Shortly past eleven, Valerie read the incoming text on her iPhone, then she looked up at Avril. "He's found a spot near Door 3 on Basil Street."
Avril pointed along the aisle, then led Valerie, Chloe and the two laden valets to the door, Jason meeting them as they emerged. "The car is just along there, Ma'am."
Valerie remained by the door with Chloe, chatting with Avril while the valets loaded the packages into the boot. Then after parting thanks, she led Chloe across to the Bentley, Jason opening the door as they arrived.
As they drove away, Jason glanced up into the mirror and said, "I hadn't even thought, Ma'am. Hans Crescent is where all the gossip columnists hang out, waiting for stories to arrive."
"Yeah, I also should have thought. Did you get the papers?"
"I did, Ma'am, but you're not going to like them."
"I'm sure. What had Mr Benton told you?"
"Enough to know you're dealing with a very sick and angry man."
"Yeah. That sums it up." She fell silent as she thought. Why now? Now that I'm able to face my past and begin letting it go? I don't want to drag Lorne into this. Smear his image as well. She fingered the fringe of her hijab as she continued thinking. Need to remain out of sight until it blows over.
The two miles went quickly through the quieter streets of Belgravia, and Valerie was surprised from her thoughts when Jason opened the door. Once they had been assisted out, she and Chloe walked to the rear of the car to help Jason remove the bags from the boot.
"There's no need for you to do this, Ma'am. I can handle them in two trips."
"And together, we can handle them in one."
"You're like Mr Benton, Ma'am. He lends a hand whenever possible."
Valerie nodded to herself as she walked toward the house. Yeah, seems like him. Such a kind soul. Don't want to entangle him in this. She paused her thoughts to tap the knocker. A brief wait later, Mrs Forbes opened the door and welcomed them in, and after the bags had been piled on the foyer floor, Jason bade farewell and left.
"Looks as if you had a successful trip," Mrs Forbes said as she surveyed the bags. "And a religious conversion."
"We were accosted by reporters when we arrived, and Chloe thought the scarves would keep us from being so easily recognised." Valerie pointed to the bags as she unwrapped her hijab. "Those are for the second and third floor. We'll take them up and sort which is where."
"Mrs Wilkins is upstairs now, ensuring everything is clean and proper."
"Would George be able to hire a small lorry and two men for tomorrow or Thursday? We need to bring my bed and more of our clothes from Chester Square."
"I'm sure he can. I'll put him to it. And what about Chloe's bed?"
"She'll use mine. We have a huge new one coming for... For me. It's being delivered tomorrow afternoon."
Mrs Forbes nodded as a broad grin spread across her face. "And Chloe, what do you think of all this?"
"I like it. I finally get a grown-up bed. But much better; Mummy finally gets to do grown-up things in hers."
Valerie pursed her lips. "This isn't the sort of thing we mention, Sweetheart. We know about it, and we love it, but we don't talk about it. It's one of the good-to-keep secrets, like the others we've discussed."
"There's a lot to growing up, isn't there, Mummy?"
"Yes, there is. But taken a bit at a time, it's easy."
"Like eating. It's so much better to take small bites and enjoy them."
"Exactly!" Valerie and Mrs Forbes nodded to each other as they sighed.
When Valerie and Chloe had finished sorting the purchases among the upstairs bedrooms and bathrooms, they descended to Lorne's bedroom to unpack school books and computers. Once they had settled on the davenport in the office, Valerie opened the study guide and asked her daughter where she was in the curriculum.
Chloe turned a few pages, then pointed at the tick marks. "We did those yesterday. I'll start from there." She sighed. "Grammar first to get it over with." She shook her head. "No, get it over. No, that's wrong too, isn't it? Ending with a preposition?"
"Sometimes the technically correct form is worse." Valerie chuckled. "One of my favourites is a response made by Churchill to an editor who had rearranged one of his sentences. This is the sort of English up with which I will not put."
Chloe giggled. "I must remember that for the next time Miss Moore corrects me by using something awkward." She tilted her head. "So, how would I say to get it over with?"
"I think it's best as you did. Otherwise, we'd have a silly word jumble. Over with it to get, or maybe, Over with to get it."
"Those are as silly as Churchill's." Chloe sighed as she picked up her grammar book.
Valerie opened her MacBook and turned it on. "Darn! I should have asked Lorne for the wifi code."
"You can Bluetooth to your phone, Mummy."
"Hmmm. Yes, and aren't you the smart one today?" As she logged in and set up the connection, she thought. Do I want to look at this? No, I don't. Do I need to? Yeah, eventually. Not ready yet. She stared at the screen, her eyes out of focus, her hands immobile on the keyboard.
"What are you looking at, Mummy? It looks really serious."
Chloe's words startled her out of her trance, and she shook her head. "Nothing, Sweetheart. I'm still mustering the courage to look at Twitter and all the rest of the mess."
"Why don't you let your people do that? That's why you have them. You should do something more fun. No sense both of us doing stuff we don't want to do. You should look for things for us to see in Cape Town."
Valerie nodded. "Yeah, great idea. You really are the wise one today." She opened a tab in Chrome and typed must do in cape town. After browsing for a while, she paused. I know all this. Done it all as well. Probably take Chloe up Table Mountain while we wait for Lorne. She felt a tingling as she thought about him, and she allowed her mind to wander, remembering delicious experiences. Oh, God! What was that he reached last night? So intense.
She typed deep vagina orgasm and scanned several of the results, leading her to type uterine orgasm and scan again. So much confusion and misinformation. Her clicking finally brought her to a page that made sense. She examined the image and read.
The little-known Posterior Fornix Erogenous Zone, also referred to as the P-Spot or the Cul-de-Sac, is an expandable area of highly sensitive tissue at the deepest reaches of the vagina where it curves up beyond the cervix. During heightened arousal, the cervix withdraws, and the vagina expands and lengthens, allowing the painless passage of an extra-long penis or toy. Direct stimulation of this area can lead to intense orgasmic contractions in many women, but unlike the clitoris, the spot does not suffer from post-orgasmic over-sensitivity, so the pleasuring can continue to exhaustion.
Chloe looked up at the humming to see a smile on her mother's face. "You've found some exciting things for us to do in South Africa?"
"Yes, Sweetheart." And some exciting things to do with Lorne en route. She hummed again.
YOU ARE READING
Set in an environment of extreme wealth in contemporary London, this is a story of tender new love trying to flourish while a tragic past conspires to destroy. As Valentine's Day approaches, two lonely people begin breaking out of their social shell...