Today was the hard day.
Maya rode along the stunning coastline and breathed in the salty air.
She had heard his car start up and had knelt on the daybed watching him drive off, and still she hadn’t cried.
Now Maya could see his house in the distance and the broken-down pier and yes, she could ride up there now, tell him again how wrong he was, but there was no point.
Luka was also, in part, right.
Despite brave and defensive words, Maya did want to be in his life. She wanted to dress up again, only this time for him. She wanted to know Luka a whole lot more and for their time together to have been more than one night.
She rode on and the house drew closer, and for a tiny second she glimpsed the dream and asked herself how she could be feeling like that about a man who, this time yesterday, she hadn’t even met.
And then she held her breath when she saw him.
‘Whoa.’ She pulled Turn On A Dime to a halt and watched as Luka walked to the pier and then looked out to the water. ‘I lied to him,’ she admitted to her confidant and friend. ‘Because a kiss this morning and then goodbye wouldn’t have been enough for me. Even without the row, I’d still be feeling like this.’
She would miss Luka forever, Maya knew.
He turned then and saw her and there was a stretch of time where both stared, their eyes taking in the other, perhaps offering a kinder goodbye than the one they had shared.
He did not turn away, and she did not approach, for she was scared by the force of her feelings for this remote, complex man. So rather than galloping to his home to fight for a chance at a future, Maya pulled the reins, gave her command and headed back to the Di Siones’.
Luka watched her.
He had watched her sit perfectly still on that magnificent stallion, and just like last night and even from this distance, he’d sensed her hesitation and that even the raise of his hand to beckon her might cause her to flee.
Who could blame her for that?
She had kicked the horse straight into a canter and was soon out of sight and, as quickly as that, there was seemingly one less problem in his life.
‘Thank you.’ Maya stood in clean jodhpurs and top as she said farewell to Alma and Giovanni. Even her boots had been polished to a shine.
‘You are so welcome,’ Alma said. ‘I have made you some breakfast to take with you.’
They had been so kind and had even come out to watch as she had loaded the horse into the luxurious transport vehicle that Luka had arranged. They weren’t travelling far. The Equine Centre was just a few miles up the road, and by midday Maya expected the horse would be settled in his new home.
Maya had no idea where her home was.
Back in Dubai with her family, living a life she knew but didn’t necessarily love?
Or starting again from scratch?
Yes, today was indeed proving to be hard.
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