Chapter 1 This Child Can't Be Born

“Ms. McKinney? Congratulations! You’re one month along!” The doctor’s excitement only made Deirdre McKinnon’s face pale as the blood drained from her face. “Are you sure?” she asked gingerly. “I’m certain what I had was just gastric pain. I don’t think a pregnancy would be even possible. Can you just… check again?” “Ms. McKinney, have you had sex in the past month?” “Y-Yes?” “Did you use protection? Did you take the morning-after pill?” Deirdre recalled what had happened on that rainy night and shook her head. “There we go,” the doctor concluded with a smile. “You had unprotected sex and didn’t take the morning-after pill. Of course, the probability of getting pregnant would be high. Why would you think it’s impossible?” Deirdre had no counter-argument. She clenched her hand around her chest, hesitated, and asked tentatively, “C-Can you… modify that report for me, doctor? Make it state that I’m not pregnant. Please, just do this favor for me. I’ll pay you! I’ll pay you handsomely for your trouble, I—” The doctor frowned and uttered, “I’m gonna have to stop you right there, ma’am. Our establishment does not break the law, and what you’re asking me to do is a crime. Now, if you’ll excuse me… Next!” Deirdre gripped the report as she went out of the hospital listlessly. The streets outside were as busy and bustling, and yet something was holding her back from crossing them and returning home. She was terrified. What if Brendan Brighthall found it out? He would definitely ask her to terminate the pregnancy. After all, he had run out of patience just dealing with Deirdre's presence. Deirdre gingerly touched her abdomen with trembling fingers while looking down. She really wanted to keep the child. However, Brendan called her before she could think of a plan. Deirdre balked a little, but she ultimately answered the phone. A deep voice came from the other side. “Done? Get back here. Now.” Brendan was very impatient. Since she was asked to go home, she had to get back in 30 minutes. It was nerve-wracking on her way home. By the time Deirdre arrived at the manor’s living room, Brendan was on his way down from the restricted area on the third floor. Brendan was wearing silky pajamas today, and his undone collar exposed his chiseled chest in all its magnificence. He had groomed his hair into a slicked-back haircut, and his facial features were unforgettably handsome. It was his physical perfection—a kind of beauty that could only be found in one out of a million men—that had captured Deirdre’s heart six years ago. She had been bewitched into becoming his unofficial wife for two years. A cigarette was clamped between Brendan’s fingers, and its reek wafted when he approached her. At the thought that she was now pregnant, Deirdre instinctively held her breath. Then, she heard him ask, “What did the report say?” Deirdre held her breath even harder. She hoped against hope that she could fool him. “I-It’s all good! Yep. No p-problem at all.” “Then explain your retching back in the family mansion.” “Gastric problems!” Deirdre pursed her lips, determined to avoid his black, unfathomable eyes. “I-Irregular eating schedule, you know? It’s, uh, something I’m used to having…” It fell eerily silent the next second. Brendan cast his eyes on her, as she could sense his suspicion. Deirdre bit her lower lip and clenched her hands in a panic. Just as she thought her jig was up, Brendan walked past her and headed to the couch. “Lunch. I’m hungry.” Deirdre was stunned and then dashed into the kitchen with a touch of relief. She had always been good at cooking. Brendan adored her cooking enough that he sometimes came here just to help himself to it. It was also an opportunity for her to spend time with him outside of the monthly gatherings at the family mansion. Still, the biggest reason he ever showed up here was because he wanted to see… her. A hearty meal was ready in half an hour. Deirdre served Brendan a bowl of chicken broth and took a seat by his side. She then ate in silence. She had not always been this graceful and elegant. Brendan had hammered all that upper-class decorum into her throughout the years so that she would now emulate some sort of composure. At least her eating habits were no longer jarring to observers. There were still some things Deirdre could not replicate. She could never, for example, exude as much elegance and class as Brendan did. No one could possibly get bored of watching him eating. She got to her feet, ready to wash the dishes as soon as the meal was over. As she reached out for the dishes he had used, Brendan suddenly uttered, “I’ve talked to Steven. You’re going out with him later today.” Steven Young? That was Brendan’s assistant. Deirdre came to a halt and said hastily, “Where are we going? Do they want me to visit the family mansion today? Or is this about her old friend… Um, if it’s nothing urgent, can I go there tomorrow? I just had a check-up, so I was hoping I could—” “You’re going to the hospital.” He did not even look up as he continued, “I really thought you’d play ball and take your pills, Deirdre. This child can’t be born.”
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