LIZZIE suppressed a small guilty yawn, afraid she might actually fall asleep in her dinner if she wasn’t careful.
She was regretting now having agreed that it was a good idea, at the reception a week before, when Ariadne Constantin had suggested that the four or them go for dinner together, to a new restaurant that had recently opened to rave reviews. Especially in view of the distance that Ilios had deliberately created between them. He barely looked at her any more, never mind spoke to her or touched her. There had not been any further invitations to accompany him on site visits during the day, and nor was he discussing any aspect of his life or his plans with her any more. It was, Lizzie acknowledged bleakly, as though he hated her being there and bitterly resented the fact he had had to marry her—even though it had been his own decision.
The food, a Greek take on Australian-Eastern fusion cooking, was delicious, and the light sauces accompanying the fish and meat courses mouthwateringly tempting, but Lizzie had no appetite for them. She was far too unhappy. Was her constant tiredness perhaps a symptom of the misery she was feeling? Was that why she yearned to close her eyes and blot out reality?
Just remembering the curtness in his voice and the way he had turned away from her now was enough to close up her throat and sting the back of her eyes with the embarrassing threat of unwanted tears. Her reaction was surely more that of a hormonal teenager than an adult woman, and certainly not one she could ever remember having before. But then she had never loved Ilios before.
Lizzie watched enviously as Ariadne and her husband got up to dance on the restaurant’s small dance floor. It must be heaven to be held so close in the arms of the man you loved in a small and discreet public demonstration of the love between you. Her body trembled in response to the intensity of her emotions.
The Constantins were returning to the table. Stavros Constantin was ordering more wine. Lizzie shook her head when the waiter moved to fill her glass. She hadn’t touched alcohol since the night she had drunk champagne and she and Ilios made love—had had sex, she corrected herself fiercely. That was all it had been—sex—lust—that was what she must remember. She certainly wasn’t going to risk having a drink now. In her current emotionally vulnerable frame of mind there was no saying what she might attempt to do, or how much she might try to humiliate herself once they were alone together.
The other three drank their wine, then Ariadne got up, asking if, like her, Lizzie wanted to visit the ladies’.
Nodding her head, Lizzie got up too. Anything would be better than having to sit next to Ilios, knowing how eager he was to get rid of her.
Once in the cloakroom, Lizzie felt the tiredness that had threatened to overwhelm her earlier catch up with her again, causing her to smother yet another yawn. She apologised to Ariadne as she did so, hoping that the other woman wouldn’t think her rude.
‘Don’t worry,’ Ariadne responded. ‘I understand. I was exactly the same when I was first pregnant with our son. I’d been expecting morning sickness, but instead what I got was sleeping sickness.’
Pregnant. The cloakroom spun dizzily round her and Lizzie had to cling to the basin.
Ariadne, obviously concerned, reached out to her.
‘I’m all right,’ Lizzie reassured her. ‘It’s just that I hadn’t thought—’
She stopped abruptly, but Ariadne had obviously guessed the truth because she put her hand to her lips and then exclaimed, ‘Oh! You didn’t realise that you might be pregnant—and now I am the first to know and it should have been Ilios. Don’t worry—I shan’t say a word—not even to Stavros.’ She gave Lizzie’s arm a comforting little squeeze, and offered, ‘If you would like, I could give you the name of my maternity doctor. He is very good.’