The Diary Of Pamela D. (Chapter 6, page 1 of 10)


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Chapter 6

Pamela got her wish in one sense: Theo began spending a good deal of time with her, taking her out frequently and showing her the incredibly varied countryside of Yorkshire. But they were never actually alone together: he would always take her to popular public places and once there he would say little, leaving her to fend for herself as he sat nearby and watched over her like a concerned parent. She tried not to think of the reason for this but the tense set of his shoulders, his watchfulness, his protective possessiveness, served as constant reminder of the threat of Albert Askrigg. Sometimes, when they stopped for a meal at some quiet pub or restaurant she would study him for there was little else to do. He would say very little, and though vigilant in an unsettling manner, he seemed always a million miles away, his thoughts preoccupied with matters he never hinted at, never shared with her.

She found she liked Theo best, appearance-wise, when he wore his ivory-coloured cable-knit sweater. It made his chest appear deeper and broader than it already was, his arms bigger and stronger. In fact it fit him like a glove, not at all loosely, attesting to his well-proportioned and well-defined masculine physique. As well, it made him appear somehow more conjugal, if that was the right word (it was, of course, one she had borrowed from Mrs. Dewhurst's vocabulary). It was the kind of thing she could imagine him wearing if they were married and had children, or even if they were together as a real couple, spending a day at the beach or going for a picnic or a walk in the country.

If he desired any of these things, he never gave the least sign, never alluded to them, never followed a line of thought Pamela introduced which might lead to discussing them. Yet at this same time, he initiated a sort of ritual: late each evening, after everyone else had gone to bed, he would go to the study and pour the two of them a small glass of sherry, would lead her to the upstairs sitting room and throw a few logs on the fire. He would then sit in one of the big armchairs and draw her onto his lap.

The first time this happened she was very tense, wondering where this was going to lead, or what he was going to do to her. But nothing ever happened. He would gently coax her into relaxing, to lay against him, her head against his chest like a little girl. Then they would sit in silence watching the fire, he smoking a single long cheroot, both of them sipping occasionally at their sherry. In the end, he would flick the stub of his cheroot into the fire as signal that it was time to go to bed, and that was that.

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