right all along. I am not my father’s son.’

Ashleigh looked up at him, her eyes brimming over. ‘I would still love you even if you were his son. I’m happy for you that you’re not but it makes absolutely no difference to me. I love you and I always will, no matter what.’

No matter what. Jake breathed the words deep into his soul, whereAshleigh’s love had already worked a miracle of its own.