She’d spent pretty much her entire life trying to keep herself together in public, the hardest before tonight being two months ago when they’d buried her grandfather. The paparazzi had been out in force. She’d worn dark glasses until they’d entered the church, refusing to give them the money shot they so desired. Even when Sandro, her alcoholic father, had turned up drunk and made that dreadful scene, she’d kept her composure. Christian and Zayed had been the ones who’d calmly approached him and dragged him away.
Christian staggered over to the bed and sat heavily on it, clutching his head.
‘Please. Say something,’ she beseeched. The back of her retinas burned and she blinked furiously. No matter what happened in the next few minutes, she would not cry. She’d done enough of that.
He fixed his blue eyes on her. ‘How long have you known?’
‘A while, I guess, but I only took the test a couple of days ago.’ She laughed, a hollow sound even to her own ears. ‘I took three of them, hoping they were wrong.’ At the third positive reading, she’d climbed onto her bed and sobbed.
‘Have you seen a doctor?’
‘Not yet.’ She bit into her lip. It had taken her almost a fortnight to entertain the possibility that her late period might actually mean something, another fortnight before she’d unburied her head from the sand and crossed the threshold into the pharmacy.
She’d never believed she would be a mother. Motherhood went hand in hand with relationships and she certainly didn’t believe in them.
‘But you’re certain?’
‘Yes.’ Once the reality of her condition had sunk into her shell-shocked brain, the tears had stopped.
Inside her, right in the heart of her womanhood, a tiny life grew.
Whatever the outcome of this conversation with Christian, nothing could change the fact that this life—her baby—was a part of her. Nothing could have prepared her for the host of emotions pregnancy would bring. It might be early days in pregnancy terms but already she loved it, this little alien developing within her; knew she would do anything to nurture and protect it. Anything.
Silence rang out, the only sound Christian’s heavy breathing. She’d never seen his features—all angles and straight lines forming what had been dubbed one of the most handsome faces in Europe—look so empty.
‘I’m so sorry.’
His brows drew together. ‘Sorry for what?’
‘I screwed up.’ She forced herself to look him straight in the eye. ‘I didn’t take my pill properly.’
He shook his head and expelled a breath through his mouth, running a hand through his cropped dirty-blond hair. ‘And you didn’t think to tell me that?’
‘I didn’t know the dangers, not properly.’
‘How could you not know? It’s basic biology.’ He swore under his breath.
‘I was put on the pill because my periods were painful, not for the purpose of contraception.’
‘You should have told me. Theos, if I’d known you didn’t take it at regular intervals I would have made certain to use a condom.’
‘I am sorry, truly sorry.’
The knuckles of his hands were white. She could see his temper hanging by a thread.
‘You can’t put this on yourself—I can’t put it on you,’ he eventually said. ‘We were both there. I should have had the sense to use a condom like I normally do.’
She closed her eyes, pushing away thoughts of him with other women. ‘Christian...I can’t do this on my own. I need your support—not financially but in other ways.’ Financially she could do it alone. She had her apartment, her career was thriving...
She opened her eyes and looked at his still-dazed face. ‘I know I’ve had a head start getting my head around all this, and that’s unfair on you, but I need your word—on your honour—that you’ll be there for me and our baby.’ Not that she could trust it. He was a man. Men always broke their promises.