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Τετάρτη, 31 Οκτωβρίου 2012

Chapter 16-money money money must be funny...



Chapter 16

She stayed a little bit longer in the shower, trying desperately to relax and wash away the memory of the previous incident. Her ankle was now the least of the problems she had. Her biggest concern was her insurmountable attraction to Phillip. She wanted him desperately. A man like him was like a walking invitation to sin. And she wanted to succumb to this lust.

Melissa wore a pair of loose pants, probably her mother’s and a tight t-shirt. She brushed her hair and went straight to bed. She went online and logged in her e-mail account. She had no new e-mails and reservations. But this did not make her feel bad. Nothing could make her feel bad. The only thing she could think right now was that she was lying next door to the object of her desire and she could do nothing about it. On his desktop she found a folder named “summer photos” and she was tempted to open it. She knew it was wrong but she wanted to see pictures of his private life. All she found in the folder was photos with him and friends. According to the pictures, he had a dog, he liked walking on the beach, he had a sailing boat, he liked blonde women and he had a great, great, great body.

She closed the folder quickly because she did not want to be caught red handed. She felt really bad after seeing the photos. After seeing him casually dressed every day, after having laughed and flirted with him, she had almost forgotten how wealthy he was. These photos reminded her of the huge gap between them. He was a rich businessman, who led a life full of luxury and opulence. He had everything he wanted. And what was she exactly? A simple girl from the suburbs, hard working but not very successful. Even if life brought them together for a week, this same life would eventually tear them apart. That was the destiny of their acquaintance, she thought. A sudden beginning and an inglorious end.

She covered her face with her pink duvet and tried to sleep. Phillips was nowhere to be heard. She hadn’t seen him for over an hour now.
“Mr Mills!” she shouted, “Come here”.
“At your service, madam” he said after a while. He was talking on the phone but he hang up immediately.
“I was thinking that since we have plenty of time available, maybe we should talk about the inn. I want to close this chapter once and for all” she said.
“That’s the worst way to spend the morning” he said with a mischievous smile which revealed his perfect teeth.
“So, are you still interested in buying my inn, sir?” she said.
“Yes, I am. And I think that calling me “sir” while I am sitting on your bed wearing my pajamas is hilarious”.
“How exactly are you planning to convince me change my mind?” she said, avoiding his comment. “I am perfectly happy with the way things are so far. I want to buy some equipment and enrich my inn and I am planning to do so by working hard, sir”.
“Are you planning to live 100 years?” he asked her suddenly.
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“It means that only if you live 100 years and minimize your expenditure will you be able to find the money you need to change this inn into whatever you want to turn it into”.
“Well, I am young and I am not afraid of hard work”.
“Miss Wilkinson, you are being stubborn and that is the biggest flaw a person can have. I am offering you 4 million pounds for 10 acres of land. You will be able to do whatever you want with this money” he finished.
Melissa was astonished, to say the least. Four million pounds? This amount exceeded her wildest dreams.

“Although the amount is compelling, I am not interested. This is my home. Houses are for sale. Homes are not”.
“What are you planning to do then, miss Wilkinson? Stay here and cling to your property until the debt sends you straight to the prison?”.
“You are deliberately trying to scare me” she protested.
“I am not. Your inn is loss-making and you refuse to face the truth”.
“I will get a loan”.
“No, you will not”.
“I will”.
“No, you will not” he insisted.
“Why are you so damn sure?” she yelled. His confidence drove her crazy.
“The easiest thing for me to do is to make sure that no bank gives you a loan. I am very powerful, you know” he said.
“You wouldn’t do that, would you?” she barked to him.
“Oh, I would. You know I do not like losing”.
“You cannot be so cruel. I know you can’t”.
“I will make sure that all banks know that you are an unreliable client and I will pull my strings so that nobody will trust your business ever again” he said.
“And I will contact the Business Hospitality Association and tell them that you are harassing me and that you threatened to destroy me” she said smilingly.

Phillip’s smile froze on his lips. Melissa had hit the nail right on the head.
“I am sure you thought that I cannot fight you back, didn’t you? I will let the whole world know that you threatened a young and innocent woman into selling her only possession AND that you sexually harassed her best friend”.

briefs


Chapter 15-lace and ribbons...



Chapter 15

Melissa woke up and her ankle was still sore and swollen. The worst part though was that she had spent the whole night fantasizing about Phillip. She woke up several times during night feeling hot flashes sweeping her body. She tried to go to the bathroom to wash her face with cold water in order to feel better. No luck whatsoever. Every time she closed her eyes she saw Phillip lying beside her, spreading tender kisses throughout her body and making her feel the way she had never felt before. She finally woke up at 7.30 and stayed in her bed to snooze. She was ambivalent as to what to do.

She felt like staying in bed but at the same time she knew she had many things to do.
She tried to get up and get undressed. Last night she fell asleep with her clothes on and now she wanted to wear something more comfortable. In an attempt to remove her jeans she did a violent move and felt an intense pain. A scream escaped from her lungs. Transfixed from the pain, she started crying from desperation. She was bedridden and all she wanted was to get up, change her clothes and get some painkillers. She was exhausted from the effort to remove her clothes and her foot was now throbbing. What were her options?

