… Has now been published as a digital book for Kindle. However you can still read the book on smartphone, tablet and computer by downloading a special app.
This week has been a busy week for me, setting everything up and making changes to this blog. Thank you for your patience and here is the link to my new book!
… Has now been published as a digital book for Kindle. However you can still read the book on smartphone, tablet and computer by downloading a special app.
Suzie came home. She made a noisy entrance and nearly ran over Emily when she arrived. Not that she knew who Emily was. I was watching from the roof and could just see the top of Emily’s head making its progress along the footpath when Suzie drove round the corner much too fast. Suzie had driven down during the night from Roscoff for some reason andhardly said a word before heading straight to bed. As far as I know she slept for nearly two days. Her method of detoxification I suppose. After that her ‘friends’ arrived and the ‘fun’ began. At least they didn’t expect me join in. They were noisy and rude and treated Mork like some form of amusement. We both stayed clear of them all as much as possible. Mr. and Mme. Espoir made it quite clear they weren’t happy with the situation – at one point I thought they were going to pack up and leave. They had grown fond of Emily and so made it known to me, in no uncertain terms, that they were on her ‘side’.
Emily seemed to disappear off the map; she was obviously taking the other route to the Post Office. I noticed her with a younger version of herself one day, her daughter Katie I suppose. I didn’t see her out for a walk anymore either. One day I managed to get to the Post Office at the same time as her and she definitely sneaked out round the side so that we didn’t meet. I found that I was missing her more than I expected. The way I felt about Suzie wasn’t the same as before and for a while I didn’t know what to do about either of them.
Looking through my desk for some papers one morning I came across the dreamcatcher. I remembered how pleased I’d been when I chose it. I was sure Emily would like it. Madame Espoir had a key to my desk. She had instructions to unlock it if anything happened to me as there were papers inside with details of my estate, etc. Madame Espoir had obviously hidden any traces of Emily in the bottom drawer when Suzie arrived. I also found a couple of photos I’d taken of Emily with Mork, a scarf and a postcard she’d sent me from town! It brought a lump to my throat to think how things had changed so much in the past few weeks. Would I ever get back to where I had been before?
Events that happened that same evening sorted out the question of Suzie for me. It was becoming quite chilly in the evenings, so I went up to my bedroom to find a sweater. When I got to the door I could hear voices inside. From the sound of it Suzie was with her latest lover. I went in and turned them out of my bed. I was so angry that I made it clear to everyone who got in my way that the party was over. To my surprise they all left straight away.
Suddenly the place was so quiet and I felt incredibly lonely. I didn’t even know if Emily would still want to know me anymore. After all I hadn’t made any effort to contact her and she would probably think that Suzie and I had mended our marriage Suzie’s friends had left a full bottle of whiskey behind so I sat on the stairs in the dark and drank. I couldn’t bare the thought of sleeping in my own bed that night knowing what had been going on there.
The following morning I woke up on the stairs with a dreadful headache and an empty feeling, it wasn’t hunger – more like loss. I went down to the kitchen for some strong coffee.
Mr. and Mme Espoir were both there enjoying the peace and quiet. Mr. Espoir looked surprised to see me and told me that he thought that I was out with Mork. Mork was nowhere to be found and Mr. Espior mentioned the gate being open early in the morning. We were just organising ourselves to go out looking for Mork when Emily phoned. She was crying and it wasn’t easy to understand what she was saying at first, she eventually calmed down enough to explain that she was with Mork on the beach and he was injured and bleeding badly.
We arrived at the beach as quickly as we could and found Emily with Mork. She was trying to stop the bleeding. As soon as I came close she yelled at me – she looked full of anger, but she stayed long enough to help us load Mork into the back of the Range Rover. Then she ran off. Mr. Espoir and I took Mork to the vets as quickly as we could. The vet had to keep him under sedation as he was worried about the stitches holding properly in his shoulder, so we left him there.
When we got home I told Mr. and Mme. Espoir that they could take a well deserved break if they wanted to. They didn’t want to leave me on my own at first, but I reassured them I could cope. My publisher and his assistant were due to arrive on the evening flight from London so I wouldn’t be on my own. Justin was concerned about my lack of creativity in recent weeks and wanted to check up on me.
I was worried about Emily, she had looked pretty shaken, but she also sounded like she didn’t want anything to do with me. She’d yelled at me that that I was neglectful – was she talking about Mork or herself? I decided that I’d wait for a day to see how Mork was, she’d be bound to want to know if he was okay. Then I’d take it from there.
