For the past three days, the chanting of the muezzins calling Believers to arise and pray, had awakened Delphine around four in the morning.     

          ‘Just as well,’ she murmured to herself, stroking her breasts and wondering whether this Radouan would show up.

Slipping out of bed, she showered, donned a terry cloth robe, brushed out her long honey colored hair and sat down to apply minimal make up.  Make up and wake up, yes... Wake Up! WOAH!  What was she doing examining her lips and her eyes in the mirror when…what was it about him? 

She’d tempted him there in the restaurant, she knew it, but really it was his companion, Lady Antonia Howard, who had interested her, spotted her right away. And when her boyfriend stared back at her and rubbed his knees under the table… Was she insane?  Calling him…What a crazy thing to do?  Was it his eyes, so bright, so dark?  Or was it his mouth with that strange smile? 

          All afternoon she’d been trying to recapture him in her mind’s eye but could not; yet she could not forget him either - which was why she had finally telephoned him she supposed.  The feelings he had aroused in her were strong and confirmed her intuition that they were destined to meet… or something.  She could have chosen not to go to the ladies room but she had to face it; she went hoping he would follow her.

And now, how can she explain to him that she can’t do anything until her shoot is over? Three more days: seven pages in Vogue, French, English and American Vogue and she has to look good, look perfect, not tired and fucked up!  If all went well, soon she would be ascending the staircase of fame and fortune to the realm of super models - quite a different future than the one which faced her when she was studying Psychology at the University of Toulouse. Yes, she has to look great because this is her big chance, not let her passions interfere just because some fabulous looking guy wanted… but what did he want?

          Her travel clock ticked away. She calmed herself by straightening up her room.  Then just before five, there was a soft knock on the door, she counted to twenty, opened it a crack and saw a saint in a long white robe standing there in the dark, the whites of his eyes shining.

          She stood aside. Radouan ambled in, and casually brushing past her, had checked out her suite. Then he turned and they fell into each other’s arms.

          ‘I have to be out of here looking great by seven thirty’, she whispered.

          ‘Let’s not waste any time then.’ Radouan purred and kissed her.

          ‘Really, I think I have to put off doing anything with you until my shoot is over.’ she said, ‘I have to look rested.’

          ‘How long will that be?’

          ‘Three days, I’m afraid.’

          ‘Three days!’ He laughed softly. ‘What are you talking about? In three days the world could end!  Inch Allah!  We never know.  But don't worry, I will see you are ready and believe me your photographs will be the best of your career...you’ll see.’

Rehearsing this moment since he first saw her, he slid his hand down her back.  ‘Zouk zween, ouridoo nahoui, zappi amer bil mani he whispered in Arabic. ‘You want it, I know it.’

          ‘Really, you have to leave right now and come back in three days,’ she replied nervously, ‘maybe you’d like a drink at the mini bar?’

          ‘On the head of my mother,’ he whispered hoarsely, ‘believe me, if I leave you now I will never come back!’

          ‘That’s your decision, not mine; she tried to smile; ‘only three days, it’s not a lifetime… Right now I mustn’t look tired, like I’ve just been fucked or something... the cameras, you can’t fool them.’

          ‘What is your age?’

          ‘Twenty four.’

          ‘In two hours you will look eighteen again.’

          ‘That’s what you say. Please, you’re just making this harder.’

           Although trembling with anger, Radouan released her and walked to the door. ‘You’re makin' a big mistake,’ he said. ‘Why did you call me back? Why did you let me come here?  You know we’re fated to meet, you know that, now you’re spoiling everything.’  

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©Elwyn Chamberlain 2006