From One Night to Wife(4)

By: Rachael Thomas

 ‘You should have done this about two months ago.’

 Each matter-of-fact word lacerated her heart, almost annihilating the love for him she’d carried in her heart since she’d left the island. Each carefully spoken word proved she had been nothing more than a convenient amusement.

 Whatever her dreams of Nikos had been, to him she’d only been a passing fancy—a brief encounter that didn’t require commitment, just soft words and passionate kisses. One he thought he could brush aside when it suited him. But things had changed and now he had to acknowledge the situation.

 Enraged by his attitude, and all she’d learnt, she faced up to him, the fire of determination scorching through her. ‘For the past two and a half months I have been somewhat preoccupied with nausea.’

 Each sharp word flew at him like a dagger. The injustice of his accusation was stinging, giving her the strength to stand her ground. After desperately keeping her pregnancy from her family, the strain was too much. He was pushing her almost to breaking point.

 ‘You could have called. I did, after all, ask to be told.’

 His blue eyes had become so dark and forbidding they were like the hidden depths of the ocean. Unknown and uninviting.

 ‘Ask?’ The word rushed from her, wrapped tightly in disbelief. ‘You didn’t ask anything. You demanded.’

 His eyes hardened, glinting like icicles as the full moon shone on them and fixed her to the spot. ‘I was doing the right thing. I asked that you tell me if you became pregnant. I did not demand anything of you. It would only have taken one call, Serena. Why wait so long? Why now?’

 ‘I needed time to think—to decide what I was going to do.’ She’d thought herself into circles. Total panic had made any kind of sensible thought impossible, but even then the answer had been the same.

 Nikos had no intention of being a father. She would have to bring up her child alone. Such thoughts had driven her mad with fear and panic, as had the conviction that her mother would be devastated. Her daughter falling pregnant after little more than a one-night stand would be too much of a nightmare for her to deal with. And she wasn’t a naive teenager, which would only make her mother’s reaction worse. She always worried about what other people thought of her—that was why she’d hidden the sham of her marriage behind a facade of happiness.

 At twenty-three Serena should have known better. But, having purposely kept any advances at arm’s length, she hadn’t.

 The experience of making love with a man was something she’d planned to share with someone she loved. So when Nikos had sauntered into her life, sweeping her off her feet, she’d known almost from the moment they’d met where it would end. She’d given Nikos, the man she’d fallen instantly in love with, her most precious gift.

 In doing so she’d let everyone down. But worse to bear was the pain she would cause her sister.

 ‘To decide what you were going to do?’

 She saw his brows quirk together savagely as his gruff voice startled her out of her thoughts.

 ‘Yes—do.’ He was beginning to exasperate her. He was making her do all the work in this conversation, forcing every word from her when he didn’t even have the decency to admit his deceit. Was it a form of punishment?

 ‘And have you thought?’

 The powerful aura radiating from him was something she hadn’t noticed before, even though they’d spent almost every evening of her time on the island together. Not only did he look different, he acted differently. This Nikos was totally in command, completely intimidating—and, worse than anything else, he was without care or kindness.

 She met it head-on with a cold indifference that hid the panic and nerves she really felt.

 ‘Yes, I’ve thought, Nikos. I’ve thought of your lies, and of those callous words you threw at me the last time I saw you. I’ve thought of nothing other than your insistence that I inform you of any consequences.’

 His mouth was set in a grim line of irritation, but she pushed on. Behind him the sky displayed beautiful oranges and deep purples, and she wondered how such a stunning sunset could play host to this terrible moment.

 ‘It seems I’m now to be punished for not telling you as soon as I knew, but—more fool me—I wanted to tell you personally. Face-to-face. Not in a phone call. And that meant waiting until now—until I felt well enough to travel.’

 ‘Yet you can’t.’ He moved closer, his words coming out in a provoking growl. ‘You can’t say it, can you?’

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