Jack put Lisa down gently on the spare bed in his sister’s room that she had used since she was a child, before kneeling down to study her face. She looked so vulnerable. Hypnotised by the rise and fall of her chest, the beat of his heart accelerated, taking him by surprise. The urge to lie down next to her and hold her in his arms was overwhelming. Why hadn’t he realised before that she was so beautiful? He had always been fond of her, but at that moment, he was feeling something else. Something much more profound, a warm, fuzzy feeling his academic brain was struggling to assimilate. He gently picked up her hand and held it against his cheek, dipping his head for a closer view of her face.
He inhaled, Paco Rabanne. He remembered when she bought her first bottle of that perfume while holidaying with his family in France. She had randomly chosen it off the shelf, blowing half her spending money.
‘Sod the money, I smell wonderfully French!’ She said, dabbing her perfumed-soaked fingers against her neck.
‘Paco Rabanne is Spanish!’ His sister, Adele, quipped.
‘French, Spanish, who cares… I smell exotically European.’
He remembered bending his head towards Lisa’s neck to inhale the perfume and saying, ‘It really suits you…’
Five years on and watching her sleep, he felt if he lost her, the bottom would fall out of his world. How blind he had been. He was about to lean forward and kiss her on the lips when his sister walked into the room.
‘It makes you wonder what life will throw at her next,’ she whispered, putting her hands on her brother’s shoulders. ‘She’s been so happy since she got the job at Stellar, and now this. Her bloody mother has got so much to answer for.’
Jack looked up at his sister and smiled. ‘I’m happy that she has us,’ he said, getting to his feet and giving his sister a hug before silently slipping out of the room.