it, I could shove it up my .. ." "And .. . ?" "He was pretty damn lucky to catch me happy. He won." Charles Braddock grinned,
sourly. "He said that he would be leaving for Zagreb in the morning.
But don't think you'll be getting anything more than a load of paper
... He was pretty damn lucky." She kissed her husband's cheek.
you. I rather liked him. What I liked about him was that he told
to mind my own business. Doesn't grovel too much, not to you, not
me .. ." "Come on." They were going to the lift. The commissionaire had the doors open for them, wore his medals proudly, and ducked his
head in respect to them. Penn had told her husband that if he didn't
like the terms he could shove the assignment, and he had told her
mind her own business .. . quite amusing. The lift doors closed.
said, "My guess is he's been badly used. He's rather sweet but so
naive .. ." "If we could, please, just enjoy a normal evening .. ."
was the usual type of gathering for which Mary Braddock hiked to
London, her husband's senior colleagues and the design team and the
clients. She thought that her Mister Penn would not have stood a
in hell's chance, would have been kicked away down the lift shaft
hadn't been that the clients had put ink on the contracts that very
day. She wafted through the salon, she meandered into and out of
conversations. Her mind was away, away with the man who would be
travelling to Zagreb, away with her daughter who was dead, buried,
... A thin little weed of a man approached, her husband's financial
controller, and he had caught her. "Sincerest condolences, dear
such a dreadful time for you .. ." Sincerity, he wouldn't know what the word meant. "Heartfelt apologies, Mary, that I couldn't make the funeral, just not enough hours in the day .. ." No, he wouldn't have taken time off for a funeral from the small type of a contract.
"Still, she was so difficult, wasn't she? We have to hope, at last, that she lies in peace. Your Dorothy, she was such a trial to you."
She did it expertly, and fast. She tipped her Cointreau and ice
against the left side of his pale-grey suit jacket. She thought it
would be a lasting stain, hoped it would defeat the dry cleaner. The
amber ran on the grey. "Dorrie, she was mine, damn you, she was mine
..." She was sitting in the chair by the door and watching him. She didn't help him to pack. "How long are you going to be there?" His suitcase was on the bed. His clothes were stacked close to the case
and he tried to make a mental note of what he would need. "Where
you going to be staying?" She had the baby, Tom, on her shoulder and she gripped him tight. Her statements came like machine-gun
hurting him, wounding. "What's the point of it all?" His shoes went into the bottom of the case with his bag for washing kit and toothpaste
and razors, and a guidebook of former Yugoslavia, and around their
went his socks and his underclothes. Penn told his wife, quiet
that he thought he would be away for a minimum of a week and he told
her the name of the hotel where he was booked and he told her about
Mary Braddock. On top of his socks and underclothes he laid two pairs
of slacks, charcoal-grey. "So, I'm just supposed to sit here and
for you to show up again?" All his shirts were white. It was like a
uniform to him, that he wore charcoal-grey trousers and white shirts
and quiet ties. He had always worn the uniform when he had gone to
work at Gower Street. The jeans and the sweaters and the casual
that were right for Section 4 of A Branch had been kept in a locker.
"If you hadn't made such a fool of yourself then you wouldn't be
running round with that deadbeat outfit, would you?" Their home,
bedrooms, one floor, had cost 82,750. Their mortgage was 60,000.
could not have bought the house and furnished it without the help
her father, digging into his