Latin Lovers

By: Helen Bianchin


She looked, Carlo noted with respect, as if she’d spent thirty minutes on her grooming instead of the five it had taken her.

‘Sit down and eat,’ he commanded as he slid an omelette onto a plate. ‘Coffee’s ready.’

‘You’re a gem among men,’ Aysha complimented as she sipped the coffee. Pure nectar on the palate, and the omelette was perfection.

‘From chauvinist to gem in the passage of twenty minutes,’ he drawled with unruffled ease, and she spared him a wicked grin in between mouthfuls.

‘Don’t get a swelled head.’

She watched as he poured himself some coffee then joined her at the table. The dark navy towelling robe accented his breadth of shoulder, and dark curling hair showed at the vee of the lapels. Her eyes slid down to the belt tied at his waist, and lingered.

‘You don’t have time to find out,’ he mocked lazily, and she offered a stunning smile.

‘It’s my last day at work.’ She rose to her feet and gulped the last mouthful of coffee. ‘But as of tomorrow...’

‘Promises,’ Carlo taunted, and she reached up to brush her lips to his cheek, except he moved his head and they touched his mouth instead.

‘Got to rush,’ she said with genuine regret. ‘See you tonight.’

Her job was important to her, and she loved the concept of using colour and design to make a house a home. The right furnishings, furniture, fittings, so that it all added up to a beautiful whole that was both eye-catching and comfortable. She’d earned a reputation for going that extra mile for a client, exploring every avenue in the search to get it right.

However, there were days when phone calls didn’t produce the results she wanted, and today was one of them. Added to which she had to run a final check over all the orders that were due to come in while she was away. An awesome task, just on its own.

Then there was lunch with some of her fellow staff, and the presentation of a wedding gift... an exquisite crystal platter. The afternoon seemed to fly on wings, and it was after six when she rode the lift to Carlo’s penthouse.

‘Ten minutes,’ she promised him as she entered the lounge, and she stepped out of heeled pumps en route to the shower.

Aysha was ready in nine, and he snagged her arm as she raced towards the door.

‘Slow down,’ he directed, and she threw him an urgent glance.

‘We’re late. We should have left already.’ She tugged her hand and made no impression. ‘They’ll be waiting for us.’

He pulled her close, and lowered his head down to hers. ‘So they’ll wait a little longer.’

His mouth touched hers with such incredible gentleness her insides began to melt, and she gave a faint despairing groan as her lips parted beneath the pressure of his.

Minutes later he lifted his head and surveyed the languid expression softening those beautiful smoky grey eyes. Better, he noted silently. Some of the tension had ebbed away, and she looked slightly more relaxed.

‘OK, let’s go.’

‘That was deliberate,’ Aysha said a trifle ruefully as they rode the lift down to the underground car park, and caught his musing smile.

‘Guilty.’

He’d slowed her galloping pace down to a relaxed trot, and she offered a smile in silent thanks as they left the lift and crossed to the Mercedes.

‘How was your day?’ she queried as she slid into the passenger seat and fastened her belt.

‘Assembling quotes, checking computer print-outs, checking a building site. Numerous phone calls.’

‘All hands-on stuff, huh?’

The large car sprang into instant life the moment he turned the key, and he spared her a wry smile as they gained street level.

‘That about encapsulates it.’

The church was a beautiful old stone building set back from the road among well-tended lawns and gardens. Symmetrically planted trees and their spreading branches added to the portrayed seclusion.

There was an air of peace and grace apparent, meshing with the mystique of blessed holy ground.

Aysha drew a deep breath as she saw the several cars lining the curved driveway. Everyone was here.

Attending someone else’s wedding, watching the ceremony on film or television, was a bit different from participating in one’s own, albeit this was merely a rehearsal of the real thing.

‘I want to carry the basket,’ Emily, the youngest flower girl, insisted, and tried to wrest it from Samantha’s grasp.

‘I don’t want to hold a pillow. It looks sissy,’ Jonathon, the eldest page boy declared.

Oh, my. If he thought carrying a small satin lace-edged pillow demeaned his boyhood, then just wait until he had to get dressed in a miniature suit, satin waistcoat, buttoned shirt and bow-tie.

‘Sissy,’ the youngest page boy endorsed.

‘You have to,’ Emily insisted importantly.

‘Don’t.’

‘Do so.’

Aysha didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. ‘What if Samantha carries the basket of rose petals, and Emily carries the pillow?’

It was almost possible to see the ensuing mental tussle as each little girl weighed the importance of each task.

‘I want the pillow,’ Samantha decided. Rings held more value than rose-petals to be strewn over the carpeted aisle.

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