The Unwanted Wife

By: Natasha Anders

“I want to know exactly where you were yesterday, Theresa,” he demanded.

“Why do you even care?” she asked tiredly. “You’ve certainly disappeared without explanation enough times for the both of us.”

“We’re not talking about me here,” he pointed out.

“No, but I think it’s time we do talk about you, about your outrageous behavior, about the other women and your blatant disregard for the fact that you’re married!”

“I don’t feel married!” He sounded almost defensive.

“No?” she retorted recklessly. “Well, maybe I don’t feel married either! Maybe I’m ready to be outrageous. Maybe I’m ready for other men and extramarital affairs too!”

“This had better not be your way of telling me that you were with another man last night, Theresa,” he said ominously, his voice eerily calm. Theresa ignored the warning in his voice and plunged on.

“So what if that’s exactly what I’m telling you?” she asked. “What will you do about it? Make my life hell? Well, surprise, surprise…it’s already hell! Do your worst!”

“What’s his name?” he demanded in a lethally controlled voice that sent an involuntary shudder down her spine. She recognized that she had pushed him too far, but she knew that even if she backed down now, it wouldn’t assuage his anger. “Theresa, who the hell is he?”

Theresa couldn’t help but feel an instinctive frisson of fear. She knew that he had a tight leash on his temper, but right now that leash seemed strained to the breaking point.

“I-I was speaking hypothetically,” she stuttered, abandoning all pretense of bravado.

“I don’t believe you,” he bit out furiously.

“I wasn’t with anybody, I just needed a break!”

“A break,” he repeated with flat contempt.

“Yes a break! A break from you and a break from this life. I don’t want to be in this marriage anymore. I want out and I want away from you! Please, I just want a divorce, Sandro. Please.”

“You’ll get your divorce when I get my son,” he reminded ruthlessly.

“That’s so sick,” she protested. “Why would you even want a child with a woman you despise?” He didn’t respond, and instead he gave her a searching look.

“You honestly don’t know, do you?” he breathed in disbelief, and she blinked in confusion.

“Know what?” she asked blankly, distracted by the look on his face. Again he didn’t reply. “Know what?”

“Why did you marry me?” he asked.

“You know why.” She was outraged by the way he was rubbing salt in the wound, unable to believe, even after a year and a half of similar treatment, that he could be so cruel.

“Humor me,” he prompted, and she exhaled shakily, before getting up with as much dignity as she could muster. She felt shaky and nauseous and couldn’t stomach being around him anymore. She took an unsteady step away from the table, swaying so badly that he jumped up and clasped one large hand around her slender arm to steady her.

“Theresa?” He sounded almost shaken.

“I’m fine.” She shrugged off his hand. “I just got up too quickly. Now, please excuse me, I have things to do!”

“Wait…” he said urgently. “I asked you a question.”

“A stupid question that you already know the answer to,” she retorted.

“Maybe I’d like to hear the answer again.” He was being a total ass about this, and not for the first time in her life, Theresa felt like hitting him.

“Oh God, why do you insist on doing this to me?” she groaned.

“You really loved me, didn’t you?” He breathed in amazement, and she shot him a haunted look before turning away.

“You may rest assured that whatever I felt for you when we married is no longer an issue. I want a divorce, and nothing you do or say can induce me to stay with you,” she insisted, and he surprised her by nodding thoughtfully.

“Yes. I’m beginning to discern that,” he acknowledged softly. There was nothing more to be said, and she left the room with her head held high and her dignity intact.

She was a mass of nerves when she got to the bedroom and sank down on the bed, feeling quivery and still vaguely nauseous. She felt like she had just gone ten rounds with a heavyweight boxer, but she also thought that he had actually listened to her and that she had made some headway. Feeling like she needed to speak to someone about what had just happened, she picked up the telephone receiver from its cradle on the nightstand, but she was taken aback to hear ringing on the other end. Realizing that Sandro was on the extension downstairs, she was about to put the phone down when the ringing stopped abruptly.

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