“Mr. Mills!” she cried. “Mr. Mills!!!”.
For a few seconds she thought that he had left and she was all alone in an empty inn. Her only hope was to fall off the bed and crawl to her mobile phone for help.
“What is it?” she heard him say while rushing into her room. He was obviously terrified.
“Have you been crying? What’s wrong?” he yelled at her while sitting on her bed.
“I can’t do anything. My foot hurts and I want a pill and I can’t reach it. I can’t remove my jeans because my foot is too swollen. I don’t know what to do” she said sobbing.
Phillip reacted quickly. He went downstairs and brought her a piece of cake. “Eat this and then I will give you a painkiller” he said. He brought her mobile phone close to her bed and then he went to his bedroom and brought her his laptop.
“Stay here, use my laptop for your reservations and e-mails. Get some rest and I will go and buy some crutches for you” he said. “I will be back soon” he said.
“I have many things to do” she said with sulkiness.
“I will do them for you” he said in a soothing tone.
“I will call Mrs Phillipson and tell her to come earlier. Jonathan will be here later this afternoon so you don’t have to worry about anything. All you have to do is feed the horses. Can you do that for me?” she said.
“I can do much more than that” he said with an inscrutable smile.
“Where are you going?” she yelled. She didn’t want to stay alone.
“You’ll see” he said.
In a few minutes he came holding a tray with an orange juice and a sandwich. And a pair of scissors.
“What’s this?” she asked. “What are you planning to do to me?” she added.
“Do you like your jeans?” he asked her.
“Not particularly, no. They are comfortable and I have had them since high school but I…”.
That was all she managed to say because the next moment Phillip grabbed the scissors and started tearing her jeans from the bottom of the trouser legs and upwards.
“What are you doing?” she said, utterly surprised.
“We have to get rid of them. They are tight and cut off your blood supply. And, you have to change clothes at some point”.
“But you’ll see me naked” she protested.
“Come on, don’t be so demure. I will look away” he said in a serious tone and kept ripping her jeans with his bare hands now.
Finally, he reached the waistband and with a swift move removed the pieces of her jeans under her body. She was now wearing a t-shirt and a tiny lace underwear.
Phillip had promised not to look but he was looking. Melissa could see that all he needed was the slightest consent from her part.
“I like what I see” he told her, sitting next to her, with his head over hers.
Her throat was closed from desire. A simple word, a nod would be enough for her to invite him into her arms. She wanted him so desperately it hurt, but the last thing she needed was to sleep with such an unreliable man.
“That was not my intention when I wore them, sir” she said smilingly.
“Still” he said and smiled back.
“You will have to leave me alone now, sir. I have to take a shower”.
“I will be around in case you need anything” he said and got up really slowly.
“I am leaving” he announced. Melissa could she that he wanted her to stop him.
“Goodbye, sir” she insisted.

Τρίτη, 30 Οκτωβρίου 2012

Chapter 14-dirty talk



Chapter 13

Melissa spent a painful yet lovely (if possible!) afternoon with Phillip. He prepared a green salad with chicken chunks and squeezed an orange juice for her. He carried the tray and sat next to her on the sofa and opened his newspaper. He was wearing tracksuit bottoms and a black t-shirt with a university logo. He walked barefoot. Melissa felt so relaxed next to him that she wanted to snuggle with him. It would be so natural…A young man and a young woman, alone, in a cozy living room.
On the other hand Phillip did not seem to pay much attention to her. He asked her occasionally if she needed anything but other than that he did not bother her. Melissa wondered if the reason for not speaking to her was the plain fact that he found her boring.
“Mr. Mills, I want you to know that although I despise your presence here, I appreciate your help in my predicament” she finally said.
“I’d rather you called me Phillip” he said.
“I’d rather not, sir” she said.
“As you wish” he said and kept reading.

Melissa felt trapped. At ten o’clock she wanted to get up and go to her room. She was tired and she needed to lie down. Phillip had attended her needs exceptionally well. He had rubbed her foot, gave her medicine, wrapped her foot in elastic bandage and yelled to her about her carelessness. She was now ready to go to sleep but she did not know how to put it.
“Erm, Mr. Mills, I will have to excuse myself” she said shyly “but I want to go upstairs. I am quite tired and I want to go to bed”. She tried to stand up but the pain was too intense.
“What do you think you’re doing?” he said abruptly.
“I am going to my bedroom if you don’t mind” she said, ready to put up a fight.
“And how exactly are you planning to do that?” he said ironically. “You cannot step your foot”.
“What are you suggesting? That I stay and sleep in the living room? Please leave me alone!” she exclaimed and took a painful step. She tried to conceal a grimace of pain but failed.
Phillip reacted swiftly. He got up and put his arms behind her knees. In a mere second he was carrying her on his arms like a shy bride. Melissa thought she was dreaming. And it was a lovely dream! He was carrying her around like a doll and Melissa could not help thinking that he seemed experienced in this. He must have carried many women to his bed. Nevertheless, she managed to relax and her cheek on his strong chest.
“That was uncalled for” she said with her arms around his neck. She could smell his perfume. It was something strangely familiar. His lips were so inviting, she had to look away for fear that he would see the lust in her eyes.
“Whatever” he said in a dismissive tone and kept climbing the stairs with ease.
He opened the door to her bedroom and laid her on her bed. Then he looked around. “That is a beautiful room, Miss Wilkinson” he said.
“Thank you, sir” she said. She had it redecorated last year and she was very pleased with the result.
“I will have to leave you now, miss. My principles don’t allow me to stay any longer” he said smilingly. Damn principles, she thought. If only he could lie beside her…
“Goodnight, Mr. Mills” she mumbled and she heard him sigh.
“Do you need any help with your clothes or the beddings?” he said in a serious tone.
“Is that a question or an offer, sir?” she challenged him.
“Keep looking at me like that and I’ll make sure you’ll get no rest tonight”.



Δευτέρα, 29 Οκτωβρίου 2012

Chapter 13-a gift from me to you!



