The Marakaios MarriageBy: Kate Hewitt
How could two such innocuous-sounding words cause her whole body to jolt, first with an impossible joy, and then with a far more consuming dread? A dread that seeped into her stomach like acid, corroding those few seconds of frail, false happiness as she registered the cold tone of the man she’d once promised to love, honour and obey.
Her husband, Antonios Marakaios.
Lindsay Douglas looked up from her computer, her hands clenching into fists in her lap even as her gaze roved helplessly, hungrily over him, took in his familiar features now made strange by the coldness in his eyes, the harsh downturn of his mouth. With her mind still spinning from the sight of him, she said the first thing that came into it.
‘How did you get in here?’
‘You mean the security guard?’ Antonios sounded merely disdainful, but his whisky-brown eyes glowed like banked coals. ‘I told him I was your husband. He let me through.’
She licked her dry lips, her mind spinning even as she forced herself to focus. Think rationally. ‘He shouldn’t have,’ she said. ‘You have no business being here, Antonios.’
‘No?’ He arched an eyebrow, his mouth curving coldly, even cruelly. ‘No business seeing my wife?’
She forced herself to meet that burning gaze, even though it took everything she had. ‘Our marriage is over.’
‘I am well aware of that, Lindsay. It’s been six months, after all, since you walked out on me without any warning.’
She heard the accusation in his voice but refused to rise to it. There was no point now; their marriage was over, just as she’d told him.
‘I only meant that all the academic buildings are locked, with security guards by the door,’ she answered. Her voice sounded calm—far calmer than she felt. Seeing Antonios again was causing memories to rise up in her mind like a flock of seagulls, crying out to her, making her remember things she’d spent the last six months determined to forget. The way he’d held her after they’d made love, how he’d always so tenderly tucked her hair behind her ears, cupped her cheek with his hand, kissed her eyelids. How happy and safe and cherished he’d once made her feel.
No, she couldn’t remember that. Better to remember the three months of isolation and confusion she’d spent at his home in Greece as Antonios had become more and more obsessed with work, expecting her simply to slot into a life she’d found alien and even frightening.
Better to remember how depressed and despairing she’d felt, until staying in Greece for one more day, one more minute, had seemed impossible.
Yes, better to remember that.
‘I still don’t know why you’re here,’ she told him. She placed her hands flat on the desk and stood, determined to meet him at eye level, or as close as she could, considering he topped her by eight inches.
Yet just looking at him now caused her to feel a tug of longing deep in her belly. The close-cut midnight-dark hair. The strong square jaw. The sensual, mobile lips. And as for his body...taut, chiselled perfection underneath the dark grey silk suit he wore. She knew his body as well as her own. Memories rushed in again, sweet and poignant reminders of their one sweet week together, and she forced them away, held his sardonic gaze.
Antonios arched one dark eyebrow. ‘You have no idea why I might be here, Lindsay? No reason to wonder why I might come looking for my errant wife?’
Errant wife. So he blamed her. Of course he did. And she knew he had a right to blame her, because she’d left him without an explanation or even, as he’d said, a warning. But he’d forced her to leave, even if he couldn’t, or wouldn’t, ever understand that. ‘It’s been six months, Antonios,’ she told him coolly, ‘and you haven’t been in touch once. I think it’s reasonable to be surprised to see you.’
‘Didn’t you think I’d ever come, demanding answers?’
‘I gave you an answer—’
‘A two-sentence email is not an explanation, Lindsay. Saying our marriage was a mistake without saying why is just cowardice.’ He held up a hand to forestall her reply, although she couldn’t think of anything to say. ‘But don’t worry yourself on that account. I have no interest in your explanations. Nothing would satisfy me now, and our marriage ended when you walked away without a word.’