Stacy followed the porters up the steps to the suite. The island was steep and hilly and the inn hugged its northern face like a blanket draped over a tangle of knees. While the porters hardly seemed bothered by the weight of their loads, their pace was leisurely, and Stacy was acutely aware of Adi's view of her ass as they climbed. If he was put off by the pace or annoyed by the steps, he didn't say anything, so the air was silent save for the distant sound of waves crashing and birds calling to each other.

At the top of the hill stood the inn's best suite. It was more of a house, really, with its own mini-pool and a wide verandah overlooking the island's northern face and the Aegean. Stacy, remembering her training, opened the double doors for Adi and led him inside as the porters scurried before her and hurriedly unpacked his things. "This is the bathroom, and those doors open into the master suite," she recited, watching him as he peered into the rooms, lose interest and drift into the verandah. She waited for him to say something, but he seemed fixated on the view.

She cleared her throat. "Press 0 to connect to the front desk if you need anything." The porters interrupted her spiel with their goodbyes and left, leaving a ringing silence and the uncomfortable knowledge that she was alone with this soccer god. "Enjoy your stay, sir," she mumbled, ducking her head and hurrying to the door.

"Wait," he said.

She bit her lip and turned, gripping the doorknob because she had the distinctly uncomfortable sense of floating while melting into a puddle at the same time, and the small hunk of metal in her hand was the only thing keeping her together.

"What's your name?" he asked.

"Stacy," she told the floor.

"I'm Adi."

She looked up and was literally dazzled: he was silhouetted by the sunshine coming in from the veranda. "I know who you are," she muttered. As her eyes adjusted to the light she thought she could make out how his face fell.

"Oh. You follow football?"


He stared at her again, and suddenly the oddness of the whole situation got to her. "Listen, sir, I gotta go--" she said, pulling the door knob with too much force, because it came away in her hand.

Clunk, it went, plopping to the floor. Stacy felt her face slowly burn from chin to forehead, bypassing the perfectly round, shocked 'O' of her mouth.

"Have you trashed my door, Stacy?" asked Adi sternly.

"Oh my -- sir -- I am so -- oh God --"

And because she wasn't mortified enough, Adi's face broke into a wide smile and then he began to laugh, long and loud.

"Excuse me?" she snapped, her temper flaring. Here she was, unable to tell which way was up or down, embarrassed beyond belief and stuck in a room with a guy who not only starred in her fantasies just a short while ago but also ruined part of the World Cup for her; and he was laughing?!

Yet he continued with his knee-slapping mirth. "Sorry, it's just the look on your face--" and he broke into laughter again.

Stacy stared at him until he calmed down, knowing she was bright red from freckled cheek to blonde head, and said: "I'm not surprised you're a jerk!"

He blinked. "A jerk?"

"Yes, a jerk! Only a jerk would laugh at a person's embarrassment!" She knew she should stop, that she shouldn't be talking to her father's newly checked-in guest this way, but it was just everything all at once: Christina and the call and the past month marooned in a paradise island and the World Cup and the mighty Spanish team failing in the group stages and this guy laughing at her like an idiot, and so she continued: "Only a jerk would jeopardize his team's chances like you did!"

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