[ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]
.Where did that go? Wait.What’s this?” He reaches in her pocket and takes out a hard candy, which Ella unwraps and shoves in her mouth.“Thank you,” she sings.He steers the cart away still holding Ella.I fall into the same relaxed pace as he says, “How was your trip? Was the plane busy? Did you sleep?”I’m not sure if he talks to me or to Ella, who finally lost interest in the zipper and now looks around, content in Lucas’s arms.I decide to put aside my old resentment toward Lucas.Nothing should keep me from being cordial and that’s what I need to focus on, being cordial and enjoying Paris.“All good.Really busy, but Ella slept the entire time.”We enter the elevator with several other tourists and carts.“How about you?” Lucas’s arm touches mine and I’m so aware of his close presence I have a tough time focusing.His cologne is subtle but there’s a stronger smell near by, I think from the older lady in front of us, whose expensive fur coat and hairdo smothers me.He elbows me and looks sideways, repeating slowly, “Did you sleep?”“Me? Oh, I didn’t.”The elevator stops and everyone exits, including us.I follow Lucas to a second row of cars, all the way to the other end of the covered parking.The air prickles my skin and I’m glad I have my black, down-feather jacket zipped up and tight around me.Ella cuddles in Lucas’s arms crossing her arms under her chin.“I’m c-c-cold,” she announces.“Here, push this.” Lucas gives me the cart.He wraps his arms around Ella, hurrying up the pace.She squeaks and giggles.“Mister sir Lucas, you’re squeezing me too hard.”“Oh, I’m sorry, Ella Rae,” Lucas mumbles.“I didn’t mean to.I.I’m not used to holding little girls.”“It’s okay, mister sir Lucas.You didn’t hurt me.”“Ella, why do you call mister Lucas ‘mister sir Lucas?’ Correct is mister Lucas, right?”“Yes, but,” Ella shrugs and spreads both palms up in the air, “he doesn’t hab a middle name like I do.That’s why.”Lucas pulls a key out of his pocket, pressing on it, and chuckling loudly.“You’re funny, Ella Rae.” The trunk to a white pearl Escalade pops open as the engine roars to life.“Can I tell you a secret?” At Ella’s nod, Lucas touches her forehead with his and says, “I do have a middle name.It’s Mason.Now let’s get you in the car before you freeze.”He sets her in the back seat as I lift the first bag in the trunk.Lucas is next to me before I grab the second one.“Get in.I’ll take care of it.”“Thanks.” I don’t wait for a second invitation.It’s blistering cold.I hop in the front passenger seat, looking over at Ella, who’s strapped in a car seat, sucking her thumb.She smiles and says without pulling it out, “Hi, mommy.”“Hi, sweet pea.Are you tired?”Ella shakes her head.I predict she’ll be asleep before we exit the airport.Lucas joins us, claps twice and rubs his hands together, shrugging like a bear.“Gosh, it’s cold.” The heaters blast full on and jazz music pours over the radio.“Good?” He looks at me.“Yes, thank you.”We pull out of the parking lot and after Lucas stops to pay, we’re on our way to the city.He spends part of the drive on the phone and as much as I try not to eavesdrop, I can tell he’s talking to a woman, not Madame V, but someone else.He makes breakfast plans with this woman to talk business followed by a visit to her office.His voice turns seductive and I grow irritated with him.Yeah, I imagine what that office might be or what business is done there.How can he do this to Madame V? Does he have no shame? Granted she brought this upon herself, getting involved with a player and a much younger guy, but no woman deserves to be cheated on.I guess decency is another quality Lucas Oliver misses from his morals.I’m curious why he came instead of the real driver and how far we have to drive, but the music and the warmth lull me into a state of laziness while I stare out the window into the darkness.We drive the freeway or autoroute as they’re called here, quite a long ways and I struggle to stay awake.Tiredness makes me feel nauseous.I can hardly wait to crawl in bed.I must’ve fallen asleep because the next thing I know Lucas wakes me up, squeezing my shoulder.“Wake up, sleepyhead.We’re here.”I stretch and look out the window to see the car parked in front of a brick house, not a hotel.“Um, this I not a hotel.”“Nope.It’s not.Didn’t Bernard tell you?”“Tell me what?”Lucas gets out of the car and I follow him.Snowflakes fall and wet my face and I blink fast to see him taking my bags up the few stairs.“Viv wanted you closer.There’s a snowstorm forecasted and she didn’t want to risk not getting you in time from the hotel.This is the guesthouse on her property.”“I asked you earlier if you were taking us to a hotel.”“Guesthouse, hotel, why does it matter?” He opens the front door, takes the bags into the hallway, then returns.“Get in.I’ll bring Ella.”Okay.Guesthouse.I can handle this.I can see and smell the fire in the living room, a square room with white sofas and love seats, lots of oil paintings with animals on dark cherry painted walls, and a few coffee tables [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]