‘I am not prepared to have this discussion in the back of a car,’ he said grimly.
‘Ochi!’ he said with such finality she clamped her lips together lest she say anything
ONCE INSIDE THE APARTMENT, Alessandra hurried to hang up her jacket and remove her boots. ‘I’m going to make myself a camomile tea. Do you want anything?’
‘No.’ Christian’s answer was curt. She could feel his anger rippling beneath the surface, just as it had on the drive back from the restaurant when he’d sat beside her with arms folded so tightly she could see the muscles bunched beneath his shirt.
Now his hands were rammed firmly into his pockets.
She headed straight for the kitchen area and with shaking hands filled the kettle. Camomile tea, while not the most palatable of hot drinks, was famed for its calming abilities. Maybe it would help soothe the tumult of emotions shredding her.
Dio l’aiuti, she loved him.
‘I’m struggling to understand some things,’ Christian said in a tone calm and reasonable. She could hear the undercurrent of wrath beneath it, though. ‘I took Kerstin on at your behest.’
Keeping her back to him, she took a teabag from the container. ‘You wanted her anyway.’ How could he not? Kerstin was perfect. She was everything that she, Alessandra, was not. For a start, Kerstin would never be so careless about contraception. If Christian was to have a family with the German woman it would be because they both chose it and not out of a sense of duty.
‘Not in the way you’re implying.’
‘What should I want? To sleep with her?’
Did he really expect her to believe his incredulity? This from the man who hadn’t touched her, his wife, since the night they’d exchanged their vows. He hadn’t laid a single finger on her.
‘Why not? She’s a beautiful, intelligent woman.’
‘Yes,’ he agreed. ‘That doesn’t mean I want to have sex with her.’
‘Of course you do. She’s exactly your type, all long legs and blonde hair.’ Deliberately, she tossed her hair back and flashed a smile. Hold it together, Alessandra, please; just a few more minutes, keep it together, then this conversation will be over and you can breathe again. Her fingers dug into the palm of her hands so tightly she could feel her nails pierce the skin. ‘Honestly, Christian, I think you’re mad for not wanting to sleep with her. She’s perfect for you.’
‘I’m married to you. I chose you.’
His words cut through her, slicing through her heart and deep into her marrow.
Lies. Lies. Lies.
‘You chose me?’ she asked slowly, her ears ringing, her heart thundering so hard it reverberated through her skin.
‘You know I did. I made my vows to you.’
Alessandra twisted round so quickly Christian could have sworn she’d performed a pirouette.
The smile she’d been wearing since their return to the apartment had been nothing but a mask that now ripped away to reveal the savagery beneath the surface.
‘You chose me?’
‘You chose me?’ Her husky voice rose with every syllable. Before he knew what was happening, she’d grabbed her cup and thrown it at the far wall. White china exploded upon impact, large chunks flying onto the wooden floor, smaller shards landing like darts around the larger pieces.
‘You didn’t choose me. You didn’t choose to be my husband; you chose to be a father.’ Her face was dark with colour, her eyes wild, feral.
He strove for composure. ‘Parakalo. Please, agapi mou, I need you to calm down.’
‘Do not call me that. Whatever it means, you don’t mean it.’
‘I don’t care what it means!’ Her voice had risen to a scream. ‘You want me to calm down? Don’t you like me throwing cups? Well, how about plates? Is that what Greek housewives do when their husbands don’t want them? Do they throw plates?’