She couldn’t refuse, Lisa realised. Tino had put her in a position where she had to share breakfast with him. She shook her head as she turned back to him. ‘You play dirty, Tino.’
‘Yes, I know.’
‘Will you give me a few minutes to clear this up?’
‘I’ll give you as long as you need.’
‘Fifteen minutes? Out by the pool?’ She didn’t expect him to catch hold of her. She didn’t expect to have his heady, familiar scent invading her senses. ‘Yes?’ she managed faintly. ‘What is it, Tino?’
He didn’t say anything, he just held her, and then, as if accepting it was all over between them, he let her go and stood back.
‘I’m glad things have turned out well for you in the end, Lisa.’
She made a sound as if she were agreeing with him. His breath was warm on her skin, and she knew the sound of his voice would be locked in her mind for ever.
‘I’ll see you down there.’ She kept her tone bright, and then she waited, not daring to move a muscle until he left the room. She didn’t even know that she had bitten down on her lip to keep from calling him back until she tasted the warm, salty tang of her own blood.
IT WAS the sound of the piano that drew Lisa into the shadows of at the turn of the stairs. Sitting silently on a step, she peeped through the struts to see who was playing— though in her heart she already knew. Every pianist had their own unique sound that brought something of their personality to a composition… How could she have misjudged Tino so badly? How could she have attributed the presence of the piano to anyone else.. someone with more heart?
He was a great deal more proficient than he had pretended to be, quite remarkable, in fact, for a man who had only learned the instrument as an adult. But then Lisa guessed that Tino would have applied himself to learning the piano with the same single-minded determination he brought to everything else.
His sensitive touch drew an incredible array of sounds from the beautiful old instrument, but just as she found herself slipping away with the music he brought his hands down heavily on the keys. Recoiling at the discord, she wondered if he had seen her… She held her breath, but to her relief he left quickly in the direction of the door leading outside. She counted to a hundred before following, and it took all that time for the last ugly wave of jangling sound to disappear.
Stepping out into the fine morning light, Lisa thought the musical episode a perfect soundtrack for her affair with Tino. They were both passionate, sensitive people, but a jarring, angry chord always came between them. That was why there was no future for them together—neither of them knew how to break down the barricades they had brought with them from the past.
Her heart thundered when she saw him waiting for her. Just a tall black silhouette in the shadows, he was a man without feature or expression, a man she still didn’t know in spite of all the intimacy they had shared. Shivering a little, she walked towards him. He came forward to greet her. He looked impossibly handsome, and totally assured.
‘Will you come with me to meet Stella?’
Just as it looked as if they might ease into a conversation, a man hurried towards them from the house.
Would they never have chance to hold a normal conversation? Lisa wondered as she stood to one side while Tino exchanged a few words with the man in Greek. He seemed pleased about something, she noticed as he turned to her.
‘Will you excuse me, Lisa? I’m afraid something has come up.’
Something would always come up, she realised. ‘That’s fine by me. I’ll go and meet Stella; don’t worry.’
‘I’ll join you both later.’
She started to say something, but Tino was already striding away towards the house. He had recovered a lot faster than she had, Lisa reflected sadly, walking away.
‘Lisa! What a lovely surprise!’ Stella exclaimed, stepping out of the funicular cabin. Drawing Lisa into her arms, she drew back, and looked into her face. ‘What’s wrong?’
Stella shook her head in disagreement. ‘I don’t believe you. You’re so tense. And where’s Tino?’ she added, looking around.