The Italian Boss's Secret Child(10)

By: Trish Morey

‘So beautiful,’ he whispered, his voice suddenly rougher. ‘Wait for me.’ He smiled and let her go.

And then he was gone.

It was like being in a vacuum. Damien had gone, all too quickly, and she felt cold, suddenly bereft of his heat. But he’d be back. He’d promised he’d be back. And that knowledge started the warmth pooling inside her all over again.

For a moment longer she stood, all by herself, in the centre of the crowded dance floor, couples jostling for space all around until she realised she had to move.

Ten minutes, he’d said. Maybe twenty. Where should she wait for him? How would he find her?

She made her way to the bar, ordered a mineral water and held the iced glass to her cheeks, trying to think about the time, trying not to think about the time. How many minutes now—five?—ten? She wanted to be back in his arms and every minute he was away felt like for ever.

The band finished its set and the dancers dispersed as someone took over the microphone. A stand-up comic. Good. At least that might take her mind off the time.

Damien cursed, loud and emphatic, before turning the microphone on the speaker telephone back up. It was worse than he’d thought. Enid sat nearby, armed with pen and paper and tactfully ignoring his comments, her delicately made-up white face giving nothing away.

He raked a hand through his hair, waiting for someone to pick up, snagging it on the mask. He tore it off, flinging it down on the desk of the makeshift office. It was actually a storeroom but with her usual efficient style Enid had already organised a couple of chairs, a phone and a fax machine. He didn’t need a computer—this was no time for email. He wanted action.

Of all the times for Delucatek’s United Kingdom agent to collapse. The news had been splashed in London’s Saturday papers and now there were a hundred clients all screaming for help. Okay, these things happened in business. He’d dealt with worse before and no doubt there’d be worse to come, but why did it have to be tonight? Why now? Already he’d been here forty minutes but he wasn’t going anywhere until he’d cornered his agent’s CEO. There were plenty of questions he wanted to ask him.

He picked up a pencil, tapping it furiously on the table as he waited.

Strains of laughter drifted in from the nearby auditorium and his mind wandered back to the ball and the woman he’d left behind. She was waiting for him. Or at least he hoped she was.

He could still feel her in his arms, the magic way her body floated into his, matching his moves and the music so that her sweet body flowed, her curves swaying to the rhythm. How he’d like to feel that body sway to a different rhythm, how he’d like to feel her body dance to a different music, a music they would make together. His body ached just thinking about it. He was a normal man; he liked sex. But it had been a long time since he’d wanted anyone as much as he wanted her.

There was something about her. Something special. That body, those lush lips. The way she’d come as Cleopatra, Mark Antony’s seductress. That had to be fate.

He glanced again at his watch. What if she’d found someone else? The thought of her with another man—holding her, dancing with her, maybe even… His teeth ground together. She’d tasted so sweet, so ripe. The mere idea that someone else was sampling her mouth or even something more…

The pencil in his hand snapped in two.

At the other end of the line the phone rang out. Damien slammed down the receiver and checked his notes for the next number. He’d track this guy down and get him to take responsibility for this mess if it killed him.

He wasn’t coming back. The sad truth hit her like a blow to the gut. Almost two hours now. The comedian had finished, the band had done another two brackets, leaving taped music in its wake, and it was clear there was no way Damien was coming back. Either whatever had called him away was taking more time than he’d anticipated or he’d found someone else and changed his mind.

There was no question as to which scenario was the most likely. She’d been kidding herself to think she was that special.

It was getting late. She should go home. Staying here longer just increased the feeling of bitterness, the sense of overwhelming loss that gradually but irrevocably gnawed away at her earlier euphoria.

He wasn’t coming back.

She had one last look around the ballroom. The party was in full swing and laughter and music filled the air. Her evening hadn’t been a total loss. She’d chatted with a few people, sticking to safe topics like costumes and the party. She’d enjoyed the comedian. Even the lavishly spread tables, covered with all manner of finger food and nibbles, had proved a diversion, at least for her eyes, helping for a little while to take her mind off the time and its passing.

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