When dinner was over and we kissed and hugged everyone goodbye, Cillian led me by the small of my back to his Aston Martin, opening the door for me while everyone stood at the door, waving goodbye. He was the image of a perfect gentleman.
During the drive, I kept silent. I wasn’t sure what pissed me off more—the fact he acted like he cared in front of the cameras and our families, or that I was stupid enough to buy it.
Probably the latter.
“The wedding went smoothly,” Kill observed, his eyes on the road as the vehicle skidded through the pastoral neighborhoods of Back Bay. The evening frost bit at my skin; the sunny weather of the morning was replaced with dark gloom.
A chill ran down my spine. He was my Hades, and I came to him willingly.
“I’m glad you think so.” I looked out the window with my arms folded over my chest. I hunted the sky for a cloud, desperate to see Auntie Tilda again, but all I saw was a consistent blanket of black velvet.
“Is the apartment to your satisfaction?”
“Tonight will be my first night there,” I answered curtly. “I’m sure I’m going to love it.”
Why wouldn’t I? It was in the most exclusive building in Boston. With five-star hotel amenities, a chef’s kitchen, Subzero appliances, heated flooring, and Italian-imported furniture.
And…I couldn’t care less.
About any of it.
If anything, I was bummed I couldn’t stay at Belle’s, where at least I’d have her body heat against mine every morning when she crawled into bed. Where I had conversation, and happy moments, and weekends making food in the tiny kitchenette with a glass of wine.
I hated everything about this conversation with my husband.
The clinical politeness.
The lack of intimacy.
How I now knew what his lips felt like.
“Why did you ask the orchestra to play ‘The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba?’ Why not ‘Bridal Chorus?’” I blurted out.
“I don’t like Wagner.”
“Because he is loved?” I teased.
“No, because he was a Nazi,” he answered plainly.
I shot him a sidelong glance, surprised.
“Not particularly. You may want to broaden your pool of interests.”
Turning toward him fully, I smirked.
“So you don’t consume products that are loosely connected to racism. By that logic, you don’t drive a Ford, wear Hugo Boss, or use Kodak products.”
“I drive an Aston Martin, wear Kiton and Brioni, and no to using Kodak.”
“Careful, hubs, or I’ll suspect you have a soul.”
“Nobody has a soul. What I have is a few working brain cells and loose principles.”
“Nobody has a soul?” I echoed, dumbfounded. “I know you don’t believe in feelings, or God, but you don’t believe in souls, either?”
“Do you?” He took a smooth turn into our neighborhood. We lived only a few blocks away from each other.
“Of course,” I said, incredulous.
“Where is it then?” His amber eyes were still on the road. “Your soul. Anatomically.”
“Just because you can’t see something doesn’t mean it’s not in existence. Take air, for instance. Or intelligence. Or love.”
“The fact you shove the L-word into every conversation says a lot about you, you know.”
“There are no facts, Cillian my dear. Only interpretations.”
It was his turn to shoot me a disbelieving look.
“I married a nihilist.” I ran a hand over the soft satin of my gown. I’d spent the past few weeks reading everything Nietzsche and Heidegger like my life depended on it. “The least I could do before saying I do was to take a tour in that mind of yours. Understand your moral compass.”
“I have no morals. That’s the point of being a nihilist.”
You boycott companies and people because once upon a very long time, they stood for something you strongly disagreed with. You are nothing but morals.
Of course, pointing that out was only going to make us argue more. It was best to make him find out for himself that he wasn’t the asshole he thought he was.
He took a turn to my street and parked in front of my apartment building. A doorman stood at the entrance. I put my hand on the door handle, drawing a breath before shoving it open.
I whipped my head around, my eyes clinging to his face.
“We still haven’t discussed the conception part.”
“There’s nothing to discuss. You can start taking my calls. Better yet—call me when you’re ready to start trying. We can hit the road running and get pregnant by summer.”
I wanted children with all my heart. Was always the girl who tucked her dolls into little plastic strollers while her sister climbed on trees and skateboarded with the boys.
All I ever wanted was a family of my own. Babies and matching plaid jammies and elaborate Christmas trees with handmade decorations.
“What are my chances of convincing you to go the IVF route?” Kill asked, businesslike.
“Nonexistent,” I said flatly. “We have a deal.”
“Fine. I’ll have someone send over ovulation tests. Call me when you’re ready.”
“That’s a no from me.”
“Excuse me?” He whipped his head in my direction. Did I finally manage to anger him? Probably not, but at least he didn’t look his cool, dead self for a moment.
“I don’t want to take tests. I like the element of surprise.” I shrugged, deliberately provoking him.
“Is there a point to having sex if you are not ovulating?” To his defense, he tried. Tried to cling to the remainder of his calm with everything he had. But I intended to snap it.
“There is,” I replied sunnily.
“Do share it.”
For the first time in my life, I saw the Cillian Fitzpatrick blushing. I could swear it. Even in the dim light cast by the streetlamps, I noticed his face turning a shade I’d never seen on him before. His mouth pressed in a hard line.
“Sexual favors weren’t a part of our negotiation.”
“Sue me.” I threw the passenger door open but didn’t get out just yet. “Look, if you don’t want to touch me this much, don’t bother. You don’t have to sleep with me, Kill. But if you want me to give you a baby, that’s the route you’ll have to take. And another thing.” I turned to him. I could tell he was shocked by my bold behavior. He was counting on a watered-down version of his sister. And to an extent, I was exactly that person—romantic, sweet, always willing to help.