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Seven days in Greece

A tale of romance between an author and his muse
Day One
"May I take your order sir?"

Dylan looked up at the waitress. Her American accent was somewhat incongruous in a taverna in the small fishing village of Agios Nikolaos on the Peleponnese peninsular of mainland Greece.

The waitress smiled. Dylan had been caught off-guard momentarily but swiftly regained his composure.

"Er yes, could I have the feta in filo, honey and sesame to start and.... the souvlaki for my main. And could I have a Greek salad with my main?"

Dylan looked up at the waitress as he handed the menu back to her. She had the most captivating blue eyes

"Certainly, and something to drink?"

Those eyes. Dylan dragged himself back to reality.

"Half a litre of the house white please."

The waitress nodded, took the menu from Dylan and walked away. Dylan's eyes followed her across the courtyard to the rear of the taverna. The evening sun percolated the vine covered pergola over the courtyard, casting dappled shadows on the waitress as she walked.

She was cute. Beyond cute.

Dylan's Greek vacation was all about getting some writing done. His agent was frustrated to the point of exasperation that Dylan had so far failed to follow up the success of his debut novel. Dylan had spent much of his advance already without producing so much as a chapter, and if truth be told he was devoid of inspiration. He hoped that a change of scene would spark some inspiration.

The first day of the vacation had been about relaxation. The view from the veranda of Dylan's rented hilltop villa was stunning, and as he had sat there sipping a glass of wine Dylan began to unwind for the first time since the whirlwind of becoming a publishing sensation had caught him in its grip. It was only the fact that the villa's fridge was empty that Dylan had even ventured out that night, but as he watched the waitress walking towards him carrying a carafe of wine Dylan was glad that he had.

Dylan didn't get much writing done in the taverna that night. His tablet sat propped at an angle ready for action but he could not tear his gaze from the waitress long enough to concentrate on his work. Towards the end of the night he pretended to be busy just so he could stay a while longer. He eeked out his time like a child trying to avoid going to bed, but as the lights in the kitchen switched off he knew the night was drawing to a close.

The waitress walked in his direction and Dylan made the international signal requesting the bill, scribbling a finger on his raised palm. She smiled and sat down beside him at the table. She bill placed the bill down with one hand, and a half litre carafe of wine and a glass with the other.

She slowly poured herself a glass of wine and topped up Dylan's glass.

"This is on the house as you were..." she smiled a wicked smile "...such an attentive customer."

Dylan felt his cheeks blush.

"I'm Heather"

"Dylan. I'm Dylan."

"Nice to meet you Dylan. I take it you enjoyed the hospitality. "

"Oh yes you were...it was first class."

"Good. Got to keep the customer satisfied as Simon and Garfunkel once said."

Dylan chuckled. Heather smiled cocquetishly as she sipped her drink.

"What brings you here Mr Dylan?"

"I was hungry."

"No here. To Ag Nik. It's not exactly the most exciting place for a guy in his....late 30s?"

"Close, I was 40 last birthday. I came to spend a week without distractions doing some work."

"No distractions?". Heather refilled her glass and just as quickly emptied it. "You came to the right place."

Something was in the air but Dylan wasn't quite sure what.

"Tonight's my first night. I'm just getting my bearings really."

"Well maybe when your distraction free vacation has put a few more words on the screen of that thing you can come back and share the fruits of your labours."

Heather stood up and gathered the glasses and the carafe which by now were empty. Dylan's hands fumbled in his pocket and he pulled out 30 euros to cover the meal and a generous tip. Heather took the notes and smiled as Dylan rose to his feet.

"Thank you Dylan. Y'all can come again"

Heather kissed Dylan on the cheek. With a wave and a backwards glance over her shoulder she was gone.

Heather set the glasses down on the kitchen counter. Her heart beating heavily. She didn't normally flirt with the customers and mean it. She caught a glimpse of Dylan through the door. He was still looking in her direction. She retreated into the shadows and kept watching as this strangely captivating man picked up his tablet and left the restaurant.

