Expecting:For the Babies' Sakes(10)

By: Sara Wood

All those late nights when he’d been supposedly expanding his already successful business, working with clients in the evenings and on weekends… He’d been with that woman. His exhaustion had been for other reasons than writing software, doing mega-buck deals and travelling around London till all hours of the night.

And, although she adored the career she’d chosen, she’d only worked overtime because she’d hated coming home to this vile house, to the emptiness and silence and the half-decorated rooms. Her eyes blazed in fury. All the while, he’d been cavorting with the luscious Celine and wining and dining her—

‘Here you are.’

At Dan’s voice, she shot up, furious at being deceived for so long. Her hand flew out, knocking the offered mug from his grip. Locking eyes, they both ignored the sticky mixture as it oozed over the duvet. She had questions in her glittering gaze. He seemed to be in deep shock.

‘Forget the ministrations. Let’s get the explanation over with,’ she scowled, secretly appalled by her uncontrollable feelings.

‘Better, I think, that it should wait,’ Dan said, stilted and withdrawn as he glared down at her. ‘You’re clearly in a foul mood—’

‘What do you expect?’ she spluttered.

‘A fair hearing! And I’m not going to get it at the moment, am I?’

Her mouth took on a bitter shape. ‘Did you give our marriage a fair chance?’

He blanched. ‘Yes. I did.’

‘Oh? How long for?’ she demanded. ‘A week? Or did you manage a month before you started playing the field? How long, Dan? How long has this been going on?’

‘It hasn’t. I have not been unfaithful,’ he said doggedly.

He swallowed and she thought there was the hint of moisture blurring his dark eyes.

Perhaps he was sorry now. There’d be all the problems of splitting up: sharing out the wedding presents and deciding who paid what for the furniture and carpets…

It was a nightmare. No wonder he looked sick.

She heaved in a huge breath. ‘You’ll forgive me if I find that hard to believe.’

With a face set like concrete, he handed her the hot-water bottle. She contemplated hurling it at the hideous vase his best man had given them, but grudgingly took it. She needed the warmth. Her body was as cold as Siberia.

Dan drew up a chair and sat heavily in it, the towel parting to show an expanse of tightly toned thigh. Incongruously, she wanted to touch the satiny skin.

‘Temperature,’ he said dully.

So he was miserable, she thought, jerking out of her mooning over him. Annoyed with herself for being so easily diverted by his long, powerful legs, she snatched the thermometer from him and stuffed it into her mouth, glowering at him from under her dark brows. After a moment he looked away, unable to hold her gaze. Guilt, she thought, and felt no pleasure in the certainty.

Hauling himself up as if his body were a lead weight, he moved slowly to stand by the window, the beautiful triangle of his back a stiff barrier between them. Incredibly, his dejection upset her. She tried to hate him but her heart kept betraying her efforts.

It was awful seeing someone as confident and unassailable as Dan look so diminished. He’d always given the impression that he could withstand anything that was thrown at him. All his movements had been vigorous and definite, his muscular body brimming with energy.

Now he looked as if the life-blood had been drained from him. Sympathy oozed from her and she felt herself crumple. Feeling weak, she slumped back into the plumped-up pillows, her mouth releasing a soft moan.

He was probably contemplating the future. The house would have to go, for a start. That was why he looked so bleak and depressed. He adored Deep Dene.

Whereas she was dreading the consequences of his adultery for a different reason: because she had loved him with all her heart. She pushed that from her mind, postponing the empty black hole that was her future without Dan.

She gave a little gasping intake of breath, realising that she still loved him. Madly and deeply—despite her low opinion of him. You couldn’t immediately switch off something that had been all-consuming and magical for years and years. Heck, they’d known one another since their teens and neither of them had ever looked at anyone else. Till now.

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