Marriage is a murder weapon. At least, it was in the hands of Rosemary, my ex-wife. She was, of course, far too ladylike to wield it like a blunt instrument in order to dash out the brains of her victim. That would have put me out of my misery too quickly. Rosemary preferred a more subtle form of destruction. Venomous poison was administered in tiny doses over a long period so that my death could be drawn out almost indefinitely. Circumstances favored her. Motive, means and opportunity are there on a regular basis for a truly dedicated marital assassin. Rosemary, as always, reveled in her work.
Some men actually like their former wives. Others manage a brisk civility, as if dealing with a lawyer or a bank manager. A few even contrive to be on amicable terms with their old spouses, prompted by regret, remembering the good times, subject to upsurges of affection and able to learn the bland new language in which they have to communicate. I belong to none of these groups. Life with Rosemary disqualified me. After years of punishing me for the crime of marrying her, she pronounced my death sentence in the form of a divorce. From that point on, it seemed, the only conversations I had with her were posthumous, conducted in morse code as I tapped on the underside of the coffin lid. Rosemary had me exactly where she wanted me.
I’m the first to admit that she was provoked. As husband material goes, I was pretty threadbare. My obsessive personality was the problem. When I was obsessed with Rosemary, she was happy enough, but when she was displaced by the game of golf, a contented wife was transformed into a vengeful harpy. She kept my crime sheet scrupulously up to date. I was accused of ignoring her, neglecting our daughter and refusing to take on any family obligations. Since I was playing or practicing on a golf course in order to feed, clothe and house the three of us, I felt that some of the allegations were a trifle unfair, but Rosemary allowed me no defense counsel. My irregular income was another strike against me. The higher the peaks in a golfer’s career—and I’ve been fortunate enough to have several—the deeper the valleys. During adverse times when those valleys broadened out into wide, arid, poverty-stricken plains, Rosemary was at her most scathing about my choice of profession.
Divorce solved nothing. It simply made my dealings with her even more fraught. That’s why it took me the best part of a week to screw up the courage to ring her. When I discuss our daughter with her, I have to weigh my words with care. Taking a deep breath, I dialed the fatal number. Rosemary snatched up the telephone at the other end.
“Yes?” she demanded with crisp politeness. “Rosemary?” I began tentatively. “Is that you?”
“Alan!” Her voice softened. “How nice to hear from you!” “I’ve been meaning to give you a buzz.”
“How are you?”
“Fine, fine,” I said with feigned enthusiasm. “Keeping your head above water?”
“Just about. And you?”
“Oh, everything is going splendidly at the moment.” “Good.”
“Where are you?” “In Carnoustie.”
“But where is Carnoustie parked?” “In Wiltshire.”
“Which part of Wiltshire?” she pressed. “I know that your motor caravan needs plenty of room but it doesn’t take up an entire county.”
“I’m in Chippenham.” “Can’t you be more specific?”
“Okay,” I said, shifting my mobile phone to the other ear. “If you want chapter and verse, I’m in the car park of the Angel Hotel, stuck between a metallic blue Honda Accord that needs cleaning and a red Volvo with a teddy bear in the rear window. Would you like their numbers?”
“No, thanks.” She laughed. It was an infallible warning. “I’m in transit, Rosemary.”
“My life is one long list of parking places. I’m a true vagabond.”
There was a reflective pause. “Are you alone?” she asked. “Completely,” I replied. “Apart from the flock of sheep, the band of the Royal Marines and the sixteen casual acquaintances I invited in for afternoon tea. Of course, I’m alone! Why do you think I live in a motor caravan? Carnoustie is hardly big enough for me, not to mention all my gear. I like being alone, Rosemary. I thrive on it.” I gave a nervous chuckle. “Besides, I’d never dare to ring you while someone else was about. It would inhibit me.”
Another well-bred laugh came down the line. Her good humor was unnerving.
“So what did you want, Alan?” she went on.
“The pleasure of chatting to you, Rosemary. That’s all.” “Oh, come off it. I know you better than that. You only ever ring if you have to.”
It was true and I didn’t attempt to deny it. Put on the spot, I gabbled my request like a child pleading with a stern parent. “I want to take Lynette on holiday with me,” I said, feeling my heart pound. “A week in Bermuda, just before she goes back to college. I mentioned it to her and she was thrilled with the idea but I wanted to clear it with you first. It’s ages since I’ve spent any quality time with her and this is the ideal opportunity.”
