Andrew Hill

I am not a number . . .

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© Andrew Hill, Astcote UK MMVIII

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A Poster For Her Wall


"Where are you staying?" asked Chris, naturally, although not unaware of the interpretation of the question. "Not at your place, I'm afraid!" she laughed and Chris was certain she was about to say where when Gino, with his usual impeccable timing, announced that she was dining with them the next evening. Chris wondered whether their lengthy joint examination of the scene below earlier had been misinterpreted by the ever-observant old man or whether he had designs on enlisting her to his entourage as was also his wont. Angela was hesitant - Chris did not look at her now but at the smile on Gino's tight-skinned face bent down towards her. He winked obviously at Chris. "Love to." she said without further ado, plunging herself delightedly into another adventure. "I'm staying at Club Ricardo, Carejio," she continued. "I guess you know it." They did. It was an attractive German development in the south of the island, some thirty or forty minutes drive from Playa St. Ines. A taxi would collect her but Chris was instructed to ensure arrangements were in order in case she decided later that she should not accept invitations from 'strange men'. Angela walked with Gino towards the newish but bland airport buildings. Captured by an efficient-looking Sovereign rep as soon as she entered the main building, having collected her other cases, she only had time to smile farewell to Chris as the two men headed outside. "You're an impossible old goat!" exclaimed Chris as they stood outside, watching the taxis dance in the narrow pick-up area. "Goat?! No! Impossible? Yes, but life is impossible, my dear. When you have lived as long as I have you too will learn that a pretty girl just makes it a little more enjoyable. Ah, here's Carmen..." Gino authoritatively knocked his walking stick on the pavement to indicate where he expected his daughter to bring the car. She dutifully obliged and helped him down the kerb as he protested that he could manage perfectly well on his own. While he lifted his stiff leg over the cill, Carmen swung round towards Chris, placed both arms round his neck and looked at him curiously, her head tilted slightly to one side. "Hello, stranger. Why didn't you tell me you were coming? You have got a 'phone!" She spoke in a sarcastic tone and momentarily released her grip - checking her physical display of emotion for a moment - then tightened it again before Chris had a chance to reply and kissed him, lightly at first then, as he responded by placing an arm round her waist and pressed her against him, their embrace became intense; an audible intake of breath then the fingers of her right hand ran through his hair at the base of his neck. "You bastard." she whispered. "Weeks without a word and then you just appear. I'd given you up for dead..." "Not another woman?" "No. Dead. That's the only way I can be sure - while you're alive you'll always do this to me and give me some complicated reason afterwards. So what is it this time?" Carmen didn't wait for an answer. Chris hadn't got one she would have liked to hear. He hadn't expected to see her until Gino had said she was meeting him a few minutes before. He cursed himself for not having considered the possibility when Gino had got on board but Angela had occupied the short journey and Carmen simply hadn't crossed his mind.

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