He chuckled. “Do we have to take the old witch?”

“Dad,” I admonished, lifting my head.

He pretended to sigh. “Fine, we’ll take her along.”

Laura came back into the room and started making tea. We sat around talking, drinking tea and eating biscuits from a tin. Afterwards, I went back to the car and got in. Silently, the driver put the car into motion.Chapter 38SkyeAs soon as we arrived back at Torrington Hall I ran up to my room. Sitting on my bed, I pulled out my phone and dialed his number. My heart was beating so fast, my chest felt fluttery and strange. What if he was with a woman? What if she picked up the phone? What if he told me fuck off? I was gripping my phone so hard my hand hurt.

“Skye,” Luca’s deep, smooth voice said into my ear.

I launched into my prepared message. “I’m just calling to say thank you so much for what you are doing for my father. I am truly grateful.”

In the silence that followed I wasn’t sure if the line had dropped. Then he spoke. “No need to thank me. I’m just keeping my side of the bargain.”

“Sending my father on a first-class flight to Switzerland to regenerate himself is not part of the bargain.”

“I have a ball, a charity event for the Charington General Hospital that I have to attend today. You’ll come with me.”

“What time?” I whispered.

“You will be picked up at 7pm.”

“Okay.”

“Right. See you later.”

The line went dead and I rose to my feet and went into my new closet. I went through the row of dresses. They ranged from vibrant reds, greens, pinks to the more neutral shades of grey and beige. Some were sexy and some were cute, but a dress wasn’t really what I was in the mood for. I knew the party would be filled with socialite women like Sienna, and I wanted to look sophisticated and confident. I wanted to show them that I didn’t need anybody’s approval. I wanted to wear something nobody else would be wearing.

I turned towards the sets of pantsuits that hung from the rack.

My eyes were immediately drawn to a tailored white number with a soft blazer. It came with an incredibly beautiful, lacy high-necked blouse. I ran my finger along the delicate material. Never in my life had I imagined I’d own or worn something so beautiful. I did not try it that day when Anna had brought it. It was so similar to another black one I had tried that Anna said, it should fit in exactly the same way. I took it down and changed into it.

It was a perfect fit, of course, but it turned out to be nothing like the black one.

The black one was flawlessly grown-up and professional looking. This one. This one clung to every curve and dip of my body. I could only be awed by the clever tailoring and the way the gorgeous lace made scallop like shapes around my neck.

I took the outfit off and went to have a quick shower and wash my hair. Once my hair was dried I put it into a ponytail high on my head. Then I dressed in the pantsuit and stood in front of the mirror. Something was missing.

I opened the accessories drawer and decided on a plain string of pearls with a gold clasp. The beads were lustrous and luxurious and it was the perfect accompaniment to the outfit. I sat in front of the vanity mirror and painted my lips a stark blood red, and finished off the attire with bright red Louboutin stilettos.

When I stood in front of the mirror, I could hardly recognize myself. I looked like a stranger. A glamorous, confident stranger. Would Luca be proud to have me on his arm?

Maybe. I hoped so.

I checked the time, happy that I was about twenty minutes early. I felt nervous so I thought I would go down to the Blue Room and get myself a drink. I slung my coat loosely over my shoulder and went out. As I was halfway down the stairs my phone rang. I didn’t recognize the caller. When I answered it, I found it was one of the guards at the front gate at the other end.

“There’s a woman here who says she’s your sister. Would you like me to let her in?”

I was stunned speechless. What on earth was my step sister doing here? How did she even find this place?

“Miss Morrison?” the guard reminded politely.

I gripped the banister hard and my voice was strange, as I said, “Yes, let her in.”

I hesitated in the vast foyer undecided if I should go to the front door and let my sister in or would that not be the done thing, but the staff at Torrington Hall ran a well-oiled ship. The guard must have called ahead to let Madam know for she was already coming in from the direction of the kitchen. Her eyes widened at my appearance, then she nodded politely at me. “I will show her into the music room.”


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