It would be sheer madness. He wanted a divorce. He did not want to stay married to her. He didn’t care if she loved another guy. He just wanted to kill the other guy…he just wanted to kill her. No, not her, him! That black cloud kept on rising; he couldn’t concentrate. Perspiration beaded his skin. He clenched his fists in angry frustration. He didn’t want to think. Suddenly, he understood that much. In the grip of the powerful nebulous feelings closing in on him, he felt alarmingly unstable. What he needed was a drink.
Star switched off the phone and sank down on one of the hall chairs. All she could think about was what an idiot she had been to imagine even briefly that Luc might want their marriage to continue. So he had asked her to be his mistress instead. Well, there was no prospect of her lowering herself to that level.
But then what other kind of offer could she have expected him to make? She still hadn’t told Luc that he was the twins’ father! Just when had she stopped remembering that? Why hadn’t she paused to consider that letting Luc go on believing that Venus and Mars were another man’s children was to fatally colour his view of her and change their relationship?
Oh, golly, gosh, what relationship? she asked herself painfully, her head in her hands as she sniffed. That winter, over eighteen months earlier, Luc had reunited her with Juno. Star and her mother had met first at Luc’s Paris apartment. Afterwards, Luc had taken Star out to lunch. She hadn’t realised then that there was already a woman in his life: Gabrielle Joly had been the ultimate in discretion.
‘I think I fell in love with you the minute I saw you again,’ she had announced over that lunch.
Luc dealt her an arrested glance.
‘I didn’t know anything could feel this intense,’ she continued unsteadily. ‘I suppose you’re used to your looks knocking women flat, but what I notice most about you is how lonely you are—’
‘I’ve never been lonely in my life,’ Luc responded drily.
‘I don’t think you ever get close to anyone. I’ve been watching you. You freeze people out; you can’t help yourself. Anything personal or emotional and you’re really challenged to stay within a mile of the experience. Like now. You just want me to shut up and you want to escape without hurting my feelings,’ she said guiltily. ‘Well, thanks for listening to me. You can leave now if you like.’
He was trapped then for a little longer. She knew it, and had planned it that way, but her conscience twinged as she watched his long, beautifully shaped fingers close very tautly round his wine glass.
‘You’re just a child,’ he began.
‘No, I’m not a child. I seem like a child to you because I say things out loud that you wouldn’t scream under the worst torture. I’m sorry, but this is the only way I had of getting through to you. You quite like being with me,’ she pointed out shyly. ‘Haven’t you noticed that? And I notice you look at me, and then look away like you shouldn’t be looking, and—’
‘Bon! Ca suffit maintenant.’ Rising from his seat, Luc glowered down at her from his impressive height. ‘If you’re not embarrassed for yourself, I am.’
‘I know. But when you love someone as much as I love you—’
‘You don’t know what love is at your age,’ he drawled with sudden lethal derision.
‘I know more than you do. I don’t think you’ve ever been in love in your whole life,’ Star protested. ‘Love’s messy, and you’re not. Love would make demands you wouldn’t like and wouldn’t want to spare the time for—’
Taking her by the arm when she knew that what he was really desperate to do was gag her into silence, Luc dragged her out of the exclusive restaurant, seemingly blind to the fascinated stares his unusual behaviour was attracting.
Out on the pavement, she whispered, ‘I’m not expecting you to love me back, but doesn’t it give you a warm feeling to know that someone loves you?’
Brilliant dark eyes hooded, Luc thrust her into the back seat of his limo. ‘All that you’re suffering from is adolescent hormones—’
‘No, even if I could never, ever sleep with you, I would still care about you!’ Star argued vehemently.