Harry’s Beach House
Ephyra awoke to a cool morning. She lay there in silence for a moment. She heard footsteps by her door. She got out of bed. She felt stronger now, her legs were now steady.
Harry knocked on her door. “Ephyra are you up?”
“Yes, yes. Come in boss.”
He opened the door. “How are you feeling now?” he asked.
“I’m stronger now.” Then she suddenly remembered her ankle. “My ankle…” She took steps forward. “Huh? It doesn’t hurt anymore,” she said looking up at him.
Harry shot her a confused look. “You aren’t feeling any pain in it?” he asked.
“Yes.” She twisted her ankle.
Harry grabbed her wrist and pulled her to the bed. “Sit,” he said and she obeyed him. Harry crouched down and removed the bandage. He examined the ankle by twisting it gently. “Does it hurt?”
“No, no pains.”
Harry was stunned. It was a fast healing! Last night he had thought of taking her to the hospital this morning to get an X-ray done on her ankle. But she was fine now. It would have taken days for her to heal if she had sprained it… and weeks if it was broken. He stood up.
“I’m fine,” she said.
He nodded. “Come to the kitchen and have breakfast,” he said.
“I will take a shower first,” she said.
Harry moved out of the room. Then she remembered what she thought was a dream.
Climbing into bed, Harry kissing her? No! That had to have been a dream. If not a dream, then a hallucination, certainly not reality. She went to the bathroom.
Minutes later, she left her room and headed towards the kitchen to the smell of bacon and egg frying. She stepped in and found Harry there. She stood in the doorway and watched him. Harry turned then and his eyes flicked over her. There was nothing in his expression that told her if anything had happened last night.
“Sit down,” he said.
“I should be the one doing all this for you,” she said
“You can take over when you are perfectly fine.”
“You have to take the day off today,” he said.
“It’s an order,” he said.
There was no need arguing with him, so she let it drop.
They ate in silence. Ephyra picked on her food as she wondered if Harry had kissed her last night. No! Harry can’t. Harry stood up and carried his dish to the sink. She picked her almost empty dish.
“I’m so full,” she said.
She went to Harry and rinsed the dishes as he washed them. They both wiped their hands on a towel. Ephyra needed to know what was true and what had been her imagination.
“Won’t you give James a call? Just to let him know you are doing fine.”
“Of course. I need to thank him.” She wetted her lips. “I need to ask you something.”
She stared at him and said. “Did you kiss me last night?”
He was taken aback by her question. He leaned on the counter and folded his arms.
“I’m disappointed,” he whispered.
“Well, I always thought if I kissed a woman, she’d at least know she’d been kissed.”
She knew that was true, for a man like him. She knew she wasn’t in her right mind and she had been imagining all sort of things.
“Never mind,” she said. Ephyra would have left if he hadn’t touched her upper arm.
“You are serious, aren’t you?” he asked. She stared at his bobbling Adam’s apple. There was no way she could meet his gaze.
“Forget it,” she said.
She would have made her way to the door but Harry stopped her again. The tips of his fingers went to her cheeks. The soft touch riveted her to the spot.
“You don’t remember right?” He stared at her. Her gaze was still on his Adam’s apple.
“Did… did you… kiss me?” she asked.
“I kissed you,” he said.
She exhaled, the sound coming out unsteadily. So it hadn’t been been a dream. He’d kissed her.
“Oh,” she whispered.
“Oh yes,” he replied in a low tone. Then he moved closer, so close she felt his breath on her skin. Then his lips were on hers. She couldn’t move, she couldn’t think of what to do, she just existed for that moment. He nibbled on her lower lip and then the contact were gone. She could see him again, moving back, his eyes looking into hers. She fought the urge to touch her lips as he was farther from her.
“Now you’ll remember,” he whispered. And even though he wasn’t touching her now, it did nothing to lessen his impact on her. “You were leaving to call James.”
The mention of James made her stomach clench. Ephyra turned and headed for the door.
He closed his eyes. He’d thought about kissing her from the first. Ephyra was in a relationship with another man. And it was pathetic. He shouldn’t be kissing her but she could tip his world off balance. He’d apologize later.
“Where are you going?” she asked.
“I need to meet up with a cloth designer,” he answered.
She nodded. “Okay.”
They stood staring at each other in silence. He needed to apologize for kissing her. Harry scratched the bridge of his nose.
“I’m sorry,” he apologised. Ephyra looked away from him. Harry tucked his hands in his pocket. “I don’t know if you still want to work for me. Ephyra, I’d understand if you want to leave right now, for what I did earlier. Actually, you can leave… to save your relationship with James.” She didn’t respond. “My mom would definitely understand if I explained things to her.”
My mom? Ephyra thought she had heard it wrongly. Harry called Isobel ‘Mom.’ He was changing.
“I’m not in a relationship,” she said, “I mean, James is not my boyfriend.”
His forehead creased. “So who is he to you?”
“He found me. I was buried in the sand by the beach. So he helped me to the hospital. I don’t remember anything about my family.”
She bit the inside of her cheeks. She hated the fact that she had to lie to Harry. “So James took me in,” she said.
Harry felt the tinge of happiness within him. She wasn’t in a relationship with James. Then he suddenly pulled her into his arms. A huge smile was on his face.
“Ephyra I am sorry for everything—the snow, your ankle… everything.”
Even though she was surprised by his action towards her, she didn’t know when she wrapped her hands around him. And he hugged her tightly.
“You want to stay, don’t you?” he asked.
“I have a contract with your mom.”
“Please, this is not about her,” he whispered.
“Do you want me to stay?” she asked.
Harry was silent. He need not to find the answer, he already knew what his heart wanted. He pulled back to look at her.
“Boss I will leave right away if—”
His lips crashed on hers. His kiss was a little rougher than usual. He held on around her waist and the back of her neck. Ephyra met him eagerly, not wanting to break the contact. He parted from her and placed his forehead on hers.
“Stay, I want you to stay with me,” he said. He had no idea why he was acting differently with Ephyra. She was the only woman ever to yell at him apart from his mother. And the only woman to move his heart in a strong way. He wondered why he was reacting so strongly to her being there. Ephyra was silent.
“I won’t stay too long,” he said. He kissed her forehead and moved out of the house.
She sank onto the couch, looking down at the tips of her fingers. She tried to think of everything. Heat surged into her face and neck when she recalled the kisses with Harry Jones. She could hardly believe Harry asked her to stay with him. And the kisses, what does that mean? Her heartbeat rapidly increased and her belly clenched.
Is this the way to love? she thought deeply. And she wished she could know.
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