Zack holds my hand as we walk side by side along the Golden Mile. It feels like we’re walking on air.
“Where on earth are you taking me?” I ask him.
“To the top of the world,” he grins. “But you’re going to have to look like you own the place when you walk in.”
“Oh no! Dude! You’ve got to be kidding me Zack! The last time somebody said that to me I just missed ending up in jail and I did end up in hospital. Seriously, that’s a dangerous thing to ask me to do!
“Just follow me, Hope,” says Zack as he strolls casually into the Southern Sun North Beach Hotel.
We saunter across the lobby towards the lifts. Zack pushes the lift button and then he starts to whistle while we wait for the doors to be open.
“Dude,” I hiss. “If you start making noises like the Pied Piper I’m telling you we’re going to be back on that pavement before you have time to say Southern Sun North Beach Hotel!”
Zack chuckles, the lift doors bing open and he shuffles me in. Zack pushes the button for the top floor and I cuddle into him as we soar up into the sky.
“This is it,” he says. “The secret destination you never knew you always wanted to go to.”
A rooftop pool spills out in front of us. The room is contained by floor-to-ceiling – and the view, from the sparkling lights of the funfair below to the twinkling lights of the harbour and city, takes my breath away. But it’s the ships lit up far out at sea that steal my heart. They feel so close I feel like I could reach out and scoop them up into my hands.
A small yacht motors by on its way back to port. Zack lifts his hand and gives it a solemn wave and I get a lump in my throat. I know its his way of showing me that he remembers our conversation on his balcony. And I realise that that was when it all began for Zack and I, and I didn’t even realise at the time. Zack smiles warmly down at me and I know that he totally gets me.
“I’ve been trying to get you to notice me for a long time, Hope L’Amour,” he says in a husky voice.
“You have my full attention,” I whisper as I touch his cheek.
And then we KISS and it feels so good it’s like we’re floating in the sky, far out at sea above the ships, amongst the shining stars.