Expecting:For the Babies' Sakes(7)

By: Sara Wood


Celine’s green eyes widened with astonishment and then her face tightened into malicious lines. ‘After all we’ve meant to one another?’ she objected. ‘Consider what you’ll be missing, Dan, shackled to this… boring jumble sale of a woman. We’ve had such fun. You’re one hell of a guy. We’re great together, you said so.’

Celine’s waggling eyebrows left no doubt in Helen’s mind that the woman was referring to Dan’s performance in bed. He was spluttering incoherently at Celine’s frankness, his fists clenched as if he might hit her because she’d ruined his hopes of lying his way out of this. A wild fury exploded inside Helen.

‘You trollop! Get out of my house!’ she shrieked. ‘Out! Now—or you’ll end up needing a wig!’

Celine backed further down the landing and Helen’s eyes squeezed shut. Sweet heaven, beside Celine she was dull and dreary! Dan’s affair had been inevitable. He’d needed more than a stranger who passed in the night, thrust foil dinners at him and ironed his shirts.

That must be why he and Celine had become close. Worse, they had meant something to one another. And whatever he’d said, Dan wouldn’t sack his PA—she was too valuable an employee. He’d only been making an empty gesture, hoping it would pacify his irate wife and avert a row—because he was an abject coward.

A sob lurched into her throat. She’d thought him to be strong and brave and noble. Mr Reliable-but-sexy-with-it. In a few brief moments his pedestal had come crashing to the ground. Her respect for him had hit the dust and rolled out into the gutter to disappear down the sewers.

She wanted to scream in despair and disappointment. Ever since she could remember, her whole world had been wrapped around Dan. And now she knew there’d never really been anything there.

Dimly she was aware of his low, urgent voice as he spoke to Celine. Helen wouldn’t open her eyes. He sounded as if he was close to the woman, perhaps touching her, from the gravelly whispering.

Her marriage was over, she thought dully. Their love in tatters. And suddenly she felt horribly alone and vulnerable.

Hurriedly she clapped a hand to her mouth as her stomach heaved and a wave of heat rushed up her entire body. With a despairing cry, she blundered into the bedroom and headed for the en suite, leaving a trail of sticky clay to embed itself firmly in the fibres of the expensive carpet.

Dan had barked something at Celine and then he must have followed Helen into the bathroom because his hands were on her shoulders, ice-cold, heavy, imprisoning, the pressure of his half-naked chest against her back somehow intimate and shocking.

‘Darling…’ he coaxed, low-voiced and soothing.

Hysterically she shook them off with an impassioned, ‘I’m not your darling! Don’t pretend you care!’

‘Of course I do,’ he said sternly. ‘I’m worried about you. I think you’re ill—’

‘I am ill! And you’re making me feel worse! I came home because I’ve got flu!’ she cried miserably, hanging onto the basin as if her life depended on it. Her stomach churned horribly but she couldn’t be sick even though she felt as if she might.

‘Then you must get to bed—’

‘Bed!’

Her eyes met his in the mirror and he flinched from her scything glare.

‘What? What did I say?’ he demanded thinly.

‘Do you intend to change the sheets first?’ she hurled in anguish.

He gasped as if she’d lashed him with a whip. She saw his tight stomach muscles contract and recognised the pain that had rocketed through him. He looks ghastly, she thought. And tried not to care.

‘I don’t need to change the sheets!’ he grated.

Her eyes widened. Passion had struck somewhere else, then!

‘So you didn’t make it to the bedroom!’ she cried wildly, unable to bear the thought of Dan being so crazy for another woman. ‘You couldn’t wait, I suppose! Where, then? Tell me so I can avoid that place! Tell me! In the hall? The stairs? I’ll burn the carpet,’ she threatened. ‘Rip up the floorboards. Have them replaced—!’

‘Helen! Stop this! You’re being irrational—’

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