The Marakaios Marriage(10)

By: Kate Hewitt

‘Three months, Lindsay.’

‘A week before we married,’ she amended. ‘And it was a week out of time, out of reality...’ Which was what had made it so sweet and so precious. A week away from the little life she’d made for herself in New York—a life that had been both prison and haven. A week away from being Lindsay Douglas, brilliant mathematician and complete recluse. A week of being seen in an entirely new way—as someone who was interesting and beautiful and normal.

‘It may have only been a week,’ Antonios said, ‘but I knew you. At least, I thought I knew you. But perhaps you are right, because the woman I thought I knew wouldn’t have left me the way you did.’

‘Then you didn’t really know me,’ Lindsay answered, and Antonios swung round to stare at her, his eyes narrowed.

‘Is there something you’re not telling me?’

‘I...’ She drew a deep breath. She could tell him now, explain everything, yet what good would it do? Their marriage was over. Her leaving him had brought about its end. But before she could even think about summoning the courage to confess, he had turned away from her again.

‘It doesn’t matter,’ he answered. ‘I don’t care.’

Lindsay sagged back against her seat, relief and disappointment flooding her as she told herself it was better this way. It had to be.

* * *

Antonios sat in his first-class seat, his glass of complimentary champagne untouched, as his mind seethed with questions he’d never thought to ask himself before. And he shouldn’t, he knew, ask them now. It didn’t matter what Lindsay’s reasons had been for leaving, or whether they’d truly known and loved each other or not. Any possibility between them had ended with her two-sentence email.

Dear Antonios,

I’m sorry, but I cannot come back to Greece. Our marriage was a mistake. Lindsay.

When he’d first read the email, he’d thought it was a joke. His brain simply hadn’t been able to process what she was telling him; it had seemed so absurd. Only forty-eight hours before, he’d made love to her half the night long and she’d clung to him until morning, kissed him with passion and gentleness when she’d said goodbye.

And she’d known she was leaving him then?

He hadn’t wanted to believe it, had started jumping to outrageous, nonsensical conclusions. Someone else had written the email. A jealous rival or a desperate relative? He’d cast them both in roles in a melodrama that had no basis in reality.

The reality was his phone call to Lindsay that same day, and her flat voice repeating what she’d told him in the email. Maybe he’d been the one to hang up, but only because she’d been so determined not to explain herself. Not to say anything at all, except for her wretched party line. That their marriage was a mistake.

Disbelief had given way to anger, to a cold, deep rage the like of which he’d never felt before, not even when he’d realized the extent of his father’s desperate deception. He’d loved her. He’d brought her into the bosom of his family, showered her with clothes and jewels. He’d given her his absolute loyalty, had presented her to his shocked family as the choice of his heart, even though they’d only known each other for a week. He’d shown how devoted he was to her in every way possible, and she’d said it was all a mistake?

He turned to her now, took in her pale face, the soft, vulnerable curve of her cheek, a tendril of white-blonde hair resting against it. When he’d first seen her in New York City, he’d been utterly enchanted. She’d looked ethereal, like a winter fairy, with her pale hair and silvery eyes. He’d called her his Snow Queen.

‘Did you intend to leave me permanently,’ he asked suddenly, his voice too raw for his liking or comfort, ‘when you said goodbye to me in Greece?’ When she’d kissed him, her slender arms wrapped around his neck, had she known?

She didn’t turn from the window, but he felt her body tense. ‘Does it matter?’

‘It does to me.’ Even though it shouldn’t. But maybe he needed to ask these questions, despite what he’d said. Perhaps he would find some peace amidst all the devastation if he understood, even if only in part, why Lindsay had acted as she had. Perhaps then he could let go of his anger and hurt, and move on. Alone.