Baby Out of the Blue(4)

By: Anne Mather

‘Ah, yes. Signomi. Sorry.’ But he didn’t sound it. ‘I guess that was thoughtless. Put it down to frustration. I’m not very good at that either.’

‘Tell me about it.’ Jane tried to sound sardonic. ‘How are you, Demetri? Still as impatient as ever, I see.’

‘Theos, I have been patient, ghineka. Now, are you going to open up, or must I break down this—’ there was a pause while he obviously endeavoured to control his anger ‘—this door?’

Jane’s jaw took on a stubborn curve. She badly wanted to call his bluff. Only the embarrassment she would suffer if he made good on his threat deterred her, and without another word she jabbed a finger onto the button.

There was a low buzz as the door downstairs was released and then the sound of footsteps on the stairs. Heavy footsteps, climbing the stairs with a speed that had her retreating to the far side of the living room. She’d left the door ajar and, although she told herself she didn’t care what he thought of her, it occurred to her belatedly that she hadn’t even brushed her hair since she’d tumbled so unexpectedly out of bed.

She was finger-combing it behind her ears when Demetri appeared in the doorway. Tall and lean, with the thick dark hair of his ancestors, he too looked older, she reassured herself. But despite the threads of grey at his temples, his face, with its familiar trace of dark stubble, was tougher, harder than she remembered, but just as attractive.

His presence had lost none of its impact, reminding her of the day he strode into the gallery, looking for his father. When the old man had introduced them he’d been polite, but hardly flattering, treating her with a cool indifference she’d half resented then.

Now Demetri paused in the doorway, and then stepped into the apartment. So this was where she lived, he thought broodingly. He’d heard she was doing well at her job. He couldn’t help admiring the huge expanse of living space that swept from the front to the back of the old Victorian building. The sun pouring in from the windows at each end filling the place with a watery light.

But for all his irritation at the way she’d kept him waiting outside, it was to Jane that his eyes were irresistibly drawn. She stood the width of the room away, her arms wrapped protectively about herself. She was wearing a silk robe that she was holding tightly around her. As if he’d threatened her, he reflected, disliking the notion. For pity’s sake, what was she expecting him to do? Jump her bones?

‘Jane,’ he said, before that idea could take hold and destroy his detachment, and her lips, which she’d been pressing together, relaxed a little. She looked good, he thought unwillingly. Too good to a man who was planning to marry another woman as soon as he was free. But then, Jane had always had that effect on him. It was why he’d married her, for God’s sake. Why he’d been so reluctant to find another woman to take her place.

Why his mother had been so opposed to him doing this himself!

‘Demetri,’ Jane responded stiffly, and when he leaned against the door to close it she stood a little taller, as if bracing herself for whatever was to come.

She wasn’t wearing any make-up, of course, and he suspected the colour in her cheeks owed more to a mental rather than a physical source. Green eyes, which used to haunt his sleep, as clear as the mountain-fed lakes on Kalithi.

‘How have you been?’ he asked, straightening away from the door, and Jane’s mouth went a little dry when he moved further into the room. He had an indolent grace of movement that made anything he wore look like a designer item, though she guessed the casual cargo pants and black leather jacket were the real thing.

He was still wearing his wedding ring, she noticed. The wedding ring she’d bought him when they’d exchanged their vows in the small chapel on Kalithi, the island his family owned and where he lived when he wasn’t flying around the world attending to the demands of his shipping empire. His father had retired before they’d married, much against his mother’s wishes. But then, she’d never wanted Demetri to marry an English girl, particularly one who had opinions of her own.

‘I’m OK,’ she said now, forcing a tight smile. ‘Tired, of course. But then, I haven’t had much sleep in the last twenty-four hours.’