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Thursday, 27 January 2011

In The Blink Of An Eye.excerpt

The day of their departure was near, and no one mentioned in two days they would be going home. Bill was the only one who was looking forward to it, and could not wait to be on home ground again. He secretly regretted what had happened between him and Danielle, but it made him look at his life in a different perspective. The strength he found from within made him more determined to make something of his life. He had thought about Danielle, and missed the friendship they had lost over the past days. At least when they got home they should be able to salvage some of what they used to have. It would never be the same, but he still wanted to be a part of her children’s life. He had done a lot of soul searching over the past few days, and he found he had finally got his head around the situation. He did not blame Danielle anymore and understood why she had fallen for this charming Greek man, who had obviously swept her off her feet. He was simply jealous she did not want to be with him, and his pride had been badly dented. Bill still found it hard to talk to her when Pannos was around but he knew, back on English soil, she would be different. 
  Mick loved being around Demi and spent all the time he could with her. Since he had met her he hardly thought about Tracey. He wanted to push their friendship and take her out, but he did not have the nerve. She had never mentioned a boyfriend, and he could kick himself for losing the courage to ask. Even if nothing did happen between them he would have great pleasure in telling his estranged wife about his Greek girlfriend, even if he was stretching the truth slightly. He would show her he still had it with the ladies, and did not need her anymore.
  Danielle’s heart was beginning to ache as the final day in Skiathos loomed. It had seemed like she had been there forever, and she was enjoying every minute spent with Pannos. He treated her like a queen. He was always complimenting her and took every opportunity to touch her. He was so romantic and she thought she could easily get used to being treated this way. No man had ever made her feel so special and so wanted, and a pain flipped her heart when she thought about the dreaded day she would be going home. She knew she had to be realistic and convinced herself she was able to leave the man of her dreams. She had spoken to her children on the phone, and by the excitement in their voices they could not wait for their mother’s return. She was filled with mixed emotions. She missed being with her children and could not wait to see them, but felt very strongly for Pannos and knew it would be hard to get back to normality. She was aware there was no future for them, and once back at home she could get on with her life. She had experienced a slice of pure happiness whilst being with him, and he would always be in her memories. Danielle soon convinced herself she was strong enough to leave all this behind, and was sure she was prepared to go back in to her world. So she soon put all of these feelings aside, and decided to treasure every moment left with him.
  The morning before their departure Danielle was woken up by Pannos gently stroking her hair. He had been awake for a while and just watched his beautiful Danielle sleeping. She looked so peaceful lying there, and he wondered if he would ever be graced by such a special lady again. He found it hard to imagine her not being there beside him. A deep sadness consumed him when his thoughts wandered to that day, and a single tear formed in the corner of his eyes. The pain of losing her tugged at his heart as he stroked her soft auburn hair. He looked up and down her luscious body, and he could not believe he hadn’t made love to this adorable lady. He so wanted to, but it wasn’t the most important thing on his mind. He just wanted to make her happy and make her feel like the woman she deserved to be. He could not take is eyes off her and continued to stroke her hair. He understood his father’s reasoning, and had always believed in keeping in his own culture. But that was before Danielle had stepped into his life, and he could have cursed his heritage. The past two weeks had taken him completely by surprise, and he wouldn’t have wanted it to be any different. This lady in his reach had brought a new meaning to his life and for that he would be eternally grateful. He thought after the pain that Maria had caused him, he would never be able to love again but he was wrong. Danielle made him feel worthy again, a piece of himself he thought Maria had taken away. Pannos closed his eyes as he breathed in this liberating moment, and knew he would never forget this lovely lady.
  As Danielle opened her eyes, he opened his and smiled lovingly at her. She returned the gesture, and her heart sank when she realised she only had one night left in this man’s arms. He began to stroke her forehead and kissed her passionately on the mouth.
  “We must not be sad,” he said, thoughtfully, recognising her pain. “I am so grateful you have come into my life.” He gently caressed her golden body and loved the silky feeling of her skin beneath his finger tips.
The need for words escaped from the room as they held each other tight. Danielle could feel the tears sting the back of her eyes, and it took all her strength to not let them fall. I don’t want to go home she thought, but she knew fate was out of their hands. Unfortunately this was the way it had to be. 