Day two
Dylan woke the next morning having having slept little. Every time he closed his eyes he saw her face. He knew that if he didn't do something decisive immediately this girl could become an obsession and derail any hopes of doing any work worthy of the name. That morning he got into his hire car and drove almost two hours to the historic Byzantine complex at Mystras.

On top of a mountain, in the ruins of a castle over 600 years old and looking out over the plains of Sparta, Dylan was in an ideal place to take himself out of the here and now. Only, the here and now wouldn't leave him alone. Thoughts of Heather came to him again and again. He climbed to the highest point of the castle and lay on his back. The sky was of the clearest purest blue. A colour he rarely if ever saw back home in England. He closed his eyes and she was there again.

She was still in his mind when he got back to the villa that evening. He wanted to see her in the flesh again, but he knew to do so would be to admit defeat. He needed to work. He really really needed to work, but he really really wanted to see her again.

That night, Dylan stayed in the villa with a bottle of wine, a ready-meal from the local supermarket and his laptop. The white screen stared at him, taunting him. The words would not come, and once more his thoughts turned to her. Dylan went to bed early that evening. It was the only way of resisting temptation. A temptation that during the night he yielded to in his dreams.

---------------------

He didn't return that night. She had thought he would. She hoped he would. Every time a new customer walked into the courtyard she thought it might be him. None of them were.

How could she be so foolish? How could a customer flip her emotions about like this after just one evening?

Day three 
Dylan woke early and decided to walk the mile or so to the beach. He dropped his backpack on the sand. The crystal clear waters before him were so inviting with small crests of waves just breaking before the shore and casting a light foam upon surface before receding. The sun on the back of his neck and the sand between his toes brought back memories of childhood, and for the first time since he met her something had relegated Heather from the forefront of his mind.

From his backpack Dylan pulled a towel and laid it on the sand before unceremoniously flopping onto it.

"Ouch"

Dylan slipped his hand under the towel and removed a medium sized rock and tossed it aside before pulling off his t-shirt. Having donned his sunglasses and slathered himself in sun cream Dylan was ready. He switched on his tablet and began jotting ideas. For once the ideas were flowing. If not the plots, then certainly the characters. In particular one character. The young Greek ingenue called Elli was to be his central character. Over the course of the morning her character gradually developed and morphed into a young waitress from a backwater fishing port.

A screech of bicycle brakes broke Dylan's concentration. He looked over to the source of the noise and his stomach flipped. There she was. Elli, no Heather. It was Heather. He watched her lean her bike against a tree, and take a snorkel and flippers from the pannier. Dylan partially hid his face with his tablet as he watched her undress. She pulled her t-shirt off over her head revealing her ample breasts held in a bikini top. As she slid her shorts down to to reveal her curvacious backside Dylan felt his cock stir.

This was ridiculous, he thought. You don't get aroused by girls on the beach! But this wasn't girl. This was Heather.

He watched transfixed as she tied her hair back. The action of reaching her hands behind her head lifted her breasts, creating an even more alluring outline to her body. Her erect nipples poked through the thin fabric. Dylan's cock started straining against his shorts.

He watched as she walked towards the sea. He smiled as she shuddered at the chill of the water lapped around her upper thighs. Dylan's thoughts turned to that water. Oh how he wanted to be that water, lapping around her and then enveloping her as she slipped under the waves. Heather surfaced and shook her head, her pony tail shedding water as it swung side to side.

Dylan knew he was in trouble. This woman didn't have to do anything more than flick her head to captivate him. She donned her snorkel, mask and flippers and plunged her head below the waves. Dylan watched as her body, bum, her legs and then her flippers slipped from view.

He had to go. He had to go or he would be tempted to wait for her to re-emerge from her swim. He didn't know if he could control himself in those circumstances. It was time to leave.

As he re-packed his belongings Dylan cast occasional glances towards the sea, catching sight of a flipper splash, buttocks or the spout of Heather's snorkel.

"Dear god what is happening to me?", he thought. "I'm not some teenager, I can control my emotions".

Back at his villa however, all Dylan could think of was Heather. Whenever he attempted to write he found the character of Elli taking on more and more of Heather's qualities. When he swam in the pool, all he could think of was Heather's gorgeous body disappearing under the waves.

