Everyone had been shown to their suite and settled in. The men were given instructions to make their way to the boardroom and the women met in the large saloon for fruit cocktails and to start their pampering. A late lunch would be served on the upper deck at one.
Clearly they were some of the wealthiest and most glamorous women in Europe. They were dripping in gold and diamonds, tanned, slim, toned, long haired and the most intimidating bunch of women she’d ever seen in her life.
They treated her with just the right amount of respect for the hired help. She wasn’t offended at their curt manner or their demands for a bigger suite, champagne, a cabin nearer to Mr Kellias or a dozen other domestic requests. “Clean this, fetch that, no ice, more ice.”
This was her job and she was here to make sure they were all kept happy.
But she couldn’t help cringing. Was this really what money did to you? You forgot how to treat people and the good manners your parents taught you? I’ll stay poor, she thought.
After lunch the men returned to their meeting and the women sunbathed and she went to the office to check the last few details for dinner. The yacht would take an early evening cruise around the bay and then dinner on the upper deck. She went through the individual menu requests for the evening.
“Ok, so one vegan, three extra low fat, two vegetarians, one coeliac and one kosher.” She said out loud as she went through her instructions for dinner.
“Sounds like a very dull bunch indeed Miss Chadwick.”
She looked up to see Lord Irving leaning against the doorway looking very mischievous. He really was very good looking, gorgeous in fact.
“Lord Irving…” She smiled back.
“Charles, I insist.” He said as he walked into the office.
“What on earth is an English girl doing all the way down here in the depths of Greece? You’re from London right?”
“Lord…I mean, Charles, yes, well actually originally I’m from Derbyshire but I studied in London. I work for Mr Kellias, as his housekeeper, up at the villa at Agios. I’m just helping out today. How about you? Do you live in London?”
“Yes mostly, but I travel so much that I seem to live out of my suitcase most of the time. God, it’s good to hear an English accent. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job and travelling, but there’s nothing quite like home is there? I miss London so much. Have you been here long?”
He sat down on the arm of the sofa.
“No, I’m a newbie. I’ve only been here a couple of weeks. And yes, I know exactly what you mean. But I’m really enjoying it here, the weather, the villa and my new family. Of course I miss home, the local pub and even the cold weather at times.” They both laughed then.
“Yes the English weather. All the years I lived in London I never thought I’d miss the rain.”
He jumped up then and put his hand on her arm and said.
“Look, I really should get back to the meeting, before Mr Kellias sends out a search party, but maybe we can catch up later and talk London more? It’s been so nice to chat.”
Just as she was about to answer Mr Kellias burst in and she jumped back from Charles. She had absolutely no reason to feel guilty, but the thunderous way he was looking at her left in her no uncertain terms that once again she had failed to meet his high expectations.
“Mr Kellias, apologies, I’ve kept your Miss Chadwick from her work, but I couldn’t resist a few minutes listening to her glorious English accent. It’s been quite some months since I was in England and I’m ashamed to say I’m starting to feel rather homesick.”
He turned and said graciously.
“Miss Chadwick, thank you for your patience and for indulging me.”
Mr Kellias waited for Lord Irving to leave before taking hold of her arm and hissing.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing? You’re not here to entertain yourself Miss Chadwick. I pay you to look after my guests, that does not include flirting with them. You are not here socialise, you are here to work. Do you understand?”
She tried to protest but before she could say anything he shoved her from him, making her stumble onto the couch and stormed out.
“What the ……I……….wait………..I……actually you pay me to be your housekeeper.” She shouted into the empty office. She was furious. She wouldn’t dream of flirting with his guests or anyone else for that matter. Lord Irving was being friendly yes, but they weren’t flirting. He was homesick and she understood exactly what he was feeling, she was starting to feel the same.
She closed her eyes and let out a huge sigh, once again she would have to apologise to Mr Kellias’ for offending his unpredictable and delicate sensibilities. Just as she stood up the door flew open again and he stormed back in.
“And another thing, that dress is far too tight. No wonder Lord Irving thinks he can hit on you dressed like that. It no appropriate for ………….” suddenly his English abandoned him and he said the rest in Greek.
“….you need to change and if you can’t be trusted then I want you by my side at all times.”
He was running his hands through his hair, making the curls dislodge from their usual neat position. She squared up to him then determined to say her peace.
