‘Because you’re the cause of my sickness. Now get lost.’ Thus said, she slammed the door in his face.
Immediately he shoved it back open. ‘What the hell do you think you’re doing?’
Uncaring that he stood mere feet away, and uncaring that the dress she wore cost thousands of euros, she tugged it off and threw it onto the floor, unceremoniously followed by her matching designer bra and knickers. The clothing felt soiled, bought to satisfy his conscience.
‘Like hell you are.’
‘Like you can stop me.’ Storming into the walk-in wardrobe filled with yet more clothing bought to satisfy his conscience, Cara rummaged through until she found the dress she’d worn to the christening. Her dress. Bought with her money.
In the back of her mind a voice piped up telling her to clad herself in as much of the designer clothing as she could before leaving. It would be something to sell online.
She ignored it. Sanity could go to hell. These expensive clothes, as beautiful as they were, made her feel cheap.
She found her original underwear, freshly laundered, and stepped into the knickers.
‘Where are you going to go?’
‘How are you going to get there? You don’t have any money.’
She turned on him. ‘I don’t know!’ she screamed. ‘I don’t know where I’m going to go or how I’m going to get there, but as long as I’m far away from you I don’t care!’
‘If you walk away you will never see me or my money again. Your child will grow up without a father. Is that what you want?’
‘Why would I want our child to know you as its father? You’d be a lousy father just as mine was. Selfish.’
‘I am nothing like your father.’
‘So you keep saying and, do you know what, I think you’re right. My father might be an utter scumbag but even he wouldn’t hold his own baby hostage as you’re doing.’
‘I’m doing no such thing,’ he said, his own voice rising, a scowl forming on his face. ‘I’m trying my best under difficult circumstances to protect our child.’
‘By holding your bank account and the promise of access to it over my head as a sick method of keeping me prisoner? That’ll be a good story to tell the grandkids.’
‘I will do whatever is necessary to ensure my child makes it into this world without coming to harm.’
‘My child? Our child? So you’re admitting paternity now, are you?’
‘No!’ He swore. At least she assumed he swore, given the word he spurted out in Italian contained real vehemence behind it. ‘It was a slip of the tongue.’
‘You’re good at that,’ she spat with as much vehemence as she could muster.
‘And what do you mean by that?’
‘Only that you must have slipped your tongue into half the women at that party tonight. How many of your exes were there? A dozen? More?’
His eyes glittered with fury before the visible anger that had seemed to swell in him dissipated a touch.
He leaned back against the wall and surveyed her. ‘You’re jealous.’
Her response was immediate and emphatic. ‘Don’t talk such rot.’
‘You are.’ He said it with such certainty she tightened her grip on the bra lest she punch him one.
‘I am not jealous!’ How dared he even suggest such a thing? Jealous because of him? ‘I was humiliated. All those women acting as if they owned you, all pretty much spelling out what a great lay you are... Is it any wonder it made me feel sick?’
‘See?’ A half-smile played on his lips. ‘I knew you were jealous.’
‘For me to be jealous would mean I have to have feelings for you, and the only feelings I have for you are hate. Do you understand that, Pepe? I despise you.’
Turning her back on him, she stormed into her en suite and locked the door behind her.
She absolutely was not jealous.
For the first time she realised she’d been screaming at him with only her knickers on. Could her humiliation get any greater?
She tried to put the bra on but her hands shook so much she couldn’t hook it together. And she’d left her stupid dress in the room.
Pepe banged on the door.
‘Go away!’ she screamed. ‘Just leave me alone.’
‘I’m not going anywhere.’
‘Well, I’m not coming out until you’re gone.’
‘Then you’ll be in there for a long time. For ever, if necessary. Because I am not going anywhere.’ Now there was no amusement to be heard in his voice. Only a determined grimness.
Let him wait. Let him wait for ever. Let him...