Trust in Tomorrow
Table of Contents
CHELSEA kept her head down against the driving rain, the suitcase she carried heavy in her hand, the cab driver having dropped her off a few buildings short of the one she wanted, despite the fact that she had shown him the slip of paper she had with Lucas’s address written on it. And the fare had been exorbitant too, considering she had had to drag her own case in and out of the cab.
Not that she would have minded these few minutes respite from the rush and bustle of the last couple of days, if only it hadn’t been raining. This trip to London had been unplanned, a last-minute thought of Jace’s, and now that she was actually here and able to think a little more clearly herself she didn’t think it was such a good idea. She hadn’t seen Lucas McAdams for the last seven years, not since she was twelve years old, and she had no idea what he was going to make of her visit now. Jace had assured her it would be all right, and in Los Angeles it had seemed that it would be. Now that she was actually in London she wasn’t so sure; Lucas may not even remember the small, silver-haired child whose huge blue eyes had once followed his every move. It had been an embarrassing time in Chelsea’s life, one she would rather forget, although at least she could be confident Lucas had been unaware of her hero-worship; the only thing Lucas had been interested in seven years ago had been advancing himself up the legal ladder as quickly and as far as possible. And at twenty-seven his romantic interest had leant towards the sophisticated, usually patting Chelsea affectionately on the head before going out with one of those women when she visited his family with her parents.
A lot had happened in the intervening years, the move to California for Chelsea with her parents, their divorce six months ago, staying with her mother while continuing to see her father on a regular basis, the death of Lucas’s own parents, while his young sister Camilla also moved to America to advance her modelling career. Camilla had remained a close friend to them all, had also encouraged this visit to Lucas, both she and Jace anxious to get Chelsea away from Los Angeles before the publicity broke out, sure that she would be well out of it with Lucas in London.
Well she was here now, and if Jace had sent the cable as he had said he would, then Lucas would be expecting her. She could always go on to a hotel later if it wasn’t convenient with him for her to stay.
In her preoccupation with her troubled thoughts, her head bowed against the wind and rain, she didn’t see the man getting out of the cab as she stepped sideways to avoid a puddle of water on the sidewalk, the suede boots she wore not the type she should get wet, the movement bringing her straight into the man’s path, the force with which they collided coming as a complete shock to her, knocking all the breath from her body as she lost her balance, falling down on her bottom with a sickening jolt!
‘Why didn’t you look where you’re going?’ growled an unpleasantly harsh voice.
Chelsea gasped as she was verbally attacked instead of given the concern she had been expecting. This man was as much to blame for the collision as she was! ‘Help me up, would you, please?’ she requested coldly, holding out her hand, aware that the seat of her denims was very wet, and her dignity was far from intact, as the people passing by stared at them curiously.
A lean hand came out to meet hers, and she was pulled effortlessly to her feet. ‘Thank you,’ she muttered as she brushed herself down with little effect, her denims damply creased, the thick sheepskin jacket she wore to keep out the brisk English November winds also damp. Her hair was secured under a thick woollen hat the same navy blue as her eyes, although the hat, too, was a little soggy from her walk in the rain.
She looked up at the man with a rueful shrug, at once struck by the handsome hauteur of his face, so tall that he dwarfed even her five-foot six frame. He was leanly built, seeming to be wearing a dark suit beneath the tailored overcoat. But it was his face her gaze returned to as if magnetised, dark brown hair styled over well-shaped ears, dark brown eyes looking down at her with a scowl, showing he wasn’t nearly so impressed with her own appearance. His nose was long and straight, his mouth a stern line, harsh lines beside his nose and mouth, as if he had little to smile about in his life.
Chelsea couldn’t help thinking that such a handsome man had no right to be so rude! ‘I’m sorry,’ she said automatically, although she knew the collision hadn’t just been her fault.
The man nodded tersely, offering no words of apology himself as he turned abruptly to the right and entered the building there, a black overnight bag in his hand.
Chelsea picked up her own case with a frustrated glare in his direction, walking on several feet more before realising she, too, should have entered that apartment building. She only hoped that the rude man didn’t turn out to be a friend of Lucas’s; it would be a bad beginning.
The man was standing waiting for the descent of the elevator when she struggled through the entrance door with her case, sparing her only a cursory glance as not a hint of recognition entered the dark brown eyes. He had literally knocked her flying seconds before, and he had already dismissed her from his mind!
They stepped into the lift together, the only two occupants, the man pressing the button for the eighth floor before turning to her with polite query, his hand still poised next to the floor buttons.
‘Eight suits me fine,’ she murmured in a husky voice.
His haughtiness seemed to increase as he looked down his nose at her. ‘Floor eight happens to be the penthouse apartments,’ he told her in a harshly cold voice.
‘Oh,’ she nodded interestedly.
‘It’s private,’ he added pointedly.
‘Really?’ she was determined to be polite, although this man’s condescending manner was certainly pushing her to the limits of that politeness. What did it matter to him that she was going up to the eighth floor; he certainly didn’t look as if he worked for the security! Maybe he was just one of those interfering neighbours who liked to know who everyone was and what they were doing here. Well, Lucas could be the one to tell him about her, if he chose to do so.
‘Yes,’ the word was bit out precisely, the man’s manner more icy than ever.
‘Nice,’ she said appreciatively for the want of something better to say, wondering what this man expected of her. It was certainly an exclusive-looking building, she could tell that at a glance, but despite her casual appearance she was accustomed to a certain amount of luxury at home herself; no one could look their best after