Dylan drove to the town of Stoupa that night. He needed to avoid Heather for his own good. Eating his meal of souvlaki and Greek salad he cast a pitiful sight, uttering barely a word to the taverna's staff before sloping off home to the villa.

---------------

Heather had seen him on the beach that morning, and she knew he had seen her. She wasn't an exhibitionist by nature but nor was she averse to showing off her body.

She took great delight in stripping her clothes off knowing that he was watching. Slowly revealing her body. She knew exactly what she was doing. She knew the reaction she wanted. Her curves were a great asset. They always had been, and she knew how to use them to lure a man.

From the corner of her eye she snuck a glance at Dylan. Was that a bulge in his shorts? It had to be. She chuckled to herself. He was so cute hiding behind his tablet. He would make a lousy spy.

Heather had planned to emerge from the sea like a latter day Ursula Andress, ready to strike up casual conversation while the sea water ran in rivulets down her curves and caused her bikini to cling to her body. But when she stepped back onto the beach Dylan was gone. An impression in the sand was all that was left to show that he had been there.

He didn't eat the taverna again that evening. Perhaps she had misinterpreted the signs, though she definitely hadn't misinterpreted how she felt inside. There was something about this Brit abroad. Something but perhaps leading to nothing.

Day four
Dylan woke to the sound of rain the next day and decided to stay inside and work. The words flowed more easily. The plot started to fall into place. This was to be a love story. A story of a writer and his muse. Rather than letting thoughts of Heather distract him he used them as his inspiration.

This was good work. This might even be his best work. He could see and hear Heather so vividly in his mind's eye that writing from her perspective was simple. He loved inhabiting her persona and grew closer and closer to her in his mind.

As the outside world boomed and cracked with thunder and lightning Dylan typed words with a rapidity and a flow that he had never experienced. He barely noticed as a lightning strike cut the electricity off. It was only when his laptop was about to exhaust its battery that he paused from his flurry of activity. He saved his work and smiled. This had been a good day. But now with no electricity he had no way of preparing dinner. Buoyed by his day's work, without thinking it through he hopped into his car and headed into Agios Nikolaos.

The power was off in Ag Nik too. Taverna after taverna on the sea front was closed. Dylan was being inexorably drawn to one particular taverna. As he approached it he could see the orange glow and flicker of candle lights. It was open. Dylan paused, before entering the courtyard and finding a table.

There she was. Even in the dim light she was beautiful.

Perhaps it was accidental, but when Heather came to take Dylan's order she touched his hand. When she brought his meal she touched his shoulder. Each touch was like a shot of adrenaline through his body. He felt so alive.

-------------------

When she saw him enter the restaurant that night Heather had momentarily lost her composure. She was taking an order from a German family but now all she could think of was him. She watched him sit down and look over at her. She realised that the family had finished ordering and she had missed half of the order. As she took the order for the second time her mind kept drifting across the room to Dylan.

During the evening she made sure that she was the one to serve him. She wanted to see him and speak to him. Heather subtly touched him in gestures that could be interpreted as friendly if you were so minded, but were actually laden with more intent and meaning. The physical contact stirred her deep inside. She wanted him. She hardly knew the man, but she wanted him.

As the night began to draw to a close she knew she needed to act.

"Kostas. Do you have your guitar?"

The taverna's co-owner turned to her from his game of backgammon.

"I do, kopelia"

He smiled, as did Heather. She loved it when he used that affectionate fatherly word with her.

"Don't you think that this is the perfect time for a song and a dance? Everyone will remember dancing outside the taverna on the night the lights went out."

Kostas grinned. He knew she was right. He also suspected that she had an ulterior motive.

"Let me just finish this game and I will be out."

-------------------------

As he ate his dessert and sipped his wine Dylan heard the sound of a guitar begin to play. From the kitchen came a short, plump man playing a guitar and singing in a lush deep voice. The attention of everyone in the restaurant was drawn to him as he wandered from table to table. The mood of the taverna soared as the atmospheric lighting, the music and the wine proved infectious. At the first strains of Zorba the Greek Dylan felt someone take his hand.

