Authors: Eva Corona
A ROMANCE COLLECTION
Copyright © 2012
All rights reserved.
No part of this publication may be copied, reproduced in any format, by any means, electronic or otherwise, without prior consent from the copyright owner and publisher of this book.
The author does not claim responsibility for the originality of ideas nor for irresponsible practice.
Felicity Shaun had been eagerly waiting for this event for a long time. As the driver pulls up outside her Hampstead house in London, she takes one last look in the mirror, her eyes gliding over her white linen suit and the amber coral necklace. Her deep red long curly hair is pulled up into a bun, and her translucent green eyes are hidden behind large dark glasses. Her slim 5’7 build is toned and healthy. She picks up her bags and takes them to the door.
Her chauffeur meets her outside and places her bags in the boot before opening the back car door. She slides inside onto the grey leather seats and removes her sunglasses as she settles in.
“Hello madam. The journey time should be 2-3 hours,” says the driver.
Felicity smiles and nods without saying a word.
They were driving to a large new hotel that had opened on the outskirts of London. The hugely successful lifestyle magazine ‘Privilege’ that Felicity was deputy editor for were launching a new offshoot magazine ‘Inspire’ and had asked Felicity to be the managing director and open the launch party with a speech. This was something she had waited for years - to direct her own magazine.
‘Privilege’ had in the last decade had become ‘the lifestyle magazine’ of the UK. It prided itself of articles of intellectual merit, and focused on current affairs as well as fashion. It’s readership was both the successful man and the successful woman Felicity had begun to find the work tedious and she had wanted to create a magazine with more colour, more creativity, that didn’t focus on fashion or current affairs, but that focused on life – family, health, relationships, the earth, travel. “Inspire” She had a vision, and now after ten years of working for ‘Privilege’ and having made it one of the most successful lifestyle magazines in Europe, they had finally given her the chance to do what she wanted, to make her own rules for the magazine, beginning with the name which she had chosen. Inspire Magazine. Felicity took a deep breath.
“So we have one stop off to pick up the fellow passenger and then we drive straight there.” Said the driver.
Felicity smiled. She had asked her friend Tamara Stevens to accompany her to the hotel. It had a spa, and it would give them both a chance to relax and catch up, and be outside the hustle and bustle of London. Felicity had been so engrossed in her work of late she had not seen her friends, plus she didn’t want to be alone. She wanted her old friend Tamara around.
As the car pulled into the willowy road where Tamara lived Felicity took out her cell-phone and pressed the speed dial for Tamara’s number.
“Hey sweetie, we are just pulling up outside” Felicity said in her husky voice.
“Yeah!” sung Tamara’s voice on the end of the line. “I’m sooooooo excited!” Felicity smiled as she closed the handset of the phone. After a few moments Tamara’s front door opened and Tamara, carrying two bags, in an oversized cardigan, tight skinny black jeans, and ugg boots, dark shades and loose flowing hair came dancing out. The driver rushed over to help her with her bags and after locking her front door Tamara jumped into the back seat, still singing and dancing.
“This is so fantastic!” Said Tamara enthusiastically. “Ah! I haven’t been out of London for weeeeeeks! We can spa, chill, chat. Finally! Catch up time! How have you been??!!!! It’s been ages!” She leant over and hugged and kissed Felicity who hugged her back.
“I know. It will be great.” Said Felicity.
The drive to the hotel was smooth. They listened to the Stones album ‘Black and Blue’ singing along to the songs, laughing and catching up. By the time they had arrived at the hotel Felicity had almost forgotten about the impending launch, and the speech she had been reciting over and over in her head over the past month. The car pulled up along the circular gravel drive, to the large white marble columned entrance with a huge fountain with a statute of Venus with flowers. The driver opened the doors and the two women made their way to the hotel reception. As Felicity checked the room bookings a tall, very suave tanned man made his way over to them and tapped Tamara on the shoulder. She swung round to face him. Her face lit up.
“Oh my God! Paul!”
“Hey what are you doing here?” Paul smiled.
“My friend Felicity is launching her own magazine!” said Tamara, pointing at Felicity.
“Congratulations” Paul smiled. Felicity nodded.
Paul turned back to Tamara.
“How about you? What a coincidence! Seeing you twice in one week!” said Tamara.
“Yeah. It must mean something.” Said Paul. He continued. “My friend is giving a speech for the new Golf courts they are opening on the hotel. So I came down to accompany him.”
“Ha! Well same goes!” Said Tamara.
“I am here to give Felicity some moral support. Not that she needs it.”
The receptionist handed over the room keys to Felicity, who turned to face Tamara, still engrossed in conversation with Paul.
“I am going to head up to the room. It is 207.” Felicity smiled at Tamara.
“I will meet you up there.”
Felicity crossed the marble hallway, with a crystal chandelier hanging in the centre. Large vases filled with vast arrays of different flowers hung magnificently from the walls. Gentle classical music infused the air and Felicity at last began to feel more excited than nervous.
Just moments after she had entered her hotel room, there was a knock at the door.
“Your bags mam.” Said the hotel porter as Felicity popped her head around.
“Just call reception if you need anything.”
“Thanks.” Said Felicity.
She lay down on the bed, tired from the journey and her apprehension. Without intending it, she drifted into a light sleep, only to wake to Tamara excitedly poking her and bouncing on the bed.
