Marley watched him go, her chest aching all the more. She was tempted to save the discussion for another night, but she had to tell him of her pregnancy, and she couldn’t tell him of the baby before she knew how he felt about her. What he thought of their future. So it had to be done tonight.
As the moments grew longer, her anxiety heightened. Not wanting the disadvantage of being nude, she rose from the bed and dragged on her jeans and shirt. So much for looking composed and beautiful. She shook her head ruefully.
Finally she heard his footsteps outside the bedroom suite. He walked in with a distracted frown on his face. His gaze flickered over her, and his lips twitched.
“I much prefer you naked, pedhaki mou.”
She gave a shaky smile and moved back to the bed. “Is everything all right with work?”
He waved his hand dismissively. “Nothing that shouldn’t have already been taken care of. A missing signature.” He stalked toward the bed, a lean, hungry glint in his eyes. As he came to a stop a foot away from where she sat, he reached for the buttons on his shirt.
“Chrysander…we must talk.”
Annoyance flickered across his face, but then he gave a resigned sigh. He sank down on the bed next to her. “Then speak, Marley. What is it that’s bothering you?”
His closeness nearly unhinged her. She scooted down the bed in an effort to put distance between them. “I want to know how you feel about me, how you feel about us,” she began nervously. “And if we have a future.”
She glanced up to check his reaction. His lips came together in a firm line as he stared back at her. “So it’s come to this,” he said grimly.
He stood and turned his back to her before finally rotating around to face her.
“Come to w-what? I just need to know how you feel about me. If we have a future. You never speak of us in anything but the present,” she finished lamely.
He leaned in close to her and cupped her chin. “We don’t have a relationship. I don’t do relationships, and you know this. You’re my mistress.”
Why did she feel as though he’d just slapped her? Her mouth fell open against his hand, and she stared up at him with wide, shocked eyes.
“Mistress?” she croaked. Live-in lover. Girlfriend. Woman he was seeing. These were all terms she might have used. But mistress? A woman he bought? A woman he paid to have sex with?
Nausea welled in her stomach.
She pushed his hand away and stumbled up, backpedaling away from him. Confusion shone on Chrysander’s face.
“Is that truly all I am to you?” she choked out, still unable to comprehend his declaration. “A m-mistress?”
He sighed impatiently. “You’re distraught. Sit down and let me get you something to drink. I’ve had a trying week, and you are obviously unwell. It benefits neither of us to have this discussion right now.”
Chrysander urged her back to the bed then strode out of the suite toward the kitchen. After a long week of laying traps for the person attempting to sell his company out from under him, the last thing he wanted was a hysterical confrontation with his mistress.
He poured a glass of Marley’s favorite juice then prepared himself a liberal dose of brandy. The beginnings of a headache were already plaguing him.
He smiled when he saw Marley’s shoes in the middle of the floor where she’d left them as soon as she’d come off the elevator. He followed the trail of her things to the couch where her bag was thrown haphazardly.
She was a creature of comfort. Never fussy. So this emotional outburst had caught him off guard. It was completely out of character for her. She wasn’t clingy, which is why their relationship had lasted so long. Relationship? He’d just denied to her that they had one. She was his mistress.