Instead, she could relax in an anonymous hotel room that didn’t remind her of anything and just think. Long baths, maybe a bit of shopping. Nothing threatening.
And two days in which to plan the best way to bring up the subject of finding alternative accommodation.
‘Great.’ She smiled brightly. ‘I can’t wait.’
Nikos spread his hands, visibly perplexed by her sudden change of heart. ‘I thought you didn’t want to leave the department.’
‘Well, if it’s all right with Rose, it’s all right with me.’
She didn’t care what she did as long as she didn’t have to spend another night in the house.
Ella sat in the helicopter, feeling dazed. ‘We’re flying to London?’ When they’d set out in the sports car, she’d assumed they’d be driving all the way, but Nikos had only driven as far as the nearest airport.
‘This is a billionaire solution to Friday-night traffic.’ Nikos fastened her seat belt. ‘I have some urgent business in London and I don’t have time to spend five hours stuck in stationary traffic.’ He adjusted the strap to his satisfaction, his face close to hers, his rough jaw grazing her cheek.
She lifted a hand and stroked it into his hair. ‘Are you trying to impress me or something?’
His smile was slow and wicked. ‘I thought I’d already done that but I’m more than happy to impress you again when we arrive at the hotel.’
‘Very funny.’ Ella felt her heart flip. ‘If you’re going to London on business, why are you taking me with you?’
‘Because you want to know about my life, and this is part of my life.’ He delivered a lingering kiss to her mouth and then straightened. ‘Tonight you can rest, and tomorrow we will enjoy ourselves.’
Intensely relieved to be spared a weekend at the house, Ella leaned her head against the seat and looked at him. ‘All right. So what happens now? You give your instructions to your pilot or something?’
‘I am the pilot.’
‘You’re going to fly this thing?’ She felt a moment of alarm. ‘Do you know how?’
‘You think I’d be flying it if I didn’t?’
‘I don’t know—you have been known to take risks.’
He grinned. ‘So have you, agape mou. But I promise not to take risks when I’m in the air.’
Hoping that he was as good at that as he was at medicine, Ella gripped her seat. As the helicopter rose from the ground she held her breath and then let out a bubble of laughter because it felt wonderful to be in the air. As they flew over the beautiful English countryside, she found herself fascinated by the patchwork of green fields spread beneath her like a giant bedspread.
As soon as they landed, they were transferred by chauffeur-driven car to one of the most prestigious hotels in London.
Watching in awe as a Hollywood actress sailed past surrounded by her entourage, Ella rubbed her hands self-consciously over her jeans.
‘I feel as though any moment now someone is going to order me to use the tradesman’s entrance. I can’t stay here.’ She gave a helpless shrug, wondering what it was that he saw in her. ‘I don’t fit. I’m wearing the wrong things.’
‘You’re far more beautiful than any of their other guests.’ Ignoring her insecurities, Nikos urged her gently across the opulent marble foyer. ‘And the hotel staff are interested in my wallet, not in your wardrobe.’
‘Exactly how big is your wallet?’
‘Big enough to ensure that they smile when my fiancée arrives wearing ancient jeans.’
They were intercepted by a man in a suit who greeted Nikos so effusively that Ella assumed that they must be somehow related.
A brief conversation was followed by some frantic hand signals and then they were escorted up a flight of stairs, along a thickly carpeted corridor and into a series of rooms about four times bigger than any flat she’d ever lived in.
Ella stood in the doorway, glancing around her in disbelief.
‘I booked us a suite.’ Nikos pressed a note into the man’s hand and he discreetly melted away, leaving the two of them alone. ‘We’ll have more room.’
‘That guy at Reception—he was obviously thrilled to see you. Are you related?’
‘He’s the manager of the hotel.’ Nikos slung his jacket over the nearest chair and glanced at his watch. ‘I have twenty minutes to shower, change and get to my meeting. I’m sorry to abandon you. Will you be all right here by yourself for a few hours?’