“You’ve seen enough stunning women in Hollywood to last a lifetime including Kate.”
“But they are not like you.”
“Look, Orlando,” she sighed in exasperation. “I know every girl in the country would drool a river to be in this situation, but you’re with Kate. And I think it would be best if we never saw each other again.”
He stopped, and she saw the hurt in his eyes. It shamed her.
Orlando returned her to the hotel. The remainder of the journey was spent in silence and they did not swim that day. She was surprised however that he did not return her poem, which made her wonder if they would see each other again.
Orlando rubbed his fatigued eyes from the day he had. What worse could have happened to him? He always imagined Kate and he would be together. He was even seriously considering proposing to her, but when Kyla appeared, everything changed. Why did he feel so different when he was around her? Everywhere else he went, he felt like he needed to perform every moment. He always needed to look perfect and strike a pose or sign an autograph for a fan. Kyla made him feel like a person, which didn’t happen to often with Kate. And when Kate saw the photographs, everything was over.
Kyla could not say that she was not ashamed of what she did. The hurt and near anger in Orlando’s eyes at what she had said could have broke her heart. Yet, she knew it should be over before it would have a chance to begin. It could not begin. She knew there could be nothing between her and Orlando. He was different. Even if he was interested in her, he would break her heart in the process, and she did not want to be put through that again.
The next morning, Kyla awoke to a hand stroking her cheek and when she opened her eyes, she thought she was still dreaming.
“Orlando,” she moaned. “I don’t recall giving you a key.”
“I received it from the front desk.” He got right to the point. “Kate and I are over.”
“What? Why?” she sat up suddenly amazed at his words.
“Because of these,” he handed her two photographs.
She widened her eyes. They were photos of them taken the previous day in the woods; one of Orlando cupping her chin and another of them on their picnic.
“Orlando, I am so sorry. I should never have-“
“No,” he interrupted her standing up. “It was my fault. I invited you.” He sighed and looked at the floor for a few moments. Then, “I’m going to England to get away from it all, and I want you to accompany me.”
“You told me you have never been out of your own country. Come with me. Please,” his eyes met hers and he smiled.
“Orlando, don’t do that,” she frowned saying firmly. His eyes were soft and warm, and she could nearly feel herself melting.
“What?” he gave her a crooked smile as his beautiful eyes warmed even more…
“I can’t believe you talked me into this,” she rolled her eyes looking out of her airplane window.
“Rather I looked you into this,” he corrected her.
She smiled, and he took her hand but dropped it swiftly as the stewardess approached.
“What can I get for you, miss?” she asked Kyla.
Kyla looked at Orlando. “Well I’ve never been in first class. Um lemonade please and a chocolate malt. For lunch, I’d like a bacon turkey sandwich.”
“And for you Mr. Bloom?” she grinned uncontrollably.
“Tea with cream please. I’ll have the same sandwich but substitute the bacon and turkey for brussel sprouts.”
“Coming right up. Also, could I have your autograph please?” the stewardess asked.
Orlando smiled and nodded. She handed him a picture of himself dressed in white and holding his hand up to his hair. He signed it quickly and then gave it back to her.
When she was gone Kyla said, “I remember you are a vegetarian. You looked handsome in that picture. I think you were born with the perfect eyes and smile.”
“And you were born with everything perfect,” he said sweetly and took her hand.
“How long is this flight?”
“Ten hours,” he replied.
“Time to catch up on some reading then.”
“Thank you for coming with me.”
“No problem,” she took a book from her backpack a copy of the Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King hoping to avoid conversation with him for awhile. It seemed he never tired of asking her questions or trying to find out anything else from her life.
“Who was your favorite character?” he asked her.
“Aragorn in the books, Arwen and Legolas in the movie,” she replied sighing.
“And may I ask why?”
“Aragorn was so kingly and courageous in the book. He was always ready to become King I think. He had the best morals. Arwen, for her willingness to give up immortality, and Legolas because of his archery, elven heritage, and his sea poem of the gulls.”
“Anything else?” he looked up at her with a smile. “All of those things he had in the books.”
“All right, all right…because he was handsome and well perfect…”
“Well,” he sighed. “I don’t have an elven heritage, but I do know archery and I’ve been known to jot down a couple poems. Is there a chance you might like me?”
“Hmm maybe,” she grinned and for the first time since her father died, Kyla laughed.
“Daddy, Daddy, look at what I found!” Kyla’s feet pranced upon the sand as she ran toward her father carrying something large, circle, and green.
He scooped his little girl up eagerly rustling her curls and then examined the object in her hand. “Darling, it’s a sand dollar.”
“What’s a sand dollar?”
“Well, when it’s bleached it looks white, and do you see these five holes here?” he pointed to the outline, and Kyla nodded. “Those are signifying the five nail holes Jesus was pierced with when he died on the Cross. And then here, you can see the Easter Lilly design with the star in the center. The star is the same one that led the Magi to Jesus. And this,” he turned the dollar over and showed her the Christmas Poinsettia, “reminds us of what we celebrate on Christmas. Now if we were to break it very carefully, we would find five white doves.”
“Can we break it open?” asked Kyla excited.
“Well, first how about we set it in some bleach so it gets white first, all right?”
