Back from another trip to the loo, Valerie opened her carry-on bag. So thoughtful of Lorne to have these transferred. She selected a fresh thong and stepped into it. "Do you feel like a run, Sweetheart? Or was that enough exercise up on the Mountain?"
"Probably enough. The rough terrain and the altitude. Besides, we don't know the area, and I would prefer to talk with you without distractions."
"Hmmm. Still troubled?"
"Like, messy and not."
"I don't follow."
"Your lips are so clean. Mine are a mess. My knickers too."
Valerie bobbed her head as she listened. Maturing fast. Nearing her monthlies. "Mine were a mess as well, Sweetheart, but I used the bidet to clean. You'll find loo visits are for more than just a tinkle or a two."
"Oh." Chloe tilted her head. "So, if that's another part of growing up, why isn't it mentioned in the book?"
"You can include it in your book, Sweetheart. Offer the information to other blossoming women."
"I like that."
"You could use that as your title."
Chloe nodded. "Yeah, I like that." She remained silent for a short while, then she said, "Yours would be lubrication from sexual arousal, but I don't understand what mine comes from — from what mine comes."
"Discharge is normal, Sweetheart. That's how our bodies keep our vaginas healthy. But yours now is an indication you're getting close to starting your monthly cycle. Is this the first time? Is it white?"
"More like cream-coloured. It did it a little bit a few weeks ago, but not as much as now."
"Good, that's normal and healthy. I should get liners for your knickers."
"Like the ones you put in yours?"
"Yes. Sweetheart. We'll look at starting a calendar." Valerie pointed to the loo. "Go to the bidet and wash yourself, then put on fresh undies."
"Being a woman is more complicated than being a man, isn't it?"
"Yes, it is. You head in and refresh while I check my emails." Valerie took her computer from her bag, opened it and entered the password, then connected to the wifi. She selected her email window and scrolled down the unreads. Good. Still none from Security. She scrolled back up to the two from ChrisPR and opened the first:
Sylvia Robertson is the woman's name. We've had an ongoing email exchange. She recognised her two tattoos. Security has given a green, and I've set up a meeting in your office at 1430 on Friday. She is flexible, and we can change the time or place if unsuitable. Let me know.
Valerie clicked Reply and typed:
Friday at 1430 is fine. I'll be back noonish tomorrow. I'm sure you have, but tell her it's best not to contact the media on this.
She read it through, clicked Send, then breathed a sigh.
"Hmmm?" Valerie looked up from her computer at Chloe rummaging through her travel bag.
"We'll have to stop being so casual about being undressed, won't we? In the book, it talks about appropriate and inappropriate nudity, and it's not appropriate for Daddy to see us this way."
"You're right. It's not at all appropriate." She returned her eyes to the computer screen to open the second email from Chris, but she paused and turned to face Chloe. "Yes, we need to be much less casual about it, don't we? Let's begin practising now."
Valerie rose and sorted through her case for a pair of yoga pants and a top, then after pulling them on, she turned to Chloe. "From now on, it's best we remain dressed except in the privacy of our own bedrooms and bathrooms."
"That's what it says in the book."
"Yeah. Seems like my mother never read that book, nor any others on the topic." Valerie pointed to her computer. There's another email here I should look at, then we can go down and relax."
She sat again and clicked to open the second email. Oh, God! She let out a deep sigh.
"That didn't sound like a happy one, Mummy."
"Daddy wouldn't do that. He loves you too much."
Valerie let out a loud laugh. "You're watching too much American TV programming, Sweetheart, or reading too much pulp women's fiction." She pointed to her screen. "This is another woman who said she was...Hmmm. Who thinks it's her body on my head."
"That would be a violation, wouldn't it? Using the image without her permission."
Yeah, and violating her body without permission. Valerie closed her eyes as she trembled at the memory. "That's one of the transgressions."
"There are others?"
"I need to reply to this, Chloe. Then we can go to the spa and relax." She turned back to her computer and read the message in detail. Then she typed a reply:
Likely don't have to tell you this, but use the same security procedures. If it checks out that Roxana and Sylvia are the close friends they say they are, then see if 1430 Friday works for her as well.
Put Lydia in Legal in the loop.
She read it through, paused a while to think, then clicked Send. Then she sat staring blankly at a new email from Chris as her mind spun.
"You okay, Mummy?"
Half a minute later, Chloe asked again. "You sure you're okay?"
"Yeah. Just need to think a while." Valerie focused on her screen again to reread the brief message:
The tabloids, online and print, are reporting you and Mr Benton are a thing. Being inundated with requests from all media. Suggest remaining silent. Confirm.
She typed a reply:
Yes, maintain silence.
Valerie nodded and clicked Send, closed her computer and turned to Chloe. "Spa time."
"You sure you're okay? You want to talk?"
"How about a hug?" She opened her arms and brought Chloe into a tight embrace, both remaining silent until Chloe asked, "More bad stuff is happening, isn't it?"
"Not bad. Just not good."
"Oh." After another long silence, Chloe continued, "Like what?"
"Seems Lorne and I are the new targets for the gossip media." She laughed. "The Royals will be pleased for the diversion."
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...