Chapter 13

Okay. What was that? A fit of jealousy? He was standing still, next to the piano and was looking at them as if he had caught them doing something improper.
“She has sprained her ankle, sir” said John while bending down to put some ice cubes covered with a towel on her ankle. Melissa was in great agony but managed to smile. “John, you are so kind, but please don’t worry. I can do it myself” she said.
“There is no way I’m leaving you alone” he said politely but Melissa saw with the corner of her eye that this comment made Phillip very angry.
“She is not alone, sir. I can take care of her” he said coldly.
“You are a client, sir, and I am her friend. It’s only logical that I stay here and make sure she is fine” John insisted. Melissa saw the sparks in the air; the two men were looking each other as if they were ready to duel over her honour. Where did this come from?
Phillip was obviously no match for fight but John, obviously thinner and shorter, was not intimidated.
“I stay here and you are leaving. I’d say it’s only logical that I look after her. We do not want to put you in trouble, sir” said Phillip and for a moment Melissa pondered about who was right.
“Please, gentlemen, I can take care of myself” she said weakly.
“Oh, that we can see” Phillip said stressing “that” and pointing her ankle.
“You ankle is swollen and you seem ready to stand up and go make us some tea” he said and Melissa laughed reluctantly.
“How do you know? I was about to ask you if you wanted some” she said.
He smiled to her and Melissa felt her heart melt. She looked at his dark eyes and saw a glimpse she had never seen before. He was really worried.
John must have felt somehow that his presence was superfluous and announced his departure.
“Well, dear, since the kind gentleman can take care of you, I am taking the samples to the lab now. I will contact you later to see if you are okay” he said and bent over to kiss her. In a flauntingly tender move he stroked her hair a little bit before leaving. Melissa was puzzled by this behaviour but most importantly she was afraid of staying with Phillip. When John closed the door behind him, Melissa tried to stand up but Phillip reacted.
“What are you doing”? he asked in a serious tone.
“I am going to make something for you to eat” she said. “It’s almost dinner time”.
“Now, tell me, are you kidding me?” he asked with his left eyebrow lifted. “You sit here, put some ice on your ankle for 15 minutes only and I will bring a footrest for you to put for foot on. You have to have your foot elevated above the level of your heart. As for dinner, I will make us something to eat. After all, we were supposed to go out tonight” he said and Melissa blushed.
“We were not. I told you I had a friend over” she insisted.
“And what a friend that was!” he said with a grin on his face. “As charming as a prince!”.
“You don’t think so?” she said tauntingly. “I find him very attractive”.
“Well, if you like a ponce, then yes”.

Melissa did not reply to this rude comment but kept in mind that Phillip was afraid that if Melissa found somebody then it would be more difficult to intimidate her into selling her inn.

Melissa stayed there, waiting for him to come back with the footrest. The pain was throbbing now and her ankle was very swollen. She grabbed her mobile and called the family doctor to come and see her. Dr Morris told her that he could be there in half an hour and Melissa felt relieved.

Phillip put the footrest in front of her and took her foot in his lap. He was rubbing her toes and Melissa was trying to conceal how painful it was because Phillips was trying his best not to hurt her.
“Now, move you ankle in circles” he said in a commanding tone.
“Mr. Mills, I am not comfortable with you doing that” she said and she really meant it. Although she felt that she was going to pass out from the pain, the feeling of his hands on her feet was a magical experience. Thank God, I had them shaved last night, she thought and smiled.
“Why not, miss Wilkinson?” he asked with a look on his face that defied all hypotheses. Did he know how she felt? He must have known his impact on women.

Melissa chose not to respond, in lack of a good answer, and relaxed. He was rubbing her ankle and she was savouring every moment. She closed her eyes and enjoyed the feeling of his strong hands on her delicate skin.
Dr Morris came 40 minutes later and gave her a prescription for some anti-inflammatory drugs. Although Melissa was happy to see him, she felt a bit disappointed when Phillip left her feet down.
“I will go and buy them” said Phillip and the doctor smiled.
“Mr. Mills, I congratulate you on your response. Your took excellent care of my patient” he said and Phillip smiled widely.
“Thank you, doctor. That is the kindest thing I’ve heard in a few days now”.



Chapter 12-Ouch!



Chapter 12

Monday morning and Melissa was very excited. She had just received a letter from a small bank which was interested in funding her inn. She had applied in every single bank in the UK but only this one has shown any interest. She was invited to the headquarters of the bank in London for a discussion with an investment representative. The appointment was for Wednesday so she had a lot of things to do until then. First of all, she had to find all the property titles and documents, photocopy her father’s will, print a balance report from her saving’s account and write a small business plan. She wanted to appear professional and present them with a compelling case about her plans for the inn. She would even go online a do a little research on the cost of the equipment she had to buy in order to set up the “luxurious spa resort”. Who knows? Maybe God decided to give a look towards my direction, she thought while eating a bagel with her tea. She shared her news with Mrs. Philipson  and her nanny was really enthusiastic. “I am so optimistic” she exclaimed. “I know your parents are looking down on you and they are proud of you”. Melissa felt a lump in her throat, a clear indication that she was about to cry. She always felt very emotional when thinking about her parents. She missed them a lot. “Jonathan is outside trimming the bushes” said Mrs Philipson suddenly. “Go and make sure he doesn’t butcher the poor ones”.

Melissa laughed at the idea of Jonathan destroying the bushes. It was true that sometimes he overdid it with trimming but he always said “It’s only leaves. They will grow back”. She went outside to find him wiping his sweat from his forehead with the back of his palm. It was hot and sunny today and Melissa was only wearing a pair of jeans and a light green long sleeve blouse.  Suddenly she felt her mobile vibrating in her pocket. It was John. “Hi, sweetheart” he said to her when she replied.
“John, I am so happy to hear you. Oh, you are coming today?”.
“I want to come today because I am leaving for Paris on Friday and I want to have some time to run the results!” he said.
“Paris? Make sure you visit Marianne!” Melissa said.
“Oh, I am visiting a collaborative university there to give some lectures, but I am sure I will find some time for Marianne” he said.
“I will be here waiting for you” Melissa said and they hang up.

Melissa imagined Paris this time of the year. If she didn’t have the problems with the inn she would definitely seize the opportunity and travel to Paris with John. She would stay at Marianne’s and travel back with him. Maybe next year, she thought. Who knows…

At noon, she went to make some tea for her and the guests. She left some tea cups and some biscuits on the dining table. The young couple was leaving today so the only guest who could drink her tea was Phillip. They would be alone for the rest of the day and Tuesday. “Tea is ready” she said to him when she called his room. He didn’t reply, but he came down, took a cup of tea and went straight to the window.

