The Bed You Make
Chapter 35
~ Be it ever so humble... ~

Stefan carefully lifted his head and glanced over at the clock. The hour was approaching five a.m., slightly earlier than he normally rose. At Wyndemere, he could rely on awakening within five minutes of the same time each morning. Here, it would take a day or two for his body to recall the rhythms of the place and attune his body clock to the new location.

He resisted the desire to shift to a more comfortable position. His fingers were still intertwined with Dara's; any movement to pull them free would certainly awaken her. Instead, he lay and quietly watched his wife sleep. Her warm body was relaxed against his and he could feel the gentle rise and fall of her even breathing. After a night of unexpected confrontation, Dara was finally resting.

They'd arrived, weary with jet lag, at the estate in Greece late the previous night. Per tradition, Stefan carried Dara across the threshold. She was not totally surprised by the action. Stefan had explained to her during the flight across the ocean that tradition dictated that whichever of them stepped across the threshold first would be the one to control the marriage. He'd eliminated the possibility that Dara would precede him into the estate by sweeping her up and carrying her inside. The watching servants appreciated the significance of the emphatic display. You're lucky I'm too tired to set them straight , Dara had teased tiredly.

When they'd reached their suite of rooms, Dara hadn't done more than glance at her new surroundings. Her gaze was fixed on the enormous bed that dominated the room. She was in bed and asleep within minutes of arrival.

Her rest did not last long. A disturbing phone conversation with her former lover Garcia soon broke her sleep. Stefan had attempted, quite reasonably he thought, to point out that Garcia had in fact done her a favor by creating a situation through which she could emphatically sever their emotional connection. Dara was unmoved by his logic. She remained emotionally unsettled and restless for the remainder of the night.

Stefan resolutely began to ease his fingers from hers. When she did not awaken, he decided to allow Dara a few more hours' sleep.