The Italian's Pregnant Mistress(8)

By: Cathy Williams

Through the floor to ceiling windows of his impressive London office he could see the broad expanse of cloudless blue sky. English summers, he had discovered, lacked the vibrant heat of Italian summers or the stifling humidity of New York ones, but he rather liked their uncertainty. Cloudless blue skies one day, leaden grey ones the next. He shifted his chair back from his desk and went across to where Georgina was perched on the sofa.

‘Let me have a look, then.’ He took the sample menu sheets from her and sat down.

Animated at this show of interest, Georgina launched into a monologue on the various upsides and downsides of the menus. Which caterer presented what that would appeal to most.

‘We have to get it just right,’ she asserted. ‘It’s our big day and you know how many important people are going to be there. We just can’t afford to have any slip ups. Which is why I am recommending that we go with someone we’ve heard of. Mummy’s used the Walton brothers before and they’re absolutely ideal. You just have to look at how they’ve presented their choices! Professionals.’

‘Why are you asking my opinion if you have already made your mind up?’ he queried. Of course he knew why. For all her well-bred, sophisticated, self-assured elegance, Georgina tiptoed around him, never wanting to invite his displeasure. Which, he told himself, was as it should be.

‘You’re the one who insisted on authentic Italian food, darling!’ She stroked the back of his neck lovingly and Angelo shook his head and stood up. He had decided. And it wasn’t the Walton brothers with their impeccable pedigree. He was pretty sure that his choice would meet with a wall of resistance but that didn’t bother him. Georgina would accept his decision without any show of temper.

‘Who is Ellie Millband?’

‘Darling, a friend of a friend of a friend used her to cater for one of their supper parties and apparently she’s quite good, but probably not quite up to catering for the number of guests we have coming. Rather an amateur, I should imagine.’

‘Her menu is interesting.’

‘So are the others, Angelo.’

‘And,’ he said perversely, ‘I like the thought of employing an amateur. There is nothing more spiritually gratifying than knowing one is giving a helping hand to the underdog.’

‘Angelo, this is our wedding banquet we’re talking about! Surely there is a time and a place for a social conscience!’

‘Have you interviewed her?’

‘I…I honestly didn’t think that she would be a serious contender.’

Angelo tried hard not to frown at the creeping petulance in his fiancée’s voice. She’s going to be my wife in exactly three months’ time, he told himself, and she was going to make him a perfect wife. Her background was impeccable, which was important for a man like him, a man who moved in the highest echelons. She was also devoted to him, reasonably intelligent and unquestionably beautiful. Five foot five inches of peaches and cream English beauty, with her china-doll blue eyes and her sleek, well-groomed blonde bob.

‘Arrange an interview and I will see her. Will that satisfy you? You can trust me when I say that if she seems incapable of doing the job, then she will be dismissed from the running.’ He strolled across to her and curved his hand behind her head, tilting her to face him. ‘And we will go with your parents’ recommendation. Hmm?’ He smiled absent-mindedly at the beaming relief that greeted his suggestion, mind already ahead on the amount of work he had to get through before his dinner engagement later in the evening. ‘But you’ll have to leave now, cara.’ He glanced at his watch ruefully and she sprang to her feet.

‘I know, darling—work, work, work.’ She pressed herself against him for a lingering embrace and pouted until he kissed her. ‘Don’t forget, Mummy’s expecting us to dinner tomorrow evening so that we can discuss arrangements.’

‘I don’t think military engagements have been planned in more extensive detail,’ he said, half amused, half irritated. ‘And let me know when I can see this girl. If she’s free later today I can squeeze her in around four-thirty, before I leave for the Savoy.’