“The weather is lovely today” he said over his shoulder.
“Yes, indeed” she said impersonally.
“Are we alone?”.
“Mrs Philipson has the day off, Jonathan is here and the Whitmans are leaving later. So, no, we are not alone. How come you’re asking?” she said.
“I was wondering whether you want to have dinner with me tonight” he said and Melissa almost choked. He was still looking outside. His posture did not reveal much.
“Erm, I have invited a friend later so I can’t” she said. “I am sorry” she added wondering whether she should suggest another day.
“A friend? Okay then” he said coldly and turned to face her. He seemed preoccupied with something, Melissa thought.
“I have to go now, thank you for the tea” he added and went upstairs holding his cup. He didn’t even stay to finish it by the fireplace. What was wrong with him? Maybe he had lost his interest in the inn and decided to give up, she thought happily. She took a cloth and began cleaning the surfaces in order to forget all about Mr. Mills.

At around 3 o’clock she heard the bell ring. It was John. He always pressed the button twice.
“Welcome” she said when he entered the inn. John gave her a quick kiss and started looking all around.
“I love what you have done with the place. It’s some time since the last time I came and everything looks different. It’s really wonderful” he said and sat on her favourite armchair. He was wearing a pair of jeans and a casual sweater. He carried an old rucksack, probably full of little bottles and probes.
“I think so too, thank you” Melissa said. “I bought some of the furniture from an antique shop in London. I visit it once or twice a year for ideas. If you are interested, next time I go I will take you with me” she said.
“Yes, of course, you know I love this style. So, where is the patient?” he asked and Melissa burst into laughter.
“Come with me” she said and walked to the door. John followed her at her heels.
“We should take some towels and water with us” he suggested. “I might have to clean my equipment afterwards” he added. Melissa took some water in glass bottles and clean towels in her sack. “All ready! Let’s go!” she said with excitement. “I feel as we’re going on a expedition” she said.
“If it makes you feel better, you can wear a bandana around your head” he said and Melissa laughed again.
“John, you make me laugh like no-one else” she said. And she meant it.

After a while they were on the shore of the lake collecting water samples. John told her that he did not think the discoloration was an indicator of a serious problem but he would test the samples to make sure that everything was okay.
“I am so happy for this” Melissa said. “Coal and Chestnut often drink from the lake and I don’t want them to be in danger”.

They walked towards the inn next to each other sharing news form each other’s lives. John was telling her about his early flight on Friday when her foot got stack under a tree root protruding from the ground and she almost fell. She tried to balance on her right foot and she felt an excruciating pain. John had to put his arm around her to help her walk because her foot was very sore. “Are you sure you don’t want me to carry you?” he asked her but Melissa was already feeling better. “Don’t worry, it’s only an ankle sprain. I will sit down and I’ll be fine” she said but John did not want to leave her alone. He was still holding her tight to his body before leaving her on a chair in order to bring some ice when Melissa heard a familiar voice that gave her shivers.
“Am I interrupting something” asked Phillip coldly.





Σάββατο, 27 Οκτωβρίου 2012

chapter 11-books and fireplace...


Chapter 11

Phillip did not attend the farewell reception. He came down, he said goodbye to the guests but did not stay for the buffet. Melissa tried not to feel upset by his absence and managed to pull out a great party. Mrs Phillipson’s treats were delicious and the red wine was a big success. Her guests promised to be back soon and spread the word about her inn. Melissa was very happy when she accompanied them to their cars. Her inn was full this weekend and the bookings for next month weren’t bad either!

The best part though was that in a few hours she would see the men in black leave. The four businessmen were locked in Phillips’s room now. They were probably discussing about the inn and its potential. Thank God they are leaving, she thought. She did not like having them here. Of course, the pack leader would stay but without his colleagues he did not seem so frightening.

One hour after the departure of the guests, Melissa went to her office to call her friend John. She wanted to ask him something about a small discoloration she saw in her lake. John was very interested in environmental issues so she trusted his opinion. They talked for more than half an hour but John was reluctant to provide an answer without visiting the lake.
“You know where it is” Melissa said laughingly.
“I sure do! I want to take a sample and analyse it in the university’s lab. The sooner we find out what it is the sooner we find the solution” he said in a professional tone.
“Oh, come on, don’t be all doctor with me!” she told him.
“I don’t take these matters lightly” he said in a dead serious tone and then burst into laughers. Melissa felt really relaxed when talking to him. John was always very close to her. She often thought that they would make a perfect couple if they liked each other this way. Relieved by the fact that John would visit the lake in a few days, she hang up the phone and went to the kitchen to prepare a pizza for tonight.

Mrs Phillipson had left at noon and she wouldn’t return before Tuesday. Sundays and Mondays were traditionally her days off and she always visited her family. Melissa couldn’t help feeling very lonely without her presence in the house. Jonathan was still there, though, ready to help her with the chores. Melissa opened the cupboard to find some flour for the dough. She mixed the flour with water, oil, yeast and a pinch of salt. Then she left the dough covered with blankets near the fireplace. In two hours from now, she thought, the dough will be ready.

Outside her inn, she saw Phillip saying goodbye to his colleagues. They were whispering to each other as if they were sharing a dirty secret. Or maybe they were!
“Miss Wilkinson, we were coming to say goodbye” Mr Russell said before getting in the car.
“It was nice having you” said Melissa coldly. She could never pretend.
“You inn is very beautiful. Thank you for having us” said Mr Harrison.
Jonathan put the luggage of the three businessmen in the luxurious car.
“Fancy car” said Jonathan without trying to conceal his admiration.
“It is a gift from Mr. Mills” said the driver, Mr. Russell.
No wonder they are so devoted to him, thought Melissa. She could hardly buy a sweater for Jonathan. She waved them goodbye and went to the laundry. The laundry was a small room attached to the inn, on the back side, which contained two professional washing machines for sheets and duvets. She had more than 10 sets of beddings to wash and iron. She was a modern time Cinderella, she thought and smiled. Then the smile froze on her lips. If she is indeed Cinderella, who is the prince who will pull her out of her misery? She laughed at the idea. There are no princes in shining armor anymore. There are only princes in shining cars who sexually harass women and then fire them when they don’t reciprocate.

