Luc and Judy’s Story
‘Wait for me here, I won’t be long,’ my father said before he turned and went to the door, muttering , ‘I don’t want him to see you.’
He left me alone in the front reception room of the palatial residence in Vaucluse he’d asked me to drive him to - wondering who on earth he was referring to. It certainly wasn’t a house call - he’d left his medical bag on the back seat of the car.
I glanced around. It was a pleasant room: cream-jacquard wallpaper and beige carpet. Several leather-upholstered armchairs were arranged round a coffee table on which sat a small marble bust. Bookshelves lined the walls the spaces between each interspersed with potted ferns on metal stands. Large bay windows looked out onto a gravelled front drive and the tree-lined lane beyond. A few straggly bushes poked their branches above the windowsill, their dry branches scratching against the panes in the wind. Pity they weren’t roses. Roses would've looked lovely, I thought. It only heightened my sense of unease at my father’s parting words.
After running my finger along some of the books, and even perusing a few, I became curious about the rest of the house. My father didn’t say how long he’d be. I glanced at my watch - he’d been gone nearly fifteen minutes.
No one in the hallway as I peeked out the door. Quiet too. And the servant who'd let us in was nowhere to be seen.
Should I call out?
Sunlight streamed in through the coloured-glass panels in the front door, illuminating the dust mites that flitted through the air and landed on the painted images of dragons, griffins and other mythological creatures that ran like a dado along the length of the walls. It was unlike any decoration I’d ever seen. Whoever lived here must have a sense of the gothic, I thought, and wondered if I’d encounter a suit of armour somewhere in a secluded corner.
To my left a grand staircase led to the upper levels of the house, and past that were other rooms, their open doors giving a glimpse of what lay beyond.
My curiosity was piqued. Would it do any harm to have a quick look around while I waited?
The clack of my footsteps on the tiled floor was magnified in the overwhelming silence, and my heart pounded at the fear I might be taken for an intruder. I stopped and considered going back. Father could appear at any moment and I doubt he’d be happy if I wandered off. Yet he didn’t say how long he’d be.
Only a quick look.
Eight steps and I was admiring a spacious dining room. The long glass-topped table could have seated twelve. Organza curtains flapped in the breeze whispering through the open French doors. I glimpsed pink camellia bushes and a paved path ….
‘Would you like to see the garden?’
My heart flew into my throat and I spun around. Everything around me faded as I focused on the tall, stunning fair-haired man who approached me.
His eyes were the exact shade as mine: lavender.
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