And he’d never heard her laugh.
What was so funny?
He found them in the kitchen, so absorbed in their task that they didn’t notice him enter. They were concentrating now, Rosa showing Angelina something and Angelina, with flour on her hands, one of Rosa’s pinnies tied around her and a pile of what looked like disasters alongside, was trying to copy her. A dollop of mixture, and then her fingers working furiously, her teeth biting her bottom lip in concentration. Until a triumphant, ‘Ta da!’ as she held the object aloft in her palm.
Across the room their eyes met, caught and froze and Rosa stopped clapping and smiled. ‘Dominic, you’re home early for a change.’
‘I have a late flight to Singapore. I came to pick up a few things.’ He looked from one woman to the other.
‘What are you doing?’
‘Angelina’s helping me make tortellini. Will you have time to eat before you go? I’ll get some ready now if you like.’
He nodded his thanks to Rosa, took one final look at the thankfully mute woman standing by her side and made his exit, tugging on his tie as he went. He hadn’t seen her since that night in his office. He’d kept his distance and she’d kept out of his way and it had proved this thing was possible. He’d known it would work out. In a house this size, there was no reason why they should bump into each other at all.
He turned. She looked abashed. ‘Sorry. Mr Pirelli.’
‘Dominic is fine. It is my name.’
‘Oh.’ Her lips were pink, her cheeks were red, except for where she’d left a swipe of flour. He had to stop his hand from reaching out and wiping it off. ‘Only if you’re sure.’
‘Of course I’m sure. As I will drop the Mrs Cameron and call you Angelina. I’m assuming Cameron is Shayne’s name?’
She nodded, her teeth catching her bottom lip, some kind of paper dangling forgotten from her fingers.
‘Then you don’t need it. Angelina it is. And now I really must get moving, if that’s all?’
‘Mr Pirelli—Dominic. I wonder if you would do me a favour.’
He regarded her suspiciously, registering for the first time that she wasn’t wearing jeans; instead, had some kind of skirt on behind that apron. Nice ankles, he had time to register before he asked, ‘What kind of favour?’
‘I wondered if you could possibly be a referee for me.’
‘Only there’s this job going at the local supermarket. I could use my old contacts, only it would look so much better coming from you.’
He turned away. ‘No. No reference.’
She stopped him with a hand to his arm. ‘Oh, but—’
He looked down at her pale fingers, wondered why something so cool-looking should feel so warm. ‘Because you don’t need a job. Don’t I give you enough money?’
‘It’s not about the money.’
‘Good. So we’re agreed. You don’t need a job.’
‘No! It’s about keeping busy. I’m bored, Dominic. There’s nothing to do here but loll around by the pool and read books or magazines all day. I need something to do.’
He wasn’t sure he was hearing her right. A woman was complaining about having nothing to do but lounge by the pool or go shopping? Carla had never complained about not having a job. Carla had never complained about not having anything to do. But he shoved thoughts of Carla away. At least he knew from what he’d seen and what Rosa had confirmed, she knew how to eat. ‘You didn’t sound bored when I walked in before.’
‘Rosa took pity on me. She’ll soon get sick of it. But if I had a job at the supermarket—’
‘It’s only just around the corner—’
‘Out of the question.’
‘Just a few shifts a week—’
‘Is there something wrong with your hearing? I said no!’
She stamped her foot. ‘Then what am I supposed to do all day? What am I allowed to do by the lord and master of the house?’
He shrugged, half smiling to himself. Did she have any idea how cute she looked when she got angry and stamped her foot?