Felicity made up for the coffee she’d had to leave in the hotel café with another in the campus café. It was now close to lunchtime and from past experience, Felicity knew Corinne would come for lunch either by herself or with her study group friends.
Today, she was late. Or that meant she was not at school.
Felicity waited, having brought the New York Times crossword with her to do while she was waiting. It was nearly half an hour before Corinne appeared, alone, having parted with several other girls before entering the café.
And, like Felicity had done before she sat down, Corinne made a quick scan of the café and saw her. The benign expression changed to concern, if not slightly annoyed.
She did not immediately come over but went to get a cup of coffee and a sandwich before walking across the hall to where Felicity was sitting by a window.
Corinne waited until she’d sat down, and stirred in two packets of sugar in her coffee before saying, “Has my brother got you checking up on me?”
“No. I was just concerned. The threat after going to that block down by the docks hasn’t diminished, and both of us are concerned for your safety.”
“I can look after myself.” It was the mantra of someone who didn’t like to be told they needed help.”
“You don’t know what you’re dealing with. Harry does, as you are fully aware, of what could happen. You need to be constantly in company and try not to be on your own going anywhere. Otherwise, if there is no one else, I want you to call me or Harry. Any time of the day or night.”
“Haven’t you got a real-life to be living somewhere else?”
“Not at the moment, no. At least if you’re going to be here, then it will make my life easier.”
“You don’t have to.”
“I do. I went down to that vacant block, too, and ended up in a fight that didn’t go down well with the police. These people are not to be taken lightly.”
Best not to tell her about the people who had followed her. Her priority this afternoon would be to see if anyone was following Corinne. She had not seen anyone suspicious around the campus grounds.
Rather than answer Felicity, she ate her sandwich in silence and sipped her coffee.
Felicity thought about getting another and was about to go over to the counter when Corinne said, “Mother says father’s gone missing. It’s not the first time, and I can hardly see how she could possibly write anything into this time because they don’t get along anymore. She also said she’d asked Harry to find him.”
“That was yesterday afternoon. She sounded concerned.”
“My mother doesn’t sound concerned about anything. She just goes off like a firecracker when something doesn’t suit her, and at the moment it’s marriage. I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s seeing someone else.”
Interesting revelation, Felicity thought, but not her first assumption for the mother’s concern. Perhaps Corinne didn’t know about the mess her father left behind.
But the fact she might be having an affair….
“What makes you say that?”
“It wouldn’t be the first time. It’s one of those tit for tat things. Dad has it off with his personal assistants, and mom goes and shags another lawyer. She was one herself once, and still has a lot of friends in that profession.”
Felicity was not quite sure what that had to do with the picking of partners to spite her husband, but it was noteworthy, and she would talk to Harry about it later when she went back to his office.
For the moment, there was one question she had for Corinne. “Do you know who the latest boyfriend is?”
“No. Yuk. Why would I want to know that? Just the idea of it is unthinkable.”
Possibly, but a woman driven to the edge can make some strange choices and decisions. It was what her father had told her about her mother, only it wasn’t a man she had gravitated towards. That too, for a while, had been unthinkable.
“Well, if you do find out by accident or otherwise, you might want to let Harry know. Or alternatively, if you happen to know where your father might be, it will help.”
“I don’t want to know. He just yells at me all the time, so it’s better he’s gone off with some floozie. Leave us in peace.”
She’d finished the sandwich and coffee and stuffed the wrapper in the coffee cup and stood.
“You can go now. I’m perfectly safe.”
With that, she headed for the door, via the rubbish bin, and headed back to school.
Felicity ordered another cup of coffee and then mulled over the latest news.
© Charles Heath 2020
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