"Come on."

It was Heather. She led him though the restaurant across the road and into the small town square beyond. Before he knew it, he and Heather had an arm around each other's shoulders. Other diners soon joined them forming a chain of holidaymakers and locals, dancing joyously and drunkenly to the music. Dylan was only peripherally aware of everyone else. Holding Heather was a moment of catharsis. He looked into her eyes and saw reflected back at him for the first time a glimmer of something. Something, more than the look a waitress usually gives a customer.

Before long a cheer rose from the crowd as the lights of Ag Nik burst into life. The dancing carried on for a few minutes before people began returning to the restaurant, the spell of candle lit dancing broken. Dylan turned to face Heather. They said nothing as his hands slipped to her waist. He drew her close and kissed her.

Her lips were soft and her eyes were closed as they kissed and embraced. This was everything that Dylan had imagined the moment would be. They slipped into the dark of the shadows and continued to kiss and caress one another.

"Heather!"

They were brought back to earth by the sound of a voice calling from the taverna.

"We'd best go back."

Dylan nodded.

Heather received a knowing look from Kostas when they entered the courtyard. Dylan sat back at his table sipping wine and typing on his tablet un til the last customers left.

"Would you like to come back to my place for a drink? The night doesn't have to end just yet"

"Why Dylan, aren't you forward?" Heather answered with a smile

"I have a busy day tomorrow and an early start. Do you mind if we don't? It's not that I don't want to..."

"That's ok. Just a thought."

She leaned over and kissed him.

"I will see you tomorrow no doubt. Sleep well Dylan."

----------------

In her room that night Heather could not stop grinning. She lay looking at the ceiling for hours, idly touching herself as she thought of him. She had wanted to go back with him. She really had. It was all she could do to prevent herself pouncing on him in the taverna. No, it was better this way. Better that they avoided complicating matters. As the night wore one and sleep remained elusive she regretted her decision more and more. She wished that she was in his arms.

Day five 
Dylan rose early the next morning. He was determined to make the most of the time he had left in Greece. Before his first coffee of the day had gone cold he had written 500 words. The emotion of the previous night poured out through his fingers onto his laptop.

By 8am he was ready for a break, and he walked to the beach for a swim. He half hoped to see Heather's bike but it was not there. The beach was empty. He stripped off down to his swimming shorts and half ran into the sea until the drag of the water caught his legs and he dived headlong under the waves.

The water was so beautiful. The bouyancy of the brine allowed him to lie on his back, bobbing around with the motion of the sea. The flawless blue sky seemed almost too perfect. As he looked up it felt like his spirit was being sucked upwards into the heavens.

Dylan turned to look out to sea. There was something about the emptiness and the relentless subtle flow of the tide towards him that was hypnotic.

From his right, he saw a shadow under the water moving towards him. Thinking it might be a shark he began slowly sculling backwards, knowing that the one thing you don't want to do around sharks is to splash around. The shadow changed direction towards him. Dylan began to panic. Before he could turn to swim away he felt his legs seized and pulled downwards. In the fraction of the second that he took to look down he felt his shorts being tugged down. As the top of a snorkel burst through the surface of the water a pair of lips surrounded his cock.

Dylan's head cleared enough to make out that the shape was human. He could feel a pair of hands gripping his waist and he felt his cock getting harder as a pair of lips slid up the shaft and released it.

A head popped out of the sea directly in front of him, turned to the side and spat out a mouthful of sea water while pulling up her mask.

"Hmm...underwater blowjobs...I didn't really think that one through"

Heather grinned at Dylan as they both trod water. She had seen Dylan whilst snorkling at the far end of the beach near an outcrop of rocks. She hadn't fancied her chances of getting so close to Dylan without being spotted, so when she reached him she didn't really have a plan. But what a way to announce yourself!

Dylan cupped her face in his hands and kissed her. Heather's hands moved to his waist, pulling herself closer as their tongues explored each other.

