Suddenly, he turned around, and without a word, exited the greenhouse.
I turned my head and I watched him walk through the snow. A black figure in a white landscape. He looked alone and somehow hurt, almost wounded. It was strange because of course, he wasn’t alone or wounded. I wanted to reach out and bring him back to me, but he soon disappeared from sight.
Slowly, I sunk down to the floor, my head buried between my knees. I was in deep shit. I sat in that position for a long time. I felt dazed and stupid. It was only the sound of John returning that made me stir my stiff limbs.
He looked at me on the floor and came rushing up to me. “Did you fall?”
“No, no,” I whispered hoarsely.
“Are you all right?” he asked, his voice concerned.
“Yes, I am. I think I just felt a bit faint, but I’m okay now.”
“Shall I bring you some hot tea?”
“No, no, I’ll be fine. I’ll just go back to the house now, I think.”
“Let me take you back in the truck.”
I smiled at him gratefully, guiltily. “Thank you, John. Honestly, it was nothing. A walk in the fresh air will do me good.”
He nodded and I quickly started walking towards the entrance. I knew he was watching me so I kept my pace brisk and sure so he would know that there was absolutely nothing wrong with me.Chapter 32SkyeI returned immediately to my room and got dressed. I needed the day out, away from Luca and this cocoon of crazed lust and the mental gymnastics I needed to undertake to pretend to myself that everything was still all right. That my heart wasn’t about to break into a thousand jagged pieces. I called Katie and we agreed to meet up at the mall where we usually met, and do lunch together afterwards.
Once I was ready I called my father. He was taking a nap, but he roused himself and insisted on talking to me. He was in good spirits and it cheered me to know that in a couple of days he would be going in to start his treatments. I told him I would come by in the next couple of days as I didn’t want him to see me as I was today. Confused and disorientated about my future. We said goodbye and I put the phone into my purse and looked at my reflection before I left the room carrying my present for Katie.
Obviously, I didn’t want to contact Luca again with the request to let me leave for the day so I headed towards the surveillance camera that was hidden in one corner. I looked up at it and waved, hoping that the home was indeed as tightly guarded as Mary Jane had implied it was, because thus far I’d only met one of the guards when he had found me ransacking the fridge in the middle of the night.
Turning around, I leaned against the wall of my room and waited. For more than a minute that followed there was no response, then my phone began to ring. The number was of course, unidentifiable.
“Miss Morrison,” a male voice came through the receiver. “Is there a problem?”
I was impressed. The house really was even more tightly guarded than Mary Jane knew.
“I need to meet up with a friend in the city,” I said with as much confidence as I could muster.
He went silent.
“Hello?” I said into the silence.
“One moment please, Miss Morrison.”
The line went quiet, and I guessed he was checking my request with his boss. I took a deep breath. There was nothing in the contract to say I couldn’t go meet my friends and I knew Luca wouldn’t say no, but even so I felt slightly nervous.
There was a clicking sound before the male voice came back. “Certainly, Miss Morrison. If you want to come out now, a car will be waiting for you out front.”
I headed down the stairs and out. Indeed, a tinted, black SUV with its engine idling was already waiting for me. The driver came out and opened the passenger door for me.
I got in and settled down as he closed the car and slipped into the driver’s seat.
“Where to?” he asked, as he shifted the gears into motion.
“Okay,” he replied, and did not say another word until we arrived at our destination.
As I waited for Katie outside the Japanese tea store we had agreed on, I spotted her come up the escalator in her sales manager attire of a striped dark pant suit, my mood immediately lifted. It had been three weeks since I last saw her so I couldn’t even remain still. I started waving and walking towards her.
“Oh my God, Skye,” she screamed, her hazel eyes becoming as round as saucers. “Look at you. You look amazing. Where did you get that coat? It’s divine.”