She sighed loudly as she loaded the washing machine with the sheets. She programmed the machine and added the soap. She already felt exhausted and it was only 5 in the afternoon. Maybe she should go for a nap. Or not! She had an idea. At this time of the day, the living room was usually empty. I will go and read a few pages of my book to relax, she thought and headed straight towards the inn.

As expected the living room was empty. She chose her favourite armchair, the one opposite the window with a view to the wonderful garden. She pulled the curtains to the side and lit the fire on the fireplace. The dough was already rising. All the guests were outside and she had some time to relax before making her famous pizza. Melissa thought that you don’t need many things in order to feel happy. Just a good book and a nice fire!

She lost herself in the pages of the famous novel. The descriptions were so powerful, so vivid, that for a second she thought that she could see the images with her own eyes. She was amazed by the perplexity of characters and the depth of their emotions. The more excited she felt about the book the less excited she felt about the decadence of today’s society. The feelings are much sallower these days, she thought, while turning the page. Nobody feels these strong emotions anymore. Most men and women now focus on external appearance and never take time to really know the other person.

 Melissa woke up terrified to find out that she had slept over her book for more than half an hour. She was curled in her armchair, now being covered with a blanket. Who covered her? she wondered. It must have been him. She wanted it to be him. Still in a haze after her nap, she imagined him covering her with the soft blanket and giving her a tender kiss on the head…



Παρασκευή, 26 Οκτωβρίου 2012

the pond

chapter 10-If you wanna ride. Don't ride a white horse



Chapter 10

Melissa returned home at 2 am and she found it very difficult to wake up in the morning, even though on Sundays she allowed herself an extra hour of sleep. When she got ready she went downstairs to eat something, hoping that Jonathan would have fed the horses by now. In the living room she found Mr Russell and Mr Wilson, the Smiths and the McKinseys. The two families were all very sad to leave at noon. The two businessmen were too preoccupied with their documents so they did not make any comments about the hospitality. Melissa announced that a small farewell reception would be held before the departure of the guests and everyone got excited. Then, she went to her office to prepare the receipts of payment and see if there were new bookings for the following week.

At 10.30, after having taken care of the paperwork, she went to the barn to see her horses and ride Coal. She walked through the thick mud, result of last night’s drizzle. Jonathan must have fed the horses because the door was unlocked. Thank God, she thought. She did not feel very energetic today.

When Melissa got inside the barn she froze. She realized that Chestnut was not in there. Immediately she called Jonathan on his mobile phone but he said that he hadn’t feed the horses today and he hadn’t gone to the barn either. Melissa felt her legs shake violently. What had happened to her horse? She wore her gear immediately and put a saddle on Chestnut. Maybe she had left the door open yesterday by accident and the horse leapt over the rail and escaped. Who knows? Maybe she could find her beloved horse before it would jump over the next property and get lost for ever.

Coal was not very cooperative today. Melissa had always believed that Coal sensed her fear and reacted to it. He most likely felt that she was worried and he responded with aggression. With stiff commands she managed to control him and started galloping around the property to find Chestnut.

As the minutes went by she started to fear that Chestnut was hurt or stolen. But some 20 minutes later she heard a horse nicker. Coal responded immediately and lifted his hind legs making Melissa lose her balance and almost fall. Her heartbeat was so intense that she thought her heart would burst. Coal was now galloping free and she was unable to control him. A few minutes later, though, she saw Chestnut trotting  calmly, with Phillip on her back.

“What the hell are you doing?” she shouted to him when she finally approached him.
“What do you mean?” he asked genuinely puzzled.
“Are you crazy or do you believe that you already own the inn? You should have told me that you wanted the horse. I thought I lost it!” she said.
“I woke up early and went to feed the horses. I thought that you would wake up late since you went out last night” he said mildly.
“How do you…Oh hell! Do never ever do that again. Okay?” she continued shouting.
“I heard you were going out from Mrs. Phillipson and yes I will never do that again” he said smilingly. He knew he had done something naughty and he had a look on his face which said “I know I did something bad but I am cute and people always forgive me”.
“Mr. Mills, the communication between you and me is impossible”.
“Maybe verbal, yes” he said.

“What is that supposed to mean? Oh…” said Melissa suddenly realizing what he meant. She felt her cheeks turning crimson.
“I would advise you to refrain from such comments in the future, Mr. Mills” she said politely.
“Why don’t we go for a ride together?” he said, changing the subject abruptly.
“I don’t have much time, Mr. Mills. I have to go back” she said, hoping he would insist.
“Come on, it’s Sunday. You must have some free time. Follow me” he said and started galloping towards the lake. Melissa had no choice but to follow. She rode behind him, admiring his stiff posture and his elegant moves. Chestnut seemed very happy with her rider. When they stopped and dismounted, they walked together towards the lake.
“It is very beautiful, Miss Wilkinson. I understand why it is so hard for you to let go of your inn”.
“I want my children to grow up here, Mr. Mills, and I do not intend allowing my property to become an impersonal resort with a gigantic golf course.” she added.

They were now walking next to each other, so close that at some points their hands brushed each other. Melissa felt an electric shock but she tried not to show her excitement. All things aside, they were a young man and a young woman walking side by side in an idyllic environment. If only they didn’t have all these barriers between them! She would definitely be kissing him right now!

“Miss Wilkisnon, I am sure your children will be very happy wherever they grow up, as long as you are with them” he said and she felt her heart melt. That was one of the most beautiful things she has ever heard.
“Where did you learn riding so well?” she asked him suddenly.
“I grew up in Texas and I came to London when I was 15 years old. My mother is American and my father is English. I visit our ranch in Texas very often, whenever I want to retire from the world” he replied patiently.
“Chestnut is much happier with you than with me. I think she likes you” she said looking at him. It was sunny now, and she could see his features very clearly. A small scar under his left eyebrow, a tiny hair that escaped his razor blade, a golden circle around his pupil. It would be so easy to lift her hand and feel his face.
“I think I like her too” he said looking at her and for a moment he bent over. She did not blink for fear she would lose a moment with him. What were they talking about? Was he flirting with her? And if he was, did he mean it or he just wanted to use her to eliminate any obstructions between him and the inn?