Chapter 16
  Pannos soon left to go to work, and when he walked out of the room a single tear rolled down Danielle’s face. She took a deep breath and swallowed the pain that was desperately trying to escape. She had felt so happy but now she felt so sad. She had gone from one extreme to another in a matter of minutes. She decided to take her mind off things and got in the shower. The water rinsed over her, she got the shower gel and began to wash herself. As she touched her silky-smooth skin she closed her eyes and imagined Pannos hands caressing her body. She shuddered as the image conjured up deep feelings of desire, and yearned for his touch. She wondered what it would be like making love to him, pulling up deep rooted emotions that had long been forgotten. Her body began to quiver as the long lost feelings began to take her over. How can he make me feel like this? She thought and felt shame rise up from this wanting sensation. I must be strong, she said out loud, quickly dismissing the sensual feelings that were provoked. She quickly got out of the shower dried herself and got dressed. Then she walked down the stairs hoping Mick and Bill were still in the restaurant. She walked in and was relieved to see them sitting down, eating their breakfast, planning their last day on the island. They were heading into town, and she was pleased because she wanted to go into town to buy some presents. She asked if she could go with them and they agreed it would be ok. So they decided to take the next bus down. Pannos came out of the kitchen and walked across the room. He smiled at her when he walked by and proceeded to go into the lounge.
  “I won’t be a minute,” she informed the two men getting up to follow Pannos out of the room. He walked behind the bar; he could feel her presence behind him. An overwhelming joy consumed him as he turned around and was confronted by her looking stunning in a white strapless top and black shorts. His heart melted at the sight of his beautiful Danielle. He took her hand and kissed it looking deep into her eyes.
  “I am going into town with Mick to do some shopping. Where will you be when I get back?” She said kissing him on his lips. Then a look of horror careered across his face. Pannos wanted her to be with him.
  “I will take you,” he said harshly, not noticing his tone, the thought of her being away felt like he had been shot in the heart. His quick reaction startled her. “I am sorry,” he said immediately realising his mistake.
“But I want to spend all of my time with you near me. You can be with them when you are back in England.” His sorrowful eyes pleaded with her to stay with him. “I have to go into town soon for my father, so you can go then. I was going to ask you to come with me.” He looked into her eyes and his heart wanted to explode with the longing he felt for her.
   “Please, my beautiful darling. I love you and I cannot bear the thought of you being apart from me. It is bad enough I have to let you go tomorrow but that I cannot change. I want to be able to touch you, to feel you near me, to smell you.” No one had ever spoken to her like that and Danielle could feel herself weaken as he said those tender loving words. She felt he could have easily reduced her to tears. She wanted to be with him too, she could not deny that and wanted everything he suggested. His sudden outburst persuaded her to stay with him. Not that she needed much persuading.
  “Ok, I will come with you,” she replied, as a big smile appeared across her face. “You are right,” she hesitated, looking deep into his eyes. “I am going to really miss you.” Then he quickly put his finger to her lips.
  “Shush, we will face tomorrow when you get on the plane. Today we will be happy,” he said, mimicking a bad English accent causing her to laugh.
  “You make a bad Englishman,” she teased, “but you make a brilliant Greek,” she continued kissing him firmly on the lips. Oh, if only things were different she thought, completely captivated by this man.
  Mick walked out of the restaurant followed closely by Bill. Bill noticed Pannos holding Danielle’s hand and carried on walking out of the hotel. Mick headed towards the bar.
  “I will meet you at the bus,” Mick shouted out to Bill. “Pannos my friend how are you on this fine day?” He asked standing next to Danielle. “I feel I am going to have a good day today,” Mick continued not letting Pannos answer his question. “I am going to spend the day with Demi. I know she will not be able to resist my English charm. I can out run you Greeks by a mile.” He felt surprisingly happy considering it was their last day. He had a gut feeling that today would be the day of hot passion with the gorgeous Demi. What a way to end my holiday, he thought.
  “Are you ready then Dan?”  He asked already knowing what her answer would be.
  “I am going to go into town with Pannos. We want to spend as much time together as we can, sorry mate.” Her words made Pannos fill with pride.
  Mick put his fingers in his mouth pretending to be sick, and Danielle gently slapped him across the back.
  “Easy Bert, there is no need for that, you big bully!” He said, nearly throwing himself on the ground.
