Theresa fell back onto the mattress, her body slick with perspiration and limp with pleasure. Spasms of her powerful release still violently racked her slender frame. Alessandro had disentangled, detached and distanced himself from her within seconds of their mutual orgasm and lay on his back beside her, his breathing heavy and ragged.
Theresa turned on her side to lovingly trace his harsh profile with her eyes, yearning to touch and caress the smooth, silky and slightly tanned skin but knowing from experience that her touch would be rebuffed. His words, the ones that were always wrenched from him during his climax, still hovered in the air between them and they still, after all these months, hurt more than they should have.
“Give me a son, Theresa…”
With those five words, he inevitably killed the afterglow, destroyed the intimacy of the moment and relegated the act into nothing more than a biological imperative. After eighteen months of the same, Theresa had finally realized that it would never change. It wasn’t an abrupt realization, rather it was one that had been growing steadily since the very first time he’d said the words.
But Theresa had her own five words! They were words that had been on the tip of her tongue for months and should have been spoken long before now. They were words that she could no longer swallow back; no matter how much it killed her to say them. She sat up, naked, her body still trembling and drew her knees to her chest. She wrapped her arms around her legs, pressed her cheek to her knees and watched as his breathing steadied, his own shaking was subsiding slightly. He lay spread-eagled, also magnificently nude, his eyes were shut but she knew he wasn’t asleep. No, he would take a few moments to compose himself before heading for the shower, where she always imagined him frantically scrubbing her scent and touch from his bronzed skin.
She could no longer contain the words and they spilled from her lips with desperate earnestness.
“I want a divorce, Alessandro.”
He tensed, every single muscle in his body went as tight as a coiled spring, before he turned his head to meet her watchful gaze. His eyes were hooded and his upper lip curled mockingly.
“But I thought you loved me, Theresa,” he taunted with exquisite cruelty and Theresa lowered her eyelids, trying to mask the shaft of pain at his words. When she was sure she had her emotions under control, she once again lifted her eyes to his dark gaze.
“Not anymore,” she managed, hoping the lie sounded convincing.
“Hmmm…” it sounded deceptively like the purr of a cat. “What happened to ‘I’ll love you forever, Sandro’?”
“Things change,” she whispered.
“What things?” He rolled onto his side and propped himself up onto his elbow, resting his head on his hand. He looked so much like a Roman gladiator in repose, that her throat went dry with desire. She swallowed painfully.
“F.feelings change…” she stuttered haltingly. Again that husky purr of agreement but Theresa wasn’t fooled by his relaxed posture; he was as tense as a coiled snake. “I.I’ve changed…”
“You look no different,” he said assessed, his voice still terrifyingly tender. “Still the same Theresa I married. The one who claimed to love me so much, she couldn’t live without me. The one whose daddy made
sure she got exactly what she wanted…”
And that was when he struck, without moving, without so much as changing his voice.
“The same timid little Theresa, who can’t even give me the only thing I’ve ever wanted from this pathetic excuse for a marriage.” She flinched but she refused to divert her eyes.
“A.all the more reason for a divorce,” she tried for blasé but failed miserably.
“Maybe for you,” he shrugged elegantly. “But I told you from the very beginning, cara, there would be no easy way out of this marriage. Not until I got what I wanted from you and that day looks to be a long way off! Unfortunately, cliché though it may seem, you’ve made this bed and we both have to lie in it!”
“I can’t live like this anymore,” she buried her face in her knees and fought to keep the tears at bay.
“Neither of us has much choice…” he sat up and stretched languidly before getting up and walking, naked, to the en-suite bathroom. Theresa heard the shower start moments later and took a few seconds to compose herself, swiping the hot tears from her face with the backs of both hands before dragging on a gauzy peignoir and heading toward the kitchen to make herself a hot drink. While she was sitting on a bar stool, sipping her hot milk, she felt Sandro’s presence behind her and the hairs in the nape of her neck stood on end.
“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.