Season of Desire: Complete Edition (48 page)

BOOK: Season of Desire: Complete Edition
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I stare around, open-mouthed. I had no idea people actually created rooms like this to live in, full of beautiful things and immaculately kept. It’s not like home, which is comforting and lovely but always full of mess and piles of things we’ve discarded.

My eye is drawn to the window that stretches across the length of the room. There are old-style venetian blinds that normally look old-fashioned, but are just right here. Apart from that, the windows are bare, which surprises me as they look directly out towards another block of flats. I go over and look out. Yes, hardly any distance away is another identical mansion block.

How strange. They’re so close! Why have they built them like this?

I peer out, trying to get my bearings. Then I begin to understand. The building has been constructed in a U shape around a large garden. Is this the garden of Randolph Gardens? I can see it below me and to the left, a large green square full of bright flower beds, bordered by plants and trees in the full flush of summer. There are gravel paths, a tennis court, benches and a fountain as well as a plain stretch of grass where a few people are sitting, enjoying the last of the day’s heat. The building stretches around three sides of the garden so that most of the inhabitants get a garden view. But the U shape has a small narrow corridor that connects the garden sides of the U to the one that fronts the road, and the single column of flats on each side of it face directly into each other. There are seven altogether and Celia’s is on the fifth floor, looking straight into its opposite number, closer than they would be if they were divided by a street.

Was the flat cheaper because of this?
I think idly, looking over at the window opposite. No wonder there are all these pale colours and the reflecting silver panels: the flat definitely has its light quota reduced being close to the others.
But then, it’s all about location, right? It’s still Mayfair.

The last of the sunshine has vanished from this side of the building and the room has sunk into a warm darkness. I go towards one of the lamps to turn it on, and my eye is caught by a glowing golden square through the window. It’s the flat opposite, where the lights are on and the interior is brightly illuminated like the screen in a small cinema or the stage in the theatre. I can see across quite clearly, and I stop short, drawing in my breath. There is a man in the room that is exactly across from this one. That’s not so strange, maybe, but the fact that he is naked to the waist, wearing only a pair of dark trousers, grabs my attention. I realise I’m standing stock still as I notice that he is talking on a telephone while he walks languidly about his sitting room, unwittingly displaying an impressive torso. Although I can’t make out his features all that clearly, I can see that he is good looking too, with thick black hair and a classically symmetrical face with strong dark brows. I can see that he has broad shoulders, muscled arms, a well-defined chest and abs, and that he is tanned as though just back from somewhere hot.

I stare, feeling awkward. Does this man know I can see into his apartment like this while he walks about half naked? But I guess that as mine is in shadow, he has no way of knowing there’s anyone home to observe him.

BOOK: Season of Desire: Complete Edition
12.36Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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