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Authors: Ekaterine Nikas

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BOOK: The Divided Child
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"You
didn’t recognize the woman's voice?"

           
"No,
she spoke rapidly in Greek and I was only listening with half an ear until
Michael was mentioned."

           
"So
when you found out I spoke Greek, you thought I was the one who had called with
the phony message."
 

           
He
nodded.
 
"It was all too pat;
you showing up by chance right after I'd been tricked into not arriving.
 
I was sure you had to be
involved."

           
"I
can see how it might have seemed that way," I conceded.
 
"What made you change your
mind?"

           
He
grinned ruefully.
 
"You
did.
 
At first I couldn't believe
you were as innocent as you kept claiming to be, but after a while I began to
wonder."
 
He stood up.
 
"Look, can I move this chair
closer?
 
I feel a bit of a fool
talking across the room at you."

           
I
told him I didn't care less what he did with the chair, so he set it down right
in front of me.
 
"There,
that's more like it.
 
Now I can see
your face properly."

           
"The
better to tell if I'm lying?" I snapped, disconcerted by his closeness.

           
"No.
 
The better to see those pretty blue
eyes of yours," he replied softly.

           
I
looked away in surprise, only to have my gaze caught by the rather too
attractive view of throat and chest revealed by his open shirt.
 
"Don't you think it strange
someone would go to such lengths to keep you from meeting Michael?"

           
"No.
 
My dear sister-in-law is determined to
keep me away from him, which is why she brought him to Greece."
 
He paused and continued in a gentler
tone, "Look, I'm sorry I was so hard on you our first meeting, but Michael's
accident gave me a bad scare, and when Skouras threw me out, I was determined
to confront you and get the truth."

           
I
grimaced.
 
"It's almost comic
in a way.
 
You convinced I must be
working for your sister-in-law; your sister-in-law convinced I must be working
for you."

           
He
ran a hand through his hair.
 
"You
must think us all quite mad."

           
"Yes,
but I'm willing to accept that I might be wrong."

           
"Are
you?" he asked with a sudden smile.
 
"Well, that's progress."

           
I
returned the smile.
 
I couldn't
help it.
 
For a few moments we sat
in amicable silence.
 
Then I said,
"Look, about Michael -- I know it's none of my business --"

           
I
was interrupted by a knock at the door, which was probably just as well.
 
My words had driven all friendliness
from Geoffrey’s expression.
 
I
started to get up.
 
"No, let
me," he snapped, crossing to the door and opening it.

           
It
was Spiro.
 
He was holding a
delicately balanced tower of dishes with an ease that would have put a waiter
to shame, but the tower almost collapsed when he saw who had opened the door.
 
"Redfield!" he exclaimed,
sounding anything but pleased.
 

           
"Skouras,"
acknowledged Geoffrey, in an equally unfriendly tone.
 
The two men eyed each other like dogs ready to circle.

           
"May
I enter?"
 
Spiro
inquired.
 
"I have brought
Miss Stewart her clothes and some dinner."
 
Geoffrey reluctantly moved out of the way, and Spiro crossed
to the table, setting the dishes down and laying my laundered clothes to one
side.
 
"I did not realize,
Redfield, that you and Christine were acquainted."
 

           
"We're
not,” Geoffrey replied in clipped tones.
 
“I simply dropped by to thank her for saving Michael's life."

           
"Very
proper.
 
Though I wonder how you
knew where to find her."

           
"Mmmm,"
I interrupted.
 
"That food
smells wonderful."

           
"Yes,
I think you will enjoy it," Spiro replied without shifting his attention
from Geoffrey.
 
"Demetra
cooked several of the dishes herself, and she is an excellent cook."
 

           
"Well
then, we shouldn't let it get cold, should we?" I said, struggling to my
feet.
 
"There are only the two
chairs, but I can sit on the bed."

           
"No,"
Geoffrey said sharply, "there's no need; I won't be staying.
 
I've taken up too much of your time as
it is."
 
He took my hand in
his, and the warmth of his fingers contrasted sharply with the coolness of his
voice as he said goodbye.
 
As he
strode out the door, I wondered if I would ever see him again.

 

*
                                 
*
                                 
*

 

           
After
 
Geoffrey had gone, Spiro said
little.
 
He busied himself getting
everything ready for us to eat.
 
It
wasn't until we were well into the second course, delicately seasoned chicken
with creamy
pastitsio
, that he finally brought up the subject of
Geoffrey's visit.

           
"I
hope he did not bother you?" he asked.
 
"I wish I had been here when he first arrived."

           
"It
was okay.
 
We just talked a
little."

           
"What
did he want?"

           
I
hesitated, unable to come up with a ready answer.
 
"I don't really know."

           
Spiro
flashed me a skeptical look, but said nothing.
 
For a few minutes we ate in silence, then he asked,
"Did Redfield speak of the morning's events?"

