‘My kids…’ Luc echoed in the unreacting manner of a male who had not yet computed what he was being told. ‘What’s the matter with them? Are they sick?’
Now it was Star’s turn to look confused. ‘No, of course not. They’re fine now, and catching up great. Luc…do you understand what I’ve just told you?’
‘You said they were my children,’ Luc repeated back to her, still without any change of expression, although his winged ebony brows were beginning to pleat.
‘I really don’t know where you got the idea that they weren’t—’
‘Emilie’s accountant said the twins had only got out of hospital in the autumn. He assumed that they were newborns men…certainement.’ His usual level diction rose in volume, a dark frown slowly building.
For Star, who was feeling nauseous with nerves, that silence was unbearable.
‘J’etais vraiment fâché…’ Luc murmured in fluid French.
I was angry as hell, Star translated, watching Luc, bracing herself for a sudden massive explosion, every muscle in her slender length straining taut. Without warning, he moved again, and she jerked, only to look on in utter bewilderment as he headed towards the housekeeper, who was standing about thirty yards away in the hall, positioned by the front door in readiness for his punctual exit.
Luc was engaged in recalling the way Star had used to see him off every morning, no matter how early the hour of his departure, no matter how discouraging his mood. Chitchat at breakfast wasn’t his style. Star had been impervious to the message of his silence. She had torn up his croissant for him in the most infuriatingly invasive and messy manner, poured his coffee, and talked and talked with endless sunny good cheer, deflated not one jot by his monosyllabic replies.
She had been waiting for him when he’d come home as well, surging across the bridge to greet him, always hurling herself at him as if he had been away for at least a month. It had never mattered who was with him either. A party of important diplomats or high-ranking bankers, he mused, all of them had been instantly fascinated by her quicksilver energy, her innate charm, her incredible legs…
Now he was undoubtedly confronting a future of having his croissant mangled…Ah, c’est la vie, Luc conceded with a sigh. Congratulating himself on his self-control, not to mention his remarkable cool in crisis, he informed his housekeeper that he would not be flying to Paris after all. He then strolled out into the fresh air, where he breathed in slow and deep to counteract the infuriating light-headed sensation assailing him.
Had he considered himself to be an emotional individual, he might have wondered if what he was experiencing was shock combined with the most intense relief. But a complete stranger to all such self-analysis, and a male who reasoned solely in practical terms of cause and effect, Luc decided that he was suffering for his alcoholic indulgence several hours earlier.
Striding in the direction of the heli-pad, he was even more happily engaged in rationally reviewing obvious facts which might not immediately appear as obvious to Star as they were to him. Point one, he thought, smiling at the prospect, Rory would now sadly be nothing more for Star than a fleeting thought of what might have been, but was not to be. All children deserved two caring parents living under the same roof.
Frozen in position by one of the tall dining-room windows, Star watched Luc approach the waiting helicopter with eyes of complete incomprehension. He spoke to his pilot, sunlight glinting off his luxuriant black hair, one lean hand thrust with casual nonchalance in the pocket of his well-cut trousers. Star could not credit what she was seeing. He looked so relaxed, not at all like a male who had just been given a revelation of earth-shaking magnitude. Maybe he had walked outdoors in an effort to keep a tight rein on his temper. Maybe she just couldn’t read body language. When had she ever known what was happening inside that tortuously complex brain of his?
Striding back through the front door, emitting a strong air of decisiveness, Luc headed straight for the stairs. Star hurried across the hall in his wake. ‘Where are you going?’
‘To see my children.’
The sound of the possessive pronoun he used off-balanced Star.