Dylan reached around Heather and tugged at the string to her bikini. The taut, breast hugging fabric fell loose. Dylan pulled the bikini round so that it was back to front, and pulled Heather close against him. Her erect nipples and soft breasts pressing against his chest.

Dylan's feet touched the sea bed, as Heather began wriggling. The next thing Dylan saw was Heather's bikini bottoms floating towards the shore.

"I want you to fuck me Dylan."

Heather's hand slipped under the waves and wrapped around Dylan's cock. Wanking him slowly and firmly as the pair of them were lifted up from the sea bed by a large wave. It didn't take much to bring Dylan to full hardness. Having done so Heather's arms moved over Dylan's shoulders, her hands linking at the top of his back. She raised herself up and wrapped her legs around Dylan's waist.

Dylan grasped the underside of Heather's thighs, pulling her up. His cock rubbing deliciously against her pussy. Heather pushed her hips forward, wanting to feel him against her and inside her. Their kisses became more frantic. Dylan tugged her earlobe with his lips before kissing down the side of Heather's neck.

She needed to feel Dylan inside her. The wait was almost too much. She rubbed her pussy against his cock hoping he would take the hint. A wave rolled in and Heather found herself lifted by it. When she sank back down it was onto Dylan's cock, and he slid inside her in the most exquisite way. Stretching her pussy with a delicious friction.

The next wave to come in lifted them both up. Heather's breasts compressed against Dylan's torso as she clung to him. As they sank back down she found herself so satisfyingly filled by him. Dylan flexed his hips and Heather rotated hers. Both seeking greater heights of pleasure in the other. Dylan lifted her higher, allowing her to sink down harder and deeper onto his cock with each successive swell of the sea.

Inch by inch, wave by wave the pair were slowly moving towards the shore. Towards the point at which the waves were breaking. The action of the sea took them higher and dropped them down with greater force. Heather leaned back, lying on the surface of the sea. Her hands linked at the back of Dylan's neck. Dylan's hands slid to the back of her knees. Her whole body elevated by sea, before being pushed by the sea and pulled by Dylan back onto Dylan's cock. Harder and deeper than before. The relentless rhythm of the sea complimented Dylan's thrusts, which grew stronger and stronger.

Heather felt herself building swiftly towards an explosive climax. Her gasps and groans grew louder, matched by the noises coming from Dylan. He could not have dreamed that fucking Heather would be like this.

Heather pulled herself back upright. In the process she slid off his cock. She pushed Dylan towards the shore, her hand around his cock as they splashed towards the shore. Dylan stumbled and fell backwards, briefly submerged before he rose back out of the water. Sat on the sea bed, the water was chest high, rising with the tide to just below Dylan's chin. Heather placed one hand on his shoulder as she sank deeper into the water, sliding her legs either side of Dylan's waist. Her other hand gripped his cock. She could feel the vein running down it's length engorged as she lowered herself onto Dylan's cock. She was too impatient by now to match the rhythm of the sea.. Her arms wrapped around him and she began riding him. Waves crashed around them but they were oblivious.

"Cum with me Dylan. I want your cum inside me." she gasped the words as she bounced up and down in his lap. She could feel his cock so deep inside her, and all of its contours each time it passed in and out of her.

Dylan's hands massaged and squeezed her tits. Pinching her nipples as her motions became more frenzied. His lips surrounding a nipple. His tongue circling and then flicking the nipple before he sucked the nipple and the surrounding breast into his mouth. Heather gripped Dylan's shoulders tighter, her nails digging in as she impaled herself over and over. Dylan knew he could not last much longer. Heather was much the same. She wanted this release. She needed this release.

"Heather. Heather."

Dylan looked up. She was so beautiful. His mouth moved to her other breast. His teeth tugged at the nipple before that too was sucked into his mouth. Heather arched her back, her face to the sky.

Dylan bucked his hips, meeting Heather's downward thrusts. He felt his cock reach the point of no return and still he clenched and held back for as long as he could. As his cock pulsed and released his cum the feeling was electric.

