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CHAPTER 3 Secrets

The first time I woke up, it was completely dark and quiet. The moon had disappeared. I was lying on my side and Robert, also on his side, was lying behind me, our bodies touching, both of us in an 'S' shape. His arm was over mine, and he was fast asleep. I couldn't tell which one had curled up to the other, first.

It was a chilly June night, and I was happy Robert's body was keeping me more or less warm. We hadn't bothered to look for a duvet after he had pulled my mattress out onto the terrace, even though there had only been a thin bed sheet over us. We'd also been too tired to get changed and had taken off our over-clothes and gone to bed in our swimsuits.

We hadn't talked anymore after I had mentioned to him that I'd gone out with his friend, Shane.

The second time I woke up, it must have been about six o'clock. The direct sunlight had woken me up. It was much warmer, and Robert was no longer lying close to me. I had my back to Robert and wondered whether he was awake, too. Then I realized I didn't even know whether he was still lying down beside me, on my mattress, so I quickly turned around to find out.

He was facing me, with his eyes wide open.

"Good morning," he said with a smile. The sunlight must have woken him up, too. "Hey," I replied with another smile. I wondered if he was aware of the fact that he had wrapped his body around me during the night.

"Did you sleep well?" He seemed to be in a good mood. I was surprised, considering his irritation before we'd fallen asleep.

"Yes, indeed. Though, right now, I feel very scruffy."

"So do I." He flashed me one of his big smiles that meant he was up to something. "What?"

"Do you care for an early morning swim before we change for breakfast?" His eyes were now glittering, and it definitely wasn't because of the sun.

I pretended to hesitate. Then I sprang out of bed and shouted, "The last one in the pool is a rotten egg!"

It was Sunday, and we spent the rest of the day with our family without the two of us getting a chance to talk. That night, we slept out on the terrace again, on my mattress.

On Monday, I left for the office at the crack of dawn. I wanted to get a few things done before going to court in Nice. At noon, I strode out of the courtroom into the huge hall.

He was standing there.

Robert was leaning against the wall, at the other end of the hall, with his hands in his pockets. He was wearing beige jeans and a light grey polo tee-shirt. Like always, his straight dark hair was a little messy in the front, over his forehead.

He looked stunning.

As soon as he saw me, he gave me a grin, instantly mesmerizing every woman in the courthouse, including myself. Robert didn't appear to have noticed the effect he'd just had on us all.

I walked up to him. "What are you doing here?" I asked, unable to conceal my surprise.

"I thought I'd come and take you out for lunch. Of course, I'd understand if you have other plans. And by the way, you look good in your gown."

"Oh, thank you." I loved it when he gave me compliments, and now, more than ever. "No, I don't have any plans," I lied. I'd promised to call a lawyer friend in Nice to have lunch with her if I didn't get out of court too late. So that would have to wait for another time.

We walked out of the courthouse, down the steps and across La Place du Palais. I noticed all the people I saw every week at Le Bistro glaring at us. Almost none of them had ever met Robert.
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