For a moment it was perfect: the sun, the shadow, the scent of a jasmine-like flower winding its way around the window. She could have lain there forever, not even reading, not even thinking, just being.
But already it was time for Jayne to make her way down to the tiny harbour, dotted with boats and reeking of seaweed, to meet her cousins for drinks and dinner.
All things considered she was glad she had taken their suggestion of a holiday together. She had forgotten in the intervening years that they were what her father had described as "boat people": sailing fanatics. Casting her mind back now she remembered a childhood holiday of yellow sou'westers, foul weather and the misery of endlessly tacking around the Isle of Wight in a bitter gale. Since then most shared family occasions had been Easter or Christmas parties and a couple of weddings and funerals.
If her cousins were disappointed by her choice to spend her days on land while they sailed, they put on a cheerful front. And really, spending evenings with them was enough. Jayne was used to her own company. She liked tranquility. There was plenty to explore. And the peace of the villa with its small, walled garden - more of a courtyard really - enclosed and private and quiet during the day.
They had ended up dining at the same taverna most evenings. Most of the restaurants and bars were alike: ouzo at sunset, the aroma of grilled souvlaki, syrup-oozing baklava. Despite her inertia Jayne was hungry.
She arrived before her cousins and sat contentedly at a table, the same table as the previous night, watching the water. She had been gazing at a small group of divers mooring and preparing to leave their boat some distance away, when she realised one of them looked familiar.
Caroline! She hadn't seen her for several years. One of her set at university, part of a group that shared tutorials and swapped lecture notes, roomed together and socialised together. They had been quite a gang but Jayne had drifted away back to home life after graduation and not kept in touch very well.
And here she was in Greece, slightly surprisingly the only woman in a group of men, all of whom looked Greek or Mediterranean. Jayne didn't remember Caroline having an interest in diving. Something about the group struck her as professional or commercial, they didn't appear to be returning from a leisure dive. It was unusual.
The group were still too far to call out to, so Jayne waited until they had reached the harbour's edge and were a few yards from passing her table. She waved and called out "Caroline!" but the woman in the group didn't respond or even turn her head. "Hi, Caroline!" Jayne called again, but she walked straight past.
Had she been mistaken? She was sure she had not been. Yet something prevented Jayne from running after her. If Caroline was staying here there was a chance of seeing her again even though her holiday was nearing its end. Perhaps she was tired and just wanted to get back to her accommodation and change. Or maybe divers wore some kind of earplugs, Jayne wondered.
Before she could think too much about it her cousins arrived, salt-sprayed and full of enthusiasm for the sea and the sailing. "You really are missing out Jayne," the youngest said. "A great shame you've lost your sea legs." They began an animated discussion about something to do with boats that was beyond Jayne's knowledge or interest, though they cheerfully and obliviously tried to include her, and she smiled and murmured at appropriate moments as the wine came, her mind cast back to her university days.
Et in Arcadia ego. Had it really been only a few years ago? It seemed a distant memory. The relentless roll of the terms, exams, finals. For a time that had been so intense it was odd to find it now such a blur. Had she deliberately buried the memories? The eight of them had seen one another nearly daily for three years but Jayne had barely kept in contact since.
YOU ARE READING
Death at DelphiMystery / Thriller
Whose bones lie in Caroline's grave? * A mysterious drowning * A dead person seen alive * A secret society reviving ancient rites * Rumours of smuggling, espionage and betrayal When a handsome stranger asks Jayne for help, her quest takes her to...