I chewed my bottom lip. Of course, she was right, but I had to make her understand how I felt. “I know I’ve not had much experience with guys, but this feels good and right, Katie.”
“Two guys and that idiot Salvatore is not ‘much experience’, Skye. It’s almost no experience,” Katie stated firmly. “Maybe he’s good in bed, but you seriously need to stop fooling yourself that this is going to lead anywhere.”
“I know it’s not going to lead anywhere,” I muttered.
Someone called to her then, and she said, “Look, I got to go, but I’ll call you tomorrow.”
“Speak tomorrow,” I said.
“Bye,” I echoed softly and the line went dead.
I switched off the light, and lay staring at the wall. The joy I had felt about gardening again was gone. Katie was right. I had to guard my heart. This would come to an end, this grand house, this luxurious bed, the greenhouse, and my amazing surroundings would be gone, and I would have to go out there into the world again and be Skye, the waitress.
From now on I had to remember that.
I was not a princess in a fairytale.
I was just Skye, the waitress.Chapter 24SkyeIt was still dark the next morning when I got out of bed and went to the kitchen. There was no one else around, but Madam Mitterand was already up and sitting at the table drinking something from a cup and looking into an open notebook. She looked up at me and frowned.
“Is something wrong?”
I shook my head. “Nothing is wrong. I was wondering if I could have some cake or cookies.”
Her eyes widened. “Cakes or cookies?”
“Yes, I wanted to take it to John.”
She looked at me as if I was mad. “You want to take cakes and cookies to John?”
“Yes, I spoke to Luca last night and he said I could.”
For a second she seemed lost for words, then she pushed her chair back and disappeared through a door. It must have been the pantry or something because she came back with two silver tins. Silently, she boxed some chocolate chip cookies and a few slices of butter cake into a white cardboard box. Then she tied the box with a red ribbon and handed it to me.
“His favorites,” she said.
“Thank you so much,” I said with a grateful smile.
She didn’t smile back, but she didn’t look hostile either. She just nodded formally.
The light outside was blue and I ran through the snow like a child. I felt full of hope. I knew now I was Skye the waitress, but it was okay to be Skye the waitress. Life was still good. My father was getting the best treatment money could buy, and I was here in the most beautiful place on earth. And I was going to learn to garden again.
The greenhouse came into view. There were no lights in it so maybe John was not there yet.
However, when I peeped through the glass walls I saw him already bent before a row of vegetables on the ground.
Right. Smile lots. I straightened my back and was about to go to the door when he turned and saw me watching him.
He sighed elaborately.
I grinned at him like a fool and lifted my box of goodies to show him that I had something for him.
With another sigh he rose to his feet. When he started to walk towards the entrance I quickly ran over to meet him at the door. He stopped a few feet away from me.
“I brought you cookies and cake,” I said and smiled again.
“What kind?” he asked.
“Chocolate chip cookies and butter cake.”
A smile cracked on to his face. “Madam packed it?”
I nodded and quickly closed the distance between us, handed him the box.
“What exactly do you want to do in here?” he asked, his old fingers stroking the red ribbon on the box.
“Help you out,” I said softly. “Learn how to plant some flowers.”
His tone was gruff. “I don’t need you to help me out. What flowers do you want to plant?”
“Sweet peas, Alliums, Bugleweed. Anything. Even vegetables if I can’t grow flowers.”
“Do you have the seedlings?”
My heart rate picked up. “I… I’ll order them tomorrow.”
He gave me an exasperated look, then turned around to walk deeper into the greenhouse. My heart swelled with excitement as I followed him into the huge glass encased paradise that smelled of earth and good things.
“There,” he pointed to an uncultivated patch of soil.
But to me it seemed especially beautiful because it was demarcated by a small pond which I crossed over on a planked platform that acted as a bridge. On the pond’s surface were huge floating lily pads and the occasional flick of a fish’s silvery fin as it swam around in bliss. I squealed inside and pressed my hands together in gratitude.