Heather felt Dylan tense up and then felt a warm rush inside her. She caught his gaze. Her lips found his. Her tongue pushed into his mouth. She could see the glazed look of a man caught in the moment. And at once she felt her orgasm ripple through her. Crashing and exploding into a glorious whole body feeling of exultation.

"Yes! Fuck, fuck fuck!"

Sentences were beyond her. She hadn't ever experienced a feeling like this. Such pure pleasure. So caught in the moment. So organic. Linked to the natural world in a new and profound way. She, him and the sea. The sun on her skin. She felt so alive. This moment was so perfect. So so perfect.

They sat there holding each other. Kissing, talking and laughing as the sea ebbed and flowed around them. Neither wanted to let go. Dylan wanted this to last forever. His thoughts turned to extending his stay. He had so many thoughts flitting through his mind, but he knew one thing. He knew he was in love.

A holiday making couple sauntered onto the beach, laughing and joking. Heather hurriedly re-arranged her bikini.

"My panties...where the fuck are my panties?"

She giggled as she scanned the sea.

"There!"

She pointed to the bikini bottoms, which by now had settled on the shore some twenty metres away.

"I'm on it."

Heather slide off Dylan's lap, to all intents and purposes looking as if she was wallowing in the shallow waters. Dylan pulled his shorts up, careful to check there wasn't an unfortunate bulge before rising to retrieve the discarded clothing. As discretely as he could he slipped the thin slither of fabric into his shorts and returned to Heather.

He bent down to kiss her.

"Well?"

"Well what?"

"Are you going to give them to me or not?"

Dylan chuckled and sat down beside Heather, kissing her tenderly. The fingers of his right hand slipping between Heather's legs and stroking her pussy. His fingers slipping up between her pussy lips and rubbing her clit.

"It would be a crime to cover this up. It needs to be free"

"Dylan!"

"Ok, if I must."

Dylan handed Heather the bikini bottoms under water and she shuffled herself back into them.

"That's better. A girl has to have certain standards y'know."

Heather grabbed Dylan's face and gave him a big wet sloppy kiss.

"C'mon, time to go."

They held hands as they walked up the beach, past the holiday makers without so much as sparing a glance.

"It's only 9am. Do you want to do something or go somewhere?"

Dylan hoped that the answer would be yes, and that the place they would go was his villa. Heather's answer disappointed him.

"I'm sorry Dylan," she touched his cheek tenderly "but I was telling the truth last night. I have a busy day today. I have to go to the wholesalers in Kalamata for Kostas because he's off visiting friends tonight, and then make some deliveries. I will only just get back in time for service. I was planning on leaving a little earlier than this so I'm cuttin' it pretty fine."

She winked. Dylan grinned.

--------------

That night in the taverna Heather served Dylan, an they chatted as much as they could throughout the evening. At the end of the night they kissed.

"Will you be at the beach tomorrow morning?" Dylan enquired with a glint in his eye.

"I was kinda wondering whether you fancied taking a trip?"

Dylan couldn't have been swifter to reply.

"Great when and where will we meet?"

Heather found his enthusiasm cutely endearing.

"Outside here at 9"

"It's a date!"

From the kitchen came a crash and the sound of crockery and glass shattering. Heather rushed across the courtyard. Lying amidst the mess was Agatha the cook. Tears were streaming down her face and she was holding her ankle.

"Are you hurt?"

Agatha gestured to her ankle, which was already swelling up. Her English wasn't good but it was clear she was in considerable pain. Heather was in a different kind of pain too as she realised that with Kostas away it would fall to her to drive the 80 minutes to Kalamata's hospital, wait for Agatha to be treated before driving home. In one calamitous slip the prospects of Heather and Dylan spending the night together had all but evaporated.

Heather was ashen faced as she came out of the kitchen. Dylan knew immediately that something was wrong. When Heather explained the situation Dylan offered to do the driving, but Heather insisted that one of them had to be fresh enough to drive them on their date the next morning. So they parted with regret, but were comforted by the knowledge that in a few hours they would be together again.

