English Girl in New York

By: Scarlet Wilson

‘Is that the good news or the bad news?’ The mild feeling of panic was starting to rise.

Shana let out a laugh. ‘Probably both. It sounds as if your baby is doing okay. Thank goodness. He will need a proper assessment as soon as possible. I’ll put the necessary call in to social services, but they are on the other side of the city from you and everyone is in crisis right now. It will be a few days before they get to you. In the meantime the first thing you need to do is feed the little guy. Do you have somewhere local you can get some supplies?’

Blank. His brain had instantly gone blank. He’d never had any reason to look for baby supplies before. Where on earth would he get them?

Carrie touched his arm. ‘Mr Meltzer stays above his store. I’m sure he’ll have some powdered baby milk and diapers we can buy.’

Instant relief, followed by a sickening feeling in the pit of his stomach. ‘Shana, you can’t seriously expect us to look after a baby. Me, Shana? Seriously?’

‘Daniel Cooper, you’re one of the most responsible guys I know. I can’t think of a single other person I would trust with a newborn baby right now. You’re like any brand-new parent. None of them have experience. They just learn as they go. You’ll need to do the same.’

‘But they have nine months to get used to the idea. They read dozens of books about what to do—’

‘And you have your own personal paediatrician at the other end of a phone. Not that I think you’ll need me.’

Daniel could feel his heartbeat quicken in his chest. He wasn’t afraid—not really. As a New York cop he’d dealt with most things in life. He’d had a gun pulled on him, a knife—on more than one occasion. He’d stopped a young girl from being abducted once, and managed to resist the temptation of doing what he really wanted to the potential kidnapper. He’d even talked a guy down from the edge of a rooftop before. But this? Looking after a baby? Why did it seem more intimidating than anything else?

‘Shana, I don’t think I’m the best person for the job.’

‘Why not? You’re practical. You’re resourceful. And right now you’re the best that baby’s got.’ She was beginning to sound exasperated. Angel’s must be under an enormous amount of pressure right now, and he really didn’t want to add to it. ‘You’ve even got some help from your neighbour.’

He glanced over at Carrie, who was shaking her head frantically. No, she was mouthing.

‘Suck it up, Daniel—and call me if you have any problems.’ There was a click at the other end of the phone.

Carrie’s chin was practically bouncing off the floor. ‘Suck it up, Daniel? Suck it up? That’s what she says to you?’ Her voice was getting higher pitched by the second and the baby was starting to squirm in his arms, reacting to the noise.

Reactions? Was that a good sign, too? He really didn’t have a clue.

He shrugged. ‘She’s my best friend’s older sister. It isn’t the first time Shana’s told me to suck it up—and it won’t be the last.’ He walked over to the sofa and sank down onto the cushions. This little guy weighed more than he thought. Or maybe it was just because he couldn’t swap him between his arms.

‘I’m going to have to put a call in to the station, to let my captain know about the abandoned baby.’

Carrie sagged down next to him on the sofa. She shook her head and squeezed her eyes shut. ‘I know we’ve just met, Daniel, but I’m sorry. I just can’t help you with this. I can’t do it. Babies—’ she hesitated ‘—they’re just not my thing. I won’t be any help anyway. I don’t know a thing about babies.’

He stared at her. Hard. ‘You’ve got to be joking, right?’

Her eyes opened and widened. It was clear she was instantly on the defence. ‘No. Why?’

He shook his head in disbelief. ‘You turn up at my door with a baby, and now you’re expecting to dump it on me in the middle of a snowstorm.’

When he said the words out loud they were even worse than the thoughts in his head.

Her face paled. ‘But I...’

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