Kendra’s face must have shown she was nervous about a hotel room, hotel rooms with all of their sexual connotations. Sex would add a dimension that would not help. She still remembered what he said that night, the dancing night, when he said he wanted things to go slowly so he could enjoy every detail. She agreed with that now. Somehow she was sure these early days would be remembered days, cherished days and she didn’t want them rushed. A hotel room sounded rushed to her. She wasn’t ready for that. She wanted to get to know this man again.

Asra added quickly, “The penthouse suite has four bedrooms, so you can have your own room, even two …or three if you want.” He smiled awkwardly.

“Okay, great,” Kendra said, too relieved. Asra laughed.

They arrived at the posh hotel and Kendra couldn’t believe the suite; it was like something out of a storybook. A balcony from the sitting room overlooked the slow moving Nile. It had marble floors, a dining room and living room. Bouquets of flowers and bowls of fruit sat on flat surfaces everywhere. She wanted to take a photo to send to Bianca, she’d love a room like this. Of course it would be a photo she’d need to hide from her mother and Fred, though. They would describe it as “ostentatious materialism”, she could almost hear her mother complaining about the four bedrooms, the king size beds, the champagne on ice. She lay back on the plush sofa and thought how ostentatious materialism sometimes felt very, very nice. She could get seriously comfortable here.

“Which room do you want?” Asra asked taking her bags from where the porter had dropped them.

“Any, this is fabulous Asra! Really lovely. Thanks.”

Asra took her bags to the corner room with a view of the Nile. Kendra walked out onto the wide balcony off of the living room. The late August heat made it like walking into an oven, but she liked the heat, it felt like a tight hug. She looked down on busy, chaotic Cairo. Even up this high she could hear the hooters and see the madness that was Cairo traffic. She looked out over the roofs of the other buildings. Busy places with laundry hanging on weighted down lines, blowing in the wind, tables set up for outdoor meals. Were those goats on the roof two buildings over? She couldn’t wait to get out and look around. She knew Asra would be a fabulous guide. From the way he had taken her to hidden places she hadn’t known existed in London, the London she swore she knew inside out, she was sure his tour of Cairo would be spectacular.

He came up behind her and slipped his arms around her waist. “You can’t know how happy I am that you’re here. These months…I’ve thought about little else save for you.”

She turned in his arms to face him and said, “Did you think I wouldn’t come?”

“Ever since I left you that day of the party, I’ve been regretting it. I was sure I had passed an important thing by. I was sure I’d never see you again. I thought maybe I’d been too rash. When I found the email, I was so relieved. I was overjoyed I would get another chance with you.”

“God! All that Will drama! It seems ages ago in a way. I was so stupid.”

“You were with him for a long time. You can’t magically just forget him. But I’m glad you’re here now, we’re here now.”

Kendra moved further into his arms and they tightened around her. “You did the right thing that day. You were absolutely right, I wasn’t ready for you, for us. I was being unfair. I needed to sort out all of my issues with Will. I wasn’t able to give you everything and that’s what you deserve- everything. But now I can.”

He kissed her gently on the lips, as if unsure. She kissed him back and they were known to each other again, they were in a familiar place. Kendra knew those lips. Kendra wanted him, she was surprised how much and how quickly. She felt weak with the desire for him, but she would not give in to it yet. His kisses became more passionate, his tongue slipping in and out of her lips. She let her head fall back and his lips moved to her ears and her neck. His hands moved along her back, they pulled her into him, closer so she felt his body hard against hers. Their breath came fast. His hands were everywhere. It was too much, she was sure she would burst. Time went on for ever. She leaned back over the table on the balcony and he leaned into her. Still completely dressed, he rocked against her. He slipped his hand inside of her blouse and her nipples hardened in excitement. She’d never been so excited by a man before. There was a raw sort of energy between them, she realised now it had always been there. From that kiss so long ago.

She wanted more but he stopped her. “I want to take things one step at a time. One slow, wonderful step at a time.”

He picked her up and carried her to her room. “Let me make you a bath.”

He prepared the bath. “It’s ready,” he said and then disappeared into his room.

She climbed into the huge bathtub, steam rising up from the bubbles. It felt so wonderful, she felt so wonderful. One thing she knew, she’d never felt so sexually alive before. Everything in her tingled. She was so happy being here, in this country, in this room, with Asra.

She lay back and, though she hadn’t thought she was tired, she fell asleep. She woke up suddenly, it seemed like only minutes had passed, but when she looked out the window it was dark. She was confused for a minute and then realised she must have fallen asleep for more than an hour. Her skin was wrinkled, her shampooed hair now dry. What an idiot! How could she have fallen asleep? She got out, wrapping a thick towel around her and went in search of Asra.

He was watching football on the television. “Asra, sorry. God. Why didn’t you wake me up?”

He grabbed her and pulled her to his lap. “You looked so lovely sleeping there I couldn’t bear to disturb you.” He kissed her. “Mmmm… you smell good. Are you hungry?”


“I’ve booked us a table at a restaurant I really like, The Oak Grill.”

“Fancy?” Kendra asked.

“A bit,” Asra said.

“Okay give me about a half hour to get ready.”