Day six
Heather knew where to take Dylan the next day. Sure it was a little cheesy but she was certain Dylan wouldn't complain. Dylan drove carefully along the winding coastal road. The beauty of the vista was matched by the dramatic vertical drops awaiting unwary drivers.

By the time Heather directed Dylan to pull into a car park at the water's edge he and Heather had exchanged life stories. Though they came from very different backgrounds they had much in common. The journey had flown by in one breathless conversation.

"Down here."

Heather held a pair of tickets in one hand and took hold of Dylan's hand with the other as they descended down steps hewn from the cliffs. The deeper they went, the cooler the air got. Dylan shivered involuntarily.

"Just where are you taking me?"

"You'll see soon enough."

They turned a corner and emerged into a cavern. As Dylan's eyes adjusted to the dim light he realised that at the far side of the cavern was an underground river. A man beckoned to them over and pointed to a shallow boat.

"I think he wants us to sail away with him."

"Then it would be mighty rude not to Dylan. Hop in!"

Dylan climbed in. The rocking of the boat unsettled him, but his qualms were eased when Heather sat down beside him.

"Welcome to the Caves of Diros. Please put on your life jackets."

Life jackets donned, the boatman propelled the small craft through a small tunnel at the far corner of the cavern.

"You are now in a vast underground river system that stretches as far as Sparta."

Dylan took hold of Heather's hand.

"Today we will explore 5,000 metres of tunnels. You will see stalgmites and stalactites."

Heather kissed Dylan on the cheek. Dylan turned, cupped a hand to Heather's cheek and kissed her lips.

The boat emerged into a small cavern. Around them were beautiful rock formations illuminated by coloured lights. Dylan and Heather barely registered the surroundings as they embraced and kissed. The boatman prepared to deliver the next part of his commentary but as he turned to speak he realised that his words would fall on deaf ears. The rest of the trip was spent in silence punctuated by the occasional burst of giggles.

The drive back to Ag Nik was broken by lunch at a beachside cafe en route.

Dylan picked up a fried shrimp and as he broke it apart to get to the sweet flesh he half whispered, "Do you really have to get back so soon?"

"Yeah. 'Fraid so. Kostas likes us there mid afternoon so we can get everything ready for the evening service."

Dylan tried to hide his disappointment. He didn't want his time with Heather to end. He resented having to share her.

That evening in the taverna he tried his best to look like he was working. But neither his food nor his tablet truly interested him.

Heather found that night's service extremely difficult. She was normally a diligent and attentive waitress. The kind that can double her wages with tips. That night she would be lucky to get even the basic 10%. She was too distracted by thoughts of Dylan. Every time she caught his eye she was transported back to that boat in the caves. To those kisses and thoughts of the beach the day before. She wanted service to be over. She wanted to be anywhere else as long as it meant being alone with Dylan.

As she entered the kitchen clutching a returned incorrectly taken order Kostas came over to her.

"Kopelia... Heather. You are not yourself today."

Heather wiped a tear from her eye.

"I know Kostas. I'm sorry. Something has happened."

"Someone, I think. I am not so simple as you might imagine."

"I know you're not."

Heather kissed him tenderly on the cheek and looked out of the door towards where Dylan was sitting.

----------------

Dylan stayed in the taverna until closing time. Heather sat down next to him clutching a glass of wine, her eyes glassy from crying.

"Tough night?"

"I was a disaster area."

Dylan took her hand and kissed it.

"Come back to mine tonight. Please."

"Dylan, I...I can't. Not tonight."

Dylan's smile dropped.

"Please don't be angry."

"I'm not angry. How could I be angry with you?"

He kissed her hand once more. Keeping eye contact throughout.

"Will I see you tomorrow Heather?"

"I hope so."

Heather raised Dylan's chin with a finger and kissed his lips tenderly.

"I really hope so Dylan."

Dylan didn't know how to take the non-committal response, except that it was clear that the evening was at a close.

He rose to his feet.

"Thank you for a wonderful and memorable day. I'm so glad I met you."

A tear rolled down Heather's cheek.

"Goodnight Dylan. Thank you."

Dylan was choked with emotion. He couldn't find words to say. A half hearted wave of the hand and a mouthed goodbye were all he could manage as he left the taverna.