Kyla nodded, and he hoisted the little girl onto his shoulders happily. “Thank you for telling me the story, Daddy. Do you think sand dollars are little messages that God sends down to us?”
“I do indeed, Kia. Reminds me also that He’s always there watching over us too. Someday, I’ll watch over you too, though I can’t do it as well as He can.”
“Why will you watch over me?” she asked. “You can do it here.”
He smiled. “For a little bit I’ll do it here. Then I’ll go where God is and do it there for some time and then you’ll join me later on okay?”
“Home sweet home,” Orlando broke Kyla’s thoughts and dropped his keys on the counter.
Kyla shook aside her thoughts and ordered herself to stop fingering her charm necklace. She couldn’t help it when thinking of the sand dollar around her neck as well as the five white doves she had strung on each side. Kyla observed her surroundings instead.
“Wow!” she exclaimed as he took off her jacket. “This place is amazing.”
She glanced at the kitchen, which was entirely perfect with stainless steal oven and refrigerator. She looked into the dining room briefly and saw the cherry oak table and golden chandelier. She then noticed a swimming pool through the French glass doors in the living room.
“Do you like it?” he asked.
“Yes, very much. It’s perfect.”
“Well, now it is,” he smiled but added quickly, “Do you want something to eat or drink?”
“Just some water please,” she requested.
Orlando took a perfectly washed glass from his cupboard and filled it with reverse osmosis water as well as three ice cubes and handed it to her. Did he have to be so perfect that it nearly intimidated her? At her home, she was rather tidy, but not this tidy. Then she remembered, Orlando also had a home in California, and he probably came here for special holidays…or breaks.
“So, it’s twelve a.m. Are you tired?” he asked.
“Neither am I. Well, we could swim or take a walk.”
She replied, “A swim sounds nice.”
“All right then. I will see you in five minutes.”
As Kyla changed, she thought about Orlando. What was his purpose on bringing her here? Was it simply because he wanted some company to `unwind’ with after the break up? Or was he interested in something more? Kyla hoped not. For one, she and Orlando were very different, and she didn’t belong in his world of movie stardom. She had no wish to be involved with acting or Hollywood. But was she so against being involved with Orlando?
“I like them,” she grinned at the tattoos.
“The sun was just a kid thing earlier. But this we all got,” he pointed to his right arm and the tattoo of the elvish number 9.
“I’m not good with needles, ever since I tried to give blood,” she dropped her sarong revealing the black and white Speedo underneath.
Orlando followed her into the water. “What happened?”
“She stuck the needle in and took a half a pint of blood, but my body didn’t react so well. I had two black and blue bruises for two weeks.”
“Never got to find out my blood type either.”
“Have you ever tried to give again?”
She shook her head.
“Too bad. I can’t even give blood now because of these.”
“A lot of people in this world need blood badly.”
He nodded and ducked his head into the water and then shook it off..
“So…” he began but his next words made him blush. “Why haven’t you ever tried to be a model?”
“Excuse me?” she raised her eyes.
“Never mind,” he rolled his eyes and muttered `idiot’ under his breath.
She smiled. “The same reason I don’t act. Not enough guts, too much publicity, and not enough privacy.”
“Very good reasons, too. But I still think you’re beautiful.”
She bit her lip to keep from smiling so much. Orlando neared her and slowly and deftly raised his hand to stroke her cheek.
“Sorry,” he dropped it.
“It’s ok,” Kyla shrugged.
Before he could speak, Kyla ducked into the water for a good minute. When she came up, she found herself facing Orlando her nose nearly bumping his. Suddenly but skillfully, he snaked his hands around her waist. She looked down at them and then into his eyes trembling.
“Have you ever been kissed, Kyla?”
She bit her lip and shook her head. Orlando smirked and leaned in so his lips hovered over hers. He closed his eyes just to see how adventurous she was.
“Orlando,” she ducked under his arm. “You don’t have to prove to me that you’re a good kisser. I saw already in Pirates of the Caribbean.”
He gave a small chuckle. “But would you like me to?”
“Uh no,” she climbed out of the water. “Not yet. It’s too soon.”
“Well, at least I have a chance to when it’s not too soon,” he smiled and followed after her.
“Perhaps…” Kyla ran her fingers through her hair. “I’m tired now because it’s late. I think I’ll go upstairs now. By the way, the bathroom is wonderful.”
“Well, then let me escort you to your room,” he took her elbow gently. As they went up the stairs he continued, “I’ll show you around London tomorrow. Harrots, Buckingham Palace, you name it.”
“I look forward to it.”
“Me too. Here is your room.”
He opened the door, and she widened her eyes seeing the white silk drapes floating over the window letting in the wind after it had brushed across the moors. The bed was white, and transparent sheets surrounded it. Kyla almost felt like a princess and was afraid to drop her bags on the wooden floor.
“It’s beautiful,” she smiled. “Thank you really. This is perfect.”
“Well, then my lovely lady,” he took her hand and brushed his lips against it. “I bid you good night.”
Perhaps being with a movie star wasn’t so bad after all. But why did he want to kiss her? Would it lead to anything else? Kyla promised herself not to let it get out of hand. She did this as she climbed into bed, but not for long since the sheets were so comfortable, and she was so tired.