Jack put Lisa down gently on the spare bed in his sister’s room that she had used since she was a child, before kneeling down to study her face. She looked so vulnerable. Transfixed, he watched her chest rise and fall as the beat of his heart accelerated, which took him by surprise. The urge to lie down next to her and hold her in his arms was overwhelming. He hadn’t fully realised before, but she was beautiful. He had always been fond of her, but at that moment, he realised he was feeling something else. Something much more profound, a warm, fuzzy feeling his academic brain was struggling to assimilate. He gently picked up her hand and held it against his cheek, dipping his head a little further, for a closer view of her face.
He inhaled. Paco Rabanne. He remembered when she bought her first bottle of that perfume while holidaying with his family in France. She had randomly chosen it off the shelf, blowing half her spending money.
‘Sod the money, I smell wonderfully French!’ She said, dabbing her perfumed-soaked fingers against her neck.
‘Paco Rabanne is Spanish!’ Adele quipped.
‘French, Spanish, who cares… I smell exotically European.’
He remembered he had bent his head towards Lisa’s neck to inhale the perfume and saying, ‘It really suits you…’
Five years on and watching her sleep, he felt if he lost her, the bottom would fall out of his world. How blind he had been. He was about to lean forward and kiss her on the lips when his sister walked into the room.
‘It makes you wonder what life will throw at her next.’ she whispered, putting her hands on her brother’s shoulders. ‘She’s been so happy since she got the job at Stellar and now this. Her bloody mother has got a lot to answer for.’
Jack looked up at his sister and smiled. ‘I’m happy that she has us,’ he said, getting to his feet and giving his sister a hug before silently slipping out of the room.