Rosemary kept me waiting for an answer. Strictly speaking, there was no need to involve her at all. Lynette is nearly twenty-one, old enough to vote, bear arms for her country and make her own decisions. But I didn’t want to complicate an already tense situation between my ex-wife and me by going over her head. Since our daughter lives with her, Rosemary has certain unspoken rights. It was only a courtesy to let her know what my plans were. She eventually spoke.
“Why did you choose Bermuda?” she wondered. “It chose me.”
“Are you playing in a tournament?” “Not this time.”
“So why are you going?”
“To design a new golf course.”
She was impressed. “All on your own?”
“No, I have a partner, Peter Fullard. He’s a genuine course architect. They felt that his experience and my practical know-how would be a winning combination. It’s a great challenge for me.”
“Does it pay well?” “Extremely.”
“That makes a change,” she said with slight bitterness. “And will your work leave you much time to spend with Lynette?”
“She won’t enjoy trailing around a non-existent golf course behind you and this partner of yours. Lynette needs attention.”
“Just like her mother.” “I was denied it.”
“That won’t happen to Lynette in Bermuda. She’ll get lots of attention.”
“And protection, I hope.” “Against what?”
She clicked her tongue. “Alan, for heaven’s sake! Use your eyes. Lynette is a desirable young woman. She turns heads.” “Have no worries on that score,” I assured her. “I’ll take care of her.”
“It’ll require more than fatherly vigilance.” “What do you mean?”
“We’ll come to that in a moment.” Her voice hardened. “Is Clive Phelps going to be in Bermuda with you?”
“No, Rosemary.” “Are you sure?”
“Absolutely,” I asserted. “I’m not familiar with Clive’s travel plans but he has to cover the next tournament on the European Tour. That’s what golf writers do, you see. They write about golf.”
“Clive Phelps has other strings to his bow as well.” “Rosemary!”
“We have to face facts,” she insisted. “He’s a complete menace to women.”
“I thought you liked Clive.”
“I do, Alan—in the right place. But the right place is not on a holiday island with our daughter. Lynette is an impressionable girl.”
“She’s a full-grown adult.”
“Females of any age should be protected from Clive Phelps.”
“Alan, he’s a compulsive lecher.”
“Not with the daughter of his best friend. He’d never make a pass at—”
“Oh, yes, he would,” she interrupted. “Clive can’t help it. It’s an automatic reflex. If he can make a pass at his best friend’s wife, he won’t have any compunction about stalking his nubile daughter.”
My anger stirred. “Are you saying that Clive—?” “Yes,” she confirmed.
“I thought that you knew.”
“I knew that he turned on that battered charm of his whenever you were around but he does that with every woman he meets.”
“I rest my case.”
“Let me get this straight,” I said, trying to fight off rising jealousy. “Clive made a pass at you? Was this before or after we split up?”
“I’d rather not discuss it.” “Rosemary, this is important to me.”
“Why?” she asked. “It happened a long time ago. I’ve buried it along with all the other unpleasant memories associated with the game of golf. Clive was never a serious threat to me. In Lynette’s case, however, it might be different.” “Look,” I said firmly, “I promise you that Clive Phelps will not be within three thousand miles of Bermuda. This trip has nothing whatsoever to do with him. Except indirectly, that is.” “Indirectly?”
“He introduced me to Peter Fullard.”
“You mean that this course architect knows Clive?” “They’re close friends.”
“Birds of a feather, no doubt.”
“Of course not!” I said irritably. “Peter lives for his work and for his family. He’s squeaky clean. I’ve got a horrible feeling that he’s a committed Christian. Probably rings the bells in church on Sundays. In any case,” I added, trying to put the issue beyond further question, “his wife will be in Bermuda with him. Peter and Denise are the perfect married couple. Denise is a saint.”
“That wouldn’t stop Clive from making his obligatory grab at her.”
“Forget him, will you? He’s nothing to do with this.” “I’m glad to hear it. Where will you stay?”
“At the Blue Dolphin Hotel. It only opened for business a year ago,” I explained. “It’s not far from Elbow Beach.”
“I remember that,” she said fondly. “We stayed there once.” A sigh of regret came down the line. “You played golf. Non-stop.”
“That won’t happen on this trip, Rosemary.” “I loved Bermuda.”
“So will Lynette.”
“Yes, I’m sure she will.”
My hopes soared. “She can come?”