September promised to maintain its course of fine and hot weather. I was looking forward to life continuing in the routine it had settled into, walks, swims and just enjoying each other’s company when we had some spare time. However, the Monday after our barbeque, I was crossing the road by the park, the road which also led to the château, when a very chic powder blue Mercedes convertible raced around the corner and nearly knocked me off balance. The young woman in the car yelled the equivalent of
“Get out of the way”, although not so politely and started honking the horn impatiently when she arrived at the château gate. I recognised her at once from the magazines, Luke’s wife Suzie. From what I saw, she was every bit as beautiful as her photographs, her hair was beautifully coiffured in a casual way, her make up was just so and she was a good fifteen years younger than me. I found it hard to imagine her with Mork on the top of the cliffs on a windy day. Eventually the noise stopped, I suppose she’d been let in.
I had the most awful sinking feeling, I never believed that she really might ‘come home’. I sat down on a bench as I was also a little shaken by being almost knocked over and an elderly man came up to me and put his hand on my shoulder. He’d seen what had happened and told me that he didn’t understand what Suzie had shouted but he’d understood her meaning. The rest of the day I felt empty inside and that night slept really badly. Luke and I had become really good friends over the last few months. Perhaps he didn’t see me as more than a friend to pass the time away with when Suzie wasn’t there? Should I have let things go further? There was nothing I could do about it but wait and see what happened next and anyway, Katie was coming to stay for a few days, my poor daughter wouldn’t want to spend her precious few days break with a heart broken mother.
When I picked her up from the station she spotted at once that I wasn’t “Quite right” so it didn’t take her long to tease out the whole story. She did try, but there wasn’t really much she could say to make me feel better, so during her visit, distracted me with outings and shopping and stories of her own life. On the last evening she was with me, we went out to eat in the restaurant in the village for a change. It was a really warm evening for the time of year so we were on foot and the way back involved walking the usual path through the woods. We could hear the noise of fun and games and splashing in the pool at the château. In my head, I pictured Luke and Suzie newly reunited and enjoying themselves. Katie gave me a hug and we hurried home. Before she left I was invited to stay with her for a few days to make a change, so I accepted and drove her back home.
I did feel much better while I was away, determined to make the most of my visit with Katie and change my ideas. When I was almost home one of the first cars I crossed on the road in the village was that Mercedes, so my new determination disappeared almost straight away.
I started walking the long way round to the post office and avoided walking by the beach. I really missed Mork too and wondered if he remembered me. I got back into my old routine and resolved not to think about any of them. Luke visited me in my dreams though, so I just worked harder and longer hours and went to bed later so that I was too tired to rememberif I’d dreamt about him.
Occasionally I came across Geraldine who was thrilled to have a personality as well known as Suzie living in the same village. I listened politely as she passed on the latest gossip of the comings and goings at the château. I don’t think that Geraldine realised for one moment the agony she was putting me through. She also told me that she was so pleased that she and her husband hadn’t chosen to live in San Tropez after all.
One morning I was shocked to hear Luke’s voice, he was talking to someone behind me in the queue at the post office. I really couldn’t face making polite conversation in front of everyone so I managed to sidle out without being spotted, I think. I almost ran home, and I cried when I was in the safety of my bedroom. Reason told me that if Luke was the man of integrity I knew him to be, it was normal for him to try to rescue his marriage. Reason wasn’t much of a comfort to me really. I tried to be positive. After all, I had learnt that I could get close to someone special again. My morale was at an all time low as that time of year was also the anniversary of my husband’s death.
After a week or so I felt stronger, determined not to be beaten by this and started walking on the beach again. I knew the times Luke and Mork were likely to be there, so avoided them, it wasn’t too difficult. I kept my eyes open so that I could head in the opposite direction if I saw them in the distance. I started to read Luke’s blog again although there were no clues for me there as he wasn’t writing much. I didn’t leave comments anymore.
One morning I was out for a walk just before lunch, my new time, when I saw something slumped on the beach, it looked like an animal lying down. As I got closer I could see that it was Mork! He raised his head to me as he saw me coming, struggled to move and whimpered in pain. As I approached, I could see that he was badly cut on the shoulder and was losing blood. I went towards him slowly, talking gently to reassure him. Fortunately I was wearing a scarf and took it off to use to try to stop the bleeding. All the time aware that as he was badly injured he would probably bite me if I hurt him more. I carefully applied pressure to the wound and fumbled around to find my phone in my pocket with my free hand. With somedifficulty I got it flipped open and found Luke’s number. As soon as I heard his voice I started to cry, I just about managed to explain to him where we were and that Mork was badly injured. I waited with Mork, talking to him all the time, though I’m not sure which one of us needed the most comforting.
It seemed to take an age before Luke and Monsieur Espoir arrived. As soon as Luke was close I yelled at him:
“How could you be so neglectful?” I was so cross that he’d let Mork out on his own. Luke didn’t say anything, he just looked so hurt. I noticed that he looked pretty rough and bleary eyed like he’d had too much to drink. Well, that was his problem. I helped them to move Mork into the back of Luke’s Range Rover, which was no easy task and then ran off, in the opposite direction towards home. My sunglasses were in my pocket so I put them on so that no one would see my eyes.