“Yes you are quite right and for once we agree Mr Kellias. It is totally inappropriate but as you picked it, it’s hardly my fault. In fact I came to find you earlier to tell you that I needed to go back to the villa to change, but it was too late. And seeing as I didn’t have anything else suitable with me………….unless of course you want me to strip down and wander around in my underwear?”
He instantly pictured her standing in front of him wearing nothing but the three inch black patent shoes and black lace underwear. He felt himself harden. He’d lied of course, the dress was perfect and looked sensational on her. He’d taken a risk ordering the smaller size but she looked magnificent in it and he couldn’t stop thinking about unzipping the dress to reveal what was underneath.
“Fine, I’ll call my PA and arrange for an alternative to be here by 6pm. I will see you at dinner.” He said as he stormed out.
He stood outside the boardroom trying to calm down before going in. What was wrong with him? After all the dress was his idea. And if he was honest from what he’d heard outside the office door, it was innocent, there wasn’t anything flirtatious in her tone. So why was he so……..so jealous? Ridiculous he thought. He didn’t do jealous. And certainly not over his housekeeper.
The new dress arrived as promised by six, a less fitted one and altogether more modest.
She joined the guests on the top deck where the waiters were already serving chilled champagne. They had just fifteen minutes before they set off for the cruise. She was carrying her clip board and this time she’d plaited her hair from one ear to the other and tied it off and tucked in any stray hairs. She supposed it was a little Bavarian looking but thought it made her look more prim and along with the modest dress was sure he couldn’t find anything to complain this time. Surely?
She spotted him over on the other side of the room and slowly made her way over, smiling at guests as she went, trying to avoid Lord Irving. She would give anything to find a quiet spot, pull up a chair and sit chatting and laughing with him about home, but that was out of the question. She suddenly realised that other than with Talia, there wasn’t much laughter at the villa. Mr Kellias definitely was not the sort of man to make jokes. She rarely saw him smile, let alone laugh. No, he was more your thunderous black moods, followed by more brooding, type.That’s why those few short minutes with Lord Irving had been so welcome.
She made her way to the band and instructed them to start playing. She’d given them a list of songs Mr Kellias wanted to hear. Light jazz, some traditional Greek songs and classical ballads. She moved to stand next to Mr Kellias and made a small noise to let him know that she was there. He was deep in conversation with Sheikh Farhart, oil, middle east and his wife (number three) Basimah and a potential investor in a property development project. She waited patiently for him to finish. She looked down at the seating plan one last time and noticed that the revised plan had her seated next to Mr Kellias. What? Why would he want his housekeeper at the dining table with his prestigious guests? This was ridiculous. He really didn’t trust her.
He’d seen her as soon as she’d come up the stairs and despite the less revealing dress, he was blown away by how beautiful she looked. Her hair, honey blonde hair, was tightly woven across the top of her head. The style made her look younger, sweet but no less alluring to him. He could barely take his eyes off her. He was aware of her wherever she was in the room and didn’t need her little cough to know that she was standing just behind him.
“Ah Miss Chadwick, everything is ready for dinner I assume?”
She refused to be friendly and tried to give him her most neutral reply.
“Yes, we are about to push off and dinner will be served in five minutes. Do you want me to announce dinner?”
“Yes, please do and then take your seat next to me.”
He moved to take a glass of champagne from a passing waiter and turned his back on her again, dismissing her. Fine, just bloody fine, she screamed in her head.
She waited to hear the engine starting before tapping a glass to get everyone’s attention. She felt self conscious suddenly and hoped it didn’t show in her voice. Holding her head a little higher, she announced.
“Your Highness, Lords, ladies and gentlemen, please take your seats. Dinner is served.”
She waited for everyone to find their place before sitting down. If anyone thought it strange that she joined the party they didn’t show it.
The table was splendid, fine white china, elaborate vases filled with a mixture of white roses, lilies and gardenia and a row of white candles.Waiters moved forward and wine was poured. She was aware of how close she was sitting to Mr Kellias and knew they would be forced to talk. Great, just what she needed right now. She didn’t have much of an appetite anyway and now she’d just about manage a glass of water. Why did he insist on her sitting here for dinner?
He stood and made a short speech, encouraging everyone to enjoy themselves. He talked about the successful day of business, progress made and his hopes for their final day of discussions. She looked up at him and had to admit he was a great speaker with a dynamism even she couldn’t deny. She could just imagine how commanding and electric he was in the boardroom. And the bedroom she thought? She hated that she found the insufferable man attractive. She couldn’t bear the silence between any longer.
