Come on, girl, you can do it, she said to herself. You can lift your eyes and look at him. What kind of an impression will you make to this self-confident businessman if you welcome him with your head down? He will think you are a silly peasant girl being afraid of men!
“If you lift your head he will see the blush spreading on your cheeks” her inner voice said. Melissa swallowed hard. She wanted to lift her head and look at him but she was afraid of her reactions. A slight glimpse was enough for her to see that he was by far the most handsome man he had ever seen.
Suddenly, the man broke the long silence. “I am fairly sure that my shoes are not that exciting” he said mockingly.
“I am sorry” replied Melissa “but the sun was blinding me” she added. Liar!
“I am just joking! My name is Philip Mills. Nice to meet you” he said and extended his hand to her.
Melissa shook his hand firmly and introduced herself with a clear voice. “I am Melissa Wilkinson, the owner of the inn. We are very happy to have you here”.
“Oh, the pleasure is all ours” he said and Melissa thought she sensed a hint of irony.
Jonathan had already arrived at the reception area to take the luggage. “I will show you to your rooms and then I will leave you alone to get some rest” Melissa said. “We can do the check-in later”.
Melissa showed the four men their rooms and they all seemed very satisfied with the decoration and amenities. Melissa was relieved. She did not want to make a bad impression to her new guests. Especially Phillip.
When the businessmen retired to their bedrooms to get some rest before supper Melissa had some free time to “digest” all the new information. However, all she could do was think of him. Was he true or was he a figment of her deprived imagination? He seemed to embody all the physical qualities she wanted in a man. He was tall, fit, with a face that belonged in a fashion magazine. His eyes were dark blue. At first, you would think they were black, but if you approached him you would see that they were blue. His hair was dark brown and they were thick and shiny. Oh my God, she thought. She had a Hollywood star staying in her inn. She tried to keep her cool, but all she thought was the way he smiled to her, albeit mockingly, when she lifted her head to talk to him. Did he know the impact he had on women? Of course he did, she thought to herself. His whole attitude smacked of self-confidence that results from both personal and professional success. This is a deadly combination, she thought. Very rarely, can people with both these characteristics maintain a healthy personality and treat other people with respect.
Mrs Philipson interrupted her train of thoughts. “I am serving supper in half an hour. Do the new guest know that we all eat together?”. The truth was that that all the guests, along with the staff ate together in the dining hall every evening, but Melissa could make a small exception for the new guests. After all, they have only just arrived. She would call her rooms and let them know about their “tradition” but she would not expect them to join them.
Much to her dismay, however, 15 minutes later she was eating a delicious shepherd’s pie next to Philip. The four new guests introduced themselves to the occupants of the other rooms and soon everybody was chatting like old friends. Well, everybody except Philip, who was eating quietly and opened his mouth only to ask questions about the inn. Within 10 minutes, Melissa replied to questions such as “how long have you had the inn”, “how often do you refurbish it”, “what is the exact size of the property around the inn” and other questions that made her feel uncomfortable.
“Mr Mills, I have answered your questions patiently but I cannot see why you want to know all these things” she said as politely as she could, trying to conceal how upset she really was.
“If you had read your e-mails you would have known that I want to buy it” he said with a sardonic grin on his face that made him look like the Satan.