Τετάρτη, 24 Οκτωβρίου 2012

chapter 9-btw he's a Virgo!


Chapter 9

She left him with all the papers he asked for and went to clean the rooms. She stopped by the kitchen to ask Mrs. Phillipson about today’s menu. Mrs Phillipson was excited because her daughter-in-law was finally pregnant.
“I am so happy for Peter and Cecilia” said Melissa. The couple had been trying to conceive a baby for years.
“You can’t imagine how happy I am! Now I will have three grandchildren!” Mrs Phillipson said while pulling a baking tin out of the oven. Her daughters, Mary, had two twin girls who visited the inn very often to ride her horses.
“I made a cherry pie for the occasion. Go clean the rooms and come down to have some!”.

Melissa went upstairs to clean the rooms. The young couple was in their room and she didn’t want to disturb them. She went on to clean the rest of the rooms. First she began with the room where the Smiths stayed. The Smiths were a young couple with a child. They were not very tidy, so their clothes were all over the place. You could find books in the bathroom, biscuits on the bed and scattered maps, leaflets and used tickets. It took her half an hour to arrange the chaos inside the rooms and sweep and mop the floor. She changed the sheets and the towels and moved to the other rooms. She worked consistently for a full hour until she found herself outside Phillip’s room. She stayed there for a few seconds before knocking on the door. Although his colleagues were still nowhere to be seen, he was in his bedroom.

“Mr. Mills, I will have to clean your room” she said shyly. “Do you want to stay in while I clean or would you rather go downstairs?” she asked him hoping that he would choose the latter option.
“I am staying here if you don’t mind. I have a lot of work to do, so I will not bother you at all” he told her, hardly lifting his eyes from his papers. He was now sitting in a small desk next to the room’s sofa.

“Okay, then” she said and started following her cleaning routine. Not that she had to do much. Rarely did she have the chance to see such an orderly room. He had unpacked his suitcases and arranged his clothes inside the wardrobe with great care. His toiletry bag was on the counter in the bathroom and the surfaces were clean, the way they were on the first day he arrived.
Drop dead gorgeous AND tidy, she thought. Interesting combination.
While changing his sheets she thought that if he weren’t there she would smell his pillowcase. What a silly idea, she thought.
After finishing her job she gathered her things to leave. Only then did he lift his head and talked to her. “Thank you very much” he said simply. “I hope it wasn’t a big trouble for you”.
“Mr. Mills, you are a neat man” she laughed and closed the door behind her.

When she stayed alone, she realised to her horror, that she was flirting with the enemy! Why on earth did she call him “neat”? The last thing I want, she thought, is for him to think that I like him. I must remember at all times that he is here to take away something I love dearly and I should not forget that his charms can be a persuasive method to get what he wants.

Melissa went to her room to have a quick shower and wear a dress. Tonight she would meet some friends at the local pub. She could not even remember the last time she went out but she was determined to have fun and make up for the lost time. It was already past eight and she didn’t want to be late for her appointment. Her friends, Lynn, Chloe and John would wait for her outside “The Monkey” pub. Melissa felt really comfortable with them all, but she rarely went out with them due to her busy schedule.  After a warm shower, she chose a simple blue dress and matching Mary Janes. She curled her hair with the curling wand and examined her image on the mirror.

She was always appreciative for her looks. She had fair hair and big blue eyes. Her nose was sprinkled with freckles and her lips were full and rosy. Her body was firm and thin. It was always easy for her to get the attention of men, but she has never taken advantage of it. Maybe because she has never met a man that she would like to charm.

Happy with her overall appearance she added a golden chain with an oval locket. It was her parents’ present for her 16th birthday. She had their pictures inside and it was her favourite piece of jewellery. She put her keys and her wallet in a small purse and headed for an exciting night out.

Before leaving the inn, Melissa stopped at the kitchen to try some cherry pie.
“It is delicious” she told Mrs Philipson, who was radiating happiness.
“Everybody loved it. Have fun” she heard her say as she was dashing into her car.

As her car swallowed the kilometers she was finally able to relax. She was done with today’s chores and now she could have a drink and enjoy herself with her friends. She found them waiting anxiously for her and when they sat around a table near the bar, they all began chatting. Lynn was teaching French in the local high school, Chloe was a shop assistant and John was doing his PhD in Wildlife Conservation. Tonight’s hot topic was that Chloe’s ex boyfriend was seen with her cousin. Thank God Chloe was over him because otherwise she would have been devastated by the news.
“Men are a waste of time” Lynn yelled and John protested. “Only the ones you like” he said.

True words, thought Melissa.



chapter 8-my papers, please!



Chapter 8

«Mr. Willow” Melissa said to her lawyer after a few hours, “I have run out of options and I need your help”. Mr. Willow was 70 years old but he looked much younger than that. He was tall and very thin and he had a black moustache although his hair was greyish. Mr. Willow was not very talkative but he was very efficient. He always managed to calm her when she had legal issues. 
“From what I hear, dear, you have many options but you are too upset to see it. First of all” he said resting his glasses on the tip of his nose, “you can call the police if you feel threatened in any way. Also you can call the British Hospitality Association and inform them that he threatened to slur your business. But before you do that, make sure you let him know that you have these options. He is very powerful and you should not take immediate actions against him. For the time being we just want him to know that we are not powerless”.
“Mr. Willow, I do not feel comfortable having him around. He seems so confident that he will buy my inn that it drives me crazy” Melissa said.
“If you do not want to sell you inn, nobody can make you, dear. We are here to help you. You should stand up to him. Let him stay for a few days if he wants, be polite, and by the end of the week, let him know that he has outstayed his welcome” he said.
“Thank you very much, Mr. Willow. You always make me feel better after I visit you” she said softly.
“Lawyers are underappreciated. A good lawyer can be as soothing as a tranquilizer” he said and Melissa laughed.
“I’ve never thought of that” she said, leaving his office after a firm handshake.

