The Married CEO and I/C3 Not so Welcome
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The Married CEO and I/C3 Not so Welcome
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C3 Not so Welcome

"I was attracted by your cry. I'd thought you were in danger," the man soliloquized as he drove, occasionally glancing at the mother and child beside him.

The car was now as warm as it could be. The baby was now sleeping peacefully and the mother had stopped shivering. He wondered how she had come there, where she came from, if she had expected to meet someone or if she was lost. But how would he find out all these since she was deaf and dumb? He'd have to take her to the police station by morning. Hopefully, they'd be able to get useful information from her.

"I wonder how you ended up in such a situation though," he murmured beneath his breath. "Glad I came just in..."

"Thank you," Mara murmured softly and the man's eyebrows shot up in surprise.

"Y... you can hear me? I thought... Well, how did you end up in that place in this crazy weather? Where are you from?"

Mara tried to speak, but she couldn't place the questions in the right order in her mind. Her senses were only just beginning to thaw. The best she could do was look down at the baby in her arms and that action alone spoke volumes.

"Whose baby is it? Your mother's?", he asked softly, alternating between watching her face for a reaction and keeping his eyes on the road.

"My baby," Mara mumbled almost inaudibly. For the second time, the man's eyebrows shot up and his eyes nearly popped out of his head. Her baby??? She looked small and young enough to be someone else's baby herself. But he knew better than to pursue the topic any further even though he was burning with curiosity. It was obviously not a happy one for her.

"So... what's your name?", he questioned instead.

"Mara," she said and turned to glance at him for the first time. But that brief glance was enough to tell him that she was as beautiful as she was young. Those bright green eyes were just so unique and captivating. He found himself wishing she would look at him again.

"Ahem... well, I'm Leo. And it's nice to meet you."

No response. Even Leo knew his statement sounded awkward. So he didn't even bother saying anything else and they went through the rest of the journey in silence.


The rain had stopped falling when they reached Leo's house. But since it was night and also, she had so many things on her mind, Mara did not get the chance to appreciate the beauty and size of the mansion. Instead, she simply stayed put and followed the lead of her host.

It was another small struggle again to get her out of the car since she wouldn't allow the baby to be taken away from her hands. Eventually, they were able to get in and ended up in Leo's grand parlor. It was certainly the largest parlor Mara had ever seen. It looked more like a stadium than anything else. She couldn't help but look around in wonder at the brightly lit room with a massive chandelier overhead and a super-soft rug covering every inch of the ground.

Inevitably, her eyes were drawn to the pictures lining the walls. She recognized Leo in one of them and another which looked like him was that of an older man, probably his father. But the one that arrested her attention was that of a young lady, very beautiful and long-necked. She imagined it was his sister, but there was not enough resemblance to prove that.

"My wife," Leo clarified as if he had read her mind.

"Oh." Mara was surprised. It never crossed her mind that he would be married.

"Welcome, Mr. Stanson," a strange female voice arrested her attention and she turned to see an older woman, not at all resembling Leo, standing close by. Mara wondered where she had come from. But then, the place was so massive that it would be difficult to know if anyone was coming from any side.

"Thanks. Is my wife home yet?", Leo questioned the woman.

"No, but she called to say she'll be back tomorrow."

"Okay. Take care of this lady please. She's been in the cold recently," Leo ordered, referring to Mara.

Without a word, the woman beckoned for Mara to come with her.

"Excuse me, Mara," Leo stopped her as she went, "what's the baby's name?"

Without thinking, Mara said the first thing that came to her mind: "Leo." But the moment the word left her mouth, she wished she could take it back. Frankly, the baby had no name, but why on Earth did her mind not come up with something other than the man's name??? Damn!

Leo, on the other hand, was grinning boyishly. "Really?! Well, that's great," he chuckled, rubbing his hands happily. "What a beautiful coincidence, eh? I'm doubly glad I encountered you and my namesake. But... but don't let me waste your time. Go with Tomasina."

With her eyes on the ground, Mara followed the housekeeper and went out of sight.

"Whew," Leo sighed and slumped down on a sofa, little knowing that Mara herself had also breathed a similar sigh the moment she was out of his presence. Somehow, they felt slightly embarrassed and shy in each other's presence, and neither of them knew why. But now that they were apart, Leo, mindless of the fact that his clothes were still quite wet, sat down to ruminate over Mara's situation.

It was clear that she had no home and no money. It was also clear that the baby was most likely newly born. But he was curious to know her story. She didn't look like someone who was used to living on the streets, so when and where did she give birth? Who had delivered her of the baby, and why didn't they care for her? Was she running away from someone?

Despite wracking his brain and coming up with so many possible explanations, Leo spent an hour without getting any closer to understanding the the girl's situation. If only he could ask her... but he feared that she would be embarrassed or might clam up and get scared of being exposed to whoever she was running from. He preferred she opened to him on her own, but that might take a long time and he was nearly burning with curiosity already!

Finally, exhausted with his fruitless thoughts, he went off to take his bath and prepare for bed. Hopefully, tomorrow would bring him closer to the knowledge of Mara's history.


The next day, Mara sat down on one of the sofas in the parlor, with her baby in her arms. She had not seen her host yet, but the housekeeper had acted on his instructions to take care of her, so she had had her breakfast, a warm bath and a clean set of clothes. But she knew that her baby would also need food, so while awaiting the presence of her host, she popped out her left breast and awkwardly pushed it into its mouth. She had no prior experience with breastfeeding; the only thing she knew about it was that babies were supposed to feed on the breast milk of their mothers.

She watched in fascination as her baby sucked eagerly on her breast and she couldn't help but feel a little pang of guilt. Obviously, it had been hungry and she had not bothered to think of it until now. She knew the nurses at the hospital may have fed it, but she still felt guilty for not thinking about its feeding sooner.

She was still in this position, feeling the tugging and suction and staring with a half-smile into the wide open eyes of her baby, when she heard a slight sound. She looked up immediately and found a tall, richly dressed woman looking straight at her. Mara swallowed and her heart rate picked up speed. She didn't need anyone to tell her that she was looking at no one other than Leo's wife. And from the hard and bitter look on the woman's face, it was crystal clear that she and her baby were not welcome here. Oh what a life hers was. She had moved from being unwanted in one home to being unwanted in another home!

Libre Baskerville
Gentium Book Basic
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