Beausejour: Emily – Chapter VI

Whenever we went out in Luke’s car we took it in turns to provide the music for us to listen to. One evening when it was my turn I’d taken some music by Claude Debussy for a change. I explained to Luke how I loved ‘Arabesque’ which reminded me of playing on a swing when I was a child, we talked a bit about music reminding us of different memories and then I forgot all about it. Luke hadn’t.


A couple of days after his return we went for an afternoon walk with Mork and I noticed that Luke seemed pretty pleased with himself. I broke the rule about not asking about the work in hand and told him that he must be pretty pleased with whatever he had written that day as he was smiling so much: He didn’t really answer and after that I could tell he was trying to keep his pleasure in whatever it was, in check. He invited me back for a drink of Madame Espoir’s ice tea, a real treat on a hot afternoon.


At the side of the chateau was a terrace which led off Luke’s study and one of the other downstairs rooms. Luke had decided that something was missing, there were chairs and a table and the shrubs and wisteria made it a lovely place to sit in the evenings. When he asked me about it I suggested a garden swing.


He’d chosen a wooden one which looked very comfortable and finished the area off perfectly. I didn’t need to be invited to sit down and try it out. To my surprise he ran into his study and opened the doors wide. The opening notes of Arabesque could be heard from inside. So he pushed me gently to the music for a while and then sat down beside me and we listed to the end of the music together. When the music stopped we looked at each other, but neither of us moved.


All of a sudden Mork decided he’d like to join in the game on the swing too and the moment was lost.


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Beausejour: Luke – Chapter V

The same evening we went out for a drink on the port and I told Emily that I would be going to the States at the end of the week.  I like to think that she looked disappointed before she started to ask lots of questions about what people did on book tours and which cities I would visit.  She went quiet for a moment and then asked me if she could take Mork for his daily walks while I was away.  She even promised to keep him on the lead.  She was just like a little kid asking to be allowed to do something all on her own. I knew that Monsieur Espoir would be pleased to hear of her proposal so I agreed.

Up until then we hadn’t exchanged phone numbers and this seemed to be a good moment. Being a typical woman she hadn’t aclue how her phone worked, so we moved our chairs closer to each other so that she could see what I was doing.  I found it very hard to concentrate.  Her perfume was lovely and I wondered if her hair would feel as soft as it looked.  The spell was broken by the waiter who interrupted us as he couldn’t pass through because my chair was in the way.

When we got back to the car park Emily dropped her bag and I went round to her side of the car to help her pick her things up from the ground.  We were very close and I wondered how she would react if I reached out and pulled her to me. I hadn’t felt like this about another woman since before I met Suzie .

The day before I left I was walking towards the kitchen when I heard raised voices.  M. and Mme Espoir were arguing.  I had never known them to fall out before.  The subject of their disagreement was Emily, for what I could gather Madame Espoir thought that Emily and I should get together but Mr. Espoir maintained that Emily would never have an affair with a married man.  I backtracked and made a point of slamming a door so that they were aware that I was nearby;  I entered the kitchen to a stony silence.

I managed to fly back a day early.  I really wanted to get home again but couldn’t work out why.  There was no sign of Mork when I got home and Madame Espoir told me that Emily had gone off for a walk with him half an hour earlier.  It was a beautiful morning, too lovely to spend in bed with jet lag, I decided to take the Range Rover to see if I could find them.

They were sat on the beach.  Side by side like a pair of old buddies.  I wanted to creep up on them but Mork must have got my scent.  Emily managed to release him from his lead before he pulled her over.  I really appreciated the greeting they both gave me – it’s good to know you’ve been missed;  I even got a hug from Emily.

We finished the walk together and caught up on each other’s news.  It seems that Mork is very protective of Emily, she’d been bothered by someone and he growled on cue.  I always thought that he was too friendly to be a guard dog.

