How she wished she could have a proper drink too. Just as well she couldn’t—the aroma of bourbon playing under her nose made her belly recoil. Or was that terror of where this conversation was going?
Retreat wasn’t an option. Not any more. Their time had come.
‘This is all your fault,’ she said starkly, holding his eyes, refusing to let their hold drop. ‘When we married, all I felt towards you was a severe degree of lust. If we’d kept it at sex, I probably would have been fine—lust is intransigent. It would have fizzled out eventually.’ But as she spoke the words, she realised them to be a lie. She’d already been in love with him.
‘Instead, you withdrew physically,’ she continued. ‘But you’ve been...good to me. You look out for me but don’t try and inhibit or stifle me. You’re supportive and enthusiastic. You made me trust you.’
Something flickered in his eyes at her utterance of the word trust. She hardly believed it herself but it was the truth. Somewhere along the line she had begun to trust him. She’d fought it and fought it but it had crept up on her all the same. Just as her love for him had.
‘If I’m such a good guy then what is the problem here?’
‘This pregnancy has changed me. You’ve changed me. I deserve love and all that it can give. And so do you.’
‘Do you hear what you’re saying?’ he asked roughly, his eyes wild as he took a step back. ‘All this crap about love when we both know all it does is destroy people.’
‘No, it does not! Love only destroys if the person allows it. My father allowed it and so did your mother. We don’t have to be like them.’
‘You’re right—we don’t. And we won’t. People who take the risk are weak and foolish and I am neither of those things. I thought you were better than that too.’
‘Then I must be weak and stupid.’
‘I can’t be the man you think you want,’ he warned. ‘I have no capacity to love and, even if I did, I’ve grown up seeing how dangerous it can be and the knock-on effects it has on everyone else.
‘Where are you going?’ he demanded when she suddenly turned away and headed for her bedroom.
‘Your flight doesn’t leave until the morning.’
‘I’ll see if I can get a sooner one.’ She flung her wardrobe doors open, pulled out her small carry-on case and placed it on the bed.
He didn’t love her.
He would never love her. He wouldn’t even try.
‘Can you call me a cab, please?’
‘You’re not going anywhere. Not until we’ve talked this through.’
‘We’re talking it through right now.’ She selected some clothes and placed them neatly in the case, then dug her phone from her pocket and pressed the app that would send a taxi straight to the apartment building. ‘We can stay married until the baby is born, so you can have the legal rights you want, and then we can divorce. I’m sure we can find an amicable solution to custody—’
She started to zip her case but Christian wrenched it from her, whipping it away and hurtling it to the floor with a slam. She didn’t think she had ever seen him so angry. Not that anger was the correct word for the wildness surrounding him.
She could hardly blame him. She was destroying the future they had planned. But that had been a future before she’d fallen in love with him.
He gripped her shoulders. ‘We made a promise to each other and our child to be a family. You’re breaking that promise. I will not agree to any divorce.’
‘Why are you being so unreasonable?’ she demanded, her own temper rising back up. ‘You’re still going to get what you want. You’re still going to be a father.’
His hands slid off her shoulders and balled into fists. ‘Why are you doing this?’
Because I love you. And I know you will never fall in love with me. And to continue living with you knowing I will never have your love will eventually destroy me just as it destroyed your mother and my father. But not to their extent. Never to their extent. Our child will never suffer for it, I swear.