Thank God. It was Wednesday morning and the inn has sprung to life. Mrs Phillipson was baking a chocolate cake, Jonathan was planting some flowers, a carpenter was repairing the flooring and a young married couple has just arrived for check-in. She was sitting in the living room rearranging the flowers in a porcelain vase when they walked in. They seemed very friendly and Melissa took an immediate liking to them. The couple informed her that a lady in the local pub told them about her inn and recommended it zealously. Melissa was thrilled. She needed the help of the community to make her business grow. Although the inn was old, the locals did not recommend it to tourists.
The Browns would stay for three nights and they would leave for Edinburgh on the fourth day. They were celebrating their fifth anniversary together and they seemed very much in love. The husband, Joshua, was holding his wife’s hand all the time and she looked at him the way you normally look somebody you really adore. Melissa felt really happy for them. They seemed very compatible.
“My mother is looking after our son for a few days. We wanted to take him with us but he wanted to stay with his grandma. The little traitor”, the woman said laughingly.
“Maybe it’s for the best. You will spend some quality time together” she told them and they agreed. “I will have somebody take you to your room now and we can proceed with check-in later on”. They seemed to appreciate the lack of formality on her part and Melissa called Jonathan to help the guests find their room. She tried to avoid climbing the stairs as much as she could, so she stayed in the living room trying to find chores to keep her mind off the real problem. She had to cancel the appointment with the bank and transfer it to Friday. They seemed really sympathetic to her problem and she liked that. John had called her the other night to tell her that on Thursday he would be back from Paris and that he would visit her with the results. So tomorrow I will see him, she thought and smiled. John always made her feel better.
She was wearing a striped dress, opaque leggings and flat shoes. Her foot was not swollen anymore but it was bluish. She was now cleaning the silverware with some special cream trying not to think about the elephant in the living room! She hadn’t seen Phillip all day and she missed him. Her heart was sinking deeper and deeper in disappointment. If I miss him so much now, imagine how will it be when he leaves for good.
At noon she had a snack and she went outside to see her horses. Coal was there but Chestnut was not. Obviously Phillip was riding her. He had not informed her about it. How typical of him! She ignored the impulse to ride her horse and go find him and she stayed in the barn to do some cleaning. After that she finally went to her office to check her e-mails. But instead, she found Marianne online.
“Good afternoon, girl!” Marianne said. “I have the day off today and I stayed home. How about you?”.
“I have sprained my ankle and the doctor ordered me to get some rest. But rest can be very boring” Melissa said and Marianne burst into laughter.
“You are so funny. Has the bastard left already?” Marianne said and Melissa was surprised to hear her friend change the subject so violently.
“Erm, I wouldn’t call him a bastard” Melissa heard herself say.
“I cannot believe you defend him” Marianne yelled. She wasn’t laughing anymore.
“I do not defend him. I am simply saying that he has treated me with great respect all these days” Melissa said, hoping silently that her friend would not get any more upset.
“I see, dear. He has taken care of you and you have fallen for him. That’s his trump card. He makes women think he likes them and then he makes his move. He is a manipulative bastard”.
“I am not in love with him and I cannot see why you’re talking to me this way. He is leaving on Friday and I will not see him again. I am not selling my inn”.
“He will work his charm into making you sell it. Do not worry. Before you know it you’ll be a powerless pawn”.
“You are being intentionally harsh, Marianne. I was never, nor will Ι ever be anyone’s pawn”.
“I am trying to prevent you from making a mistake that all female workers in his company have done in the past. It is very easy to fall in love with him and he knows it. Try not to embarrass yourself”.
“Marianne, I sense a tone of disdain on your behalf that I do not appreciate right now. Shall we talk some other time?” Melissa said as politely as she could.
“Ok, then” Marianne said, obviously upset that her friend did not follow her instructions.
When they hang up, Marianne put her elbows on her desk and supported her head with both her hands. She had never seen Marianne so angry about anything. She was beside herself. According to her friend, Phillip was a corrupt person, who used his charm to make women forget all about their moral boundaries. Still, Melissa could not believe that the man he saw playing the piano, the man who took such good care of her, was capable of such thing. He seemed rigid, yet profoundly tender, aloof, yet strangely present.
Melissa sighed deeply…This man would drive her crazy.