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2013 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,200 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 20 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Beausejour: Emily – Chapter V

That same evening we went into town for a walk around and a drink on the port and Luke explained that he was off to the States for a fortnight at the end of he week. I was disappointed he wouldn’t be around for a while, although I had been aware that the book tour was coming up soon. I told him I was pleased and asked him a few questions about the cities he would be visiting. Then I had an idea. I asked Luke if he minded if I took Mork for walks sometimes when he was away. I knew that Monsieur Espoir usually took Mork out in Luke’s absence, but didn’t always have the time to take him as far as he really needed. Mork and I were firm friends by now and I felt that I could handle him. I promised that I would always keep him on the lead. Luke thought that it was a great idea and was sure that Mr Espoir would be relieved not to have to take him out every day.

When we sat down at a café for a drink, I wanted to record his phone number onto my phone, but wasn’t quite sure how to go about it, so he moved his chair closer to mine so that we were really close. He then showed me what to do – not that any of it sunk in, I was too busy enjoying the closeness of him. The waiter passed by and politely asked Luke to move his chair round so that he could get through. The moment of being really close to each other had gone.

I went round to receive my final instructions the day before Luke left, hoping that he couldn’t see through the cheerful enthusiasm which I didn’t really feel. I was going to miss him, but I didn’t know whether his feelings were reciprocal.

So Mork and I went for a good long walk every morning before it got too hot, sometimes in the evenings too. Mork listened attentively to everything I confided in him. I told him that I was falling for his master though I knew that it was wrong as he was married to Suzie. I wondered out loud how Suzie treated him (Mork), but he didn’t answer. He was always well behaved and once or twice I was glad to have him with me. Not all tourists were the kind you like to meet on your own in a lonely place.

Perhaps I’d lost track of time, I didn’t realise that two weeks had nearly gone. Mork and I were sitting on the beach watching the waves early one morning. The air was chilly, but the sun was shining and there was a beautiful blue sky. We intended to continue along the beach, cross the bridge at the port over to the other side and walk along the cliff top for a few miles. There wasn’t a soul in site, the way we liked it. Lost in the rhythm of the waves, I didn’t pay much attention when I heard a vehicle pull in over by the road. Then I heard the door slam and footsteps and sighed at the thought of having our perfect peace broken by another human

Mork suddenly started to become excited and nearly pulled me over. I managed to hold him back and stood up to see Luke walking towards us on the path! What else could I do but let Mork off the lead so that he could race over to his master? How I wished I could do the same, I must admit that I felt like a gooseberry, looking on at their reunion.

Eventually their attention turned to me. Even though the sadness seemed to have faded from his eyes, Luke looked tired and needed a shave, we hugged in a friendly fashion and I realised just how much I’d missed him and I was pleased, as I’m sure Mork was, when he agreed to accompany us on the rest of our walk. He’d arrived home a day earlier than planned and knew the route we usually took so he only had to drive round for a while to find us. So we walked along the cliffs and on the way back I drank orange juice while Luke had breakfast and coffee at one of the cafés at the start of the cliffs. The owner even brought out a bowl of
water for Mork. Luke was full of his trip to the States, but also wanted to know all about our walks. I told him about how safe I felt when I was with Mork as he could look quite fierce when he wanted too, and that I would miss our walks. Luke assured me that I could always take Mork for walks if I wanted to, when he was away and come along whenever he was theretoo.

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Beausejour: Luke – Chapter IV

In order to make up for leaving Emily in the pool the day before. I sent Mork to her front door with a note inviting her to come for a walk with us the following afternoon. I tried to hide behind the wall but Mork came looking for me as soon as he realised I wasn’t at his side. The note was sopping wet and unreadable by the time we managed to retrieve it from his mouth. Emily seemed only too pleased to come out with us – I think it was something to do with the prospect of spending a sunny afternoon slaving over a hot iron that she had planned.

