One night: that was all it had taken. She’d watched him sleep, her chest clenched so tightly she’d fought for air.
She needed air now.
She wandered to the end of the corridor and climbed the stairs that led up to the roof terrace.
Their wedding was three days away but already a huge transformation was taking place for the party they would be having there once the nuptials were done. White tables and chairs were laid out to the specifications of their wedding planner. She stared at what was to be the top table, a sharp pang lancing her as she thought of sitting there without either her grandfather or her brother by her side.
A part of her wanted to call Rocco, was desperate to hear his voice. But she would not. Christian still bore the remnants of the punch Rocco had given him, the black eye now a pale yellow, but still evident if you looked closely enough. Unless he was prepared to apologise and accept her marriage, he could stay away.
Forcing her thoughts away from her brother, she headed to the back of the terrace, the part that overlooked the huge gardens. Far in the distance sat the whitewashed chapel they were to marry in. It gleamed under the morning sun, as if it were winking at her. She readied her camera and fired off a couple of shots.
She much preferred taking photos of people but one day she wanted to be able to show her child everything about their parents’ big day. She’d been nine when she’d stumbled across her own parents’ wedding photos. Until that time she’d never believed her father had ever smiled, not once in his whole life. But, of course, it had been the pictures of her mother that had meant the most to her.
Whenever she was asked the question of who her biggest influences were as a photographer, she always said Annie Leibovitz and Mario Testino, but in truth it was her parents’ wedding photographer. He had brought them to life in a manner that had touched her deeply and made her see them as people in love.
She wondered if Christian had photos of his parents’ wedding day and if he ever looked at them.
Christian. It disturbed her how badly she wanted to know everything about him, to understand everything that made him tick, everything that had shaped him. The pieces were coming together but it was like a semi-filled photo album with pictures missing.
Resolve filled her. She looked at her watch. If she hurried, she should be able to catch him before he left the hotel for his first appointment of the day.
MINUTES LATER SHE knocked on his door, her camera still slung round her neck.
She sensed movement behind the door before it opened, sensed him peering through the spyhole.
And there he stood, skin damp, hair wet...and with nothing but a towel wrapped around his hips.
‘Sorry; I’ve caught you at a bad time,’ she said, having to fight to get her vocal cords to work properly and not stammer.
‘Not at all. Come in.’ He stood aside to admit her into his suite.
She stepped past him, moistening suddenly dry lips.
Dio, was he naked beneath that towel?
Her arid mouth suddenly filled with moisture.
‘Is there a reason you’ve come to my suite so early, agapi mou?’ he asked, a smile playing on his lips, as if he knew exactly what was going on beneath her skin.
‘No.’ She blinked sharply. ‘Yes. Do you want to get dressed before we talk?’
‘Does the sight of me undressed disturb you?’
‘It makes it hard for me to think straight,’ she admitted, wishing she could think of a decent lie.
‘That is good.’
‘The thought of you naked makes it hard for me to think straight too. So, we are even.’
‘You think of me naked?’ Did she have to sound like a breathless imbecile?
The smile dropped. He closed the distance between them and inhaled deeply.
His voice dropped to a husky whisper. ‘All the time. I’ve just thought of you while I showered, imagining you sharing it with me.’