  “Ok then. You two love birds have a good day. I know I will,” he said walking out of the hotel.
  “Michael is a funny man, no?” Pannos said laughing. He was going to miss him too he thought.
  “We will go out shortly but first I must do something. Do you want a cup of coffee before we go?” Danielle nodded and watched him make her drink. She felt she was dreaming and the feelings he had induced she simply could not ignore. Once again she felt in complete awe of this man and could not imagine being without him. She tried to remember how it had got this far but could not place the exact moment she had fallen in love with him. It felt like she had known him all her life. Pannos put her coffee down on the bar and kissed her.
  “I will not be long. Do not go anywhere.” She shook her head and watched him leave the room. She was the only person in the lounge. It was eerily quiet. Most of the other guests had gone into town and the remaining ones, she guessed, were by the pool. Her eyes scanned the perfect room and she imagined being a part of its perfection. I could easily get used to this way of life, she thought, letting her mind run away with her wishful thinking. The beautiful Greek sunshine and the laid back way of life, sharing it all with the man of my dreams, yes this could be for me. That definitely was a dream. Her heart suddenly felt like it was made of stone at the realisation her dream would be coming to an end very soon.  Then her depressing thoughts were interrupted by the sound of footsteps coming towards her and she was pleased to see Pannos again. She drunk her coffee and the two of them walked hand in hand to the car.
  “Where’s Dan? Is she not coming?” Bill asked half heartedly, already knowing the answer.
  “No Bill, Pannos is taking her down there. Don’t let it bother you, there are plenty more fish in the sea, big Greek beauties.” Mick said cupping his hands to his chest. Mick had organised a big surprise for Bill. He had asked Demi to bring a friend for Bill and she said she had the perfect one for him. So it was arranged. They would all meet at the bar and then take it from there.
   For the first time, Bill realised seeing Danielle with Pannos hadn’t bothered him at all. This made him smile and this realisation pleased him. At last, he had felt no pain and he liked it. Then he questioned what Mick had meant.
  “What are you talking about Mick?” He asked aware of his strange statement.  Mick put his finger up to his nose, gently tapping it.
  “That is for me to know and for you to find out,” he said, grinning from ear to ear. Bill wondered what Mick was up to. Knowing him, he thought, I am sure I will soon find out.
  When they got into town the bar was still closed. It didn’t open for another half an hour. So they used this time to buy some gifts for their friends back home.  Mick got out a list from his wallet. Most of the requests were for cigarettes. The list was quite long and the names written down made him think of home. He wondered what they were doing in the pub now and whether they missed his jokes and mischief. He wondered whether Stuart had been in telling everyone they had tried to kill him and couldn’t help but laugh. They wouldn’t believe him, he thought. I still don’t believe it, the silly bastard. Then for the first time in days, he thought about Tracey and wondered what she was doing and whether she missed him. Then he suddenly had an overpowering need for a beer. I don’t care what she thinks, he reassured himself. I am on a promise tonight.
  “Come on Bill, let’s hurry up and get this shopping out of the way, I am in need of a quick half.” Mick said enthusiastically.
  “A swift half!” Bill stated, nearly choking on his words. “You wouldn’t know what a half pint glass looked like. I have heard it all now. Mick you don’t do anything by half.” Mick felt hurt by his friends comment, but played the game. I certainly won’t be tonight, he thought. I have a cunning plan.
  Pannos parked at the top of the high street. They both stepped out of the car and the road was teeming with happy holiday makers. The island was a lot busier now and Danielle noticed quite a few of the foreigners were still white. She felt a pang of jealousy and envied the fact they were about to start their holiday, when hers was just about to come to an end. Pannos told her he needed to go to the bank and then she could buy what she needed. He held her hand and pulled her close to his side as they walked through the crowds of people. This time, when they passed the shops, only a few shop owners greeted him by waving. Pannos was courteous and returned the gesture. They came to a building Danielle presumed was the bank and walked in. The room was quiet. Danielle was relieved by the cool air circulating, cutting through the heat like a hot knife through butter. Pannos walked up to the smartly dressed lady behind the counter. He spoke in Greek and pulled out a bundle of money from his pocket. Danielle’s eyes widened as she eyed up what looked like a wad of monopoly money. There must be thousands of pounds worth there, she thought. It wasn’t until this point she realised how much money he must be worth. She remembered Mick mentioning he was a millionaire but she hadn’t taken any notice of what he had said. Pannos did not come across as being flash. He was very down to earth, one of the qualities she loved about him. He was always smartly dressed and she adored him in his uniform, and she was taken back to their first meeting and remembered how handsome he had looked then. She would never have guessed in a million years she would have fallen for him and smiled at the memory. The bank teller continued to count the money, then handed him a piece of paper which he signed. She said something to him and he thanked her, putting another piece of paper in his pocket.