           
"He
mentioned them," I replied reluctantly.

           
"What
did he say?"
 

           
"Spiro,
do you mind if we don't talk about him or what happened this morning
anymore?"

           
His
dark brown eyes regarded me searchingly for a moment, then he said, "Of
course.
 
I understand.
 
You have had a frightening experience,
and now you wish to forget."

           
I
wasn't sure which he considered the frightening experience: my near brush with
death or my encounter with Geoffrey, but I was grateful he seemed willing to
drop both subjects.

           
"You
need something to take your mind from these things," he said, opening the
door that led out to the balcony.
 
"The night is beautiful.
 
Come, breathe some of the fresh air."
 
He took my hand and led me outside.

           
It
was dark and the air was cool.
 
The
moon, large and full, spilled light onto the tile roofs of the town and into
the fuzzy darkness of the trees.
 
A
light breeze carried the tang of wild rosemary.
 
I leaned against the railing, enjoying the feel of the cold
metal against my skin.
 
"It's
a lovely view," I said.

           
"Yes,"
he agreed, "the light from the moon makes many things
beautiful."
 
He smiled and ran
a hand up my arm.
 
"A
beautiful night . . ."
 
The hand
slipped back and stroked my hair.
 
". . . a beautiful woman."
 
His voice was low, seductive, oddly mesmerizing.
 
He leaned forward to kiss me.
  

           
He
kissed well, he kissed very well.
 
He was, indeed, an expert.
 
Which is perhaps why it took him by surprise when I pulled away after it
was over.
 
           
"Christine?"

           
"Spiro,
I think we should call it a night."

           
"You
are tired?"

           
He’d
been kind to me and I didn't want to insult him.
 
"Yes."

           
Again
he regarded me with those dark, unfathomable eyes.
 
"It is understandable.
 
You have done a great deal today."

           
For
some reason, his words left me unsettled.
 
We moved back into the light of the room and he began quickly gathering
up plates.
 
When he was ready to
leave, I thanked him for the dinner.

           
"It
was my pleasure,” he replied.
 
“I
hope tomorrow you will feel better."

           
"Me,
too," I said, holding out my hand.

           
He
took it and held it.
 
"Do not dwell
too much on what has happened.
 
It
is best to forget and continue with your holiday.
 
When you are better, I will take you around the island and
show you the things the tourists do not usually see."

           
"Do
you think we could we take Michael with us?"

           
His
expression grew wary.
 
"I do
not know.
 
I would need to discuss
it with Demetra, and unfortunately . . . ."
 
He threw up his hands and shrugged.

           
"I
know.
 
She trusts me about as far
as she can throw me."

           
"I
beg your pardon?"

           
"It's
an expression.
 
It means your
sister doesn't trust me at all."

           
"Yes,
I’m afraid that is true."

           
"Why
is she so anxious to keep custody of Michael?
 
If he's not really her son --"

           
Spiro's
handsome face suddenly lost its charming amiability.
 
"Goodnight, Christine," he said, starting for the
door.

           
"Wait,
Spiro, I didn't mean --"

           
He
paused and turned back.
 
"Demetra clings to the boy, because he is all that is left of her
dead husband.
 
William Redfield
gave her no child of her own, you see.”

           
I
bit my lip in chagrin.
 
"I'm
sorry."

           
"I,
too, am sorry.
 
Now I should leave
you to your sleep."

           
"Goodnight,
Spiro."

           
"
Kalinykta
,
Christine.”
 
He stepped
closer.
 
“May I offer you some
advice?"
 

           
"What?"

           
"Do
not believe everything Redfield tells you.
 
He is different from his late brother in many ways, but in
one respect he is the same.
 
When
he wants a thing, he will do anything to get it."
 
He reached up and touched the bandage
on my cheek. "And I do mean anything, Christine."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Three

 

           
I
woke the next morning to find the room filled with sunshine.
 
The brightness of the light and the
wispy memory of the pleasant dream I'd been having filled me with a sense of
well-being.

           
Unfortunately,
the feeling quickly vanished as I remembered the events of the previous day and
started to feel my aches and pains.
 
I had never been so stiff and sore.
 
I lay there for some time trying to summon the will to move.
 
I had just begun inching one leg toward
the edge of the bed when someone knocked softly at my door.
 
Then a key rattled in the lock and the
door opened.

           
"
Kalimera
!"
cried Kyria Andriatsis, the grandmother and matriarch of the family that owned
the hotel.
 
As she pushed the door
open with her hip, I could see she carried a large tray loaded with food.

           
"
Kalimera
,
Kyria," I said, sliding out of bed, "and thank you, but I didn't
order breakfast."

           
"Why,
you speak Greek!" she exclaimed.
 
"My son didn't tell me."
 
She carried the tray over to the small table and set it down.
 
"I am glad, because my English is
not so good."

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