“Of course,” said Rosemary. “I couldn’t stop her even if I wanted to, and I’ve no reason to do that. Lynette’s been working so hard at college. She deserves a break.”
“Thank you!” I said with relief. “It would mean so much to me.”
“Then I’ve no objection.”
I slapped my thigh in triumph. But even as I was celebrating, I knew that there had to be a catch. Rosemary is never that agreeable without a purpose. There’s always a dagger hidden up the sleeve of her generosity.
“Just one thing, Alan…” Here it comes, I thought.
“…I’d feel happier if Lynette took someone with her.” “But she’ll have me there, Rosemary. Her doting father.” “She needs someone of her own age,” she argued. “As it happens, we have a college friend staying with us at the moment. Her name is Jessica Hadlow. She’s a lovely girl— bright, sensible and good company. Just the right type for our daughter. Lynette would be thrilled if you could take Jessica along with you as well. She said as much over breakfast today.”
I was checked. “Lynette has already spoken to you about Bermuda?”
“Of course. She tells me everything.”
“But I asked her to keep quiet until I’d had a word with you myself.”
“She was far too excited to do that,” said Rosemary. “I knew that something was in the wind and she eventually let me in on the secret.”
“Why didn’t you say so?” I complained. “Instead of letting me ramble like that?”
“I wanted to see how you presented it, Alan. And to make sure that Clive Phelps wasn’t going to be there to pounce on Lynette at the first opportunity. I give the trip my blessing,” she said bountifully. “Now that I know that Lynette can take a friend, I have no qualms at all about the holiday.”
“Hang on a minute!”
“All three of you will have a lovely time.”
“I was expecting that only two of us would be going,” I told her. “My employers are happy to pay travel and accommodation for Lynette but I doubt if their philanthropy will stretch to a complete stranger.”
“There’s a simple answer to that.” “Is there?”
“Yes,” said Rosemary. “You can pay for the flight yourself. Lynette and Jessica can share a room at the hotel so the additional costs there will be small. Excellent!” she continued, giving me no chance to protest. “It’s all settled. I’ll go and tell them the good news. Goodbye, Alan.”
Before I could even gurgle a farewell, she hung up. Rosemary had done it again. Without even trying, she had left me thoroughly jangled. I felt so stupid at having to pussyfoot through a conversation that need never have taken place. Since she already knew about the projected holiday,
Rosemary could easily have rung me to signal her consent, but that’s not her way. She let me go through the usual agony before calling her, then pretended to be hearing about Bermuda for the first time. It was typical of her. She let me roast on the spit while she basted me expertly. The way that she had introduced a third person into the equation was especially maddening. When I first put the proposal to Lynette, there was no mention of any college friend coming with her. That was clearly my ex-wife’s doing. Whatever plans I have, Rosemary always has to alter them. The one consolation was that she hadn’t decided to include herself in the trip. I left Carnoustie and adjourned to the lounge bar of the hotel for a stiff whiskey. It rallied me at once. When all was said and done, my main aim had been achieved. Lynette was going to spend a whole week on holiday with her father for the first time in years. It would give us chance to catch up on each other’s news, to repair a few fences and to have some real fun together once again. It’s rather strange. Lynette left school two years ago, yet I still haven’t got used to the idea of having a daughter at Oxford. As someone who fled from the British educational system at the earliest opportunity, I can’t understand why anyone would wish to remain within it longer than necessary. It was one of the many things I intended to discuss with Lynette and—lo and behold—I’d now be able to do it. Having survived another bruising exchange with my ex-wife, I’d secured my objective.
# # #
I dislike noise, I detest crowds, I hate the curiosity of the Great British Public and I simply loathe hanging around in a dangerous place. Gatwick Airport has been carefully designed to incorporate all my aversions. Its relentless clamor is swelled by a series of booming announcements, its con- course is as busy as Epsom on Derby Day, and its swirling chaos throws up dozens of nosey travelers who half-recognize Alan Saxon and therefore feel entitled to invade my privacy with insulting questions (“You mean, you still play golf for a living? At your age? Haven’t they pensioned you off yet?”) My gray hair is partly to blame but it’s still humiliating for someone in his early forties to be taken for a decrepit old man. All I can do is to maintain a dignified silence.
Lynette was coming to Bermuda with me. So, alas, was someone called Jessica Hadlow. The name was new to me. I’d met most of Lynette’s friends on my visits to Oxford but I didn’t recall a Jessica. What sort of person was she? How well would she fit in? Rosemary had described her as “the right type.” That sounded ominous. I decided to order another whiskey.
