She didn’t think she’d ever seen him so happy. ‘How’s Liv?’
Somehow his face lit up even more. ‘She’s wonderful.’ Rocco moved on to Christian, giving him a bear hug, which he returned. ‘What are you doing here?’
‘I’m here to see you,’ Christian said.
If Rocco heard the serious inflection in his friend’s voice he made no sign of it. ‘Alessandra and I have a lunch date—are you joining us?’
‘Rocco,’ said Alessandra, placing a hand on her brother’s arm to get his attention. ‘Christian is here with me. We have something to tell you.’
Immediately the light in her brother’s eyes dimmed, became wary. ‘Tell me what?’
Christian shifted slightly and placed an arm around her waist. The gesture felt almost protective. ‘We’re getting married,’ he said, his tone serious.
Rocco shook his head as if clearing his ears of water. ‘Married?’
‘Yes. We wanted you to be the first to know.’
Alessandra pressed closer to Christian in a show of unity and forced a breezy laugh. If they could make this look and sound as natural as possible, then Rocco should be accepting of their plans. That was what she’d been telling herself for almost a fortnight. ‘I want you to give me away.’
Rocco laughed with her, although not at his usual pitch. ‘You two are getting married?’
‘My little sister and my best friend?’
‘Si! Isn’t it wonderful?’
‘That’s one way to describe it. When did all this happen?’
‘We bumped into each other when you were in New York.’ She and Christian had agreed to stick with the truth as much as possible. Neither wanted to lie to Rocco. ‘Christian had come to take you out but, as you were in New York, I talked him into taking me out instead. Then, at your wedding we spent a bit more time together and realised our feelings for each other had changed.’ That was the truth as well. How could someone be just a friend of your brother’s if you were carrying his child?
‘When do you hope to marry?’
‘We’ve decided there’s no point in hanging around so we’ve set the date for a fortnight. We’re marrying in Athens.’
Christian’s hand brushed against her back as he pulled away from her and took a step closer to Rocco.
Neither man spoke.
Suddenly she became aware that the atmosphere in the office wasn’t the warm bonhomie she’d intended. It was cold. Icy.
As she looked from her fiancé to her brother, taking in the two sets of lips clamped firmly together, her heart sank.
For all his outward amiability, Rocco hadn’t bought a single word she’d said. And Christian knew it.
‘Are you pregnant?’ he asked, looking at her briefly, his tone casual.
She swallowed, stupidly unprepared for such a question. She placed her arm protectively across her waist.
This time he directed the same question to Christian. There was no denying the menace in his stance. ‘Have you got my sister pregnant?’
Christian drew himself up to his full height. It was like watching two silverbacks square up to each other. Both men were equal in stature, both topping six foot by a good few inches, and both kept themselves in extremely good shape.
‘Yes. Alessandra is pregnant with my baby and we have agreed to marry. We both want to do the right thing by our child.’
‘The right thing by your child?’ Rocco snarled, his face ablaze with fury. ‘What about my sister? What the hell were you doing messing with her in the first place?’
‘I’m not going to lie to you,’ Christian said, his tone calm but with a hint of steel underlying his words. ‘Neither of us meant for this to happen. But it has happened—Alessandra is pregnant with my child and I am going to support them both in every way I can.’
‘So she was another of your one-night stands? Is that what you’re telling me?’