And that was when she remembered Camille—the friend with whom she’d studied Art History whilst in Paris. Whose parents lived in what anyone else would call a gallery—such was their art collection. And she remembered the tapestries Camille’s mother had—the ones Camille’s father relegated to a different wing, declaring they weren’t really ‘art’. It was a loving argument between them—art versus craft, oil on canvas versus textiles and yarn. Maybe she’d have some Greek scenes in there? All Liss remembered was that there were hundreds of them, many locked away in cupboards and not even out on display. She refined her Google search.
After finding what she wanted, she checked on James—he’d fallen asleep on the sofa, feet on the table in front of him. She’d quickly learned that when James slept, he really slept—with the same kind of dedication and wholeheartedness that he approached everything in life. So, knowing he couldn’t hear, she picked up the phone and called.
‘I’m in a bit of a fix,’ she explained once the necessary squeals and brief catch-ups were concluded. She gave a quick overview of the party—skipping over the fact it was totally last minute to make up for the one she’d botched. ‘Can I borrow some of those tapestries your mum has?’ She detailed exactly which ones.
‘Those old things? For a party?’
Admittedly they were old, but the way Camille described them was hardly flattering. Liss grinned. With the right lighting, music, food and atmosphere those ‘old things’ would help transform the palatial ballroom into the intimate space she wanted. The thickly woven material with its gold thread and full-bodied colours would heighten the sense of richness and luxury—the intricacy and skill in each would reflect the master craftsmanship in the construction of the hotel itself. And they were just that little bit different.
‘If you can get them there, you can use them.’
The thoughts struck simultaneously. How was she going to manage to get them here? No way could she put the cost of transport from Paris on the account. All the extras—the décor, the finishing touches—were having to be done on the cheap. The cost of airlifting several huge tapestries from Paris to Aristo wouldn’t come anywhere near cheap. But she had her heart set on them. Knew they’d make the night, set the scene, and the rest would happen naturally.
‘Will you come to the party too?’ she asked Camille. It would be so great to have a friendly face there.
‘Can’t, darling. I’m off to New York.’
They talked some more—caught up on commonalities, on gossip.
‘Thank you so much.’ Liss wrapped up the call some twenty minutes later. ‘I’ll organise transport for them and be back in touch.’
Transport. She drummed her fingers on the table. If only she could access some of her trust fund. It would be nothing to her. But that had been blocked and she only had her day-to-day account and her earnings from her few weeks working for James. She looked up her account online. She had some money. But she’
d mentally ring-fenced it for a new dress. Stupidly she hadn’t brought another party outfit with her and she had nothing new to wear to this do. She gritted her teeth. On the dress she was going to have to improvise.
She’d use the money she had to get the tapestries sent over. Besides she could always wear the frock she’
d worn last week.
Ugh. She shuddered. It went against every fashion rule.
She wanted the party to be different, wanted to be wearing something new and different herself. But, as she remembered James’s words with a little wince, it wasn’t all about her.
She walked across the lounge, looked at where he lay sprawled—undoubtedly uncomfortably—on the sofa.
The sight made her smile. It was the second night in a row she’d stayed in—she couldn’t remember the last time that had happened. But how nice it was, just the two of them in their apartment in the sky—like a little nest. She had no desire to leave it, no desire to get dressed up and go dancing. She’d join him on the sofa except he was hogging it. She bent and studied him. He was sleeping the well-earned sleep of the hardworking achiever. But he badly needed to get to a bed or he’d have a crick in his neck and probably a bad case of the grumps with it.
She had no way of getting him there without disturbing him. She went tingly all over with anticipation. Oh, well. Disturb him she must.
But she did it gently, raining soft kisses all over his face, running her fingertips over his rough jaw and down his throat. She felt the ripple in the muscles beneath her as Mr Deep Sleeper slowly became aware.