The Playboy of Puerto Banus(5)

By: Carol Marinelli

‘Right, let’s get this done…’

He went to walk towards his father’s office but Angela called him back. ‘It might be an idea to have a coffee before you see him.’

‘No need,’ Raúl said. ‘I will get this over with and then go to Sol’s for breakfast.’ He loved Saturday mornings at Sol’s—a beautiful waterfront café that moved you out quickly if you weren’t one of the most beautiful. For people like Raúl they didn’t even bother with a bill. They wanted his patronage, wanted the energy he brought to the place. Yes, Raúl decided, he would head there next—except Angela was calling him back again.

‘Go and freshen up and I will bring you in coffee and a clean shirt.’

Yes, Angela was the only woman who could get away with speaking to him like that.

Raúl went into his own huge office—which was more like a luxurious hotel suite. As well as the office there was a sumptuous bedroom, and both rooms were put to good use. Heading towards the bathroom, he glanced at the bed and was briefly tempted to lie down. He had had two, possibly three hours’ sleep last night. But he forced himself on to the bathroom, grimacing when he saw himself in the mirror. He could see now why Angela had been so insistent that he freshened up before facing his father.

Raúl’s black eyes were bloodshot. He had forgotten to shave yesterday, so now two days’ worth of black growth lined his strong jaw. His usually immaculate jet-black hair was tousled and fell over his forehead, and the lipstick on his collar, Raúl was sure, wasn’t the colour that Kelly had been wearing last night.

Yes, he looked every inch the debauched playboy that his father accused him of being.

Raúl took off his jacket and shirt and splashed water on his face, and then set about changing, calling out his thanks to Angela when he heard her tell him that she had put a coffee on his desk.

‘Gracias!’ he called, and walked out mid-shave. Angela was possibly the only woman who did not blush at the sight of him without a shirt—she had seen him in nappies, after all. ‘And thanks for pointing me in this direction before I meet with my father.’

‘No problem.’ She smiled. ‘There is a fresh shirt hanging on the chair in your office also.’

‘Do you know what it is that he wants to see me about?’ Raúl was fishing. He knew exactly what his father would want to discuss. ‘Am I to be given another lecture about taming my ways and settling down?’

‘I’m not sure.’ Only now did Angela’s cheeks turn pink. ‘Raúl, please listen to what your father has to say, though. This is no time for arguments. Your father is sick…’

‘Just because he is ill, it does not necessarily make him right.’

‘No,’ Angela said carefully. ‘But he does care for you, Raúl, even if he does not easily show it. Please listen to him… He is worried about you facing things on your own…’ Angela saw Raúl’s frown and stopped.

‘I think you do know what this is about.’

‘Raúl, I just ask that you listen—I can’t bear to hear you two fighting.’

‘Stop worrying,’ Raúl said kindly. He liked Angela; she was the closest thing to a mum he had. ‘I have no intention of fighting. I just think that at thirty years of age I don’t have to be told my bedtime, and certainly not who I’m going to bed with…’

Raúl got back to shaving. He had no intention of being dictated to, but his hand did pause. Would it be such a big deal to let his father think that maybe he was actually serious about someone? Would it hurt just to hint that maybe he was close to settling down? His father was dying, after all.

‘Wish me luck.’ Raúl’s voice was wry as, clean-shaven and bit clearer in the head, he walked past Angela to face his father. He glanced over, saw the tension and strain on her features. ‘It will be fine,’ he reassured her. ‘Look…’ He knew Angela would never keep news from his father. ‘I am seeing someone, but I don’t want him getting carried away.’

‘Who?’ Angela’s eyes were wide.