Page 37 of Expectant Bride

In a desperate need to convince herself that they did have a relationship, she had just thrown herself at Dio. All right, she loved him, and was currently suffering from the most humiliating need for reassurance, but that was certainly not an excuse. Tonight, prompted by the fear that she was preg¬nant, she had tried to attach strings that didn't exist, hadn't she? If Dio was feeling in need of some space now, how could she possibly blame him? She should have resisted her own weakness and slept elsewhere. Why, oh, why did she always get it wrong with Dio? she asked herself in positive anguish.

Getting out of bed, Ellie hurriedly gathered up her clothes. She crept down the corridor to the room in which she had changed earlier and climbed into the bed there. If Dio really wanted her with him, he would come and get her. If he didn't—well, then she had done the right thing, hadn't she?

Ellie lay awake for a long time, but Dio didn't put in an appearance to persuade her back into his arms.

Dio's manservant brought her breakfast in bed the following morning. Then Dio called her on the internal phone to tell her that he had made a provisional appointment for her with a consultant gynaecologist willing to see her at noon.

'Nathan Parkes is a personal friend. If you feel uncom¬fortable with that fact, I'll make other arrangements,' Dio asserted with scrupulous care and tact.

'I don't care who I see,' Ellie responded flatly, worn down by her sleepless night and thoughts that overflowed with re¬gret and self-loathing.

She was impervious to Dio's every impossibly smooth conversational sally on the drive across London. A pretence of polite cool was beyond her. She might love him, but just then she hated him for succumbing to her moment of weak¬ness the night before. Succumbing with enthusiasm and then making her feel ten times worse. She wished she had never met him. She wished it so hard that she said it out loud just as she climbed out of his fabulous sleek black Ferrari.

'I don't wish that,' Dio delivered grittily as he strode up onto the pavement beside her, six foot three inches of ag¬gressive masculinity. 'And neither do you.'

'What do you know about how I fee]?' she demanded shakily. 'And why have you got out of your car?'

'Naturally I'm coming in with you—'

'Like heck you are! This is one thing I do on my own!'

Twenty minutes later, Ellie's suspense came to an end.

'You're pregnant,' Nathan Parkes informed her levelly.

'Definitely... That is, without any room for doubt?' Ellie prompted jerkily.

'Definitely. No room for doubt'

Ellie dropped her head and studied her tightly linked hands. Why had she even bothered to question his diagnosis?

'At this stage, feeling a little sick is normal,' the lanky blond man continued. 'But I'm not entirely happy with your weight. You're quite thin.'

'I've been skipping meals recently,' Ellie admitted grudg¬ingly.

'Nausea does tend to kill one's appetite,' he allowed. 'But try to eat small meals regularly. That often helps.'

Pining for Dio had killed Ellie's appetite, but she kept that demeaning truth to herself.

'You are planning to continue with this pregnancy?'

Hearing the edge of concern in that query, Ellie nodded in immediate agreement, but she still didn't look up. She had honestly believed that she was prepared for the news that she was pregnant. Now she was discovering that she hadn't been prepared. She felt shocked, and very scared of the future.

'Excellent,' Nathan Parkes pronounced approvingly.

Ten minutes after that, Ellie stood in the empty waiting room and took several deep breaths to calm herself. From the window, she could see the roof of Dio's Ferrari. As she emerged onto the street, Dio climbed out and strode round the bonnet. His dark, deep-set gaze instantly locked to her pale, strained face.

Ellie stared back at him.

'So we celebrate,' Dio announced, pulling open the passenger door and tucking her back inside his car with hands that brooked no argument.

'Can't you just for once say something honest?’ Ellie con¬demned in a tight, taut undertone.

Dio leant in to fix her seatbelt for her. 'We're going to be parents. Personally, I feel that the conception of my first child is a very special event. If you have nothing positive to say right now, keep quiet.'

A ragged laugh was dredged from Ellie. Dio swung in beside her and immediately fired the engine into a throaty roar.

Ellie worried at her lower lip. 'How do you really feel?' she whispered.

'Shattered...kind of smug...sentimental,' Dio enumerated with husky sibilance, closing his hand over her clenched fin¬gers as they waited at traffic lights.

Her tense fingers loosened beneath the enveloping warmth of his. 'I just feel all shook up.'

'You look very tired. I'll take you back to the apartment and you can sleep.'