Thursday, August 6, 2009

His Other Wife

Another extract - still inconvenienced with my arm in plaster. His Other Wife published by Whiskey Creek Press, available in paperback and e-book. Ciao.

“I just don’t understand it,” Carla Hetherington said for about the fourth time. This time she glared at her eldest son who was lounging by the fireplace, his elbow resting on the marble mantle as if he had not a care in the world. But that was just like Saul.
“What’s to understand?” Saul murmured. “My brother left a small legacy to a woman,” he shrugged, “so what? And knowing Fabio, it shouldn’t be at all surprising.”
“How dare you.”
Saul raised an eyebrow at her. She looked flushed and agitated. Had he forgotten that Fabio – or fabulous Fabio as she always called him – had been her favourite child? He was the one, like his name, who seemed more Italian than English. Like his mother, he had been slim and dark and impossibly good looking.
“Sorry,” Saul conceded and he was. Now was not the time to speak the truth about Fabio, to remind mother that Fabio had been fond of women and la dolce vita! “But it isn’t as if he has left Roxie Rawson all his money, just a small legacy.”
“Roxie Rawson, even the name makes me shudder. She sounds like one of those tap dancers at a men’s club.”
“I think you mean lap dancer…”
“Well, you would know,” she snapped.
Saul did not respond. Maybe she was a lap dancer, knowing Fabio that would not be a surprise but his mother was right to be worried. It was upsetting for Louisa, his brother’s widow. She was confused. They had been married only eighteen months and suddenly Fabio was dead. Fabio had wrapped his car around a tree in Tuscany. Louisa had not even known her husband was in Tuscany. Nor had she had known that he had known a Roxie Rawson so well that he had bequeathed her ten thousand pounds. It was not a drop in the ocean either. Fabio was not wealthy, although comfortable would be more like it; he was really just starting to make his way in the world.
“What are you going to do about it?” Carla demanded.
He supposed he would have to do something. Louisa could not be expected to look for this Roxie Rawson. She was devastated. His mother would claim fragility, although he knew she was about as fragile as a piece of Tuscan marble.
“You have the contacts and know how to do it,” Carla insisted, managing to make it sound like an insult. “You find her…I suppose you’ll have to pay her?”
“Yes, the Will is valid. The lawyer suggests advertising but I think I’ll do it my way.”
“Do it quickly. I want it over with. And I need not tell you to keep this … this Roxie person out of our lives. You can insist on that.”
“I think this Roxie person is out of our lives period. I don’t think she is a recent manifestation,” Saul murmured.
Carla glared at her eldest son as if there were a further insult to Fabio’s memory in the statement. He was like his father. Tall, well built, his tobacco coloured hair often unruly in that English kind of way, his eyes so dark a blue as to be almost navy. He possessed the Roman nose of Carla’s side of the family but that was all. He looked English with that strong jaw and his fine chiselled lips, which were stained by a touch of cynicism. He had always been too tough for her. He excelled at rugby at school…was always captain of this and prefect of that. He had set the mould at school. Fabio had always been made to pay because he was not like Saul in anyway and it was she, and not Fabio who had resented that. Fabio went on in his own sweet way and never seemed to bother about anyone, or how they felt about him.
Carla had been glad when Saul had left home and joined the army. He had succeeded there too…going into the SAS. Now he had his own security consultation firm, offering personal security to the rich and famous. He was doing well. She hated his success, it was in a field of work that she thought was good for bruisers and mobsters and not a Hetherington.

Saul drove away before dinner. He was glad to be away from the house. It was a nice house, a small manor house built in the Stuart period. It was the only thing the family had managed to hold onto. The land had long gone. There was half an acre of garden, most of it beautifully kept in Italian style by a retired gardener. His mother managed to retain the services of a cook-housekeeper but there were no other staff. Bad investments had all but ruined his father and death duties had eroded the rest. Saul did not care; he had made his own way. He had ceased to have an attachment to the house when his Mother had told him that it would go to Fabio. There would be a small legacy for him but the house was to be for her best loved child. Saul had known that the moment Fabio got his hands on it, the house would be sold. It was no good moaning about it. It was the way of things. He was a realist and had long since learned to accept that his mother would never have deep maternal feelings for him. He was too confident in his own abilities to let it weaken him in anyway.


Kathleen said...

Great reading your excerpts but hope the arm is soon healed.

margaret blake said...

Thanks, Kathy - 10 days to go then maybe the plaster wil be off and I can get back to normal blogging.