“Then you’re kidding yourself,” she said. “He’ll never propose to you or anyone else. He’s not the marrying kind.”
Grinding her white teeth, Lindsey stopped in the hallway, and grabbed Anna’s wrist. Her long acrylic nails bit into Anna’s skin.
“Listen to me, you little bitch,” Lindsey said softly. “Nikos is mine. Don’t think for a second you can come back with your little brat and—”
Nikos spoke from behind her. “This is cozy. Catching up on office gossip?”
Lindsey whirled around, spots of hot color on her cheeks. “We…uh, that is…”
Anna hid a smile. But her pleasure at the blonde’s discomfiture was short-lived as Nikos turned to her, reaching for the diaper bag on her shoulder.
“I need this.”
“What? Why?” Anna stammered. The diaper bag held her whole life. Bought at a secondhand shop, it was overflowing with documents, diapers, wipes and snacks. It was the one item that Anna had taken with her everywhere since Misha’s birth.
“For my son.” As he took the bag, he brushed her shoulder carelessly with his hand. An electric shock reverberated across her body. For a single second it stopped her heart.
Then she realized that Nikos was taking Misha away from her.
And handing both bag and baby to her replacement.
“No!” Anna cried out, shaking herself out of her stupor. “Not to her!”
Nikos stared straight back at her, as if he were marking her over the barrel of a gun. “Good. Fight me. Give me a reason to throw you out of my house. I’m begging you.”
Anna opened her mouth. And closed it.
“I thought so.” He turned back to Lindsey. “Take my son to the nursery. I’ll follow in a moment.”
She tossed Anna a look of venomous triumph. “With pleasure.”
As they passed him, Nikos kissed the baby on the forehead. “Welcome home, my son,” he said tenderly.
Anna watched as Lindsey disappeared down the hall toward the nursery. She could see her baby’s sweet little head bobble dangerously with every swaying step and clackety-clack of the girl’s four-inch heels against the marble floor. She wondered if Nikos had destroyed all of Natalie’s hand-painted murals and her own carefully chosen antique baby furniture. He probably ordered Lindsey to redecorate the nursery from a catalog, she thought, and her heart broke a little more.
As much as she’d hated being on the run, this was worse. Here, every hallway, every corner, held a memory of the past. Even looking at Nikos was a cruel reminder of the man she’d once thought him to be, the man she’d respected, the man she’d loved. That was the cruelest trick of all.
“You don’t like Lindsey, do you?” Nikos said, watching her.
Did he want her to spell it out? To admit that she still had feelings for him in spite of everything he’d done? Not in this lifetime.
“I told you. After you fired me, I got calls at the house from vendors and managers at the worksite, complaining about her cutting off half your calls and screwing up your messages. Her mistakes probably cost the company thousands of dollars. It nearly caused a delay in the liquor license.”
Nikos pressed his lips together, looking tense. “But you said those complaints stopped.”
“Yes,” she retorted. “When you had the house staff block all my calls. Even from my mother and sister!”
“That was for your own good. The calls were causing you stress. It was bad for the baby.”