“Julian, if we don’t trust each other, we have nothing do we?”
“Okay,” he said, “When?”
“Week commencing 16th May,” she said.
“Not long to go then. Do I deserve a kiss for agreeing to this dastardly deal?”
“Of course,” she said and lifted her face to his.
Wednesday 4th May Codmanton Library
It was coming up to coffee break time in the Library. Everything was pretty much ready for Election Day. It seemed probable that Tony Blair would be back in power.
A man had been approaching, but Cathy saw that Ellie was dealing with him. Moments later, Ellie came up to her and said, “He says that he needs to speak to you – A Mr King from the College.”
She walked over to him, and asked, “Mr King? How may I help you?”
“May I have a few moments of your time in private please?” he asked.
She asked him to follow her to the Community Room which would remain otherwise unoccupied until later.
As she let him go first she signalled to Ellie that she would be leaving the door open.
“Now, Mr King, what’s this about?” she asked.
“We have a mutual problem,” he said, “ My name is Julian King. My partner is Marjorie Pearson.”
“I can’t see that I’m going to continue this conversation, Mr King,” she said and rose to leave.
“Please,” he said quickly, “she wants revenge for Tuesday. She’s planning to make it look as though Steve and her are getting back together. I’m worried in case they do – in case she’s decided that his recent change of views makes him worth returning to for a second chance.”
Cathy sat back down.
“You have nothing to lose if you listen to me,’ he continued, ‘Steve and I could lose either way. But whether she wins him back or not, you two, you and Steve – your relationship – could be over. If he falls for her plan you’re best rid of him. But if he’s innocently tricked, you and he would both lose out. I just don’t feel able to trust her in this. I love her and don’t want to lose her.”
“I need to know more,” Cathy said.
Julian explained the plan that Marjorie had outlined to him.
“So, what can I do to foil the plan?” she asked.
“All you need to do is warn Steve – and ask him to go along with it until the last minute. Warn him that Marjorie is planning a public humiliation of him to spite you. Tell him that, probably on the third day, but possibly before, she’ll reach for his hand or his sleeve and that he must take evasive action. Practice together if possible. I’ll still be taking a photograph, so Marjorie won’t know that I’ve betrayed her. She’ll never know what made him evade her. He just has to tell her that he’s seen you in the crowd and has to dash – something like that. Any excuse will do.”
“Julian, she said, I can’t thank you enough,” she said, but I can see why you might be worried. It would be lose-lose for you and for me both. Please let me know if the plan changes.”
She gave him her mobile number as he rose to leave.
Wednesday 4th May Cathy’s House
Steve had ‘phoned her a short while ago to ask whether Cathy wanted to repeat the shopping experience on Friday. She’d said yes, but asked if they could meet sooner than that– something had come up that they needed to discuss urgently. He’d agreed immediately and promised to come down within the next twenty minutes or so.
“Come in, love,” she said when he arrived, “I’m so glad to see you.”
“Oh, dear,” he said, “Come on, tell me all about it.”
She pulled him into the house and kissed him passionately, then took his hand and led him into her Living Room.
“Come and sit next to me,” she said, pulling him towards the sofa.
“This must be important,” he said, “that was a fantastic welcome.”
Over the next fifteen minutes she outlined what Julian King had told her.
“Well,” he said, as she finished, “The one thing that I can say is that we have nothing to lose by playing along, and I can’t see what either of them have to gain by making this up. Maybe I’m not paranoid enough.”
“I can believe him,” she said, “She was spitting feathers when she walked away – and I was bloody furious too.”
“Right,” he said, “We’ll have to practice different evasive scenarios – but don’t be surprised if I do let you pull me towards you and kiss me now and then.”
“Steve,” she said, “It’s not a laughing matter. I’m now getting worried about our deferral idea lasting much longer. It’s getting dangerous. Suppose we thwart her this time. Couldn’t she try something even more dangerous next time. It’s beginning to sound like she’s a ‘Fatal Attraction’ type – a bit bonkers.”
“OK,” he said, “I’m more than happy to go along with that but it will take a bit of time to put together and to agree on what basis we move forward.”
“Don’t go worrying about solicitors and stuff,” she said, “You’re welcome to move in with me until we have everything else sorted. I know enough about you to know that I want us to be together long term. I love you.”
“And I love you too – and it can’t be soon enough. Let’s just get this stupid plan quashed.”
“Come with me,” she said, taking his hand again and pulling him, unresistingly, into the hall and then upstairs and into her bedroom.
Today, the scene shifts from Codmanton Library to Cathy’s house. The opening photo, of course, is a scene from a public library. I wasn’t sure about what photo to use as a featured shot to illustrate the second part. There’s still quite a lot to come over the next few posts from Cathy’s house. I’ve decided to use one from a series of shots of other seventies detached homes. It doesn’t overlook a lake, but at least it’ll provide some variety for you to look at.
EXIF data were: Fujifilm X-T4 26 MP cropped sensor mirrorless camera and Fujinon XF 10-24 mm f/4 lens. 1/40 secs @ f/6.4 and 10.5 mm. The ISO was 160.