Baby Out of the BlueBy: Anne Mather
His presence had lost none of its impact, reminding her of the day he strode into the gallery, looking for his father. When the old man had introduced them he’d been polite, but hardly flattering, treating her with a cool indifference she’d half resented then.
Now Demetri paused in the doorway, and then stepped into the apartment. So this was where she lived, he thought broodingly. He’d heard she was doing well at her job. He couldn’t help admiring the huge expanse of living space that swept from the front to the back of the old Victorian building. The sun pouring in from the windows at each end filling the place with a watery light.
But for all his irritation at the way she’d kept him waiting outside, it was to Jane that his eyes were irresistibly drawn. She stood the width of the room away, her arms wrapped protectively about herself. She was wearing a silk robe that she was holding tightly around her. As if he’d threatened her, he reflected, disliking the notion. For pity’s sake, what was she expecting him to do? Jump her bones?
‘Jane,’ he said, before that idea could take hold and destroy his detachment, and her lips, which she’d been pressing together, relaxed a little. She looked good, he thought unwillingly. Too good to a man who was planning to marry another woman as soon as he was free. But then, Jane had always had that effect on him. It was why he’d married her, for God’s sake. Why he’d been so reluctant to find another woman to take her place.
Why his mother had been so opposed to him doing this himself!
‘Demetri,’ Jane responded stiffly, and when he leaned against the door to close it she stood a little taller, as if bracing herself for whatever was to come.
She wasn’t wearing any make-up, of course, and he suspected the colour in her cheeks owed more to a mental rather than a physical source. Green eyes, which used to haunt his sleep, as clear as the mountain-fed lakes on Kalithi.
‘How have you been?’ he asked, straightening away from the door, and Jane’s mouth went a little dry when he moved further into the room. He had an indolent grace of movement that made anything he wore look like a designer item, though she guessed the casual cargo pants and black leather jacket were the real thing.
He was still wearing his wedding ring, she noticed. The wedding ring she’d bought him when they’d exchanged their vows in the small chapel on Kalithi, the island his family owned and where he lived when he wasn’t flying around the world attending to the demands of his shipping empire. His father had retired before they’d married, much against his mother’s wishes. But then, she’d never wanted Demetri to marry an English girl, particularly one who had opinions of her own.
‘I’m OK,’ she said now, forcing a tight smile. ‘Tired, of course. But then, I haven’t had much sleep in the last twenty-four hours.’
‘And I woke you up?’ Demetri came to stand beside one of a pair of mulberry printed sofas that faced each other across a taupe rug. It was the only floor covering at this end of the room, the stripped maple floor requiring little adornment. A dark brow arched in reluctant apology. ‘I’m sorry about that.’
‘Are you?’ Jane gave an indifferent shrug. ‘So, do you want to tell me what you’re doing here, Demetri? You didn’t come here just to pass the time of day. You said it was important.’
Demetri averted his eyes, concentrating instead on his fingers massaging one of the sofa cushions. ‘It is,’ he said flatly. Then he lifted his head again, giving her a look out of night-dark eyes, causing a shiver of apprehension to slide down her spine. ‘I want a divorce, Jane. Is that straight enough for you?’
NOW it was Jane’s turn to look away from his cold stare. Despite her best efforts, she was trembling, and she hoped like hell that he couldn’t see it.
It wasn’t a total shock to her, of course. For years after their separation she’d lived with the very real expectation that sooner or later Demetri was going to want his freedom. She was sure his mother would persuade him, if no one else. And she’d wanted it, too, in those days. But somehow, with the passage of time, she’d actually begun to believe that it was never going to happen.
Dammit, he had noticed. And he was coming across the room towards her. Jane had to get out of there, and fast, before he started feeling sorry for her. She didn’t think she could bear that.
‘Let me get dressed,’ she said, speaking without breathing, knowing that if she sucked in a gulp of air the sobs that were rising in her throat would choke her.