What makes it worse is that this army of occupation is equipped with lethal weaponry. Indiscriminate attacks come from all sides. Steel trolleys will smash your legs, swinging flight bags will crack your ribs and other items of luggage can inflict even worse injury. Look the wrong way for two seconds at Gatwick and you can be steam-rollered by excess baggage or impaled on a pair of skis. It’s like running the gauntlet. For a person of my delicate sensibilities, the airport is continuous torture.
One word made all the suffering worthwhile. “Daddy! Over here!”
I spotted her at once. Lynette was sprinting across the concourse towards me, weaving her way between the aimless groups of holiday-makers with sublime ease. Her face was shining, her fair hair bobbing, her whole body animated by excitement. I revived instantly. Lynette flung herself into my arms for an embrace that momentarily reconciled me to the hostile surroundings. I was a father once more. I stood back to appraise her properly. It was months since I’d last seen her and Lynette seemed to have aged subtly. Tall, willowy and beautiful, she looked even more like her mother and I was forcibly reminded of what made me fall in love with Rosemary all those years ago. I, too, was under scrutiny.
“You look tired,” observed Lynette. “It was a long drive.”
“How is Carnoustie?” “Still chugging along.”
“Are you ever going to have a proper house again, Daddy?” “I’ve got one,” I said proudly. “Carnoustie.”
My motor caravan bears the name of the course where I achieved my greatest success with a set of golf clubs. I can’t expect my daughter to appreciate what it means to win the Open Championship, but it’s the reason I’d never part with my home on wheels. Carnoustie is my refuge. It’s only during winter months that its shortcomings are obvious, and I’m usually playing tournaments in warmer climes then. Lynette thinks I’m mad to live in such a confined space, but unlike her mother, she’s very tolerant of my multiple lunacies. As I studied her afresh, I noticed a perceptible difference in her. It was not so much in her appearance as in her manner. The girlish exuberance had gone to be replaced by a distinctive poise. Lynette was wearing a dark blue T-shirt and a pair of pink shorts. I also detected more make-up than usual. I felt a stab of guilt as I found myself wondering if my daughter was still a virgin. The question was surely redundant. Were any girls of that age still virgins? Not if they were as gorgeous as Lynette, I suspected. Suddenly, I was very grateful that Clive Phelps was not coming to Bermuda with us.
“Where’s your luggage?” I asked. “Jessica’s got it.”
“That’s a bit unfair, isn’t it? Dumping it on her.”
“She sent me on ahead so that I could meet you alone.” “I appreciate that,” I said, hugging her again. “Jessica is obviously considerate.”
Lynette beamed. “I’m so glad you let me bring her, Daddy.
She’s such fun. You’ll like Jessica. She’s rather special.” “Why haven’t I met her before?”
“I only met her myself last term,” she explained. “We were in Love’s Labour’s Lost together at the Playhouse. You missed the production because you were in Spain. Jessica and I just hit it off.”
“Is she at St. Hilda’s?”
“Heavens, no! Jessica would never go near a women-only college. She doesn’t believe in single sex education. She’s at The House.”
“Christ Church—the biggest and the wealthiest of the colleges. It was founded by Cardinal Wolsey in the sixteenth century so it’s positively oozing with tradition. It’s the ideal place for Jessica.”
“You’ll see when you meet her.” I glanced round. “Where is she?”
“Searching for a porter, I expect. When I left her, the chauffeur was unloading our luggage from the Roller.”
“You came in a chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce?” I said, gasping at the thought.
“Of course. Jessica’s father is seriously rich.” “I see.”
I was glad that I’d changed my original plan to pick the two of them up in Carnoustie. A motor caravan of rattling antiquity is no match for the kind of transport that Jessica’s father could lay on. Lynette would have been compromised. Street cred is so important among the young. She read my mind and gave me an affectionate squeeze. It was the last moment we had on our own.
“Here I am!” called a voice.
Jessica Hadlow was bearing down on us with a porter at her heels. She was shorter, darker and shapelier than Lynette, with a cosmopolitan confidence radiating out of her. The crowd seemed to part obligingly for her, as if recognizing a superior. She had the relaxed grin of someone who was completely at home in an airport. After giving me an approving glance, she extended a hand.
