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Desert Fantasies(92)

By:Trish Morey

“What? Is that a house?”

He left the Jeep and came around to her side, taking her hand to help her out. “It’s our house. Ours and Rashid’s and Bethanne’s. She doesn’t know yet. He’ll bring her out next week. We have it first.”

Ella looked around in astonishment. “You built it here miles and miles from anywhere? How could you get all the materials, how—never mind, money can achieve anything. This is fantastic! I want to see.”

He smiled and led her across a flagstone patio to the front door. Lounge chairs rested on the patio, which gave a perfect view of the pool and palms. Opening the door, he swept her into his arms and stepped inside. “Isn’t this what newlyweds do?” he asked at her shriek of surprise.

“Yes, in Italy. I didn’t know you did it in Quishari.” She laughed, traced the new scar on his face and pulled his head down for a kiss. She was so full of love for this husband of hers. And so grateful for his full recovery—with one or two new scars which only made her love him more.

“Why not at our home when we married?” she asked.

“We had the reception there—how could I carry you over the threshold? You were already inside.”

“Hmm, good point.”

He set her on her feet and turned her around. The small room was furnished with comfortable items. Large windows gave expansive views. Two of her glass pieces were on display. Taking a quick tour, Ella discovered the small kitchen, bath and two large bedrooms.

“This is so lovely,” she said, returning to the center of the main room. Khalid had done all he could to make her life wonderful. He’d backed her art exhibit, which turned out wildly successful. She had orders lined up for new pieces.

They’d attended Bethanne and Rashid’s wedding in Texas. And then done a quick tour of several larger cities in the United States which Ella had enjoyed with her new husband.

On their way back to Quishari, they’d stopped in Italy so he could meet her parents. Even settled Giacomo’s remaining debts, with a stern warning to never gamble again—which only reiterated what her father had decreed. She’d protested, but Khalid had insisted he wanted to have harmonious relations with his new in-laws.

Which she still hoped for with his mother. One day at a time, she reminded herself. At least they’d been married in Quishari, which Madame al Harum liked better than Rashid and Bethanne’s wedding.

“The best is outside. Come,” Khalid said, drawing her out and around to the side of the house where stairs led to the flat roof.

When they reached the upper level, Ella exclaimed at the loveliness. Pots of flowers dotted the hip-high wall. Several outdoor chairs and sofas provided ample seating. The view was amazing. Slowly she turned around, delight shining in her eyes.

“This is so perfect.”

He smiled at her and drew her into his arms. “I wanted something special for us to get away to sometimes, just the two of us. To enjoy the quiet of the desert and the beauty of this oasis.”

She smiled, then frowned a little.

“You don’t like it?”

“I love it. It’s just…” She bit her lower lip and glanced around, then back at Khalid. “It won’t be just the two of us.”

“Rashid and I plan to keep the other informed when we want to use the house. We won’t be here when they are. Or I can just tell him forget it, we want it all ourselves.”

“Don’t you dare. It’s not that. We’re having a baby,” she blurted out. “Darn, that was not the way I wanted to tell you,” she said.

Staring at his stunned face, she almost laughed. “Well, we’ve been married for four months and not exactly celibate. What do you think?”

“I’m stunned. And thrilled.” With a whoop, he lifted her up and spun her around. “How are you feeling? When is it due? Do we know if it’s a boy or girl? How long have you known?”

She laughed, feeling light and free and giddy with happiness. She thought he’d be happy; this confirmed it.

“You know Bethanne and Rashid are expecting. She gave me a full rundown on the symptoms she was feeling, from morning sickness to constantly being tired. Only, I don’t have any of those. I feel fine. But there are signs and I had it confirmed yesterday. I was going to tell you last night, but then you had that meeting, and then we flew to Quraim Wadi Samil and here we are. Really, this turns out to be the best place to tell you. I loved our picnic here months ago. I’m so thrilled with this new house. We’ll have only happy memories here. Do you know we’re probably going to have our baby within weeks of Rashid and Bethanne’s?”

“So our child will grow up with theirs,” he said with quiet satisfaction.

She nodded, already picturing two small children playing on the beach by their home. Or coming here with parents to explore the desert.

“Do you think we’ll have twins?” she asked.

“Who cares—one at a time or multiples, we’ll love them all.”


“Don’t you want a dozen?” he teased.

She laughed. “No, I do not. A couple, maybe three or four, but not twelve.”

“Whatever makes you happy. You have made me happy beyond belief. I love you, Ella.” He drew her into his arms and kissed her gently. “You changed everything beyond what I ever expected.”

She smiled at him, not seeing the scars, only the love shining from his eyes. “You are all I’ll ever want,” she said, reaching up to kiss him again on the rooftop of a house made for happy memories.