Women of a Dangerous Age

Free Women of a Dangerous Age by Fanny Blake

Book: Women of a Dangerous Age by Fanny Blake Read Free Book Online
Authors: Fanny Blake
you got?’ Ali pretended she hadn’t noticed how uninterested he sounded. But rather than bore him about what he didn’t want to hear, she passed across the linen Nehru shirt she’d had specially made for him. In the Udaipur fabric emporium, she had been so sure it was the perfect present. But as he pulled it from the packet, there was something distinctly charity shop about it. The stitching, which had looked charmingly authentic in Udaipur, now looked embarrassingly amateur, the linen cheap, and, when he held it up, the sleeves were obviously way too long.
    â€˜It’s not you at all, is it?’ she said, disappointed.
    â€˜Not really.’ As he put it over the arm of the sofa, they exchanged a smile that reassured her that he was coming back to her.
    â€˜OK, let’s forget Christmas and India,’ she said. ‘Let’s talk about now, about us.’ Since it seemed the wrong moment to ask him if he’d told his wife about their plans, she went to the table where she’d put the particulars she’d collectedfrom a couple of estate agents just before she went away. ‘I love the look of this one. And I’m sure we could get the price down.’ She picked up a brochure showing an end-of-terrace three-storey Georgian town house. ‘Great kitchen and look at the roof terrace.’ My God, I’m trying so hard, I even sound like an estate agent, she thought. Ease up or you’ll never get him onside.
    But Ian was pouring himself a glass of wine without even asking if she’d like one. ‘I thought we’d decided to live here,’ he said, his voice flat and matter-of-fact, the enthusiasm of a few weeks ago vanished.
    â€˜ You decided to live here, but I thought that once you saw what was around, I might be able to change your mind.’ She flicked over the photos in the brochure. ‘I know we could be so happy somewhere else. A house of our own, with none of the history this place has.’
    â€˜You make it sound as if someone was murdered here,’ he said, coming over to take the details from her. He didn’t look beyond the first page.
    â€˜Oh, you know,’ she said, becoming more exasperated with his refusal to engage. ‘There were other men before you.’
    His face tensed as he put the brochure down. ‘I thought we’d agreed not to talk about them.’
    â€˜But of course there were,’ she protested. ‘I thought you’d be happy that I want to leave behind the life I had before you.’ She could feel herself beginning to gabble, so reined herself back. It would be a wrench to leave the apartment but she felt sure it was the right thing to do. ‘Anyway, we need somewhere a bit bigger than this.’
    Ian placed his hand on top of hers, heavy and warm. ‘I honestly don’t think we do.’ His grip tightened. ‘I can live with your past if you can.’ Her relief at the sudden improvement of his mood was muddled by the growing realisation that they didn’t see their future in the same way at all. During her holiday, she had used the time she spent on her own to think of little else, planning and plotting their life together. How disappointing to realise that he obviously hadn’t done the same. There was so much ahead of them that he hadn’t even considered.
    â€˜And if I get pregnant?’ The words slipped out without her having time to stop and think. Watching his face darken, she would have given anything in the world to be able to retract them.
    â€˜Pregnant!’ He sat down as if he’d been winded, the wine tipping in his glass. He saved it just in time. ‘Are you serious?’
    â€˜Why not? Why are you looking at me like that? Wouldn’t it be wonderful? We’d be a family.’ She wished she could erase the need from her voice.
    â€˜Family,’ he echoed, so quietly that Ali could barely hear him. But she didn’t need to, to know

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