“So, it’s been a successful day then Mr Kellias?”
She asked nervously, taking a sip of her wine. It would be very easy to gulp down the whole glass to give her the courage she needed to get through the rest of the evening.
“Yes, it has gone very well so far. But another intense day tomorrow. But let us not talk of business, it is an evening for relaxation. So, how do you like the boat now Miss Chadwick? Has it grown on you?”
He was laughing at her, knowing that she’d be pretty crazy not to love it. It provided every possible luxury.
“Well, I think the boat is a perfect match for your guests. Opulent, extravagant and frivolous, who wouldn’t love it? And I do believe that is twice today we have agreed with each other. If we’re not careful it might become a habit.”
She drawled sarcastically, knowing he would catch the insult in her words.
Annoyed with her inflammatory comment, but determined to stay in control this time, he leaned in close to her knowing it would unsettle her, he whispered slowly.
“Actually I take back what I said Miss Chadwick, I prefer dress number one. You’re a very beautiful woman, when you’re not wearing that dull uniform and being all pious. But I would have preferred you to wear your hair down.”
He cooly picked up his drink and immediately turned to the guest to his left, as if nothing had just happened. Whilst suddenly she felt sweltering hot and reached for her water and took a long gulp, noticing her hand was shaking. What the hell did that mean? What was he doing giving her such mixed messages. What? She had to cover up for guests but he was happy for her to wear something more revealing just for him? What the hell was he playing at?
She looked up and caught Lord Irving watching her with strange expression on his face. He smiled then, a gentle and kind smile that said “I feel sorry for you having to sit next to your querulous boss.”
She wasn’t hungry, despite the food looking delicious. It was her favourite dish of mixed fish and rice, but there was no way she could eat now. The wine however was going down just a little too well. She could feel the effects of it already and felt light headed and tired. She’d never been much of a drinker and after a long day she felt exhausted.
She just wanted to slip away. She’d had enough of listening to the high and mighty for one day and needed some normal time.
After coffee was served she left the table with the excuse of going to the bathroom, but knew she wasn’t going back to the dining room. She headed towards her cabin when she bumped into Lord Irving.
“There you are darling. I’ve been looking everywhere for you. How about we find a quiet space somewhere on deck and drink this glorious champagne?”
She looked down at the unopened bottle and two flutes.
“Lord Irving, you are going to get me fired. I’m not supposed to…………”
She didn’t really know what she wasn’t allowed to do. She wasn’t allowed to disagree or upset Mr Kellias that was for sure, but considering how fickle he was, that was hardly possible.
“Charles, please. Call me Charles. And what do I call you? I can hardly call you Miss Chadwick all night.”
“I’m Amelia, Amy to my friends. Look, Mr Kellias doesn’t like me to, well, he doesn’t like me getting too involved in conversations with his guests. Thank you, but I’m afraid I’m going to have to say no Charles.”
“Oh that boorish bully. He clearly wants to keep you all to himself but then why wouldn’t he, you are the most attractive woman on board and he’s obviously totally besotted with you.”
He smirked at her shocked face.
“And I suspect the way you were looking at him earlier, you feel the same. Now…….” Grabbing her hand “Let’s go and get drunk and talk about fish and chips, English weather and our favourites places in London.”
She was stunned by his comments. He liked her? He found her attractive? She was speechless and if it wasn’t for Charles holding onto her arm, pulling her along, she wasn’t sure she’d have been able to move from the spot.
As they got to the lower deck they found two sun loungers and she found her voice. She gave a little chuckle.
“I think you must have me confused with someone else. I’m Amy Chadwick, the inexperienced geeky housekeeper at the villa. I change beds, clean floors. He’s Mr Kellias, you know The Mr Kellias, millionaire, one of the top businessmen in Europe, gorgeous eligible bachelor. Why on earth would he fancy me? I’m not glamorous, rich or remotely interesting. I’ve never even had a real boyfriend.”
He popped the Champagne cork and poured her a glass. She had little experience of Champagne and took a huge gulp and as the bubbles hit her nose she laughed at the sensation.
It was totally ridiculous. She didn’t even like him. He was arrogant, rude, cold and he clearly didn’t like her as he spent most of his time ignoring her, yelling at her or telling her what she’d done wrong.