Day seven
Dylan's last full day in Greece was productive. The outline of his new novel became clearer over the course of a morning punctuated only be a brief trip to the beach. A trip that failed to yield a sighting of Heather.

He spent the afternoon by villa's pool. Dangling his feet in the water as he typed more detail and more character development. Around 5pm Dylan finally put down his laptop. He was pleased that he had made such good progress, and was certain that his agent would be very happy.

He didn't want to leave Greece. Not now. Not having met Heather. As he showered he resolved to change his booking and stay for another week. But when he tried to make the change, he found that the flight a week hence was fully booked. He sent an email to his agent asking him to arrange something, and then prepared himself to head to Ag Nik and to Heather.

Dylan walked into the taverna's courtyard but Heather wasn't there. He took a seat, but the waitress who came to serve him was one of the locals. Dylan was rather taken aback.

"May I take your order sir?"

Those words. The first words he had heard from Heather's lips just a few short days ago.

"Umm, yeah. Could I have....sorry...is Heather working tonight?"

"I'm sorry sir. Heather is not here."

"Oh, ok err..."

"Would you like some more time to choose?"

Dylan's mind was a whirl with conflicting thoughts. Stay? Leave? Seek her out?

"I will come back in a few minutes."

It wasn't the waitress who returned a few minutes later. It was Kostas.

"You are Dylan, yes?"

"Yes, yes I am."

"I have this for you from Heather."

Kostas laid a small white envelope on the table, and after shooting a half apologetic and half pitying look in Dylan's direction he left without saying another word.

The envelope's size belied its weight. There was clearly more than a letter inside. Dylan's name was written neatly on front of the envelope. He slipped a finger under the gummed flap and opened the envelope. Inside was a folded piece of paper and a small grey pebble.

Dylan unfolded the piece of paper to reveal a handwritten note.

Dearest Dylan,

I know that this is not what you wanted to read or were expecting to read.

I have had to go home. I was always going home today. That was why I have been so up and down with you. Why did I have to meet you in my final week of a six month stay? Life is so unfair.

You told me that you were glad you had met me. The truth is that I feel the same. We have a connection and I really really like you.

But I am on a plane heading back Stateside and you will soon be heading back to your life in England.

By now you will probably have scanned ahead looking for an address or a phone number. You won't find one. 

The future can go one of two ways:

You can remember this as a sweet and magical vacation fling

or

You can keep the pebble that I fished from 'our' beach earlier today and every time you see it or touch it, you can think of me. I have one too. When your next book is published, bring the pebble and yourself to do a book signing in Austin, Texas. Then your pebble and my pebble can be reunited. If two pebbles from the Ionian Sea can be reunited 6,000 miles from home, then anything is possible.

I do not dare to place too much hope in seeing you again. If our paths never cross again it will not change how I feel about meeting you.

Now get writing!

Heather 

xxx

Dylan didn't know whether to laugh or cry. But he knew he had to get the book finished as quickly as possible. Austin, Texas was a long way away and there was no time to waste.

Postscript
If anything this book was a bigger success than Dylan's first. A major Hollywood studio had optioned it before it had even been published. It shot straight to the top of the fiction charts. This tale of love and loss in Greece had captured hearts across the globe.

He scanned the queue. There was no sign of her. He had been sure she would come, but 10 months was a long time. Time enough for her to forget him. His heart was full of excitement and expectation for the first hour, but as the second hour progressed he lost hope.

As he signed a copy for the largest man he had ever seen, the book shop manager whispered in his ear: "Once you have finished the last few, are you ok to record a quick interview for the radio."

Dylan smiled and handed the book to the man.

"Thank you so much for coming."

He turned back to the manager

"Yeah no problem. You really got a good sized crowd here today. It does wonders for the ego. I guess everything is bigger and better in Texas."

The manager grinned and slipped away. Dylan took another book from the pile and opened it, pen poised to sign. A female hand placed a small grey pebble on the pages of the book. Dylan reached into his pocket and placed his pebble next to it and looked up...

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