Beausejour: Emily – Chapter VIII

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…

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Beausejour: Luke – Chapter VII

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.

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2014 in review

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.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Beausejour: Emily – Chapter VII

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

idea.

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.

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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 WordPress.com 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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