The Unwanted Wife(2)

By: Natasha Anders

“You must be cold in only that skimpy little thing you’re wearing…” he observed idly heading to the fridge and dragging out a carton of orange juice. His short black hair was damp and standing up in tufts where he had carelessly towel-dried it after his shower and he wore nothing but a pair of black boxer shorts. He looked as gorgeous as always and Theresa hated him more than ever for that masculine perfection.

“I’m fine…” she got up abruptly and headed toward the sink to rinse her mug but he grabbed her elbow to halt her movement. She tensed, shocked by the touch… Alessandro never touched her outside of the bedroom. In the eighteen months they had been married, this was the first time that she could recall him touching her without it being a precursor to sex. He leaned closer to her and lowered his lips to her ear. She felt his hot breath on the side of her face before he spoke.

“There’ll be no more talk of divorce, Theresa… ever,” he told her with a sickening air of finality.

“You can’t stop me from divorcing you, Sandro,” she responded bravely.

“You really want a divorce, cara?” He asked tauntingly and she nodded stiffly. “If you get that divorce, your cousin loses her business and she can’t afford that now, not with a new baby on the way. She and her husband need all the capital they can get.” Somehow she hadn’t expected that. She should have but she hadn’t. Sandro had loaned her cousin, Lisa, the start-up capital for her bookshop. Theresa didn’t know what the specifics of that loan were but she had always assumed that it was something he had done out of generosity. Staring up at him now, she couldn’t believe her own naïveté. Sandro did nothing out of sheer generosity and that loan was merely another weapon for him to use against her if he needed to!

“You wouldn’t,” she responded with nothing but bravado. “Lisa has done nothing to deserve this.”

“Cara, I will do whatever it takes to get what I want from you.”

“I have money too I can help her…” she began desperately.

“No, you have a rich father and he had the opportunity to help Lisa when she was looking for the start-up capital for her bookshop but he made his contempt of the idea more than obvious to everyone at the time and you know that he would never support you through a messy divorce, Theresa.”

“I still don’t believe you would do it! You have a reputation to uphold, you’re an honest businessman, you wouldn’t destroy a small business just to prove a point. What kind of message would that send?” she asked bravely.

“That I’m not to be trifled with,” he shrugged. “Do you honestly think I care what people think of me, Theresa? Do you think I care what you think of me? I never have and I never will. You’re weak and spoilt…”

“I’m not…” she tried to defend herself but he made a scoffing sound in the back of his throat before continuing on as if she hadn’t spoken.

“You’ll get your divorce eventually but there’s something I need to get from you first! You wanted this marriage, remember? You begged for it… So if you want a divorce right now, it’ll come with some heavy penalties attached to it, are you willing to gamble with your cousin’s future?”

He knew she wouldn’t do it! He knew he had her exactly where he wanted her. There would be no divorce. Not when so much hung in the balance. But there would be changes… Theresa Chloe Noble De Lucci was done with being a doormat! She said nothing, choosing to turn and walk away instead. He watched her go, she could feel his gaze burning into her slender back but he did not call her back. She did not return to the bedroom they had been sharing since the first day of their marriage, opting instead to head for the library, knowing that she could not sleep another wink. Not in that room, not anymore…

He came downstairs, hours later, for breakfast. It was a Saturday morning and he usually didn’t have any early morning meetings to rush off to on a Saturday, instead he tended to linger over his newspaper and coffee and largely ignore Theresa. That morning was no different. It was as if their early morning argument hadn’t happened at all. They usually ate their casual weekend meals in the kitchen and the homey setting lent a false sense of domesticity to the scene. But while Theresa was uncomfortable and tense in the intimate setting, Sandro always remained as cool as the proverbial cucumber.

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