The Marakaios Marriage(8)

By: Kate Hewitt

In any case, she hadn’t managed, not remotely. Being Antonios’s wife was a role she had been utterly unprepared for.

And now she’d have to go through it all again, all the social occasions and organizing, and, worse, it would be under his family’s suspicious gaze because she’d been gone for so long. Her breath hitched at the thought.

Don’t think about it. You can deal with that later. Just focus on the present.

The present, Lindsay acknowledged, was difficult enough.

‘You left plenty of clothes at the villa,’ Antonios told her. ‘You only need to pack a small amount.’

Lindsay pictured all the clothes back in their bedroom, the beautiful things Antonios had bought her in New York, before he’d taken her back to Greece. She’d forgotten about them, and the thought of them waiting for her there, hanging in the closet as if she’d never left, made her feel slightly sick.

‘I’ll just get my toiletries,’ she said, and turned to go to the bathroom down the hall. She had to move past him in the narrow hallway and, as she tried to slip past his powerful form, she could smell his aftershave and feel the press of his back against her breasts. For one heart-stopping second she longed to throw herself into his arms, wrap herself around him, feel the comforting heat of his body, the sensuous slide of his lips on hers. To feel wanted and cherished and safe again.

It was never going to happen.

Antonios moved to let her pass and her breath came out in a shuddering rush as she quickly slipped towards the bathroom and, caught between relief and despair, shut and locked the door.

Ten minutes later she’d packed one small case and Antonios brought it down to the hired car he had waiting in one of the college car parks. Lindsay slipped into the leather interior, laid her head back against the seat. She felt incredibly, unbearably tired.

‘Do you need to notify anyone?’ Antonios asked. ‘That you’re leaving?’

‘No.’ Her research, as he’d so bluntly pointed out, could wait. She’d stopped her work as a teaching assistant for introductory classes after her father had died last summer. Only nine months ago, and yet it felt like a lifetime.

It had been a lifetime.

‘No one will worry about you?’ Antonios asked. ‘Or wonder where you’ve gone?’

‘I’ll email my colleagues. They’ll understand.’

‘Did you tell them about me?’

‘You know I did,’ she answered. ‘I had to explain why I left my job and house and went to Greece on the spur of the moment.’

His hands flexed on the steering wheel; she could feel his tension. ‘It was your choice, Lindsay.’

‘I know it was.’

‘You said you had nothing left back in New York.’

‘It felt like I didn’t.’

He shifted in his seat, seeming to want to say more, but kept himself from it.

Lindsay turned her face to the window, steeled herself for the next endless week of tension like this, stalled conversations and not-so-veiled hostility. How on earth were they going to convince Daphne, as well as the rest of his family, that they were still in love?

They didn’t speak for the rest of the three-hour drive to New York City. Antonios returned the rental car and took their suitcases into the airport; within a few minutes after checking in they’d been whisked to a first-class lounge and treated to champagne and canapés.

It seemed ludicrous to be sitting in luxury and sipping champagne as if they were on honeymoon. As if they were in love.

Lindsay sneaked a glance at Antonios—the dark slashes of his eyebrows drawn together, his mouth turned downwards in a forbidding frown—and she had a sudden, absurd urge to say something silly, to make him smile.

The truth was, she didn’t know what she felt for him any more. Sadness for what she’d thought they had, and anger for the way he’d shown her it was false. Yet she’d been so in love with him during their time in New York. It was hard to dismiss those feelings as mere fantasy, and yet she knew she had to.

And in a few hours she’d have to pretend they were real, that she still felt them. Her breath hitched at the thought.

‘Does anyone know?’ she asked and Antonios snapped his gaze to hers.