Melissa felt relieved after the visit to her lawyer. Now she fell strong enough to confront the banking system. She knew they would not grand her a loan but she hoped they would find an alternative. With an assertive posture she walked into the bank where she had deposited all her money. This specific branch was open for a few hours on Saturdays for issues like loan and mortgages applications, as well as business and investment planning.

The clerk who helped her told her that she is not eligible for a loan as her savings are inadequate and her earnings are not fixed. Melissa retorted that her earnings are not fixed because without a loan she cannot improve her inn. The clerk went to talk with his supervisor and returned after a few minutes. He told her that the bank “is sorry but cannot offer any alternative options”.

Melissa left the bank disappointed, thinking that she should transfer her savings to another bank. They didn’t even pretend to try to help her. Idiots! she said to herself. They do not see anything beyond numbers. They do not see determination and vision, only earnings and expenditure.

An hour later, she was unloading the boot of her car, outside her inn. She had bought some cleaning products and 6 bottles of her favourite red wine. Every Sunday afternoon she would host a small farewell reception for her guests. Normally her guests stayed for a long weekend and by Sunday night the inn was empty. This week thought, Phillip and a young couple would extend their stay until next Friday. Melissa was happy for the extra money but disappointed that she would have to tolerate his obnoxious behaviour for six more days.

Jonathan came to help her when he heard her.
“Where is my little princess?” he said to her.
“Your little princess went to her lawyer and then to the bank. Do princesses run errands?” she asked with a wide smile on her face.
“I’d like to think that you are a princess unlike no other!” he said and Melissa gave him a hug.
“You are so kind, Jonathan” she added.

Melissa stepped inside the inn to find Phillip alone, reading a word file on his laptop. He was now wearing a pair of black trousers and a black turtleneck sweater. He was so handsome that she couldn’t take her eyes off him. She admired the straight line of his nose, his full lips and long eyelashes. She felt an impulse to touch his hair but instead she buried her hands in her pockets.
“Mr. Mills, what a pleasure!” she said with exaggerated excitement to conceal her improper thoughts. “Where is your retinue?”.
Phillip must have been very absorbed to what he was reading because for a moment he did not understand what she was saying.
“Retinue? What an unusual word choice, miss Wilkinson!” he said. “My colleagues, as I like to call them, are visiting your lawyer right now. I stayed here to study some documents and talk with you”.
“What is it that you want to tell me, sir?”
“I would like to see the property titles. I want to know the exact size of the property” he said while getting up. It was the polite thing to do but Melissa felt threatened by his height. She was 5 feet 6 inches tall herself but he must have been more than 6 feet 3. He made her feel like an insect.                                    
“I am not obliged to bring you the titles, sir” she said clenching her fists.
“You are not obliged indeed. But the sooner you bring them the sooner I finish my job here and leave” he said.
“Well, that is a nice argument, sir” she said and turned the other way in order to bring the papers. She knew he would sooner or later find them in the local land registry, so why not help him see the documents earlier?





Δευτέρα, 22 Οκτωβρίου 2012

chapter 7-i like the way you move...



Chapter 7a

Well, okay, Melissa thought. We are in big trouble. The man is a pain in the neck.
She was lying on her bed but she couldn’t sleep. The inn was so quiet that you could listen to the sounds of the night. A passing car, a hooting owl, a squeaking bed.
She knew she had no reason to believe so, but she thought that Marianne was fired by Phillip because he made a move on her and she did not reciprocate. She imagined her friend being afraid of accusing him for sexual harassment the way she herself felt afraid of throwing him out of her inn.

Melissa liked to prioritize the chores for the next day before going to sleep. That did not always help her relax, but this way she could organize her thoughts and schedule.
First thing in the morning, she would call Mr Willow, the family’s lawyer, and then she would contact the bank to see if she was eligible for a small loan. Moreover, she would try to keep very busy all day long in order to avoid any encounters with him. She was so upset that she wouldn’t even pronounce his name. She sighed. He had a very beautiful name. And not only this…

Melissa woke up at 6.30 and went straight to the barn to feed her horses. By seven o’ clock she was having a shower and at 7.30 she went to the dining hall to eat something. She wore a pair of tight jeans and a checkered shirt with a white top on the inside. She felt an impulse to use some make up before going for breakfast but rejected the idea. There was noone to impress. Right?

She found Mr Harrison, Mr Wilson and Mr Russell enjoying Mrs Philipson’s chocolate cake. Some other guests, a newly-wed couple and a family from Scotland were sitting by the fireplace and drinking a cup of tea each. The picture was so warm that Melissa felt the urge to remove her heavy boots and relax with them. Unfortunately her busy schedule did not allow her to waste any time.
She looked around and realized that Phillip was not there. She approached the three businessmen who, thank God, wore a simple shirt and trousers today.
“Where’s Mr Mills today, gentlemen?” she asked them smilingly. They all seemed very kind. 
Mr Harrison went first. “Mr Mills goes jogging every morning no matter what. We are meeting here at 8 sharp to discuss about the take-over”. Melissa shivered.
“We will see the titles to the property and maybe visit your lawyer” added Mr Russell.
“I am planning to visit him this morning, gentlemen, so I believe he will prefer to see me first. Maybe you should change your plans” said Melissa stiffly.
“Our time is precious, miss Wilkinson. We will see him today, just a little bit later than you” interfered Mr. Wilson. He seemed the stiffest of them three. 
“Do what you have to do, and so will I” said Melissa stoutly. She took a piece of French toast from the buffet, gave Mrs. Philipson a quick kiss and went outside to find Jonathan. She wanted to see if her car was fixed.
“Good morning, my angel” he said when he saw her. Jonathan was always very affectionate with her. Maybe because he didn’t have kids of his own and knew Melissa since the day she was born.