“Well that’s just the rub isn’t it Amelia darling. You’re sweet and innocent, you don’t want him for his money or his glamorous world, in fact I suspect you find it all a bit crass and over the top? You’re everything his money can’t buy and he can’t quite believe that you’re not falling at his feet like all the others.”
He lay down on the other lounger and turned to look at her.
“In fact I bet he’s going quite crazy right this minute looking for you, for both of us actually, wondering what we’re up to. You know he’ll be devilishly angry when he finds you with me.”
She took another gulp of the dry bubbly liquid and started to feel the affects as it went to her head. She giggled.
Slurring slightly, she replied.
“But I don’t think of him like that, he’s my boss. In fact I don’t even like him, he terrifies me. He’s rude to me, barks orders at me all the time, changes his mind, one minute I must dress up and the next dress down. I just don’t understand him. He’s possibly the most frustrating man I’ve ever met.”
As she finished another glass as he reached over and topped it up.
“Well trust me darling, I’ve never seen two people with more chemistry. It’s only a matter of time before one of you gives into it, sooner rather than later before it drives him crazy.”
“He is gorgeous I admit, but I could never be with someone who didn’t know how to laugh or have fun. What’s the point of all that money if you’re not happy? He’s grumpy and miserable most of the time.”
Little did they both know that Mr Kellias was standing round the corner listening to every detail of their conversation and was shocked to hear she was scared of him. He knew he could be abrupt at times, yes direct and to the point, but he was distracted by the monumental deals he was working on.
He’d gone looking for her when he realised she hadn’t come back from the bathroom and was furious when he couldn’t see Lord Irving either. He moved back silently and then forward again deliberately making sure they heard him coming, to alert them.
“Ah, so, here you both are. I was wondering where you were. No, don’t get up Charles, you carry on enjoying my champagne. I just need a quick word with Miss Chadwick.”
Taking her empty glass and indicating she should get up.
“We need to discuss some things for tomorrow and I could really do with you being sober.”
He reached down for her hand, guessing she would need a hand up.
She took his hand and as her feet hit the floor she felt her head spin and instinctively put her hand on his arm to steady herself. She turned to Charles and smiled a “oh crap I’m for it” smile as she was lead away. She felt a little disorientated as he lead her down one corridor after another until he opened the door of her cabin. Still holding onto her wrist, he dragged her in and slammed the door shut.
Raging, he tried hard to keep hold of his temper.
“Well, I’m waiting.” He spoke quietly.
But she couldn’t think straight to give him an answer, a combination of the champagne and finding his large frame in such close proximity.
“Please….explain……Miss Chadwick…….why, when I distinctly asked you not to flirt with my guests, with Lord Irving specifically, do I find you lying on a sun lounger, half drunk with the very man I caught you flirting with earlier?”
He’d started off so well, softly spoken, sounding calm but by the end he was shouting, no, yelling at her.
She was shaking and could feel the tears very close as he raged at her.
“I wasn’t flirting with him.Why are you so angry with me Mr Kellias? What have I done that is so wrong? I don’t understand.”
A sob broke free from her and she lifted her hand to her mouth. But holding onto her emotions just long enough to give her defence.
“I wasn’t flirting with Lord Irving as it happens, we were just talking. You remember talking with friends don’t you? No of course you don’t. You probably don’t even have any friends. Charles is fun and for once I was letting my hair down a little after working hard all day, it’s not a crime. I don’t know why you don’t trust me Mr Kellias? Have I ever neglected my duties? Failed to look after Talia? Slept in? No. I never go out except to do errands, I don’t date or even speak to men. I’m sorry, I………”
She couldn’t speak anymore as the tears came and she couldn’t stop them. She didn’t want to stop them. He watched her as the tears rolled down her face. An admirable show of innocence, but put on no doubt. He walked over to her now and pushed her down on a chair before she fell down, she looked dead on her feet.
“I don’t know why you couldn’t just do as I asked.”
He sighed impatiently, running in his hand through his hair, pacing up and down.
“Ok, stop, please stop crying……..I……..it was the dress, seeing you dressed like that, I wasn’t expecting you to look like that, I was surprised at how, well at how you looked dressed up. It sent me a little crazy, and I didn’t like it when I found you talking to Charles. I can’t explain it so don’t ask me to.”
Stopping in front of her now, he lifted her chin up so she was looking up at him.
