It wasn’t that she worried he would bawl her out for her ungrateful attitude—God alone knew, she wished she’d been blessed with acting genes so she could fake pleasure for him—because he didn’t bawl her out over anything. She knew when she displeased him, though. He might not verbalise it, keeping his anger contained within him, but it was there in his eyes and the tone of his voice when he wasn’t quick enough to curb it.

She wished he would bawl her out. At least it would show he felt something for her, that she was worth expending some hot air arguing with.

The main reason she hadn’t wanted to sit in the back of the car with him was because spending time alone with him had the effect of turbo-charging her emotions. It would be easier to contain if it were just sexual feelings but it ran so much deeper than that. Whenever they listened to their baby’s heartbeat, she longed to reach out to him and clasp his hand, to unite for those few magical seconds.

Sitting alone in the back of the car with him, his hard, warm body so close...

She wanted to reach out and grab more than his hand. She wanted to climb onto his lap and nuzzle into that strong neck that smelled so good, taste the smooth skin...

Far from the distance she’d imposed lessening these longings, it had only increased them. She needed proper physical distance, and not just emotional distance, because keeping only an emotional distance wasn’t working. The three days apart they’d just had were nothing. Three months might do the trick.

At least tomorrow she had an overnight trip to London without him.

They ordered their meals and drinks, both opting to go straight into the main course. While they waited, they chewed on breadsticks and made idle small talk.

She remembered that first date, here in this restaurant. They’d had to sit close to each other to make themselves heard. They’d talked about anything and everything, their conversation easy.

Tonight it felt as if she were dragging barbed wire from her throat.

As was normal, Christian’s phone vibrated at regular intervals.

‘You should answer it,’ she said upon the fourth vibration.

He shrugged. ‘Whoever it is can wait.’

‘It might be important.’

His eyes fixed on hers. ‘This is important.’

‘Si, food is very important,’ she answered, as if making light of it could evaporate the growing tension.

A bowl of butternut squash and spinach ravioli with strips of crispy pancetta and flakes of parmesan was placed before her. She didn’t know which dish she liked the look of more, hers or Christian’s cotoletta alla Milanese which looked equally divine.

‘Would you like to try some?’ He held up his fork, a good helping of breaded cutlet on it.

‘No, no, you eat it.’ Quickly she forked a delicate raviolo into her mouth, dropping her eyes away from his thoughtful expression.

‘Are you still travelling to Tokyo next week?’ he asked, referring to a fashion shoot she’d been booked for for one of Japan’s up-and-coming fashion houses. She was looking forward to the trip. Five whole days away from him.

‘I was thinking I’d meet up with you there,’ he added. ‘I’ve some clients in Tokyo I need to touch base with.’

‘Don’t rearrange your schedule on my behalf.’ Never mind the distance she wanted to take advantage of, he’d made enough sacrifices for her. If all his sacrifices had been purely for the baby’s sake, she could have lived with it. But they weren’t. He’d made sacrifices for her too. The more she thought of them all, the more nauseous it made her feel.

‘I want to,’ he said, his voice dropping.

‘I think the press are convinced about our marriage now,’ she said, keeping her attention firmly on the bowl of food before her. ‘I haven’t been stalked for days.’

‘I’m surprised they haven’t picked up on the pregnancy yet.’

‘So am I.’ It was only a matter of time.

‘I will still travel with you. I don’t like the thought of you being away for a week without me.’

Tags: Michelle Smart Billionaire Romance