“Hello, Mr. Saxon,” she said amiably. “I’m Jessica Hadlow.” “Pleased to meet you,” I replied, shaking her hand.
“It’s so kind of you to take me with you.”
“Not at all, Jessica. Any friend of Lynette’s is very welcome.” “Thank you.”
We moved across to join the queue at the check-in desk. The porter unloaded the suitcases and Jessica tipped him handsomely. She was a striking young woman. Every father likes to think that his daughter is a vision of beauty, but I had to concede that Lynette’s classical loveliness was overshadowed by her friend. Wearing white shorts and a white cheesecloth shirt, Jessica was stunning. A necklace of multi-colored beads dangled down to the deep cleavage. Her long-brown hair was brushed back and held in place by a red ribbon tied in an elaborate bow. Dark green eyes sparkled in a face of almost doll-like prettiness. Though her voice and manner were decidedly English, there was something faintly Mediterranean about her. Jessica was glowing with a kind of educated sexuality. I doubted very much if she was the sort of student that Cardinal Wolsey had in mind when he founded her Oxford college.
I caught myself staring at her and felt constrained to ask a question.
“Have you been to Bermuda before, Jessica?” “Oh, yes,” she said. “Many times.”
Lynette giggled. “Jessica’s father has business interests there.” “Daddy has business interests all over the place,” confirmed her friend. “He’s a real globe-trotter. He uses Bermuda as a tax shelter.”
“What does he do?” I asked foolishly. Jessica shrugged. “He makes money.”
Lynette noticed that it was now our turn to check in. She heaved her case forward. I hauled my luggage off the trolley. Jessica looked admiringly at my golf bag.
“I hear that you’re a marvelous golfer,” she said. “He’s the best in the world,” claimed Lynette. “Don’t oversell me,” I told her.
“You are, Daddy. I’ve seen you play.”
Jessica grinned up at me. “I’ve always wanted to play golf,” she confessed. “Will you give me some tuition, please?”
“I may not have the time,” I said, uneasy at the very notion.
“An hour a day is all that I’d need.” “We’ll see, Jessica.”
“I’m quite happy to pay, Mr. Saxon.”
I almost blushed. “There’d be no question of that.” “How much do you charge?”
She gave me no time to reply. Her attention was diverted by something that put quiet outrage into her voice. She saw the sign on the desk in front of us and realized that the travel arrangements fell short of perfection.
“This is Club Class!”
“That’s right,” I said. “I managed to buy you the last ticket on the plane.”
“But I’ve never flown Club before,” she went on, her face puckering with distaste. “Daddy always takes me First Class.”
“He says that we’re First Class people.”
“Don’t be such a snob, Jessica,” chided Lynette, giving her a playful nudge. “You can slum it for once, surely?”
“Well, I suppose so.”
I tried to conceal my annoyance. Thanks to Rosemary, I’d been forced to pay for an additional ticket out of my own pocket. When you part with over two and a half thousand pounds, you’re entitled to a modicum of gratitude, but all I was getting from Jessica was a mutinous pout. I did my best to make light of the situation.
“I tell you what,” I said with a wink. “Next time we go to Bermuda, I’ll arrange for you to sit next to the pilot. Is it a deal?”
She managed a smile and gave a nod of agreement. Lynette nudged her again.
“You’re getting a free hol, Jessica,” she said. “What more do you want?”
# # #
Bermuda is only seven hours away by British Airways jet, but the flight seemed to take an eternity. Jessica Hadlow had a way of elongating time that made a nonsense of airline schedules. She hardly ever stopped talking. She monopolized Lynette until I was seething with jealousy, then threw an occasional remark in my direction. During the two films that were shown, I put on my headphones and turned up the reception to full volume but even that did not block out the sound of her commentary on the movies. She was irrepressible. I could easily understand what Lynette saw in her new friend. Jessica was lively, attractive and highly intelligent. Her family background had given her a sort of mirthful arrogance that set my daughter off into peals of laughter, and she was a distinct advance on all those polite, conventional, well spoken Rachels and Emmas and Charlottes with whom Lynette spent her time when she was at Benendon. Jessica had—as my dear mother would have put it—some- thing about her. The trouble was that she had far too much of it.
“Nothing,” replied Jessica blithely. But I could see that she was lying.