It wasn’t until later that I realised what I’d yelled at Luke and why…
I realised that I’d never got round to making Emily lunch as promised so the next Sunday when the Espoirs were away for the weekend I invited her round for a barbeque. I’d bought Emily a small present while I was in the States, a dreamcatcher and it seemed like it might be a nice moment to give it to her.
We decided to have a swim while the charcoal was getting hot. I don’t know what got into me, but we were messing around and I threatened to throw Emily into the pool. We’d more or less avoided physical contact up to that point. Anyway, that day I picked her up to throw her in. I thought she was playing when she told me that she didn’t swim very well. As soon as she went under, I could see that something was wrong, her arms and legs were going in all directions as if she couldn’t coordinate them. I dived in and pulled her out of the water as quickly as possible.
She was breathing okay so I fetched a towel and wrapped her in it and just held her tightly. In retrospect I can see now that I realised that I could have lost her. How do you apologise enough to someone you nearly drowned?
While I cooked the steaks she sat quietly in the sun. I felt a little jealous of Mork who lay his head in her lap and she played around with his ear which was ecstasy for him. I was grateful she didn’t go home. I thought about when I was holding her – I didn’t know what to do next. I knew that she respected that I was married so that taking the relationship further would be out of the question for her. Emily managed to diffuse the tension between us by checking her steak to see if I’d poisoned it. She teased me about trying to kill her, so we discussed how I would finish her off and deal with her body. If only she knew how I felt about her body….
When she left in the late afternoon I realised that I forgot to give her the dreamcatcher.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 870 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 15 trips to carry that many people.
I finally did get my swim and lunch together. It was a the next Sunday lunch time following his return and Luke prepared a barbeque to have after we’d swam. I don’t know how it happened but we started to fool around more than usual and Luke picked me up and threatened to throw me into the pool. I started to struggle and protest that I couldn’t swim very well and he must have thought that I was playing because he just held onto me tighter and continued towards the pool. He threw me into the deep end.
Being under water and not being able to do much about it is not a joke. I imagine when a new born throws out its arms and legs trying to find the comfort of the sides of the womb it must feel a similar sense of panic. I know that Luke was shocked by what he had done, as soon as he saw that I struggled to the surface and went straight back down again he dived in to help.
He somehow got me out of the water which must have been difficult with me clinging to him and fetched a towel to wrap me in and held me tight. I was sobbing and shivering and choking, I was glad of the towel, he just held me and said he was sorry over and over again.
All that I could stammer out was that when I say I can’t do something I mean it. I sat in the sun on the swing feeling very subdued while he prepared the food, Mork came and rested his head on my lap so that I could twiddle his ear which he adored. It wasn’t just the near drowning that had upset me, it was also the way I felt when Luke was holding me . I felt that my guard was slipping. Watching him I could tell that he was really upset. I searched for something to say to make things right again and as we started to eat I had an
I looked under my steak very carefully and made a show of examining a slice of tomato. Luke wanted to know if something was wrong so I told him that I was checking for ground glass, as he had set Mork onto me on the first day we met and today tried to drown me, he was obviously trying to kill me. This broke the ice so then followed a conversation about the motive for the murder and what he would do with my body. I decided that he was a psychopathic killer as he wasn’t after my money or even married to me. I teased him about remembering a room he didn’t show me in the cellars of the chateau, this was where the other ones had been embalmed and kept. I added that I thought that there were rather a lot of flies round the north side of the château. That was it! He was blue beard without a beard. Would I spend years rotting in a wheelchair in the cellar like in the film Psycho? Do medical students learn about embalming ? I wondered out loud.
Perhaps I went a little too far when I told him that now I understood why Suzie kept herself in the public eye. It would be impossible to bump her off without her being missed by a lot of people. I, on the other hand, would only be missed by Katie and sometimes we didn’t get in touch with each other for weeks. He could pop down to the beach in the middle of the night and leave my clothes and a towel neatly folded and everyone would think I had drowned. Luke was impressed by my attention to detail. I promised not to start writing in competition with him.
He told me that Mr and Madame Espoir cared a lot about me. He’d heard them arguing about me one afternoon when they thought he was out walking Mork. Madame Espoir was of the opinion that we should be sleeping together by now whereas Mr Espoir said that I would never do such a thing as Luke was a married man. If only he knew how I had felt when he was holding me. I really started to wonder if perhaps I should distance myself from Luke. Fortunately the conversation took a less personal turn and by the end of the afternoon the ‘drowning’ incident was forgotten as far as I was concerned and I think that Luke felt the same.
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.