Mark was sitting outside on the flagstone patio, sipping a glass of wine, enjoying the warmth emanating from the patio heater. Walking up with glass in hand, Sharon asked, “Everything all right? Mind if I sit?”
Smiling over to her as she relaxed into the chair next to him, he replied, “Yes, please do. Just needed some fresh air.”
“You’re being awfully quiet, even for you. Bridget’s concerned you’re worried about being a father soon. Fergus is available for advice, if needed,” she said and smiled. “But is there more to it than that?”
He surprised her when he immediately opened up, asking, “Sharon, how close to marrying Scott was she?”
“Ah. Thought that may be bothering you. Bridget mentioned you two ran into him Thursday.” She paused, carefully thinking of the right words, “She was very close. I was honestly surprised when they broke it off. Before him, when she did date, it seemed she was addicted to goodbyes. Never keeping a boyfriend for more than a few weeks. Scott was the first one that she let in after you two split. You’d already been married for a while, so we were all starting to worry. She just couldn’t seem to move on. She had her career of course. She worked relentlessly and was very good at what she did.”
The pain on his face startled her; had she gone too far? What did he think Bridget was doing while he was married to Camilla? Had they not discussed their recent past, their time apart?
“I was so consumed with work and my life, with trying to forget her, I didn’t fully realize how hurt she was from our split.”
“Mark, she’s my best friend, and yes, she was tremendously hurt. But she made her decision and you made yours. You’re both grown adults. She could have chosen to remain but she wasn’t willing to compromise. It didn’t seem either of you were. But that was a long time ago.”
“I can’t help but feel that I was the cause of so much heartache in her life. She missed out on a life with...someone else, due to me. And we weren’t even speaking at the time.” His voice communicated how truly upset he was for being the cause of angst in Bridget’s life; he dropped his head when he finished, looking very introspective.
“Would you rather she be married to Scott now, carrying his child?” she asked, surprised at his feelings of guilt now that they were back together.
His anguished look broke her heart. Reaching over to squeeze his hand, she told him, “Mark, you know I’ve never been one to beat around the bush. I haven’t seen Bridget as happy as she is right now with you. She never completely got over you, even though you’d married. That doesn’t mean that she didn’t want to move on with her life and I think Scott could have been the one to help her do that. You know he had two young sons that she was very close to?” He nodded his acknowledgment of this fact, remembering that Jeremy had mentioned her boyfriend having two young children. “But in the end, something held her back. Maybe she needed more time but he wasn’t willing to wait any longer. It all worked out for the best. If ever two people were destined for each other, it’s you and Bridget.”
Coming up behind the two of them, Bridget put her hand on Mark’s shoulder, asking if everything was all right, glancing over at Shaz with concern in her eyes. Reaching up, he placed his hand over hers, looked over at her friend with a nod and said, “Yes. Sharon has just let me know that I’m being a prat.” As he said this, she came around to face him, squatted down low and took both his hands in hers.
“Mark, I absolutely love you, prat or not.” She seemed to understand that his mood was more than just normal nervousness at being a new father. Their eyes met and held. God, how dearly he loved her. Dropping his hands, she rubbed her arms through the sleeves of her jumper, stating the obvious by saying, “And it’s utterly monkeys out here! Come inside, both of you and warm up. Tom’s going to sing his one hit song soon, would hate for you to miss that!”
Getting up, Mark waited for the two women to precede him up the steps and into the house. From just in front, Sharon turned around and gave him a quick wink and smile, saying quietly, “In case I wasn’t clear, we’re all ecstatic that you two are back together.”