“You work for me Amelia, you’re my housekeeper and I don’t like you being with him, or anyone else for that matter.”
“But why? I’m just your housekeeper. What do you care who I talk to?”
He didn’t even understand it himself, he was angry and couldn’t for the life of him work out what the hell was going on.
“I don’t think this is the best time to talk about this. I think you need to go to bed Amelia and sleep off that Champagne. Here, take these. They might save you from an almighty headache in the morning.”
He reached into his pocket and handed her a box of paracetamol.
He pulled her up from the chair and she fell against him, putting her hands on his chest and for a few seconds she thought he was going to kiss her. She could feel his hard chest beneath her fingers and was suddenly aware of his body against hers.
He couldn’t take his eyes off her mouth, so full and pink and very very kissable. He could feel her large breasts against his chest and wanted to pull her hips to him, to press her against his thick hardness, but slowly he pushed her away.
“Why do you dislike me so much Mr Kellias?”
The champagne giving her courage to challenge him.
“Dislike you? What makes you think I dislike you?”
He had his hands on his hips again. Never a good sign sign.
“Oh I don’t know, could it be that you bellow at me, rant at me, drag me along like I’m a child to be scolded, criticise my clothes, how I wear my hair? I could go on.”
Was she trying to provoke him again, why couldn’t she let it go?
“Why should I care if you wear your hair down or not? I was merely saying it looks better down. Here………”
He moved quickly towards her and roughly pulled at the band securing her hair to demonstrate. He deftly worked his fingers through the plait, pulling it loose until the long silken waves had fallen to her shoulders. The smell of her shampoo was released and it intoxicated him. The site of her full lush mouth slightly open, surprised at his assault on her hair, was too much to resist. She froze as his hands wound into her hair. She was so unfamiliar with a man’s touch that for a few seconds she let him do it, shocked at the intense physical contact.
“See, a major improvement.”
With his hands still in her hair, he used it to pull her to him. Bending, he kissed her mouth, an angry savage kiss, long and hard, until she was gasping for breath, taking her by surprise. But finally realising what was happening she pushed her palms hard against his chests to get him off her.
“Get off me, you bastard. How dare you think you can kiss me. Who do you think you are? I’m not one of your casual lovers, begging for your attention. I know exactly what sort of man you are, how you treat women. You take what you want without asking and then discard them as if they were nothing, worthless. But you are the one that is worthless, loving no one and allowing no one to love you. Well you’ve tried it on the wrong girl this time.”
Her heart was beating so hard she thought it would burst through her chest. Furious and half crazed she balled her hand into a fist and swung at his chin as hard as she could. But she wasn’t quick enough or a match for his six foot four frame.
He was shocked by her gutsiness, there weren’t many man who would take him on, let alone a five foot three woman. He grabbed her wrists in an attempt to protect himself just as she stamped on his foot, making him let go of her wrists and yelp out in pain.
“God damn it Amelia, stop it, stop it now.”
She was hysterical, arms and fists flaying about, as he made one last grab for her arms, pinning them behind her back to stop her from hitting him.
“Get off me, leave me alone.”
She sobbed out, closing her eyes, crying.
He was half crazed himself, not knowing what he was doing other than he knew he wanted to kiss her again. He moved slower this time and deliberately kissing her soft lips. He could feel her resistance, trying to keep her lips closed and pulling away from him, but he held her still. Tasting every part of her mouth, encouraging a response and tasting the saltiness of her tears. Her tears slowed and he could feel her body softening, giving in to him, leaning into him and with that her soft lips parted and started to press into his, finally allowing his tongue to enter her hot sexy mouth. He released her arms and felt her breathing change, quickening. His arms moved to engulf her in his embrace and pulled her hard against his body, pinning her helplessly to him, finding pleasure from pushing his hardness against her soft body.
She’d never felt anything like this before in her life, his mouth on hers, sucking her lips, seeking out her tongue, creating a heat in her until she felt she would faint with need. She moved her hips against his, seeking out satisfaction from the unfamiliar burning inside her.
He must stop before he reached the point of no return, a place where he wanted to bury himself deep inside her until she cried out his name, he pulled back, pushing her from him. As she stumbled back onto the bed he spat out.
“Enough, that’s enough Amelia. God, what are you doing to me? I don’t want to fight with you anymore. Go to bed and we’ll talk in the morning.”