The Italian's Pregnant Mistress(7)

By: Cathy Williams


‘Are you not tired of wandering?’ He frowned. ‘Of intermittent meetings, making love knowing that time is not on our side because before too long one of us will have to leave to hop on a plane to somewhere? I want to be able to take you places with me, meet the people I work with, who work for me. I work in a very visible field. Expensive hotels and exclusive resorts. I want you on my arm, by my side…my perfect, well-bred, eminently presentable woman.’

Francesca felt sick. She couldn’t remain crouched on the bed. She had to get up and move around. Without warning, she flung back the duvet and stuck her legs over the side of the bed, then walked over to the chest of drawers an yanked out some underwear and a tee shirt from the small collection of clothes she kept at the apartment. Yes, he was so right. Clothes that were a testimony to a life on the move. Some here, most in her flat in Paris, some already in a suitcase just in case she got a call and had no time to pack.

‘What are you doing?’

Before she knew it he was out of the bed and coming towards her, and she hugged herself. Her legs felt cold but it was better standing up, made her stomach feel a little less queasy.

‘It’s not a good idea, Angelo.’

Panic, he could have dealt with. But the sudden flatness in her voice was like a punch in the gut. He gripped the sides of her arms with his hands and propelled her back against the wall.

‘What are you saying?’

‘Please, Angelo. Let’s just leave things as they are. It works for us. Why fix it if it ain’t broke?’ She tried a laugh but it died as quickly as it had come, leaving the sour aroma of tension in its wake.

‘You needn’t be scared that spending more time with one another will jeopardise our relationship. We have been together for over a year. It is time for us to take the next step forward.’ Angelo tried again but there was a beating in his head that was getting louder. Yes, he had been scared of jumping off the precipice into the unknown, but he had pretty much expected his landing to be soft. He certainly hadn’t expected to find himself falling in thin air with the distinct suspicion that his landing was to be a bed of rocks.

‘There is no step forward, Angelo.’ She made herself do it. Made herself look at him straight in the face, and God, it was the most difficult thing she had ever had to do in her entire life. It made every painful turning in her life seem pale in comparison. And of course she knew why. Because she had fallen in love with him, hopelessly, blindingly and stupidly in love.

She watched the tenderness on his face replaced with disbelief and then his whole expression closed down and she didn’t know what he was thinking any more.

‘I don’t want to play happy families with you. I was happy with things the way they were. It suited me.’ She felt like a gravedigger digging her own grave.

‘I see.’

No, you don’t! You don’t see anything at all!

‘I don’t want to return to England. Maybe one day, but not yet, and I don’t want to move in with you and become your companion in this highly visible life of yours. If that’s what you want then you’re better off finding someone else to fill the role.’ His eyes were hard and expressionless and Lord, it hurt.

‘In that case there is nothing further to say.’ He turned away from her and walked towards the door, only pausing when his hand was on the knob. Then he turned and gave her one final look.

‘I am going to have a long shower. When I get out, I want to find you gone. Take all your possessions with you and, Francesca…’ He allowed a few seconds of silence between them. ‘Make very sure you never cross my path again.’





CHAPTER TWO




‘IT’S a short-list of three, Angelo, and really you must take an interest in this.’

Georgina wasn’t happy. He could tell from the pursed set of her mouth and the way her slender, stiletto-shod foot was tapping impatiently on the floor. Angelo was very tempted to open a debate on the subject of exactly why he should take an interest. Hadn’t he already taken enough of an interest to state what he wanted on the menu? He suppressed a little sigh of impatience and watched the down-bent head of his fiancée as she consulted a wad of papers on her lap.

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