“Well… um, because I don’t have much to do here when you’re not around and I want to… I want to grow some flowers.”
Her voice filled my head. I almost imagined all those hesitant words dropping from that delicious mouth. “And what’s the problem?”
“The head gardener, er… he says, he can’t give me access to the greenhouse without your approval.”
I pondered on the request. “The greenhouse has been under his jurisdiction from before I bought the house. He doesn’t need my approval at all.”
She went silent.
She was so far away and I wanted so desperately to hear her voice fill my ear. With any kind of conversation. Even if it was just to say, she had found a dress or a piece of jewelry she wanted me to buy for her, which was bizarre because it bored me stiff when women started talking about stuff like that. Because I craved it so very much I said, “If that is all…”
“Wait, wait, I mean don’t go yet!”
“I…” she began. “Is there a way you can at least speak to him on my behalf? I can help him around the place. Just sitting around and idling away the time is really not the best for my mental health.”
I resisted the urge to smile. The idea she might want to spend her time gardening was novel. I would have thought she would want to go shopping at the best boutiques. “I’ve given you my response, Skye,” I said. “John does not need my approval. If he said he did, it means he doesn't want you in his space.”
“Oh!” she mumbled and it was impossible to miss the disappointment in her tone.
“I do have a suggestion for you.”
Hope lifted to her voice. “Really? What is it?”
“He’s just a man. Hang around the place. Smile lots. Bring him little treats and break down his resistance with charm.”
“You really think that would work?”
“It would work on me,” I said dryly.
“Okay,” she almost sang with happiness. “I’ll start the charm offensive tomorrow.”
I was aware now it was time to go, but I didn’t want to. The pleasure I felt at speaking to her made every nerve in my body come alive and tingle. “Good night,” I said and without hearing her reply, ended the call.Chapter 23SkyeI stared down at my phone in surprise. Just when I thought we were getting along he goes and ends the conversation so abruptly. Why on earth did he have to do that? I tossed the phone aside and it bounced across the bed, but to my relief, settled just shy of the edge of the big bed.
The last thing I needed right now was a broken phone. There were not too many helpful people in this house. I thought of the gardener once again and how my charm project should be.
I had to admit Mr. Snob was totally right.
Building a sort of relationship with the gardener was much better than barging into the greenhouse and claiming a share of his real estate. There were also several things he could teach me so it was indeed a good idea to win him over.
With that thought I luxuriated in a long soak in the bath, then slipped into the silkiest nightie I had ever worn in my life and climbed into bed. Katie called as I was about to switch off the bedside lamp.
“How’s it going,” she asked.
“It’s okay. I’m going to try and win over the heart of a crusty old gardener tomorrow.”
“There’s this gardener here. He has bushy eyebrows and eyes that are rheumy with age. I think he must be at least eighty. I’m gonna try and get him to let me work with him in his greenhouse.”
“Are you drunk, Skye?”
“I’ve had a few glasses, but I’m not drunk. Honest, I’m not. Did you not know I’ve always wanted to garden? I love the feeling of soil running through my fingers, and watching the seeds start to sprout. The sad thing is I don’t think I have very green fingers because all my plants always die and I’m going to ask John, that’s the old gardener, why that keeps happening to my plants.”
“How strange. I’ve known you for years and I never knew this about you.”
“Ah, well. I’ve been busy earning a living,” I said.
“Anyway, how’s it going with the Don?”
I frowned. “I don’t know.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean… there’s something there. Something I cannot explain. It’s like an invisible rope that connects us. And the sex… the sex is just out of this world.”
“Jesus, Skye. You’re not falling for this guy, are you?” Her voice was incredulous.
“No, of course not.”
“You better not be. You have a one-month contract with this guy. And then it’s over. You’re out of there. And you go back to living your life the way you want to. Not as some sexual slave to a rich man.”