The Marakaios Marriage(9)

By: Kate Hewitt


‘Know what?’

‘That we’re...that we’re separated.’

His mouth thinned. ‘We’re not, in actuality, legally separated, but no, no one knows.’

‘Not any of your sisters?’ she pressed. She thought of his three sisters: bossy Parthenope, with a husband and young son, social butterfly Xanthe, and Ava, her own age yet utterly different from her. She hadn’t bonded with any of them during her time in Greece; his sisters had been possessive of Antonios, and had regarded his unexpected American bride with wary suspicion. They’d also, at Antonios’s command, backed off from all the social responsibilities they’d fulfilled for him when he’d been a bachelor. A sign of respect, Antonios had told her, but Lindsay had seen the disdain in their covert glances. What they’d done so effortlessly, maintaining and even organizing the endless social whirl, had been nearly impossible for her. They’d realized that, even if Antonios hadn’t.

And now she would have to face them again, suffer them giving her guarded looks, asking her questions, demanding answers...

She couldn’t do this.

‘Is the thought of my family so abhorrent to you?’ Antonios demanded, and Lindsay stiffened.

‘No—’

‘Because,’ he told her bluntly, ‘you look like you’re going to be sick.’

‘I’m not going to be sick.’ She took a deep breath. ‘But the thought of seeing your family again does make me nervous, Antonios—’

‘They did nothing but welcome you.’ He cut her off with a shrug of his powerful shoulders.

She took a measured breath. ‘Only at your command.’

He arched an eyebrow. ‘Does that matter?’

Of course it does. She bit back the words, knowing they would only lead to pointless argument. ‘I don’t think they were pleased that you came home with such an unexpected bride,’ she said after a moment. ‘I think they would have preferred you to marry someone of your own background.’ A good Greek wife...the kind of wife she hadn’t, and never could have, been.

‘Perhaps,’ Antonios allowed, his tone still dismissive, ‘but they still accepted you because they knew I loved you.’

Lindsay didn’t answer. It was clear Antonios hadn’t seen how suspicious his sisters had been of her. And while they had accepted her on the surface, there had still been plenty of sideways glances, speculative looks, even a few veiled comments. Lindsay had felt every single one, to the core.

Yet she wasn’t about to explain that to Antonios now, not when he looked so fierce—fiercely determined to be in the right.

‘You have nothing to say to that?’ Antonios asked, and Lindsay shrugged, taking a sip of champagne. It tasted sour in her mouth.

‘No, I don’t.’ Nothing he would be willing to hear, anyway.

His mouth tightened and he turned to stare out of the floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the runway. Lindsay watched him covertly, despair and longing coursing through her in equal measures.

She told herself she shouldn’t feel this much emotion. It had been her choice to leave, and really they’d known so little of each other. Three months together, that was all. Not enough time to fall in love, much less stay there.

She was a mathematician; she believed in reason, in fact, in logic. Love at almost first sight didn’t figure in her world view. Her research had shown the almost mystical relationships between numbers, but she and Antonios weren’t numbers, and even though her heart had once cried out differently her head insisted they couldn’t have actually loved each other.

‘Maybe you never really loved me, Antonios,’ she said quietly, and he jerked back in both shock and affront.

‘Is that why you left? Because you didn’t think I loved you?’ he asked in disbelief.

‘I’m trying to explain how I felt,’ Lindsay answered evenly. ‘Since you seem determined to draw an explanation from me, even if you say you don’t want one.’

‘So you’ve convinced yourself I didn’t love you.’ He folded his arms, his face settling into implacable lines.

‘I don’t think either of us had enough time to truly love or even know each other,’ Lindsay answered. ‘We only knew each other a week—’