  “We can go now,” he said smiling and they walked out of the door. They went into a couple of shops and Danielle became excited about buying gifts for her children. Pannos watched her as she eagerly picked out some presents. He was overjoyed by the glowing look on her face when she paid for them but felt a twinge of regret because he would never be meeting her three children who she obviously adored. He looked at his watch, aware that time was passing, but for once he did not care if he was going to be late getting back to the hotel. It was, after all, the last whole day he would be able to spend with her. If his father was not happy then he had the strength to deal with his wrath.
   Danielle was happy with her gifts so walked back over to Pannos. He smiled at her and took her hand in his, and they walked out of the shop into the brilliant sunshine. He suggested they stop for a coffee before getting back to the hotel. She nodded in agreement and they went to the nearest Tavernier. He pulled out a chair, willing her to sit down and went in to order their drinks. When she watched him walk over to the bar she took in a deep breath of joy. As he waited for their drinks Pannos suddenly had an overwhelming need to go and buy something for her. He wanted her to have something to remember him by, and knew exactly what the perfect gift would be. He took the drinks over to the table and placed them down. He kept standing and a look of confusion swept over her face.
  “I will not be long my beautiful Danielle. There is something I need to do,” he said, kissing her on the mouth “Do not go anywhere.” Then he walked away and she was left wondering what he could possibly need to do.
  Mick was overcome by a sense of relief when he saw the door of the bar open. He rushed in pulling Bill by his arm. He was glad to see Demi cleaning an ashtray and walked over to the bar.
  “Good morning, young Demi and how are you today?” He said, grinning from ear to ear.
  “Good morning Mick, I am very happy, thank you,” she replied, kissing his cheek. He felt his face go bright red, taken aback by her kind gesture.  He quickly looked to Bill for an approving response but he was busy looking at the drinks menu, totally unaware of the kiss she had given him. Mick’s heart beat with regret as his prideful moment was lost.
  “Can we have two beers please, me lovely?” Mick asked Demi. She nodded and started to pour the drinks. Mick noticed Bill was still engrossed with the menu, so he touched her arm.
  “Is your friend going to be joining us?” He whispered to her, a boyish grin on his face.
She nodded putting his drink down in front of him.
  “She will be here very soon,” she whispered, touching his arm. I knew she liked me, he thought, as a wave of expectancy flowed through his body.
  Demi was very taken by Mick. She loved him being around while she was working, he always made her laugh. She noticed he was always flashing his money about and guessed he must have a lot of it. Even though he was old enough to be her father, she was aware she couldn’t help flirting with him. She knew she was attractive, so set her goal on getting what she could out of him before he went home. She had her eye on a gold chain that was way out of her price range. She instinctively knew by the end of the day she would have persuaded him to buy it for her. She had told her friend Sophie about him and they laughed at his expense. She also told her, he had a friend who was also loaded and wanted her to meet him. The two girls smiled at the prospect of letting these two English men spoil them rotten. It was for only one day and they would never have to see them again. Sophie was tall and blonde, the complete opposite of Demi and she was up for anything. Demi was sure Bill would like her voluptuous friend, so arranged for her to come down to the bar at lunchtime.
  While Demi worked she listened to the two men talking, keeping a close eye on the door. It was nearly one o’clock. Sophie was due to walk in any minute now. She could not wait to see their faces when they laid their eyes on her sexy friend. Sophie was right on cue, dead on one o’clock, she boldly walked in. She was wearing a tight, black low cut top revealing her ample breasts and short, pink hot pants showing off her long tanned legs. She proudly walked up to Demi and kissed her friend on the cheek. Mick took one look at her and spat out a mouthful of his drink.