Mork excelled himself on the walk by being really obedient and well behaved, especially when being admired by the passersby. Emily wanted to know about the new book which I was adding the finishing touches to. I explained to her that I preferred to keep quiet on that one, which she respected. We talked about some of the others I’d written, she liked to imagine what happened next. The extent to which readers become involved in my characters never ceases to amaze me. I was agreeably surprised to find that the afternoon had passed so quickly in her company.

I was beginning to enjoy Emily’s company more and more. She was a good friend to me and occasionally we went into town in the evening to sit outside one of the cafés and watch the world go by. I talked to her about Suzie, she didn’t seem to mind, at least she didn’t let on if she minded. I started to learn about her life since she came to France to marry her French boyfriend 25 years before. We shared a lot of things that I don’t think either of us had shared with anyone else before.

It was around this time that ‘The Loose Woman’ started to leave comments on my blog. She made a refreshing change from my usual readers, leaving witty and provocative remarks.  Though there was something vaguely familiar about ‘The Loose Woman’ I couldn’t quite put my finger on…

One morning, a few weeks later, I finally discovered the identity of ‘The Loose Woman’. Emily had been very careful to cover her tracks and had never said anything to give me the impression that she knew that I was a blogger. Then she left a comment on my blog in her own name in the same style of ‘The Loose Woman’. Once I realised what had been going on, everything fell into place. I met her in the park later in the morning and could sense she didn’t know about her error. Suddenly her expression changed – the penny had dropped and she dashed off making excuses about not turning the cooker off. I shouted after her to be
careful not to burn herself. I couldn’t resist phoning later to tease her about it. She was flattered when I told her that she could write pretty well herself.

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Beausejour: Emily – Chapter IV

As I’d given myself the afternoon off in anticipation of lunch with Luke, when I got home I decided to allow myself the free time to catch up on my internet friends, update my blogs and do a little research. I wondered how many books Luke had written to in order to afford a château. I’d only managed a short story (unpublished) myself up to now. Then I discovered that he too had a blog. I spent a pleasurable hour or so reading back through the archives and it seemed that Luke was capable of writing well about anything and everything that took his fancy.

Although there was very little on his personal life, he wrote pretty regularly about Mork. A recent post of his left me with the urge to comment, I didn’t agree with his point of view and was wondering how to put my argument in a pleasant way when I had the idea of using another identity. I could use a pseudonym, but what should I call myself? Then I thought of our conversation on the way home the evening we visited Geraldine, I’d call myself ‘The Loose Woman’! So I left my comment, grinning to myself, wondering how he would respond.

Katie phoned me during the evening, as I knew she would. I told her that she was worse than her grandmother. She was cross that I’d been let down, I think she wanted him to sweep me off my feet or seduce me in the pool or something. I informed her that I wasn’t a teenager with uncontrollable urges and I hoped that Luke wasn’t either.

The next morning, before I started to work on my postcards, I checked the comments on Luke’s blog and was delighted to read his witty reply, to which I responded. I decided I was going to make mischief. He’d written another post about football, of all things – I didn’t really have anything to say there, so I started work.

After lunch I was tackling a pile of ironing which needed urgent attention when the bell rang. I was surprised to find Mork patiently sat in front of the door holding a piece of paper in his mouth. I asked him if the paper was for me and he turned to see if his master was going to answer, when he saw that Luke wasn’t there he went to look for him. I could hear Luke whispering loudly, he was hiding behind the wall;

“Go back stupid dog and give Emily the paper” Mork didn’t understand the game and came back to me but wouldn’t let go of the paper. I wasn’t sure I wanted it anyway as it was looking rather soggy by then. Eventually Luke stood up from behind the wall laughing and told me that the note was to ask me if I’d like to go for a walk with them. I was glad to be rescued from the ironing and agreed to go. We did managed to get the piece of paper from Mork but he didn’t give it up without a struggle.

