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Authors: Susan Barrie

The Stars of San Cecilio (22 page)

BOOK: The Stars of San Cecilio
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‘I know. And — Julio, you do love her, don’t you?’

‘I think I have loved her more since you came into our lives,’ he admitted, a little strangely. ‘You see, my marriage bewildered me, recoiled on me. Everything about it made me resentful, and I’m afraid I’ve allowed a certain amount of resentment to affect my attitude to Gia. But you can teach me to look upon her in a different light

— you have already done that. ’

‘You must love Gia,’ she whispered. ‘We will both love Gia!’

‘And one of these days-----------‘ he began, but she

colored so much that he refrained, and kissed her long and passionately instead.

Suddenly she realized that she hadn’t even asked him how he had got there, and when he had arrived. When he admitted that he had followed her almost immediately and spent the night before at the local inn, because it had been too late to look her up in the cottage, the further realization struck home that it was so early that he probably hadn’t had any breakfast.

‘Food is unimportant when you’re in love, ’ he told her, a faint twinkle in his dark eyes. ‘And in any case, my dearest heart, I can never feel sufficiently grateful to a sleepless night that caused me to get up early and determine to start looking for you without delay, and by good luck I saw you as soon as you started down that cliff path. ’

‘I think it was because I haven’t had any breakfast either that I felt a bit dizzy, ’ she explained. ‘I don’t ever remember losing my nerve like that before. ’

He drew her to her feet.

‘And how much food did you have yesterday?’

‘I — I can’t quite remember!’ She dimpled suddenly, feeling so radiantly happy that everything had suddenly become a joke, a huge and glorious joke. ‘I think I opened one or two tins, but I don’t remember sampling the contents. And Mrs. Pendenis’s youngest was preoccupied with the dentist, so she couldn’t come up to cook or do any cleaning. ’

Julio looked puzzled.

‘I’ll confess I can’t see the connection between a Mrs. Pendennis — who sounds as if she might be some sort of a daily help! — her youngest’s toothache, and your not sampling the contents of the tins you opened! But if this same daily help isn’t due to arrive soon, don’t you think we ought to go in and concoct something in the nature of breakfast for both of us? I presume, Miss Waring, that you can make coffee, if nothing else, and after that we can go to my inn and have breakfast. ’

‘But that would make the villagers talk,’ she said, dimpling afresh. ‘No, Dr. Fernandez, I will cook breakfast

— an English bacon and egg breakfast! — and we will both eat it, and then if Mrs. Pendennis doesn’t arrive I’d better start tidying up the cottage.’ She looked up at it. ‘I thought it an ugly cottage when I arrived, but I don’t think so now. I think,’ breathlessly, ‘that it’s a lovely cottage!’ He looked up at it, too; and then he observed in a smooth tone, as he drew her close to him once more:

‘ Your friend Miss Tracey offered it to me as a honeymoon cottage, but I explained that I would have to take you straight back to Madrid, as there are a great many things there which I have to attend to during the next week or so. But the most important thing I have to attend to is to get you safely married to me, and after that we will be delighted to have her, and then go off somewhere where we can be really alone. . . .’ He looked deep into her eyes, longingly, searchingly. ‘Do you yearn, as I do, for the moment when we will be really alone, and really the property of each other, my golden-headed Lisa?’ She put back that same golden head against his shoulder, and looked up at him.

‘You know I do! ’ she said, so simply that he crushed his mouth hungrily against hers. And for fully another five minutes they forgot about breakfast, and Mrs. Pendennis, toiling up the hill from the village, wondered whether there was something wrong with her eyesight.

THE END

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