“Good morning to you too! Jonathan, is my car ready yet? I need to go to my lawyer” he said.
“I will pick it up from the garage today, at 10 o’clock. If you need it earlier, I can drive you to town with my car” he said.
“No, it’s okay. I have some things to do around. 10 o’clock is fine” she reassured him and walked towards the gazebo.
The gazebo was halfway between the inn and the lake. Melissa’s father had built it himself because he loved woodworking. Melissa used to go there to study when she was younger but now her intentions were very different. Now she wanted replace an old wooden piece which was cracked last week due to the wind. She had her tool belt with her and she was determined to have it fixed. She had already tried twice but she had failed. She didn’t want to tell Jonathan to do it, because she knew he had a bad back pain. So she walked towards the gazebo, taking deep breaths in order to relax. The gazebo stood tall and impressive in the middle of her property. She got inside and started pulling out the cracked piece when she saw a figure with the corner of her eye. She got really frightened for a moment but then she remembered that she had all sorts of lethal tools with her! The man started approaching her and only then did she realize that the man was only jogging. And that it was him!

“Miss Wilkinson” he said when he got near her. “I didn’t know you wake up so early”.
I didn’t know you jog with a tight sleeveless t-shirt either, she said to herself.
“Well, Mr Mills, it’s not the only thing you don’t know about me, is it?” she retorted smilingly.
“I see you are in a good mood” he said ironically. “I will let you do your job. I have some laps to finish and then, work, work, work” he said musically and left.
Melissa watched him speed off and admired his elegant movements. He ran like a puma, confident and strong. Like a predator who attacks its prey. He was a majestic sight, even so early in the morning. Even in a simple t-shirt and sweatpants he was the finest example of masculinity.

Twenty minutes later, she was still trying to pull out the wooden plank which needed replacement. “I know I can do it” she said to herself to lift her spirits but all she did was to lose her balance and fall flat while trying to pull the piece out. Suddenly, she felt somebody helping her get up. It was Phillip. She felt his strong arms lifting her like a feather and closed her eyes to enjoy the moment. When he put her down on the bench, he lifted his right foot and with a single, violent side kick broke the wooden plank. He plucked the rest and gave it to her. She stayed still, holding the piece in her arms like a little baby, looking at him. She wanted to react, to say something but she couldn’t. The raw power of this man had left her speechless. He was so close to her. She could she his veins throbbing from the jogging, his forehead glistening with sweat. She could reach out and feel his toned stomach.
“You are welcome” he said when some time passed and she did not thank him.
Then he turned and left again.

Melissa thought that he would think she is totally rude and ungrateful but the truth was that she wasn’t either of these. She was simply…aroused.



chapter 6-let's skype



Chapter 6

Melissa was alone in her office staring at the screen of her computer.  It was 11 o’clock, way past her bedtime. Phillips had left her more than 3 hours ago but she still was not able to fully understand his perseverance. He told him she was not interested in selling her inn but he seemed very confident that he would make her change her mind. She went online to search his background a little bit, to find out what kind of person he was. Her little research did nothing but raise her fears. He was a ruthless businessman who made his first million before 30. Now he was 33 and he was already one of the most powerful men in Europe. He lived permanently in a mansion in London and according to the tabloids he has had short-term relationships with the most popular top models and actresses in the UK.

She had her job cut out for her. She was no much for such a powerful man. What were her options? She could carry on refusing to sell her inn, but what if he decided to play dirty? What if he decided to pull some strings and ruin the inn’s reputation? He seemed very determined to buy her inn. Was he the kind of person that would resort to illegal methods to achieve his goals?

Melissa decided to turn off her computer and go to bed when she saw her friend online on skype. She clicked on the green button to make the call.
Marianne appeared on the screen soon afterwards. She seemed very refreshed and happy. Melissa was glad for her friend.

“Hi, sweetie” Marianne said. “How come you’re not sleeping?”.
“It’s a long story! Tell me your news! How’s life in Paris” asked Melissa.
“Well, the city is very beautiful and my new boss is very kind, unlike my previous one. I work 9 to 5 and then I have a lot of free time to spend with some new people I’ve met here. I have also found a great tutor and I am learning French!”.
Melissa was excited to hear her friend so happy. This is how life should be for a young woman.
“Now tell me what is bothering you” said Marianne. Melissa did not want to break the bad news to her friend and ruin her day but she needed somebody to talk. to. So she started talking.
“A businessman came here and he wants to buy my inn. I told him that I am not interested but I am afraid that he might employ devious methods to slander my business and then buy it easily”.
“Come on, Melissa, you should not be that afraid of him. First of all, call your lawyer and let him know that you feel threatened. Second of all, who is he? Is he powerful?” Marianne asked.
“His name is Phillip Mills and he is the founder of Philoxenia Hotels. He is very powerful” Melissa said in despair.
Her friend did not reply.
“Marianne, what’s wrong? You look pale. What happened?”.
“I know who he is” said Marianne with a serious tone. “He is the person who fired me and made leave my country” she added.
“What?” Melisa gasped. She remembered that Marianne worked for a businessman but she did not know his name.
“I thought you were working for a constructor or something like that”.
“Phillip used to work in constructions before turning to hotels. That is why you thought he was a constructor”.

Melissa remembered that when Marianna got fired by her employer, she was devastated. She worked for him very faithfully and when he told her that he did no longer needed her services she collapsed. That is why she found a job abroad. She was very disappointed from his behaviour.

“What kind of man is he then? You’ve never told me why he fired you” said Melissa softly. It was about time she told her.
“He is very hard working and determined. He is very kind, unless you do something that bothers him. Then he gets really angry” Marianne said.
“And why did he fire you?” Melissa said. She knew that she insisted on a very delicate issue but she had to know.
“I can’t tell you much right now, I am not ready yet. But I can tell you that: we got to a point that what we wanted from each other was totally different”.