Can upbeat, single, London mum Beth, face the truth and make a happy life with gorgeous - if unlikely - Georgian migrant Davit? You bet!
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Baby Jacob crawls towards me and pulls himself up to a wobbly standing position. Clutching my skirt with one hand, he reaches up with the other.
“Bub,” he says. I pick him up, turning him onto my hip.
“Do you have any experience?” I ask Davit.
His grey eyes, like dark steel, are intent on my mouth. I’m thinking aircraft carriers, the North Sea in winter, and all the Eastern Bloc baddies in 24.
He thinks for a moment. “I have small brothers, sister.”
I wait. Nothing. He looks down at his boots.
“Are you a professional nanny, um, Davit? Child carer?” I ask.
He looks up quickly, his face blank. I try again. “What job do you do?”
“You cut down trees?” That would explain the massive arms and the tan. But I’m having trouble working out the link between tree felling and baby care.
“I cut furniture,” he says.
I look at my kitchen and imagine the cupboards, table and chairs reduced to kindling in the flash of a wielded axe, possibly lurking in the bag at his feet – a bag that looks like a cross between Goliath’s golf bag and a size XXL body bag.
“Carpenter,” he says, rapping broad knuckles on my prized little butcher’s block trolley. It rocks with fright. “I make.”
I turn to Fenella. “Fenella.” I drop the “Ms Forsythe” in an attempt at authority. “He’s a carpenter, not a nanny. And, by the way, he can’t speak English.”
“Neither can Jacob,” she retorts, reaching into her bag for a mobile phone that’s singing an aria from La Traviata. I glimpse a pack of Benson & Hedges. She ignores the bit about carpenter versus nanny, concentrating on her phone.
“This is Trevor,” she says. “Time to go.” She ducks away, the phone to her ear. “Absolutely fine, Trevor. We’re on our way.”
Like hell. I’m numb all over, except for a small twisting, panicky knot in my tummy. The clock ticks on.
“I’m not going anywhere,” I say.
Fenella’s eyes narrow, stretching her face to breaking point. I fear backlash from the ponytail. She stretches out her arms, and pats the air in front of her, like the Pope.
“Everything will be all right, Beth.”
“I wouldn’t leave my child with a stranger for one minute!”
“Many people do.” She’s using a calm, slow, warning tone, like she’s talking me down from a ledge.
“Oh, but they do.” She folds her arms, furling the wings.