If ever there had been a perfect day for Maya then this was it.
She gave Turn On A Dime a good workout on the beach and then they ambled back to the Di Sione residence.
After such a horrible start it had ended up being the perfect day.
Maya wished she'd been in more of a position to say yes to going out with Luka tonight.
After settling the horse, just after five, Maya headed into the house and found that Alma, guessing that Maya's days started and finished early, had made her dinner.
'The horse will be fine,' Alma reassured when Maya gave her reasons for not sleeping in the room that she'd prepared. 'This is the Di Sione residence. No one's going to just walk in and take her.'
It was very tempting.
Especially when Alma showed her where she could be staying. It wasn’t just a bedroom—she would have her own stunning bathroom and a lounge area with a balcony that looked over the lake.
And so, more thrilled than Alma could know, Maya accepted the kind invitation.
It was Alma who ran the bath and added fragrant oils that Maya would never have dared to.
She lay in it chin deep for a good half hour.
It was bliss.
There were scrubs, potions, creams and razors all left to her disposal, and them Maya did.
She came out wrapped in a white fluffy robe and saw Alma was turning back her bed.
'You're spoiling me.' Maya smiled.
'I haven't finished yet. Give me your washing. I'll have it waiting for you in the laundry tomorrow.'
Maya was so relaxed from her bath and the bed felt as if she were floating on a cloud. And yet, worried about Turn On A Dime, sleep remained elusive.
Or was it that she kept reliving that kiss?
She padded out of the room and opened up the balcony doors to a still, humid night and silence from the direction of the stables. Then she leaned over a little and saw the sports car that had been at the entrance when she had arrived.
Luka was still here.
Night was drawing in, and as she headed back to bed Maya saw a light coming from the end of the corridor where the attic door was open.
Should she turn it off?
Maya climbed the steps and found that, far from a dusty old attic, it was a slice of paradise.
Everywhere she looked there was something to explore—from furniture to clothes to an old fashioned gramophone. There was a dressing table with silver brushes and perfume bottles. All the things Maya had never had growing up.
She had no business being here though and, turning off the light, Maya turned to go back down. Yet the skylight let in the light from a heavy moon and the attic seemed even more beautiful than before. After a moment of guilty hesitation Maya headed straight to the rack of gowns that had caught her eye.
She took one from its hanger and held it up to her body. She looked in a large antique mirror and wondered if she'd had this to wear, she might have said yes to Luka tonight.
She’d just bathed; surely they’d never know if she tried it on? Maya wanted to know, just once, the bliss of dressing up in the finest of things.
First she did her hair, brushing it over and over till it shone, taming those usually wild russet curls into gentle waves. She slipped off her robe and, naked, stepped into the gown and stared at her reflection. For the first time she saw her more feminine side and wished that Luka might have seen it.
All the while, she knew that he was still here.
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