  “Blimey Demi, is that your mate?” He said, wiping the beer off his chin.
  “Yes. Sophie, this is Mick and Bill, the two men from England I have told you about. Boys, this is my good friend Sophie.” Mick looked at the blonde girl and his eyes instinctively went down to her chest. He suddenly felt envious she was there to meet Bill and thought it this was just his luck he had got the busty one. Bill just stood there with his mouth open at the sight of this curvy girl and she shook his hand. Demi noticed the look in their eyes and smiled. They would be putty in their hands, she thought, confidently. The two men simultaneously offered her a drink as they clumsily took out their wallets. She said yes and Bill was the first to pull out his money and pay for a large vodka and coke. Bill thought he had won the lottery when she leaned over to him and kissed him on the cheek. Mick could not help eye up her toned bottom. Then Mick tore his eyes away and rubbed his hands together.
  “Right, who’s up for some music?” He gave Demi some money to put on the juke box and she happily obliged, as they shouted out their requests.
  Danielle was sitting anxiously waiting for Pannos’ return. He had been gone for fifteen minutes. She began to panic when the thought of him abandoning her entered her mind. She sipped her coffee and looked around. Everyone seemed to be very happy, talking and laughing amongst themselves. She smiled at a couple who were staring into each other’s eyes, holding hands across the table. She felt a pang of resentment and was once again reminded of how little time she had left on the island. She looked at her watch again, agitated by her wait. Then to her relief Pannos walked in holding what looked like a small bag. He hurried over to her and kissed her on the lips.
  “Sorry, I took so long, my darling,” he said, panting. He had been rushing so he sat down to catch his breath.
  “Here, this is for you,” he said, handing her the bag. Her heart stopped as she reluctantly took it. Danielle could feel her face burn with embarrassment, she did not like surprises. She suddenly felt nervous when she opened the bag, reaching in to see what it was. Pannos just looked at her smiling; secretly hoping she would like his present. She slowly pulled out a small blue box and held it in her hand. She was afraid to open it and just sat there looking at it, her heart beating hard in her chest.
  “Go on then Danielle, open it,” he encouraged her. She took a deep breath and lifted up the lid and was confronted with a sparkling diamond ring. She thought her heart was going to stop, taken back by its beauty.
  “Well, do you like it?” He suddenly felt the blood drain from his face, noticing the expressionless look on her face. “I can take it back if you don’t like it.”
  “No,” she interrupted. “No, it’s gorgeous, Pannos, you shouldn’t have,” she said completely stunned by his generosity. She took the ring out of the box and laid it in the palm of her hand, staring at it.
  “I wanted to get you something to remind you of me and our special time together. You are worth it my beautiful lady.” Pannos picked the ring up and held her trembling hand. Then he slid it onto her finger, it fitted perfectly.  She lifted up her hand and just gazed at the diamond.
  “Oh Pannos, thank you. Thank you. You are such a lovely man,” she said, in awe of this generous man. A huge smile erupted across her face and her heart seemed to expand with excitement. He became over come with joy, pure happiness beaming across her face. She managed to look away from her hand and leant over to kiss him on the mouth.
  “Thank you, I will never forget you, never. I love you so much.” She kissed him again and his heart melted as he kissed her back.
  “I love you too, special lady, from the bottom of my heart,” he said reluctantly looking at his watch.
  “Now, my pretty one, we have to go.” He got up and took her hand, walking slowly back to the car. He held her close as they went. His head was held high, proud to show off his lovely, English lady, feeling very satisfied with himself.
  Mick and Bill had lost all track of time as they talked to Demi and Sophie. The drinks were flowing and the songs were playing as they laughed at Mick’s stories of back home. Bill was now feeling very happy. Sophie was paying him a lot of attention and his former dented ego was now fully intact again. They had decided when Demi finished work they would all go somewhere else to get something to eat, and then go to a club. Mick felt very pleased with himself because Demi was showing a lot of interest in him. He felt confident his earlier intentions had a good chance of becoming a reality. Then Mick looked at Bill and felt extremely good about his wise choice by asking Demi to bring a friend along. He hadn’t seen Bill enjoy himself so much in a long time, and this made him smile. This was what their holiday was about, he thought. Beer and two gorgeous girls, it couldn’t get any better than that.


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