We didn’t see too many people on the walk as it wasn’t quite holiday time, but Mork was much admired by passers by and he was very polite with them. While we walked, I tried to ask Luke how his writing was going but he explained to me that he didn’t like to talk about the work in hand. He answered all of my questions about books he’d written in the past, I always wondered what happened to the characters next. Sometimes he could tell me what might have happened to them, when he couldn’t he asked me what I thought came next. I think that we both enjoyed that game. The afternoon passed all too quickly for me, then it was back home to my ironing.

Over the course of the next few weeks I continued leaving witty comments and generally playing up and flirting on his blog. I think I was very lucky not to get banned. I was very careful not to leave my real identity and thoroughly enjoyed my anonymity. I continued to meet Luke in the village and we occasionally went for long walks with Mork together and once or twice into town during the long hot evenings to sit at a café on the port and observe the tourists. I had to watch what I said sometimes, so as not to give the game away that I was reading his blog and thought I was getting away with it. However, one morning I met them on my way back from the post office and as I was talking to Luke, I realised that I hadn’t used my pseudonym. He could see from my face that something was wrong so I invented a problem at home – I’d left a ring on top of the cooker switched on – and dashed off. I heard him call out after me;

“You mind you don’t get burnt”.

I turned on the computer hoping that I could get to the comments box and delete the comment before he saw it. After deleting the comment I scrolled down to re enter it as “The Loose Woman”. He’d already seen my comment and answered it, thanking me for revealing myself – so that was why he shouted after me!

A few minutes later the phone rang- who else could it be but Luke? Wanting to know if I’d turned the cooker off without burning myself, he was laughing as he spoke. He told me that he was glad that “The Loose Woman” was me and he remembered where I had got my pseudonym from. He’d also looked up my profile and checked out my blogs.

He complimented me on my style of writing!

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Beausejour: Luke – Chapter III

The weather changed and there was my book tour to organise so it was quite a while before I was able to ask Emily around for a swim and lunch as promised. Eventually I was free and the weather promised to be hot, so I invited Emily to come round. I told her that I would throw in ‘a guided tour’ of the chateau too.

Emily arrived on time and I went myself to let her in at the gate. She was beginning to look tanned, it really suited her. After she’d made a fuss of Mork and I’d introduced her to Madame Espoir, my housekeeper, I took her for the guided tour. We started right down in the bottom cellars and worked through to the top of the château. I’d managed to find out quite a bit of the history of the place since moving in and she asked lots of questions, so it took us a while to get round.

She wanted to know about everything. She appreciated the way in which I’d had the rooms decorated too, it was good to know that someone did. I had the impression that she would have been quite happy to shut herself up with the books in my study for the rest of the day.  There was a moment’s awkward silence when I showed her the bedroom that Suzie had chosen as her room on the rare occasions that she’d put in an appearance. The master bedroom where I slept was the other end of the corridor.

I knew that she would find the roof amazing, though she was disappointed that the lookout tower was only a ‘false’ one, added several years after the original building. It was a clear day so we had a perfect view of the island and watched the yachts sailing out from the port.  She likened me to Edward Scissorhands all alone in my château, looking down on the world.

We went back down to have a swim before lunch. Emily just started to strip off, she was wearing her swimsuit under her clothes. She was slim and had looked after herself, I knew that she had a daughter so her stomach wasn’t as flat as a younger woman’s (Suzie’s?)
would be. She also had a few veins on her legs. Since marrying Suzie, nearly ten years before, I hadn’t really bothered with other women that much. She blushed when she realised that I was watching her. I pulled off my t-shirt and wondered what she thought of me.

Madame Espoir came out of the château at that moment with the phone. I took the call round the side where there was more shade – the sun was becoming quite hot. My publisher was in Paris for a few days and wanted to finalise arrangements for my new book so I had to go on that day of all days to sign some papers. Damn! I went inside and quickly checked the train times on my computer and I had just the time to catch the next train if I left straight away. I had two minutes to change, apologise to Emily who was already enjoying herself in the water and I was off.

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