But I already knew that. Mateo had already informed me about the incident that afternoon and how Madam had to throw her out while she tried to ruin Skye’s reputation by hurling vile insults and accusations about Skye.
I felt relaxed and mellow, just lying in front of the fire listening to her voice.
A part of me began to wish this was real. That there was no expiry date on us. To stop the sensation from spreading I reached blindly for her and covered her plump mouth with mine.
There was only this. No more than this. And the sooner I understood that the better it would be for both of us.SkyeI woke up to the red glow from the dying embers in the fireplace.
I knew it was time to go to the greenhouse, but for the first time since being given permission to work in the greenhouse I found it hard to jump up eagerly at the prospect. I just wanted to stay under the big blanket with Luca’s warm strong body glued to mine. Then I thought about old John waiting for me, his packages in the kitchen, and I very, very slowly, millimeter by millimeter moved away from Luca. Not slow enough apparently, because he stirred and turning his head, opened his eyes.
Immediately, the wolf-like eyes became alert.
My cheery greeting died on my tongue.
He looked… rested and handsome. While I must have looked a horrible mess with yesterday’s make-up all stale and smeared around my eyes.
“Where do you think you’re going?” he murmured, as he turned on his side to face me. A thick healthy slab of hair fell across his forehead making his eyes appear even more piercing even though his mouth was relaxed and sensuous. I wanted to reach out and comb his hair back with my fingers and cradle his gorgeous face in my palms. I could hardly believe this was the stone-cold, heartless, mythical Luca before me. Yet, once he left this warm hearth and put on his clothes he would once again become an unapproachable stranger.
“To the greenhouse,” I mumbled.
He looked at me curiously. “You’re really committed to growing your plants, aren’t you?”
I smiled. “Very much.”
“Okay, I’ll be quick. Ten minutes tops,” he promised, and suddenly dived under the covers. I felt his mouth clamp down on my clit and gasped. Well, he was much less than ten minutes. I think the earth beneath me shattered in five.
To my credit I was even faster. Took a lot less than five minute to shatter his world. With a laugh, I evaded his grabbing hands while he was still too disorientated to move as fast as me, I whipped the blanket off him and scrambled away. With the big blanket clutched around my body, I ran out of the room.
Again, I saw Madam as I was running down the corridor. This time she didn’t disappear into the first room she came to. She passed by and respectfully greeted me, “Good morning, Ma’am.”
“Good morning to you too, Madam,” I called out, as I whizzed past.Chapter 41SkyeOne week laterThe days were passing quickly. My father was doing well in Switzerland, and Laura called everyday during their morning break. He was swimming and eating well, getting his transfusions regularly and generally seemed to be stronger and in a much better mood. My plants had become tiny little seedlings with pale green leaves. Every day when I woke up I ticked off another day in the calendar in my head and grieved for its loss.
Luca left last night for Brighton Beach, but he said he would be back in time for dinner.
I spent all morning in the greenhouse with John. There was not much to do with my plants any more other than watch them lovingly so I had taken to helping him with his chores. I could see that he was old now and his back would start to hurt by mid-day. Before I left this house I promised myself that I would talk to Luca about getting a little assistant for him. He was too proud to admit it, but he desperately needed one.
This morning, John had to run some personal errands and he left about 10.00am. I walked back to the house feeling exhausted. Not from physical labor, which I welcomed, but from the constant thoughts of leaving this place. The torment just wouldn’t stop, even though I had prepared myself so hard for this. It was impossible for me to think he would no longer be in my life in just over a week. Or that I would never step into the greenhouse again, or lie on the white rug in front of the fire with Luca. I would even miss Madam.
The last week had been a kind of dream. Sometimes he would hold me as if he was never going to let go, then other times he withdrew as soon as our bodies were spent. I wanted to hold onto him, but I knew better. He was not mine.