What puzzled me was how readily Rosemary had given her a seal of approval. Jessica had much to recommend her in my wife’s eyes, but her easy sensuality would be a huge obstacle. Rosemary believed that sex was something that should be kept hidden at all times and only enjoyed in the strictest privacy. She is the only woman I know who can make love with glorious abandon, then pretend that nothing happened immediately afterwards. Such an attitude can be very off-putting for the man. I lost count of the number of times when I was still basking in the afterglow, only to be ordered off the bed so that Rosemary could strip the sheets and put them in the washing machine to remove the evidence of carnal delight. Jessica seemed to have no such hang-ups. As she chatted on to Lynette, I caught the names of at least half-a-dozen young men with whom she cheer- fully admitted to have had intimate relations. I could only assume that, when she stayed with Rosemary, she kept that aspect of her character well concealed. There’s no place at all for promiscuity in my ex-wife’s concept of the right type of friend for our daughter.
Jessica concealed nothing from me. As soon as Lynette went off to the toilet, her friend moved across to sit next to me. Her smile comprised friendliness, curiosity and boldness in equal parts. She put a hand on my arm.
“I’m terribly sorry, Mr. Saxon,” she said. “Why?”
“For talking non-stop to Lynette.” “She obviously enjoys it.”
“I know,” she said, “but it does rather exclude you. Daddy hates it when I rattle on in what he calls that hideous undergraduate lingo. He can’t understand a word of it.”
“Neither could I, Jessica. It might have been Greek to me.”
“Oh, Daddy could understand that. My mother was Greek, you see.”
It explained a lot. “What does she make of your Oxford slang?” I asked.
“Who knows? She and Daddy split up years ago. He never keeps his wives all that long,” she said airily. “I’m on my third stepmother at the moment.”
“What nationality is she?”
“Italian.” Her smile broadened. “I must say, I loved meeting Mrs. Saxon.”
“She was impressed with you as well.”
“Why has she never re-married, do you think?” “I’ve no idea.”
“Lynette says that she was engaged once, to a psychiatrist. Dreary David, that’s what Lynette used to call him. Apparently, he was a big disappointment in bed. That was Lynette’s guess, anyway. She found him rather creepy.”
I’d found the man highly objectionable for a number of reasons but I was not about to discuss him with Jessica. There was a directness about her questions that was unsettling. I found myself wishing that Lynette would soon come to my rescue.
“There is another explanation, of course,” suggested Jessica.
“Yes. It may be that Mrs. Saxon never intended to marry him at all. She was only testing the water, so to speak. Trying out the idea of being with another man before she actually committed herself.”
“You sound like something of a psychiatrist yourself.” “Hell, no! I’m reading English.”
“Just like Lynette.”
“Yes, we have so much in common. I’m so glad we met in the play. We’re sisters under the skin.” Her hand tightened on my arm. “Do you know what I think?”
“Your ex-wife,” she said. “The reason she ditched the psychiatrist is that she’s still carrying a torch for you.” I shook my head. “She is, I swear it. Why else does she have so many framed photographs of you in the house? And why does she speak so fondly of you? She still loves you, Mr. Saxon.” She leaned in closer. “I can see why.”
It was bad enough to have Rosemary’s name introduced into the conversation. When it was coupled with the absurd claim that she was still yearning for me, I felt my stomach churn. Compounding my discomfort was the fact that a twenty-year-old student was daring to flirt with me. She had certainly kept that look in her eye hidden from Rose- mary. It belonged to the wrong type altogether.
“Have you never wanted to marry again?” she probed. “No, Jessica.”
“Lynette says that you have lots of girlfriends.” “I’d rather not discuss my private life.”
“Is there anyone special at the moment?”
“Yes,” I said, noting with relief that Lynette was about to rejoin us. “Here she is.”
Jessica laughed. “You didn’t answer my question.” “What question?” asked Lynette, sitting the other side of her.
“We’re talking about sex.”
“No, we’re not,” I said pointedly.
“There’s nothing to be ashamed of,” said Jessica, finally removing her hand from my arm. “People of all ages are entitled to sex lives. Look at my father. Daddy must be ten or fifteen years older than you and he’s always on the prowl. I admire him for that. It’s refreshing to be with someone who’s so honest about his desires.”
My one desire at that moment was for the cabin crew to grab Jessica violently and lock her away somewhere for the remainder of the flight, but my wish was not granted. Instead, I had to listen to that extraordinary voice as she treated Lynette to yet another of her monologues on the pleasures and perils of life at Oxford. The pair of them laughed conspiratorially. A century later, we touched down in Bermuda.