A week later, Henriqua was ensconced in a palatial penthouse overlooking both the Hudson and the East Rivers. All the exterior walls were windows, the floors were heated and the refrigerator blended seamlessly into the banks of cupboards. A woman, both nurse and housekeeper, came and went. Her main duty seemed to be to keep Henriqua off her feet.
After a scan, Henriqua had been kept in hospital overnight for observation, then released to bed rest until her next checkup. One of Ben’s cousins, Rozi, who was also pregnant, had brought her here. She projected warmth and understanding and Henriqua instinctively took to her, not that she could show it. She was too confused.
“My husband bought this as an investment,” Rozi told her. “Use of it is part of Ben’s compensation package. Viktor asked him to lead up the American division.”
Of what? Henriqua didn’t ask, too overwhelmed.
“I’m still not used to living like this, either,” Rozi said ruefully. “I offered Ben the use of the studio flat I’m giving up.” She chuckled.
“Where is Ben?”
Rozi sobered. “Colombia. Tracking Vincent.”
“No! He’s dangerous.”
“Kaine—Gizi’s fiancé—went with him. All of this...” The roll of Rozi’s hand encompassed the fraud and Ben’s subsequent fall from grace. “We’ve all been affected. When one of us faces trouble, we pull together. Ben will be in touch as soon as he can. Meanwhile, you rest. If you’re feeling up to it, Grandmamma would like to visit.”
All of Ben’s family trickled through over the ensuing days. Ben’s mother and sister were thrilled about the baby, his father pleased and proud. Rozi came to say goodbye when she left for Hungary, bringing Gisella, the leggy woman who’d loaned her hotel room that first night. Gisella had an update worth hearing.
“I thought Kaine was ruthless,” she said with elevated brows. “Once he realized Vincent was the one who made it look like Ben tried to dupe him, Kaine put his investigators onto finding the proof that clears both of them. Vincent is financially annihilated, but that’s not enough for Benny. Kaine said he’s sticking close to keep our dear, steady, occasionally arrogant but mostly good-natured cousin from murder charges.”
“Gizi,” Rozi admonished lightly.
The women shared a look that reinforced the familial bond Henriqua sensed between all of them, leaving Henriqua wistful for something like it.
The rest of the visit passed very pleasantly. Both women designed jewelry so they all spoke the language of gems and metals. Henriqua admitted that Ben had told her about the pair of earrings that briefly belonged to their grandmother. Rozi and Gizi told her the truth.
“Why are you sharing a secret like that?” Henriqua breathed, stunned they would trust her with it.
“You’re family,” Rozi said simply.
“Only if...” Henriqua set a hand below her navel, encouraged to believe if she hadn’t lost the baby by now, the pregnancy would go to term, but even if it did, she still planned to give the baby to Ben. He didn’t want her.
“Did you hear the part about Benny’s need for revenge? You’re family,” Gisella assured her dryly.
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