Hotel Vendome

Hotel Vendome by Danielle Steel Read Free Book Online

Book: Hotel Vendome by Danielle Steel Read Free Book Online
Authors: Danielle Steel
Tags: Danielle Steel
and in reality it was as though she had no mother at all, except for the pain in Heloise’s eyes when she talked about her, which cut through her father’s heart like a knife every time he saw it.
    When the plane landed in London, their driver was waiting for Heloise with a Bentley. He took charge of Heloise’s luggage and chatted with her on the way to their house in Holland Park. Heloise had slept on the plane, and she was holding her doll on the ride to the house. It gave her comfort and made her feel less scared.
    The driver walked her up the front steps, and a butler let them in, and he smiled as soon as he saw her and walked her upstairs to a sunny sitting room where Miriam was nursing her infant son. Her eighteen-month-old daughter was careening wildly through a sea of toys.
    Heloise hadn’t seen her mother in a year but was used to her new look from pictures in magazines. Miriam was in People magazine all the time, and Heloise kept them all. Since leaving Hugues, she had dyed her hair white blond and cut it short. She had a row of diamonds in pierces up her ears, and she had tattoos on both arms. She was wearing a T-shirt and tight black leather jeans. She held an arm out to Heloise as she nursed the baby, whom Heloise had not seen before. She had met her half-sister Arielle the year before, and she squealed with delight when she saw Heloise’s doll.
    “What a pretty doll.” Miriam smiled at her as though she were someone else’s child.
    “Eva Adams gave her to me. I found her diamond bracelet that she’d lost in some towels,” Heloise explained almost shyly. Her mother became more of a stranger to her every time they met. Miriam had replaced her with two babies by a man she loved. Heloise was the reminder of a life and man she wanted to forget. And Heloise had no mother figure to replace her with, except the people who worked at the hotel. The only real parent she had now was her father. And she missed having a mom to cuddle up with, even though she loved her father.
    Miriam leaned over and kissed her then, over the baby’s head. He looked up at Heloise with interest, and then went back to nursing. He was a chubby, happy-looking baby. His older sister Arielle climbed into her mother’s lap then, cuddling her mother and brother. There was no room for Heloise in her mother’s arms, or her life. And a few minutes later Greg walked in and looked surprised to see Heloise as he glanced at his wife.
    “I forgot you were coming,” he said to Heloise in a heavy cockney accent. He had far more tattoos than Miriam and “sleeves” of them on both arms, and he was wearing jeans and a T-shirt and black cow-boy boots. They were completely different from anyone in Heloise’s world, certainly her father, although she occasionally saw rock stars at the hotel. But she couldn’t even imagine her mother with her father now. She had no memory of the time when they’d been married, and they were totally different from each other. Miriam looked almost identical to Greg and in total harmony with him.
    Greg was pleasant to Heloise, although she never felt totally at ease with him. He smoked heavily, used bad language, and had a drink in his hand most of the time. Hugues had warned Miriam that he didn’t want any drugs around Heloise while she was with them, and she promised that there wouldn’t be, although Greg usually smoked dope openly at home. She asked him not to during Heloise’s visit, and he said he’d try to remember, although he had a joint in his hand most of the time.
    They celebrated Christmas Eve together the next night, and her mother gave her a black leather jacket that was too big and a black Chanel watch with diamonds on the face that was unsuitable for a child her age and showed how little she knew her. Even a stranger like Eva Adams had chosen better gifts for her. Greg gave her a small guitar that she didn’t know how to play, and they went to visit his parents in Wimbledon on Christmas Day.

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