“You will NEVER guess who is here.” Said Tamara.
“Who?” asked Felicity as she opened her eyes, somewhat dazed and wondering where she was.
“Mick. Mick Green. YOUR ex BOYFRIEND!”
Felicity didn’t say anything. She thought for a moment that she felt something, but she wasn’t sure what.
“Well!?” said Tamara.
“Well what?” Felicity replied.
“Well, you haven’t seen him for years and he was the love of your life!” exclaimed Tamara.
Felicity stayed silent.
“I just have too much to think about right now.” She said quietly. “I don’t want any distractions.”
Tamara took a long look at her and raised her eyebrow but did not say anything.
The midday sun shone brightly over the gardens as Felicity and Tamara sat on the room’s balcony drinking tea.
“ So anyway.” Said Felicity. “Who is this Paul? You seemed very happy to see each other.”
“I know!” squealed Tamara excitedly. “I can’t believe he is here! I was even going to tell you about him, but I haven’t seen you – I mean, it’s nothing, yet, you know. We met at a wedding in France last week and spent lots of time talking, but I didn’t even think I would ever see him again! Oh my God! Isn’t he goooooorrrrrrgeous!” Tamara excitedly pulled out her bikini as Felicity laughed.
“Yeah, he is cute.” She said.
“Shall we go down and check out the spa?” said Felicity.
“I want to have a steam and a swim.”
Tamara ran over to the suitcases on the floor, throwing out clothes and make-up and magazines.
“Aha!” She found her bikini and held it up triumphantly.
The girls put on their robes and headed down to the spa.
“Oh my God! He is in the Jacuzzi!” Said Tamara as she spotted Paul in the Jacuzzi. She squeezed Felicity’s hand excitedly.
“I’m going to swim a few laps before I Jacuzzi.” Said Felicity. “See you in a bit.”
Tamara sidled over to the Jacuzzi where Paul looked up and smiled as she stepped in. Felicity began swimming laps in the pool. As she swam Felicity tried to get the thought of Mick out of her mind. What was he doing here? Had she come to see her? Why after so long? As the questions swirled in her mind the sound of the water drowned out any sound from the outside world and the questions seemed to get louder and louder.
“I need to focus on what I am doing here.” She said to herself. “I can’t think about him anymore. Memories of his deep blue piercing eyes and how she would caress his jet-black hair came flooding in. Exasperated she stepped out of the pool and headed over to the shower. She tried to wash away the memories. She looked over to the Jacuzzi area and saw Tamara and Paul excitedly enraptured in conversation, laughing animatedly. She headed over to the steam room.
The steam room was so steamy she could make out the silhouette of someone but nothing more. She placed her towel on the blue marble seat and sat down and closed her eyes, breathing slowly.
“So it is you.” She heard a voice say. It couldn’t be.
Quickly she opened her eyes and glanced through the steam trying to focus on the silhouette opposite. Had she imagined it?
“I saw the sign.” The voice continued. “I saw Felicity Shaun launches Inspire magazine. I thought it must be you.”
“M-m-Mick.” Stuttered Felicity. “Hi.”
“Hi.” Mick said gently.
“Whew! It’s really hot in here.” She stammered and headed for the door. Before Mick could say anything she had left, her heart pounding.
She left the pool area, not even glancing toward the Jacuzzi to see if Tamara was still there and headed straight up to her room. She crawled into bed as if hiding from the world, trying to stop her heart from pounding. A few hours later Tamara came back and asked if she wanted to go to dinner with Paul and a few of his friends.
“Anything to escape my own mind.” Felicity thought to herself. After showering and dressing she looked at herself in the bathroom mirror as she glided her nude shade lipstick over her lips and then tousled her hair. Tamara joined her in the bathroom and applied some finishing touches to her make-up.
“I really like him!” she said, still talking about Paul. “I feel selfish. This is your trip Felicity. Is there anything else you want to do? I don’t want to make it about me and this random guy.”
“Don’t be silly.” Said Felicity. “I’m fine. And anyway, he is not just a random guy if you like him.”
“I’m so lucky to have you as a friend.” She said. “Now let’s go have some fun.”
They met Paul in the hotel lobby who had a driver waiting outside who was to escort them to where they were having dinner. As they were heading outside the door the lady at the reception desk called out to Felicity.
“Ms Shaun. There is a message for you.”
Felicity headed over and waited for the receptionist to pass her a note. It read
“Felicity, I am so glad I saw you. I have been wanting to for so long now. Let’s meet later for a drink. I will be at the hotel. Mick.”
Felicity folded the note and placed it in her purse and went over to join Tamara and Paul who were waiting by the door.
“Who was it from?” Asked Tamara.
‘No-one. Just some work thing for tomorrow.” Felicity replied.
They climbed into the taxi.
As they waited at the restaurant bar to be met by Paul’s friends, Tamara asked her again whom the note was from.
“It was nothing.” Said Felicity.
“It’s just you seem to be acting really distant. I know you have a lot on your mind, but anyway, you know you can tell me anything.”
Just then a group of three came over to join them.
“Ah! Let me introduce you to my friend Tamara, and to Felicity, who is launching her magazine at the hotel tomorrow. Tamara, Felicity, this is Susan, Adam, and Geoffrey.”