What is Mine
~ Nine ~


~ Six months later ~

“Who is the smartest little boy in the whole wide world?”

“Robby is!”

Everyone gathered burst into laughter at the toddler's response. “Oh, yes,” someone called out, “he is definitely Doctor Whelan's kid! He's got the same ego!”

Doctor Robert Whelan's pride in his young son grew even more than before. Little Robby was a bright, perceptive child and his father's pride and joy. “How many times do I have to correct you people?” the doctor dryly retorted, reaching for his son. “It's not ego when it's the truth.”

There was good-natured eye rolling from everyone assembled about the surgeon's table. Adopting his young son might have smoothed the sharp edges of Jack Whelan's personality, but it had done absolutely nothing to lessen the brilliant cardiac surgeon's considerable ego.

With Little Robby comfortably seated on his father's lap, Jack began to cut up the small portions of meat on the child's plate. He attacked it with the same single-mindedness that he dedicated to the delicate surgeries he performed almost daily. When he had carved the meat into tiny uniform little pieces, he allowed his son to eat. It was a signal to the watching hospital staff that they should begin eating as well.

“I can take him,” Cassie Whelan murmured softly to her husband. She would have been truly shocked if Jack had complied. Over the last month or so, her husband and son had turned some kind of corner in their relationship.

Jack had been careful and reserved with the little boy from the very first moment he placed Robby in Cassie's arms. The surgeon's joy at his young wife's joy was obvious to see. Each smile that the toddler brought to her face made Jack smile as well.

But the pleasure he felt on his wife's behalf did not extend to Jack himself. He could not look at Little Robby without replaying the accident scene in his head.

He felt no regrets about taking the little boy. The visible change in Cassie's emotional outlook was worth everything he'd done. But Jack could not help reviewing his actions that day and wondering if some detail he'd overlooked would somehow lead back to him.

A month ago a solution had fallen into the doctor's lap. Or onto his operating table, to be more exact. Jack performed a very tricky procedure on a notoriously questionable attorney. And like in some scene from a Hollywood movie, the man offered Jack as a show of gratitude one ‘no questions asked' favor that the doctor had pounced upon.

The attorney had somehow arranged for the official one-year adoption waiting period to begin an entire month before Robby had even come into their lives. For anyone who might investigate, there were falsified documents of every kind.

Thanks to the lawyer's phenomenal talent at twisting the law, Little Robby was five months away from being ‘legally' adopted by Doctor and Mrs. Robert Whelan. And nothing, the shady attorney assured the doctor, could change that status once Robby was.