Chapter Twelve

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Chapter Twelve 

Scorpio: Be careful not to jump to conclusions, as it will only lead to time wasted further on when you will have to admit to your mistakes. Spend your time wisely instead by focussing on loving others.

She stepped outside her cabin and navigated her way through the endless white corridors, that all looked the same, to the disembarking area. As she waited to disembark with other excited passengers, she recognised two familiar figures in the distance, also waiting to disembark. Winter groaned inwardly, she didn't want to see Melody and Alex again so soon after what he had said to her before. Winter pretended not to see them and texted Melody her plans to visit the resort, letting her know she would be out on the island researching and interviewing the staff of the resort. Melody texted back, saying she and Alex were going on a sightseeing trip on the island again and maybe later they could meet up for dinner and discuss things then. Melody texted that Claude would be interested in helping her out for the day with taking photos but she didn't know where Claude was. Winter agreed and felt relieved to be let off the hook in having to see Alex again so soon. But she also felt guilty that her newly established friendship with Melody had come to a screeching halt over what had happened between her and Alex. One of them would have to step up and fix the friendship, but Winter wasn't ready yet. After she sent the messages to Melody, she checked her phone in case Dan had contacted her again and was pleased to see he had left her a raunchy message and said that he was looking forward to meeting her on the island and taking her out to the resort. Another opportunity to spend the day together Winter thought joyously. This time she wasn't going to hold back- she wanted to tell him she loved him and had always loved him. It was time to say it and she wanted everything to be perfect. Although the three words were only small, the meaning and context around them were huge. Winter hoisted her bag over her shoulder and disembarked, trying to search the crowds of passengers for Dan while at the same time trying not to trip over or bump into anyone. Winter stepped off the gangplank and stood to the side of the path, waiting for the crowds to thin so she could see Dan. She smile to herself in anticipation of seeing him again, but then worried if things would be awkward between them. She didn't have time to analyse things further as Dan meandered up to her, his aviator sunglasses hiding the expression in his eyes, but his lips curled slowly into a smile, like the petals of a flower opening. He stood close to her then leant in to kiss her chastely on the cheek. The scent of his spicey aftershave tingled in her nostrils and his proximity played havoc with her heartbeat. It was the worse form of torture, being so close to him yet unable to touch him. "Let's get out of this zoo. I want you all to myself again." He whispered close to her earlobe. Together they walked back to his car in silence, once safely enclosed in the privacy of the car, they turned to each other to kiss passionately on the lips. "I missed you." She murmured against his lips. "I missed you too and I'm sorry I had to leave again in the morning but the Captain had an early morning emergency passenger who desperately needed help in the gym and there was no-one else to help. Am I forgiven for deserting you?" he asked, worriedly. 

"Only if you admit you are a romantic, corny fool for sending me that smultzy message about the sunrise" Winter replied, trying not to laugh. 

"Ok, it was corny, and I honestly never meant to send it, but that's what happens when people are in love." Dan said, suddenly serious. He looked closely at Winter, waiting for her reply. 

"Yeah, about that, I just wanted to say....," but her sentence was interrupted by a loud knocking on the passenger side window of the car. Startled, they jumped apart guiltily and both looked up at the same time to see Claude's face pressed against the glass and signalling for Winter to wind down the window. "Bonjour mes amis have you got room for another passenger?" He lifted up his camera gear and waggled his eyebrows hopefully. Winter's heart plummeted, her plans to spend the day with Dan, even though she was working had flown out of the window to be carried away in the breeze. She glanced over at Dan's profile, and nudged him to silently ask his permission for Claude to join them. Dan turned to her and smiled crookedly, his politeness taking over he agreed, but Winter could feel the disappointment shooting through his veins and the pulse in his neck throbbed angrily. "Later", was all he growled as he stepped out of the car again to assist Claude with his equipment. The journey, although only lasting thirty minutes seemed to take an eternity as the atmosphere was fraught with unsaid words. Winter breathed a sigh of relief upon arriving at a huge gravelled turning circle, situated in front of the resort. Dan stopped the car and glancing at her again over his shoulder, with regret in his eyes, he got out to help Claude un-load his belongings. Winter got out as well and stood, leaning against the bonnet of the car, waiting. She noticed that Claude stood very close to Dan and kept touching him on the arm, or his shoulder, then she remembered the first night on the cruise when she had met Dan, and how Claude had said he fancied Dan. Could that be true? Is that what Claude was doing here with them, trying to break them apart so Dan may have second thoughts and fall in love with Claude, or was Claude working for Melody or Alex, was one of them trying to sabotage things between her and Dan? Winter shook her head to clear her thoughts. No matter what other people did, it was up to her and Dan to stay true to their feelings and embark on the journey of their future together. Once Claude and Dan had the camera paraphernalia out of the car, Dan returned to his business-like persona. He told them about the resort, and how it had won awards for being eco-friendly. He explained which parts of the resort they were allowed to visit and photograph and promised Winter she could interview staff if necessary. "Ok, let's get this tour underway. We will start from here, the front of the resort, and I'll take you through some of the rooms and the staff will tell you all about the environmentally friendly features we, ah, um they have in place". Dan turned to walk away and Winter had to hurry to keep close to him. Claude caught up to her and whispered in her ear as they strolled along. "Mel suggested my camera skills would come in handy, so I hope you don't mind me tagging along. Besides, I am more than happy to stay close to the delectable Dan! Such a shame he isn't gay! But I'm sure I can change that, if I try hard enough. " Winter looked at him carefully to assess whether he was innocently confiding in her or whether he was trying to plant a seed of doubt about Dan's feelings for her. Winter said nothing in reply, she didn't want to give away her own feelings in front of Claude until she had told Dan. They walked on in silence until they arrived at the huge glassed double doorway. Dan opened the doors for them and stood aside as they stepped inside. "Bienvenue a l' Petit Passion Resort" Dan said, his French pronunciation sending shivers down Winter's spine. The resort resembled a bungalow, it was set low to the ground and only one floor level, apart from a glassed in rotunda with wrap around balcony attached to one side of the resort. But the opulence and size of the rooms was incredible. Winter had never experienced so much luxury, expense and beauty. "I will leave you with the beautiful Angelique as I have some other matters to attend to and I will catch up with you later." He turned to Angelique and spoke in rapid French: "Don't let on to them you know who I am, apart from being their tour guide. I am happy for them to take photos and interview staff. Is Veronique here?" Dan nodded as Angelique responded in flawless French, "Au Revoir" he said to the group, taking out his mobile to make some calls as he hurried away in the opposite direction. Claude set up his camera equipment and starting shooting while Winter asked Angelique some questions. Her curiosity was piqued and she knew this information would be fantastic for her article. Winter was also interested in the secret exchange between Angelique and Dan. She thought she had seen a flirty look flit upon Angelique's face while she was talking to Dan. Would he be interested in someone like Angelique? She was young and blonde and very European in her look and style. Winter decided to put those thoughts out of her mind and remain professional. She had an article to write and the more information she received, the quicker she could finish it. "This place is fantastic! How long has it been here and who built it?" Winter had her notepad ready and took notes as Angelique talked. "It was only built a year ago, by a French millionaire. There was a lot of local resistance to the resort as no-one believed that it would follow the guidelines of being environmentally friendly, and the locals were upset by the fact that some of their sacred ground would be desecrated by the building of the resort. It was also questioned if such a small and little-known island could support such a huge resort as most holiday makers stay in Noumea and travel to the other islands rather than staying here."  

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