Pregnancy hormones. That was all it was, she told herself—pregnancy hormones playing with her emotions.
‘Where are all the other guests?’ she asked, following the manager to the lift.
‘Today, you are our only guest. The others will be arriving from tomorrow.’
How strange. She’d never known a hotel to have only one guest before.
Her suite was one of two located on the top floor. She guessed the other had been reserved for Christian.
Stepping into it, she couldn’t help the little thrill that ran through her at the opulent marvel of marble and the stunning views. The back window had a direct view of the Parthenon.
Over the years she’d stayed in many luxurious hotels but the lavishness of this suite had a magical quality to it.
‘Will you require lunch in your room or would you prefer to eat in the restaurant?’ the manager asked.
‘I think I’ll eat on my balcony.’ She had a quick skim of the menu and selected a tomato salad with crusty bread. Nothing fancy, just something healthy to keep her going until Christian joined her that evening...
The same tightening in her belly happened as she thought of him again, her heart rate speeding up to a thrum.
AFTER A LAZY afternoon spent by the swimming pool, unwinding after a full-on week of work and the morning’s travels, Alessandra was stepping out of the shower when the phone in her room rang out.
‘Good evening, agapi mou.’
A tingle fluttered up her spine to hear his rich tones.
‘Hello, Christian,’ she said, keeping her voice formal. ‘Does this call mean you’re here?’
‘It does. Can you be ready in a couple of hours?’
‘I’m taking you out for dinner.’
Trying hard to dampen the excitement fluttering low in her stomach, she opened the large wardrobe where a maid had hung all her clothes. Amongst them was her wedding dress.
Her intention had been to buy the first dress that fitted and didn’t make her look like a hag. Her intentions had gone to hell. Her brain had tried to hand over the cash in the first boutique but her heart had overruled it. It wasn’t until the fourth boutique that she’d found The One, the dress that had made her heart want to burst with delight.
She didn’t know what she’d been thinking when she had then parted with a large sum of cash for the lacy white lingerie she’d selected to wear with it.
No, that was a lie: she did know what she’d been thinking. She’d been thinking of Christian.
For now she selected a khaki shirt-dress that fell to mid-thigh. She stared with longing at her five-inch-high red Manolo Blahniks but ended up disregarding them for black strappy sandals with a more reasonable three-inch heel. She had a little life inside her to think of and to totter on sky-high heels was asking for trouble.
She wondered if her own mother had faced such trivial conundrums in her pregnancies. So many questions she would never hear the answer to.
She would give anything for one day—one hour, even—with her mother. One hour to be held in her arms, to inhale her scent and hear her voice.
She prayed her baby never grew up having the same longings: so many hopes and fears, a mountain of them. All that mattered was getting her baby safely into this world.
Accessorising with beaded orange jewellery and dangly ruby earrings, she’d just applied a second coat of matching ruby lipstick when she heard a rap on the main door of the suite.
She pressed a hand to her chest, a sop to trying to control her heart that had galloped at the first knock.
Opening the door, her stomach plunged to see Christian so tanned and gorgeous before her, dressed in a silver suit, tieless, the white shirt unbuttoned at the neck. She’d kissed that neck, remembered vividly its taste...
Their eyes met; there was nothing said for the breath of a moment before she stood aside to admit him.
‘You’re looking good,’ he said.