Read Chapter One Part Two here
Read Chapter One Part Three here
Read Chapter Two Part One here
Read Chapter Two Part Two here
Read Chapter Two Part Three here
Andreas climbed into the limo next to Eleanna and gave her a warm smile.
“I apologize for my reaction back there,” he said. Eleanna glanced at him inquiringly. “I was startled to see you because you look exactly like a lady I used to know.”
“Really?” Eleanna wasn’t paying that much attention. She had too much on her mind to worry about what Andreas was saying.
“Yes,” he confirmed. “You could have been her twin sister.”
Something in his tone triggered her curiosity—was it sadness, regret, or something else? Besides, the word twin sister struck a sensitive chord deep inside her. “And where is that lady now?” she asked, searching his face.
“She’s dead,” he replied flatly, staring out the window as the limo took off.
“Oh, I’m sorry. Was it due to an accident or sickness?”
Eleanna stared at him, puzzled. What did he mean, neither? Andreas had said that the woman he knew looked exactly like Eleanna, so she assumed that they must have been around the same age. So dying out of old age was out of the question. Then how did she die?
“Suicide,” he added a moment later.
Eleanna drew a sharp breath. How sad, a young person taking her own life. “I’m sorry,” she whispered again, not knowing what else to say. “I feel sorry for her family. They must be devastated.”
Andreas remained silent, so Eleanna turned her attention to the road as the limo flew down the highway.
“Are we heading for Athens?” she asked.
“No,” Andreas replied. “We’re heading to Koropi. From there, we’ll take the company’s helicopter to Skopelos.”
“Koropi?” Eleanna had never heard the name before.
“Yes,” Andreas explained. “Koropi is a small town in the Mesogia Region, very close to Athens and the airport. It has one of the best and most efficient helicopter fields in Greece.”
“I see.” Eleanna felt a little disappointed that she wasn’t going to see Athens, after all.
“We can visit Athens sometime later on,” Andreas pointed out, probably guessing her thoughts. “I believe you’re staying in Greece for a few days.”
I’m staying for a lot longer than just a few days, Eleanna thought but remained silent.
The limo turned into the helicopter field. They boarded a blue-and-white chopper while the limo driver stowed her luggage. She sank into a soft leather seat and fastened her seatbelt as Andreas did the same next to her.
Apprehension washed over Eleanna as the powerful engine roared to life. Flying on a plane and a helicopter for the first time in her life, all on the same day, was more than she could handle.
“Don’t worry,” Andreas reassured her, shouting to be heard over the loud noise of the engine. “Our company’s pilots are the best.”
“I’m sure they are,” Eleanna mumbled to herself.
The helicopter took off smoothly, and the pilot maneuvered it toward the open sea. Eleanna had to admit that Andreas was right. The pilot seemed experienced and efficient.
The view of the sapphire sea, now much closer, and the beautiful necklace of islands spread across it, took her breath away.
“There we are,” Andreas remarked half an hour later, pointing toward the island they were approaching. “This is Skopelos.”
Eleanna let her eyes wander over the island’s lush pine and palm trees, scenic whitewashed villages, and exotic white-sand beaches. Oh, my God! This is paradise! She was instantly captivated by the place, which became world-famous when scenes from Mamma Mia were filmed there.
“It’s breathtaking,” Eleanna admitted.
“I know,” Andreas agreed. “I can never get over the beauty of this place.”
“Are you from here?” she asked and was surprised to see him tense up. It was just a simple question. Why get agitated like that?
“No,” he replied flatly and left it at that.
Eleanna remained silent but couldn’t help but wonder why her inquiry had caused such a reaction. Well, I don’t want to talk about my birthplace, either, she thought. But then again, I have serious reasons… And probably, so does he. She peered at Andreas closely.
The helicopter made a turn and lowered over a beautiful estate stretching for miles toward a secluded sandy beach. Eleanna drew a sharp breath. If there’s a heaven, then this is what it must look like. The sight of pine forests and olive groves juxtaposed with the sparkling blue sea left her mesmerized.
“Welcome to Skopelos,” Andreas said. “Have you ever been here before?”
Eleanna stared at him. Was this question just out of courtesy, or was there something more to it? Did he and his employer suspect that she might have visited her father on the island before?
“No,” she replied and watched his reaction closely.
“You’ll love the island,” he went on, not showing any signs that he might not believe her.
It was probably a simple question. However, Eleanna decided to be very careful with him. He seemed nice, but, after all, he was Ioannou’s assistant.
The chopper hovered over a small helicopter field at the highest point of the estate.
“You have your own helicopter field?” she asked, impressed.
“Yes, flying around for business we use the chopper a lot. Besides, many of our resort clients prefer to come to Skopelos by helicopter, instead of wasting time traveling by bus from Athens to Saint Constantinos’s port and then boarding a liner to Skiathos and Skopelos.”
“Yes, Skiathos is the first island in the group of Northern Sporades that the ferry makes a stop at before it reaches Skopelos.”
“I see,” Eleanna mumbled.
A few minutes later, they landed, and the pilot turned off the engine. Eleanna remained in her seat until Andreas unbuckled his seatbelt and disembarked.
“Come on,” he said, offering her his hand.
A black Mercedes Jeep was waiting for them, and the driver took Eleanna’s luggage and put it in the trunk.
She climbed inside, and Andreas sat next to her in the backseat. Driving downhill, she let her gaze wander over an amazing oasis of green. The paved driveway was shaded by rows of pine trees on both sides, mixed with walnut, fig, almond, plum, and many other kinds of fruit trees and flowering shrubbery in all shades. Driving around a curve, the sea of green was interrupted by a clearing dominated by a Greek Orthodox chapel.
After that, the driveway went downward through an olive grove that seemed to stretch all the way to the shimmering waters of the Aegean.
The resort’s impressive main building came into sight. Dozens of bungalows stretched from high uphill all the way down to the beach. Pink, red, and white oleander bushes were scattered everywhere while jasmine and bougainvillea climbed the walls of all the structures, creating an astonishing panorama.
The Jeep took a turn on another paved road, and they started going uphill again, leaving the resort behind. After they’d reached the top, Eleanna drew a deep breath. A stunning two-story colonial with white pillars was nestled among beautifully landscaped gardens that rolled all the way down to a secluded cove.
“Welcome to Angelina’s estate,” Andreas said.
Eleanna shot him a startled look. Angelina? Her father would never name this place Angelina… Or would he? What’s going on here?
Come back next Friday to find out what happens next...
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