I don’t believe you.’
He smiled at her rather presumptuous response. ‘Why’s that?’
‘Are you saying that you don’t care about Giovanni?’
‘I never said that I didn’t care. I just don’t…’ His voice trailed off.
Being here, lying here with her, there was a moment of pause.
She didn’t rush him with questions and that afforded introspection because, once, he had cared.
‘I cared about my grandfather,’ he admitted.
‘What about your parents?’
‘Nope.’ Luka gave an immediate shake of his head.
‘Are they alive?’
‘Do you see them?’
‘No. They divorced when I was ten and I’ve only seen my father a couple of times since. I was supposed to meet my mother in court a couple of years ago but her case was thrown out by the judge.’ He just told Maya the unvarnished truth. ‘My grandfather left me the property when he died and my mother contested the will.’
Perhaps it was because she would be gone tomorrow that he told her more than he ever usually would.
‘My parents are very big in real estate. Knowing what I now know, the division of property when they divorced would have been a helluva mess to sort out. I can still remember my mother ranting about the property in the Bahamas, and he wanted the one in the Hamptons and…’
‘I can’t imagine,’ Maya admitted. ‘Though I guess it would have been the same with my parents, though on a far smaller scale of course.’ She thought of her brothers and herself and gave a little shudder as she pictured her parents feuding over them. ‘Trying to sort out access to me and my brothers…’
‘Well, my parents only had one child, thank God, or my grandfather would have ended up like Giovanni with a houseful of strays.’
Maya frowned and he further explained.
‘The fights about me were more who can’t have him, rather than who can. I was shipped off to boarding school. The first summer after the divorce no arrangements had been made. I had to stay back with the staff. Finally my grandfather came and picked me and brought me to his home.’
‘They forgot to collect you?’ Maya asked, unable to keep the shock from her voice, but the truth was worse.
‘Oh no, they remembered. Both hoped the other would relent.’
‘And did they?’
Luka chose not to reveal how it had felt to sit on the stairs and listen to his grandfather speaking first with his mother and then his father. Despite only being privy to a one-sided conversation it had become clear that neither of them wanted him.
‘He told me I’d always have a home with him. That means quite a lot when you’re ten. When he died and my mother contested the will…’ Luka thought back to that time a couple of years ago. ‘I’ve got a very nice life and, for the sake of peace, I could have just let her have it…’
‘But you didn’t?’
‘No,’ Luka said. ‘It’s home.’
‘See.’ Maya smiled. ‘Some things you do care for.’
Deciding that he’d revealed far too much Luka pulled himself up to sit. ‘I’d better get back. Oh,’ he added as an afterthought. ‘I’ve spoken with Alma and she’s preparing a guest suite for you.’
‘Tell her that there’s no need,’ Maya said and she sat up too, sad that their time had ended though. ‘I’ll stay with Turn On A Dime.’
‘Why would you sleep in a stable when you could be in a comfortable bed?’
‘It’s fine,’ Maya responded. ‘I’m more than used to it.’
‘Then perhaps it’s time to get unused to it.’
His words had her eyes dart to his; it was as if he’d seen inside her mind. Yet it wasn’t just that she was considering not returning to Dubai that unnerved her. It was the word bed that had both of their thoughts wander and then entwine.
There was a kiss there.
Both could feel its energy building though Luka knew that if he so much as moved that moment would be gone.
But Maya wanted that moment.
Just to know how it felt to escape to bliss with him.
And his kiss, Maya knew, would be bliss.
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