Martinez's Pregnant Wife(7)

By: Rachael Thomas

‘My point exactly.’ His reply was swift.

‘I am having this baby, Max, and, as I said, I expect nothing from you.’ Her chin lifted and her eyes glittered with defiance.

‘So you think you can just arrive here, today of all days, and tell me I am to be a father then walk away?’

‘The timing is bad, I admit.’ Her voice softened slightly, snagging at his senses, pulling at his conscience. ‘But I am having this baby, Max.’

‘And I intend to be there for my child, no matter what. It will not grow up thinking I cared so little I walked away.’ As he spoke he knew that it was the one and only thing he was certain of at the moment. If his brother wanted nothing to do with him and Lisa hated him, it didn’t matter. All that mattered was to be a part of his child’s life. But to do that he would have to be a part of Lisa’s life. He pushed the paper at her, stabbing coldly at the image of the father he could barely remember. ‘I will not be this man.’

* * *

‘No, Max, it’s not possible, not when you have already made it clear you don’t want me in your life.’ Lisa stepped back from Max, away from the temptation of reaching out to touch him, to go to him and soothe his pain. He was dealing with two life-changing things in one morning, but, from the cold expression on his face, neither had made any great impact other than to make him angry. He didn’t want a brother or a baby.

‘There wasn’t a baby involved then. My baby.’

‘And that changes things?’

‘You’re damn right it changes things.’

He glared at her and the sensation of being in control, of being able to drive the situation how she wanted, vanished as he looked at her. Only a small distance separated them but right now it felt like an ocean. Deep and unnavigable.

‘No, it doesn’t.’ Her life-long instinct to protect herself and stand up for herself, to fight her corner, kicked in. ‘I’m doing this on my own.’

‘No.’ That one word thundered around the room and she blinked in shock. She’d never seen Max so angry. Would she have told him about the baby if she’d known his reaction would be this bad? Yes, the answer fired back into her mind. She didn’t want him turning up when the child was older as her father had done, creating hell in an already dysfunctional family and giving her false hope of being wanted, of being rescued from the latest stepfather, a spiteful older stepbrother and uncaring mother who seemed only to want to make her feel useless.

‘What do you mean, no?’ she demanded hotly, the pain of her childhood almost too much in the emotional state she was in.

‘I mean we will remain married.’ He paused as his expression hardened further and she braced herself against what was to follow. ‘And we will live as a married couple.’

‘No. I don’t want to.’ Anger made her irrational. ‘I want a divorce.’

‘Divorce is not an option now, Lisa.’ His words had calmed, become laden with iciness. His expression was severe, his eyes dark and watchful.

She lifted her chin. ‘It is the only option for me.’

‘Not for me.’ Those words were hard and forceful.

‘Why?’ The response blurted from her as if it had been catapulted across the room. He didn’t flinch at the accusation firmly loaded within it.

‘Because I will not be the man my father was.’ His mood softened and he moved toward her, the man she’d fallen in love with showing through the tough façade like an echo of a ghost. ‘I will not abandon my child because it doesn’t fit in with my life.’

All her past pain from her childhood melted away and her heart went out to him; the pain was so clear in his voice. Whatever had happened she’d loved this man, even if he’d destroyed that with his coldness that morning two months ago. She had once loved him enough to marry him and promise to be there for him in good times and bad. Didn’t that count for something?

Marriage for ever was something she’d dreamt of as a young girl, yearned for as a young woman, and then she’d met Max. He’d swept her off her feet, made her feel special, wanted and very much desired. He’d never told her he loved her, no matter how many times she’d said it to him, but when he’d asked her to be his wife, that hadn’t mattered. She’d had enough love for both of them.

Only she hadn’t, she thought as she watched him press the pads of his fingers over his eyes in an uncustomary display of inadequacy. Her heart lurched as she weakened. This was her baby’s father, the man she’d fallen in love with, the man she’d married.

‘I understand why you are saying that,’ she said more softly now as she moved closer, physically bridging the gap if not emotionally. ‘But we shouldn’t make any decisions now. Not until you have met your brother. This is too much to deal with in one go.’

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