Bedded for Passion, Purchased for Pregnancy(4)

By: Carol Marinelli

She certainly wouldn’t make the same mistake again; she’d be aloof and distant, Emma decided, practising an aloof and distant look in the mirror. Maybe she should wear her hair up? Emma thought, piling her long blonde hair on her head and seeing if it made a difference, then deciding against. Maybe she should just make a joke about it, laugh the whole thing off…

Maybe she should tidy her room!

Her mother joined her, and the embroidered quilt was hastily replaced with crisp white linen as Lydia ran around the room removing stray bras, mascara wands and tampon boxes. Folded towels and washcloths were placed at the end of the bed, along with a little bar of Lydia’s expensive soap, and a jug of water and a glass was put beside the bed, covered with a little linen cloth.

‘It’s mineral water,’ Lydia assured a bemused Emma as she arranged the jug with precision. ‘Should I put out a little snack for him?’ she worried. ‘Is there anything else you can think of?’

‘A box of tissues?’ Emma nudged her mother, making Lydia giggle again. ‘Legend has it he can’t go twelve hours!’

But even if she could make her mother laugh and relax just a touch, as she stared out at the bay Emma felt her throat tighten when she heard a helicopter approach and knew it was him. As comfortably off as her parents and their friends might be, only the D’Amilos would arrive for a party in a helicopter. She watched it hover for a moment, could see the marquee flapping, the grass flattened by the whirring blades, and then…

She knew she was holding her breath, because the window had stopped misting over, and she knew as one well-shod foot appeared, followed by an impossibly long leg, that it was him.

The view only improved from that point.

Zarios helped his father down, then, having ducked under the blades, they strolled across the lawn, too used to their mode of travel to give the helicopter even a backward glance as it lifted off into the sunset.

He was wearing black dress pants and a fitted white shirt, and like a prize thoroughbred being paraded before the race he had a restless energy, a glossy, groomed appearance, that had Emma’s stomach fold in on itself as he tossed his head back and laughed at something his father said. For just a moment, an embarrassing twinge, Emma was sure he saw her. Those black eyes had glanced up as if he knew he was being watched, and Emma stepped quickly back, as if burnt.

‘Emma!’ She could hear her mother’s shrill summons and, taking a deep breath, she steadied herself. ‘They’re here! An hour early and they’re here!’

‘Questi sono i miei buoni amici.’ As they walked across the lawn, again his father reminded him how important these people were to him.

‘You believe too much of what you read!’ Zarios laughed. ‘I am capable of behaving occasionally. Anyway, I fear it will be slim pickings at a sixtieth birthday bash, Pa!’

‘Zarios…’ Rocco was serious. It had seemed like a good idea for him to bring Zarios. Fresh out of a relationship, Zarios had that gleam in his roving eye that spelt danger—and if Rocco could avert scandal at this precarious time, then he would. Ah, but had it been wise to bring him here? On the short flight over Rocco had remembered the wedding, the instant attraction that had flared between his son and Emma Hayes. He had warned Zarios off that night—and thankfully the warning had been heeded. But Zarios was six years older now, and way past taking his father’s advice. ‘You remember their daughter, Emma?’

‘The good-looking blonde?’ A smile flickered across his face in instant recall. Things were maybe looking up for tonight after all. ‘Actually, I do.’

‘She’s grown into a very attractive woman…’


‘Attesa!’ Rocco called for his son to slow down, pulling out his handkerchief and mopping his brow.

‘Are you okay, Pa?’

‘A little chest pain…’ Rocco took a pill from a little silver box and placed it under his tongue. ‘Nothing I am not used to.’ He did have chest pain—perhaps not enough to merit taking a pill, but if the sympathy card would help Rocco was only too willing to play it. ‘You know I think the world of Lydia, but you know how she loves to spend—and, well, it would seem that Emma has the same tendency…’