‘I’ve ordered suitable clothes for you via an online concierge service. They should arrive within the hour. Have a look through them. If there’s anything that doesn’t fit, let me know. There’s no need to thank me.’
‘I wasn’t going to,’ Lizzie assured him grimly.
Ignoring her comment, Ilios continued, ‘We shall be attending a gallery opening this evening, so you’ll need to wear an engagement ring. I’m having a selection couriered over to my office. Maria should arrive at some stage to do the cleaning.’ He reached into the inside pocket of his suit jacket and removed his wallet, opening it and removing what looked to Lizzie like an obscene amount of one-hundred-euro notes.
‘You’ll need this, I dare say. And I’ve put my mobile number into your mobile’s address book. I should have thought that in view of the fact that you’re an interior designer you would have had a more stylish one. Appearances count, after all.’
‘I agree, but paying for luxury gizmos costs money,’ Lizzie defended, Her out-of-fashion mobile was nonetheless perfectly effective.
Five minutes later, left to her own devices in a space in which the smell of rich coffee and maleness lingered dangerously to torment her senses, Lizzie decided to explore her new surroundings—starting with the garden.
She could see now in daylight that the living space did not overlook the city, as she had expected, but instead had views towards the mountains.
The intercom buzzing had her heading for the entrance of the apartment, mindful of what Ilios had told her. When she opened the door there was no sign of a delivery person, but there were several large boxes stacked next to the door.
Nearly two hours later, standing in the guest bedroom surrounded by the clothes she had unpacked, Lizzie wished more than anything else that her sisters were here with her, to stare in awe at the beautiful garments now covering the bed.
The clothes were beautiful, and in exactly the kind of style she had always secretly coveted.
Out of the corner of her eye Lizzie caught sight of the deliciously pretty and feminine underwear she had hastily pushed out of sight under some of the day clothes, her face warming. Obviously he had noticed her reaction to his observation the night before. Stunningly sensual undies in soft cream silk and satin, trimmed with lace—or rather laces, she amended ruefully, remembering the boned corset that laced up at the back which had been in one of the boxes. That was something that would quite definitely be going back! After all, she had no one to fasten her into it, even if she had wanted to wear something so constricting. Neither was she entirely sure about the French knickers that were little more than a satin gusset-cum-G-string attached to fluted sheer lace panels. On the other hand the pure silk-satin low-rise boxer shorts and matching bras were so delicious they had made her mouth water.
And as for everything else—how was she supposed to resist the allure of silk cashmere cut into the most flattering skirt and trousers she had ever seen, in her favourite shade of warm beige? The trench coat, in a sort of off-white—not grey, and not beige either—carrying a very famous label, was the exactly the kind of coat she had secretly lusted after ever since she had realised what good clothes were, and it fitted her perfectly.
There were sweaters and shirts, tops, beach clothes, evening clothes, new jeans by an über-fashionable designer, and shoes so plain and yet so beautiful that Lizzie had simply wanted to hug them tightly to her. These were clothes that spoke an international language—and that language was the language of discreet style and elegance and an awful lot of money.
Lizzie stroked the silk tweed of a three-quarter-length Chanel coat in black and white, with the trademark Chanel camelia attached to an equally trademark Chanel chain fastening. How could she accept all of this? She couldn’t. It was too much. She needed clothes, yes—but far less than this.