The Bed You Make
Chapter 48
~ Your Move ~

Dara stood just before the balcony and looked out over the horizon. The falling temperatures had been cool on skin moist from the shower, so Dara had gratefully donned one of the thick white Egyptian cotton robes waiting in the warmer. Soft jazz music played in the background, mostly piano instrumentals with just a bass violin and snare drum for accompaniment. A smile curved Dara's lips when Michel Camilo's interpretation of the song Poinciana began to play. Arranged in a key a few steps higher than usual, it was a playful, rhythmic rendition. She stood still and allowed her musician's ear to dissect and reconstruct the song measure by measure.

Dara wasn't so caught up in the music that she didn't hear Stefan enter the suite. He was accompanied by one of the guards, a slender but muscled man who immediately knelt down in front of the fireplace and began to construct a fire. Without prompting, Dara closed the filigreed door leading out to the balcony. It wouldn't take long before the chill from the evening air was chased away and the suite would become toasty and warm.

Stefan did not speak until the guard finished his task. He dismissed the man with a curt command and watched him leave. "I have requested that a light supper be brought," Stefan looked at his watch, "in seventeen minutes. If the menu is not to your liking," he glanced over at Dara, "please make whatever substitutions you would like."

"And where will you be?"

"I will avail myself of the shower."

"Well, it's a good thing I left you some hot water," Dara teased.

She'd made that remark once before only to have Stefan condescendingly explain that there was not, nor would there ever be, a shortage of amenities in a home he occupied. His affronted expression amused her then. Now all she saw on his face was recognition of her teasing. Stefan tipped his head. "I thank you, then, for your imagined largesse."

The droll verbal give and take between them was stimulating. Before she'd married Stefan, Dara considered her vocabulary pretty extensive. A single in-depth conversation with her 'husband' and all she could do was marvel. It wasn't just that Stefan knew an endless amount of 'five dollar words'. No, it was that the differences in those words' meanings mattered to him and so the words he chose to use were ideal for every situation. He was like the painter who could distinguish the subtle variations in what to others looked like a single shade of color.

She'd watched him, surreptitiously observing him through lowered lashes that she hoped helped shade her glance. Whether reading one of the multiple newspapers he received each day, having a simple conversation with Nikolas, or blocking the awkward attack of a novice tai chi student too green to pose any challenge to his skills... Stefan fixed his entire focus on the task. Dara had no doubt Stefan would be as painstakingly attentive to her. He would be as singleminded in discovering what made her breath catch as he would be in uncovering what made it still completely. Heaven help her, she wanted that. Despite her reservations, she wanted to know what it felt like to be with someone capable of narrowing the world down to only the two of them.

She had no doubt that Stefan Cassadine was more than able.


bACK | continued