Rosie turned her head back in surprise and grinned, her smile lighting up her eyes and illuminating her face to quite exquisite effect. Alexius studied her stonily, refusing to admire or appreciate, his every response locked down. ‘Thanks,’ she said breezily.
Martha was waiting to hear about Bas and Rosie brought her up to date, telling her that she would call to ask how the little dog was the next morning. ‘They said they’d phone if anything happened before that,’ she said.
She made supper and could hardly stop yawning. Her GP had warned her that pregnancy would make her feel more tired than usual. Resolving to be up early to study the next day, she fell into bed, involuntarily recalled the night with Alexius and lay in the darkness, feeling the feverish heat in her pelvis tug at her with dissatisfaction. He had taught her to want sex, she decided in disgust. In time she would get over that longing and over him as well. For now she was just a little bit obsessed with him, she acknowledged une
‘IT’s A blob,’ Alexius pronounced, frowning at the sonograph machine, striving and failing to see and feel the same response that had made Rosie’s big green eyes well up with sentimental tears.
‘It’s a baby,’ his friend Dmitri contradicted while the nurse wiped the gel from Rosie’s still-flat stomach. ‘Your son or daughter.’
‘Alex hasn’t got that much imagination,’ Rosie commented, sliding down off the examination couch with relief. She hadn’t wanted Alexius present during the scan and had agreed purely on the strength of the conviction that if he was to feel that this was his baby she had to involve him in her pregnancy whenever it was possible. So much for that. It’s a blob! she reflected in despair.
‘Well, there’s nothing much to see yet,’ Alexius countered defensively, wishing he hadn’t bothered to ask to be present, wishing he had just stayed out of the whole damned debate. He was at a total loss when people got slushy and emotional. That had never been his thing.
They adjourned to Dmitri’s office where his friend pointed out that the blob looked big for a woman of Rosie’s small proportions and that a Caesarean delivery might be necessary. Instantly, Alexius felt queasy and guilty as hell as in his mind the blob became a serious threat to Rosie’s survival. Suppose she died, he thought suddenly, the shock of the concept whipping up a melodramatic storm of deathbed scenes inside his mind that proved he had far more imagination than Rosie would ever suspect. He studied her, engaged as she was in animated chatter with the obstetrician he had first met as a medical student at university. Delicate colour warmed her small face, enthusiasm lifted her usually quiet voice and sparkled in her eyes. She wanted the blob, she really, really wanted the blob, he registered in amazement. Pregnancy might have messed up her life and her plans but even so she was prepared to go with the flow and make room for his baby now. As a male whose parents had never made room for him in their lives, he was deeply impressed by her unselfishness and willingness to adapt to the new order.
‘Didn’t you feel anything … even when you heard its heartbeat?’ Rosie pressed hopefully, moving back to the limo at the kerb. ‘I found that really exciting!’
Shrewd gaze screened, Alexius glanced at Rosie. The most exciting part of his day had happened when she emerged from her home, clad in a short black stretchy skirt and a fitted top that outlined her sleek little body to perfection. He was still enjoying the view of her long shapely legs, well, they were long in proportion to the rest of her, he reasoned, and that sweet little swell of her bottom when she bent over right in front of him to fix her shoe was downright indecent. He only had to think of sinking into the hot, wet, velvet welcome of her and he was hard as a rock and feverishly hungry to enjoy what he had enjoyed only once before. And that wasn’t like him. In fact, more and more he was feeling uneasy inside his own skin around Rosie. He should be moving on to pastures new. Rosie was already the past and, even though she would essentially be part of his future as well once she had the blob, he should be delighted that she wasn’t trying to nail him down to fully committed partner and parenting duties and promises of everlasting fidelity: he was still free as a bird, he reminded himself doggedly, disappointed when no spark of anticipation ignited at the prospect of his next lover. Of course, he was thirty-one years old and he had had an active sex life from around the age of sixteen when one of his mother’s friends had seduced him. When it came to women, he had had more freedom, experience and choice than most men enjoyed and it was possible that he was currently a little jaded.
Rosie was deeply disappointed by Alexius’s lack of a warm response to the sonogram picture of their future son or daughter. She wondered why he had bothered to come and she had noticed how squeamish he had been when Dmitri Vakros mentioned the possibility of a Caesarean. Alexius had turned a grey shade, his look of horror unhidden. He was such a bloke. She already had an emotional connection with the child she carried but possibly she was expecting too much too soon from a guy who had only known for a week that fatherhood was on his horizon. Did it loom like a black cloud, she wondered, or as something new and different?
Alexius breathed in deep. ‘I’m taking you to get measured for a new wardrobe.’
Rosie settled disbelieving eyes on him. ‘You’re … what?’
‘You need to dress up for Greece and you haven’t got the clothes for it. I don’t want you to feel uncomfortable in your grandfather’s home,’ Alexius admitted.
Rosie was enraged at his confident assumption that he knew how she would feel about anything. ‘I don’t care about stuff like that!’
‘You think you don’t but you will,’ Alexius forecast, reckoning that she was planning to be as stubborn about the clothes as she was about everything else. Everything was a battle with Rosie: she hated him calling the shots but all his life he’d been a dominant personality and he had no plans to change.
‘And how the heck do you make that out? Is my grandfather as wealthy as you are?’ she suddenly demanded.
‘No, but he is a multimillionaire,’ Alexius revealed for the first time. ‘And he and his family enjoy a comfortable lifestyle.’
‘A multimillionaire?’ Rosie gasped in panic. ‘Truthfully?’
‘Truthfully,’ Alexius confirmed.
Rosie was silenced, irritated that she had not suspected that reality for herself. After all, how likely was it that someone as rich as Alexius would have a godfather who was an ordinary man on a middling income? Suddenly she felt intimidated by what might await her in Greece.
‘I don’t want you to look and feel like a poor relation when you meet your father’s family,’ Alexius admitted.
‘Even if it’s the truth?’ she fielded between gritted teeth. ‘Why should I care about what I look like? That’s superficial.’
‘I agree but that’s how the world is,’ he responded with irrefutable logic. ‘Appearances are important.’
Her thin shoulders hunched. ‘I don’t want you spending any more money on me, and I can’t afford a new wardrobe,’ she pointed out flatly.
‘The cost is nothing to me,’ Alexius retorted with a grimace.
‘But not when it came to fixing up Bas?’ she queried sharply, thinking with relief of how well the little dog had recovered while studying Alexius, wishing he were not so beautiful that he kept on ensnaring her attention. No matter how desperately hard she tried not to look at him her gaze repeatedly swerved back to him. Her entire body tingled as she remembered the raw sensuality of his mouth on hers and the air in her lungs shortened as if she were zooming down too fast on a roller-coaster ride.
‘I would have covered the dog’s needs no matter what you did,’ Alexius countered levelly, his libido reacting to the buzz of sexual energy in the atmosphere so that he had to fight the urge to simply grab her. All those years of sexual practice and sophistication, he thought grimly, and all he wanted to do was flatten her to the seat like a marauder and have her any way she would let him. For the first time ever with a woman he was being cautious.