Irish Billionaire's Unwanted Baby

By: Sophia Lynn

Chapter One

The mid-afternoon light streamed through the stained glass, bathing everything before it in a bright and lively lemon yellow. With Maisey in her arms, Celia stood in front of the artistic whorled glass, tilting her head to gaze up at the piece that was twice as tall as she was. In the swirls of the abstract glass, she wondered if she could see something that made her think of water, of ripples beneath the surface.

Before she could grow too lost in her thoughts, her one-year-old daughter smacked her lightly on the arm with a chubby little hand, blowing a delighted raspberry as she did so, and Celia laughed.

“Not to your taste, is it, sweetie?” she asked. “Let’s see if we can find one that is.” The Eastwick Museum of the Arts was certainly a respectable organization, but the stained glass exhibit, which called in pieces from all over the United States, was quite a coup. As she wandered around a piece of glass in violets and reds and another that showed the various phases of a caterpillar becoming a butterfly, Celia felt a pang of pride. She might have been young, and there might have been curators and administrators who thought she was a little too occupied with motherhood to bring this exhibit to fruition, but she was pleased to have proved them wrong.

In her long, light blue dress and with her blond hair twisted back in a careless knot, Celia didn’t look too different from the other women touring the opening of the stained glass exhibit. Even the peaceful baby in the sling across Celia’s chest didn’t make her stand out too much. Mostly, Celia thought, what separated her from the other women at the opening were the facts that she was young and that she didn’t have a man with her.

At twenty-two years old, she didn’t look all that different from when she was a teenager volunteering at the museum. She was still leggy, still more slender than what might have been attractive for a classic beauty. However, Celia knew with a quiet certainty that she was no where near as shy or nervous as she was when she was even a few years ago. She no longer stammered and laughed nervously when someone told a joke that she didn’t like. Instead, she was now able to look them in the eye and tell them to go to hell. Some people might have wondered where she got the nerve, but she knew exactly where she had gotten it from.

She glanced down at her daughter with a fond smile, brushing Maisey’s dark hair out of her eyes. Even if she was a little smaller than her age-mates, Maisey had a quickness and a liveliness to her that left Celia with no doubts that her little daughter was going to be fine. Her cap of dark curls was as thick and fluffy as lambswool, and Celia had the feeling that those vivid blue eyes weren’t going to dim to brown or even Celia’s own gray.

The thought of Maisey’s father made Celia’s eyes dim a little bit, but even that was better than it had been. These days, he was a scar that was mostly healed, and she knew that she and her daughter would be fine. She never thought of him during the day anymore, and she counted that as a success. Of course, nights were a different story. At night, she could still remember that velvet voice whispering in her ear, those strong arms around her. Some dreams died hard, she knew that. But at this point in time, she was wondering if some ever died at all.

Celia shook her head to clear them of thoughts of Maisey's father. Right now, this was her triumph. This exhibit was going to be a roaring success; everyone at the museum could tell. They would remember how much attention the stained glass exhibit had brought in, they would connect her name with it, and there would be bigger and better things waiting for them. She smiled when she saw Joyce come up. Joyce, a large woman with an eternal grin, a strong business acumen and a good eye for talent, had always been one of Celia’s primary supporters. Now when she walked up, there was a purpose to her step.

“There you are, Celia,” Joyce said, her voice round and kind. “I’ve been looking everywhere for you!”

“Is everything all right?” asked Celia, slightly startled. A quick look around told her that there was nothing out of place, and she couldn’t hear so much as a patron shouting, let alone the terrible shattering sound of breaking glass.

“Oh yes, yes—I just wanted to tell you to be on the look out for some of the prospective investors. They’re impressed with the exhibit, and I want to make sure that they know who’s responsible for it all. Oh, here are some now...”Celia smiled and shook hands with the men her boss introduced her to. More than one looked slightly askance at the inquisitive baby strapped to her chest, but she lifted her chin, more than prepared to brazen it. After all, it wasn’t like she didn’t have practice in doing so, after all.