Martinez's Pregnant Wife(3)

By: Rachael Thomas


She took a deep breath and then blew it out in an attempt to regain her composure, Max’s closed office door suddenly seeming more like the highest mountain on earth. She knocked and opened the door, stepping warily inside the masculine space. The room was empty. As she stood on the threshold, her hand still holding the door open, footsteps sounded in the corridor and she turned, knowing it wasn’t Max. Relief and annoyance rushed through her. She wanted to get this over and done with. Only then could she move on and leave this part of her life behind.

‘He’s not there,’ Max’s PA informed her as she slipped past her and put some files on the desk. ‘Probably gone for his usual coffee fix. Although he wasn’t in a good mood.’

‘He wasn’t?’ Lisa’s confidence began to erode like a cliff face pounded by an angry sea.

‘No. Far from it,’ his PA said as she ordered the files on his desk. ‘Very distracted.’

‘Thanks.’

Before she became further embroiled in conversation, Lisa turned and made her way out of the modern building that served as the headquarters for Max’s various business ventures. It was also the head offices of the latest struggling football club whose fortunes he was intent on turning around. The cold December air snatched her breath away as she walked toward the very place she and Max had drunk far too much wine two months ago during an evening that had been meant to be for discussing business.

That night should have been about her as the club’s physio and him as the club’s owner. Nothing more. Instead it had turned into being about each other, their marriage and the events that had led up to him walking out on her. Worse than that, it had soon become about the passion that still sparked between them, the consequences of which now linked them more closely and permanently than any marriage certificate ever could.

She stopped walking. She couldn’t do this. How could she tell the man who regretted marrying her that he was going to be a father? Maybe she should wait until after Christmas? It was tempting, but the thought of whispered gossip reaching him before she did pushed her back on course and she walked on, her boots sounding hard and loud on the pavement, tapping out a rhythm of determination she was far from feeling.

What was the worst he could do? Tell her he didn’t want anything to do with his child? That response was exactly what she expected and it certainly couldn’t be worse than his admission that he didn’t love her. The pain couldn’t be any harder to bear than that of losing the man she’d fallen in love with.

Two months ago, after doing her utmost to keep out of his way at work, at least until she’d found a new position, she’d allowed her heart to rule her head and had given into Max’s lethal charm. It had been the most foolhardy thing she’d done and now, with their baby growing inside her, she couldn’t afford to make the mistake again of fooling herself that he cared. Her head had to be well and truly in charge, keeping her heart locked away. This was not a time for sentimental dreams of love and happy ever afters. Such a thing would never be possible with Maximiliano Martinez. She knew that now.

She pushed open the door of the bar Max always favoured, the blast of warm air from the overhead heaters notching up the nausea as she walked in. The place was decked out for Christmas but at this hour of the morning it was practically deserted. She glanced into the dimness of the room and saw Max straight away, sitting with his back to her, staring ahead of him, seemingly oblivious to anything else.

His PA was right. He wasn’t in a good mood.

Her heart flipped over and tugged at the emotions she was desperate to keep under control. So much for being strong, for locking away her feelings. They were pouring from her like a torrent of rain, all jumbled up and veering from one extreme to another. She couldn’t decide if she was angry or nervous or even if she was doing the right thing as she stood looking at the man she knew she couldn’t remain married to, the man whose child she now carried.

The tension in Max’s broad shoulders was all too obvious as he sat, elbows on the table and hands clasped tightly and pressed against his chin. She walked slowly forward, coming round to his side, but still he didn’t see her, didn’t hear her. He was lost in thought.

Why was he so unreachable? She’d known he kept his emotions well-hidden even as she’d said I do, but had thought she could change that—change him. She’d thought she had love enough for them both and, after the hard upbringing she’d had, it was just another gamble in life she was prepared to take. But she couldn’t gamble any longer, not now there was a baby on the way.

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