A Mother for His Twins

By: Lucy Clark
PROLOGUE





‘I’LL get it. I’ll get it!’ Four-year-old Lola called as she raced towards the ringing phone.

‘No. I’ll get it. I’ll get it,’ Lilly contradicted, her little legs working as fast as they could to catch up to her twin.

‘Girls. Please. Settle down. Jen, can you get the phone, please?’ Sara begged, her hands all sticky with the bread dough she was kneading.

‘Sure.’ Jennifer shifted on the stool and reached for the phone receiver, which was situated on a high shelf specifically to prevent children answering it. ‘Hello,’ she said, the twins starting to whine and stamp their feet.

‘I wanted to answer it.’ Lilly wasn’t happy. ‘Daddy lets us answer the phone at home.’

‘It was my turn,’ Lola told her sister.

‘Girls. Shh. Jen won’t be able to hear.’

Jennifer smiled into the receiver as she watched the two girls put their noses in their air, cross their arms over their chests and stomp back to the room they’d been playing in. ‘Hello?’ she repeated and listened carefully. The line was crackling with static and for a moment she wondered whether it was a crank call or yet another telemarketer. ‘Hello?’ She tried again and this time heard a faint male voice.

‘Sara. Can you hear me? The line is bad.’

‘It’s not Sara.’ Jennifer raised her voice slightly. ‘Can I take a message?’

‘Sara? I still can’t hear you too well. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know I’m going to be later than usual. I’ve got to get things ready for the new boss coming in on Monday. Can you take the girls to my house at five o’clock?’

‘I still can’t hear you all that well. Did you say take the girls to your house at five?’

‘Yes.’

Jennifer looked at Sara, who nodded. ‘OK. That’s fine.’

‘Thanks. Gotta go.’

‘OK. Bye.’ But her words fell on deaf ears because he’d already hung up.

‘Jasper’s obviously been caught at work,’ Sara stated matter-of-factly. ‘He works too hard.’

Jennifer settled herself on the seat again and watched her high-school friend turn a lump of dough into bread rolls. ‘So run through it with me again. How exactly is Jasper related to you again?’

‘Very loosely, but family is family as far as I’m concerned.’

‘I’m not criticising,’ Jennifer was quick to state. ‘You know how I feel about family, especially when my own home life was ridiculously lonely.’

‘You mean your parents having no time but for themselves and their careers? I do. Anyway, the link is that Jasper’s wife was Matt’s brother-in-law’s sister.’

‘Right.’ Jennifer tried to figure it out. Matt was Sara’s husband. They’d been married for the last ten years and had two boys who would be home from school very soon. ‘So Matt’s sister, Abby, is married to Don, and Jasper’s wife was Don’s sister?’

‘Very good, Dr Thorngate. I can see all those years at university have served you well.’

Jennifer smiled. ‘A very loose connection, but as you’ve said, family is family.’ Jennifer sipped at her cup of tea, her tone more solemn. ‘When did Jasper’s wife die?’

‘Three years ago. The twins had just turned one.’

She let out a slow breath. ‘That would have been so hard on him. A single parent to two very big handfuls.’

‘Yes. They’re gorgeous girls but totally full on all the time. It’s always go, go, go with them.’ Sara put the rolls onto a tray and put them in the oven to rise. ‘Jasper had good support, though. He’s close to his parents and his sister.’

‘Good support,’ Jennifer repeated softly, wishing she’d had more support when her own world had come crashing down eight years ago. Of course, Sara had been there for her, but Sara had been in a different part of the country and there had only been so much she could do. Now, though, Jennifer had come home. Back to Parramatta, an outer suburb of Sydney in New South Wales. Back to her old stomping ground. Back to where she’d first met Sara at school, back to where she’d originally gone to medical school and where she’d met Arturo. Next week, she’d be going back to the hospital where she’d studied as a medical student but now she’d be the head of the orthopaedic and trauma unit. It was a position she’d been striving for for far too long but finally, with a lot of hard work, commitment and sacrifice, she was making her dream come true. She just wished Arturo could have been there to witness it.

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