Apollo Vasilis stared out of the window at the ornamental lake set in lush grounds. Athens lay under a hazy smog in the distance, and the sea was a barely perceptible line on the horizon. But he noticed none of that. His arms were folded tightly across his chest and tension wound like a vice inside his body. A tension he’d been feeling for months now. Three months, to be precise.
There was a faint rhythmic beep-beep coming from behind him and suddenly it changed. Skipped a beat, and became slightly faster. Heart rate increasing. She was waking up. Finally.
He turned around. A woman lay on a raised bed. She was as pale as the sheets underneath her. Rose-gold hair spread around her head. There was a gauze dressing on her forehead, over her right eye.
There were bandages around one arm. A scratch down her left cheek. All in all, minor cuts and bruises. A miracle, considering the car that she’d been driving was at the bottom of a narrow ravine about one hundred metres deep, a charred mass of black twisted metal.
He moved closer to the bed. Her almost blonde lashes were so long they cast faint shadows on her cheeks. Her brows were darker, finely etched. He frowned. Her face looked…thinner. The bones of her cheeks were standing out more prominently than he seemed to remember.
But then…looking at this woman in any kind of forensic detail was not something he’d done lately.
Not since he’d looked at her as if he’d never seen a woman before. Four months ago, when they’d first met. When her naked body had filled his vision and made his blood roar so loudly it had deafened him.
He could still see her body now as if the image had been burned onto his brain. The small but perfectly formed breasts. Flat belly, gently curved hips. The cluster of tight reddish curls at the apex of her legs. Slender limbs. She’d looked so delicate and yet when he’d joined his body to hers, he’d felt the innate steely strength of her and it had been the most erotic experience of his life.
To Apollo’s surprise and consternation, a heat he hadn’t felt in months flooded his veins. He rejected it utterly. This woman had deceived him in the worst way possible.
He despised her.
At that same moment that her eyelids fluttered, the door opened and the doctor and a couple of nurses entered. The female doctor looked at Apollo. ‘I need to remind you not to expect too much at first. The extent of the injury to her head can only really be ascertained once she regains consciousness.’
Apollo nodded curtly, and watched as they tended to the machines around the bed. The doctor sat down beside the woman and took her hand. ‘My dear, can you hear me? Can you open your eyes for me?’
Apollo could see movement behind the delicate eyelids. For a second he found himself holding his breath as her eyelids fluttered again. As if, for a moment, he’d forgotten, and a small part of him actually cared if his wife woke up or not.