Same words, same tone, deeper bass.
‘You can’t not eat,’ he retorted, prodding my pillow.‘Watch me. And since when did I let you sleep in my bed?’
This time he prodded me. ‘Not a morning person, are you? Well, if you want to be alone, fine, I’m heading to the kitchen because I desperately need a drink.’‘I don’t want to eat,’ I repeated.‘You already said that,’ I heard him call, before the door slammed. I intended to stay where I was, but every sigh of the wind outside sounded like breath on the window, and the emptiness of the room began to bear down on me. So I jumped up, darting to the wardrobe and to the basin. I washed my face and brushed my teeth before grabbing the mouthwash. I was just pouring a mouthful into the cap when it slipped from my fingers, tumbling to the carpeted floor. Seeing it almost in slow motion, I stooped down and caught it – the right way up, not even a single drop spilled. I raised an eyebrow. I certainly couldn’t do that before.
When I got downstairs, I found the entrance hall empty, both the doors thrown right back on their hinges. I paused, and then bolted across the marble expanse for the living room, like a child who runs up the stairs for fear of something running up behind them.I found Kaspar had a drinking companion when I got to the kitchen: Fabian. They were in conversation when I entered, but stopped abruptly when they noticed me.
‘Morning,’ Fabian said. I didn’t answer, hovering instead around the counter and avoiding eye contact. An apple rolled my way and Kaspar poured water from the kettle into a mug, a cup of tea following the fruit. I gingerly sipped at the hot drink, hit by a sense of déjà vu and a return to the day of my first sample of Varnley’s fine breakfast cuisine. The uncomfortable thought was that now it was Kaspar who was looking after my human needs, whereas then I had desperately sought to avoid him. Now Fabian was the thorn in my side.
Fabian eyed me as I ate. I stared at the tiled floor. Kaspar raided the fridge, stuffing half a packet of ham into his mouth, washing it down with blood straight from the bottle.The man nodded once. Call me tomorrow morning. I’ll take care of everything.
Up on the grand staircase, his sister, Gin, made the corner at the landing and paused, as if she knew people were going to want to examine what she was wearing—and the red gown and all those jewels were in fact worth the check-out. With acres of crimson silk falling to the floor and that set of Princess Di diamonds, she was the Oscars, Town & Country, and the Court of St. James all at once.The hush that quieted through the foyer was both from awe and condemnation.
Gin’s reputation preceded her.Didn’t that run in the family.