Kerstin did. Kerstin spoke fluent finance.
Alessandra placed a hand on her belly as if by covering it she could protect the tiny life within from the thoughts raging through its mother’s head.
By marrying her, Christian had deprived himself of a marriage that would be far better suited to him.
Kerstin would be perfect. She had the physical attributes he so desired—Alessandra doubted any man would get bored of making love to her—but, more importantly from her husband’s point of view, there would be no juggling of time, no compromise. Kerstin would flit into his life as if she’d been born there and then, when her father retired, she and Christian would take over the running of his bank together.
Dio, now her brain was running away from her. She couldn’t make it stop.
They’d been in the woman’s company for twenty minutes and already Alessandra had mapped her entire future out for her.
Christian had never wanted to marry. He’d given up his freedom for their baby. He was trying to accommodate the mother of his baby into his life as well as he could.
He might never have wanted to marry but he did want children.
If he’d met Kerstin tonight as a single man, would he too have grasped what an ideal wife she would have made for him?
They’d have been perfect together, could have made beautiful babies over a set of spreadsheets then whispered sweet nothings about the world of finance into each other’s ears until the early hours of every morning.
‘Are you okay?’ Christian asked quietly, breaking into her runaway thoughts.
She swallowed and jerked a nod. ‘I think I have indigestion,’ she said, uttering the first thing that came into her mind.
His blue eyes studied her, a question mark in them.
‘I must have eaten too many spanakopita,’ she expanded, referring to the mini filo-pastry pies stuffed with spinach and feta she’d taken a liking to. At her last count she’d eaten eight of them.
Her appetite had deserted her now. Her stomach felt so tight she doubted anything would go down.
‘Would you like to go home?’ Did he have to look so concerned when she was playing an imaginary game of marrying him off to someone else? A more suitable someone else.
‘No, I’ll be fine.’ She forced a smile. ‘Carry on with your conversation—I need to visit the bathroom.’
A few minutes later, after a sharp talking to herself in the privacy of a cubicle, she was washing her hands when Kerstin walked in.
The hot, burning feeling in Alessandra’s brain immediately started up again.
‘Is something the matter?’ Kerstin asked.
Dio, now Christian’s future imaginary wife was looking at her with concern.
‘Not at all.’ She forced another brittle smile.
A knowing expression came into Kerstin’s eyes. ‘My sister have a baby soon. You are the same, ja?’
‘How can you tell?’ Not only was she beautiful and intelligent but also psychic.
‘My sister has had many babies,’ Kerstin said with a laugh.
‘Please don’t tell anyone,’ Alessandra beseeched. ‘We’re not ready for the world to know.’
‘All those men chasing you with their cameras...is not nice.’
Beautiful, intelligent, psychic and empathetic?
Had a more perfect woman ever been born?
Kerstin looked openly at Alessandra’s belly. ‘I think you hide it for not much longer. Soon you will show.’
She stated the latter with such certainty that for a moment Alessandra was tempted to ask exactly how much later, right down to the hour.
Instead she fought back the sudden spring of hot tears welling in her eyes.
Kerstin saw them too and placed a comforting arm around her shoulder. ‘Your hormone will feel better soon.’
Alessandra gave a shaky laugh, accepting the tissue Kerstin magically produced.
At least she had one advantage over the beautiful German woman. Her own English was much better.
* * *
‘You’re very quiet,’ Christian said. They’d been in the car for ten minutes since leaving the embassy and Alessandra had spent the entire time gazing out of the window.