Charisse awoke to muted light slipping through the open slats of her blinds. Melancholy slunk in at the sight of her empty bed. She’d dreamed that Conor had changed his mind and slept next to her, but the sheets were unwrinkled.
She shrugged off the satin sheet and stood up, facing the window. Maybe the day wasn’t as dreary as it seemed. Open blue drapes hung to the sides of the window. She pulled up the blinds and looked out.
Wisps of fog clung to roses like she was trapped in a Gothic romance. The grounds were manicured and modeled after a seventeenth century French garden. A hedge maze caught her eye. She followed strands of fog floating through until her gaze reached a fountain in the center with a riot of flowers fighting off the gloom. To the sides of the hedge maze, paths wound around flowers and grass with benches to rest on. Just like the garden in his penthouse.
Her mind wandered back to the walk through his penthouse garden. He’d been so eager to show her everything he’d planted and designed. He should be standing next to her now.
She forced her attention back to the misty view. Several greenhouses were to the left. That must be where he grew the flowers to sell. Ahead of her and beyond the maze was a forest. The ocean must be to the right on the other side of the house. She could smell salt in the air but couldn’t see or hear waves.
Looking along the side of the mansion towards the left where she thought his bedroom was, she saw that the structure was made of white marble, with classical architecture like something found in Washington D.C. She guessed that meant it had been built a long time ago, but he must’ve gutted it because everything she’d seen inside was current.
Though the building still made her feel insignificant, she loved the grounds. She sighed and imagined holding hands as he showed off his roses. They might rest on one of the benches for a kiss or two or three…. if only he’d talk to her. They had a lot to figure out first.
A knock at the door made her turn around. She was wearing the pajama shorts and cami she’d slept in the other night at the penthouse, so she called for whoever to come in. She hoped it was Conor. Instead it was Raul.
“Good morning, Charisse,” he said. He wore a casual blue suit without a tie and an open collar. He looked more like a personal assistant than a chauffeur. Maybe someone else did all the driving out here. “Are you ready for breakfast?”
She checked the clock on the nightstand. 9:05. She’d slept later than normal. “Yes, is Conor already up?”
“Mr. Grishin will be spending the day in his bedroom.”
She frowned. “Can I have breakfast with him in his room then?”
Raul’s dark eyes softened. “Mr. Grishin wishes to be alone. He said to tell you to make yourself at home. If there’s something you need, I’ll get it for you.”
Disappointment turned to anger. “How long is he going to ignore me?”
Raul tugged at his jacket sleeves. “The longest he’s stayed in his room is a month, but with you here, I expect him to be out much sooner. There’s a lot to do. I can arrange a tennis partner for you, or you can go swimming. There’s a theatre like at his penthouse, video games, pinball, bowling.”
“Can I walk around the grounds? The gardens are so beautiful.”
“I’ll shower and be down for breakfast soon.”
Raul nodded and closed the door as he left.
Damn it. She wanted to talk to Conor now. But if he was in pain, it would be bad to press. His last migraine had lasted the weekend. Hopefully this one would be shorter.