Mallorcan Magic – Episode 03

Next morning, Saturday, Eira stirred in her comfortable bed in Helen’s guestroom and looked at her alarm clock. She pushed her feet into fluffy mules, pulled on a robe and went to find Helen.

Her friend was sitting at the dining-table, a pile of exercise books beside her. She put down her red pen as Eira appeared.

“Hi, sleepy-head, welcome to the world!”

“How long have you been up?” Eira sat down. “My clock says half past nine.”

“I think you’ll find it’s still set on British summertime. We’re an hour ahead here.”

“I didn’t think about that. I must have lost track of time last night − I still can’t get over that super meal we had.”

“We thought you’d like that restaurant.

It’s one we keep for special occasions.”

“I’m flattered.”

“I love spicy Spanish food and it seems you do, too.” Helen passed the coffee pot. “I’ve been up since eight. How about we go out for brunch in a couple of hours? You can grab some fruit till then, if you want.”

“Just coffee is fine.”

“I’ve finished marking one class’s homework. I can do the other pile next and after that, the weekend’s devoted to sightseeing or shopping.”

“Using Antonio’s schedule?”

“He’s such a tease, yet when he’s at work he’s as sharp as one of the blades in the hotel kitchen and totally professional.”

“From what he was saying, it sounds as if his father’s delegating a lot to him.”

“He is. I’m surprised Antonio and I ever got together, with the hours he works.”

“Just think, if you hadn’t gone to that party you told me about, you two might never have met.”

Helen stretched.

“I sometimes wonder if it was fate. I almost didn’t go out that night because I didn’t feel much like socialising.”

“I know that feeling.”

“Do you know, Antonio told me he nearly didn’t go, either? What clinched it was knowing he’d be letting down his old friend by not going.” Helen sighed. “He intended staying for one hour only before sloping off. He said he took a sip of wine, turned around and locked gazes with me.”

“You’re a lucky girl, Helen.”

“I know.”

“And I meant what I said last night at dinner. I don’t intend interfering with your plans while I’m here. I’ll be perfectly happy tootling around on my own.”

“Well, Antonio can tell you the best excursions to book. It’s part of his job, keeping the guests happy, remember.”

“So where are we off to today?”

“I thought perhaps you’d like to come shopping first. It’ll be fun, having each other for company, and I need to buy an outfit for a friend’s wedding. She’s a colleague and she’s marrying an airline pilot. Rather her than me!” “Don’t pilots make good husbands?” Helen wrinkled her nose.

“Rafael’s good-looking enough, without having four gold rings on his uniform sleeve. Add dark glasses and you get the kind of look women swoon over. The type of man Arthur Hailey had as a character in that book he wrote about an airport.”

“I know the one. The married pilot has a fling with a stewardess.”

“I rest my case. Some men are best avoided.”

“But that was to help make a sensational story! Not all pilots are like that, surely? Anyway, you’re not in love with one. Antonio’s gorgeous but anyone can see he’s devoted to you. When he looks at you, it’s as if he’s lit up from inside.”

“Aw, thank you, Eira. I know how I feel about him, of course, but there’s always a tiny scrap of doubt, knowing his dad must wish I wasn’t around.”

“How old is Antonio?”

“He’s twenty-eight next month.”

“Three years older than you. Perfect. He’s probably poised to propose, so that father of his had better wake up and invite you round to Sunday lunch soon.”

“I’m quite prepared to speak only when spoken to.”

“I can tell you like the idea – you have that “floating on a fluffy pink cloud” look on your face again.”

Eira chuckled as Helen blushed.

“More importantly, who does the cooking for all those males?” Eira asked.

“There’s a housekeeper who keeps the place tidy. Their lunch and evening meals come from the hotel kitchen but sometimes Antonio cooks at home.”

“I thought Spanish men viewed the kitchen as a woman’s place.”

“Remember, these are hoteliers and their housekeeper needs to have a day off.”

“Dare I ask what happened to those other young men you used to mention?” Helen gasped.

“Gosh, I’d forgotten about Carlos and his mates. Those boys were friends or relations of some of the teachers who were trying to help me feel more at home.”

“Being able to speak the language must have helped you settle.”

“Yes, but learning a foreign language doesn’t mean you know all the slang. Antonio says I speak very correct Spanish.” She grinned. “He’s taught me one or two expressions that I know are naughty words but I wouldn’t dare show those off at school, now would I?”

“Not if you value your job, señorita!”

“Now, I must get on and later, we’ll take the bus into town. You’ll adore Palma.”


Tracey Steel

Having worked on a number of magazines over the years, Tracey has found her perfect place on The Friend as she’s obsessed with reading and never goes anywhere without a book! She reads all the PF stories with a mug of tea close by and usually a bit of strong cheese too!