“What are you doing here?” he asked.
“I came to congratulate you.”
“Yes. I heard about your engagement to Camilla Beechworth.”
“How did you find out?”
“Someone told me.”
“What does it matter?”
“I don’t suppose it does.”
“How could you be so cold?”
“Yes! Cold and indifferent.”
“I’m neither cold nor indifferent.” He put the gloves down on the
desk and folded his arms. His expression inscrutable as he returned her stare.
“Why did I have to hear about your engagement from someone else?”
she demanded. How she longed to march over there and slap him hard across the
face. She fought hard not to cry. It was the last thing she wanted to do in
front of him.
“I was going to tell you–“
“When? When were you going to tell me?”
“I don’t know.”
“Do you love her?”
“Then, why are you marrying her?”
“I have my reasons.”
“You’re marrying her because she’s a socialite like you. Socialites marry socialites not middle-class people like me. We’re good enough to sleep with but not to marry.”
“I never meant to hurt you–“
“But you did,” her voice broke then. And reaching into her handbag, she took out the pendant he had given her and threw it at him. “You can give that to your bride-to-be as a wedding present. I don’t want it anymore.” She turned and ran out of the office.
After she left, he picked up the pendant and went over to the desk. Sinking heavily down onto the chair, he leaned back and closed his eyes. She was terribly wrong. He was anything but cold and indifferent.
Emotions churned in him and his mind was reeling. He had done a foolish and unforgivable thing in not telling her about his engagement. What had prevented him? Fear? Fear of losing her? Well, that was exactly what happened. It was over between them now. Then, it occurred to him that it was over the moment he made a conscious choice to marry Camilla even though he wasn’t in love with her. He was in love with the woman who had just walked out of his life.