‘We’ll see, shall we?’ he smiled, a smile without humour, like a cobra about to strike its victim. ‘Yes, we’ll see,’ he repeated softly.
‘ARE you telling me you’re still there?’ Phil was incredulous when she visited him in London a couple of weeks later.
Leonie gave a light laugh. ‘Yes, I’m still there.’
‘And you’ve seen nothing of Noble since you parted on that Monday morning?’
‘Nothing,’ she shook her head.
Leonie had been surprised by that herself, expecting Giles Noble to keep badgering her until she left. Every time the telephone rang she jumped, every time someone knocked on the front door she tensed, but so far there had been no sign of Giles Noble. And he hadn’t told Emily a thing about them having met before. This uncertainty was worse than anything, but then he probably knew that. At the moment they were having a war of wills, it was all a question of who broke first. Well, it wasn’t going to be her!
Phil raised his eyebrows. ‘That’s rather strange, isn’t it?’
‘I think he’s hoping I’ll just leave.’
‘And you aren’t going to?’
‘Oh, I thought about it, very seriously, in fact. But I’m through running, Phil. If he wants me out then he’ll have to throw me out, literally.’
‘And you think he won’t?’
She gave a half smile. ‘I’m sure of it. He would have done it by now if he was going to.’
Phil shook his head. ‘I’ve a good mind to try something on him just to see what would happen.’
‘Phil!’ Leonie gasped.
He relaxed back on the sofa that he converted into his bed at night. The bed-sitter was infinitely tidier than it had been the last time she had called on him here. And Wanda was noticeably absent too! ‘I wouldn’t really,’ he grinned. ‘Although the way it looks you can’t really blame him for expecting it.’
‘I know that,’ she sighed. ‘And I don’t blame him for that. I just hate the way he tried to trap me into it. The merest suggestion of blackmailing him and he would have had you in prison before you could deny all knowledge of it.’
Phil became serious. ‘I’m never going back to prison. Never!’
Leonie bit her lip. ‘How’s the job going?’ she changed the subject to something less sensitive.
He shrugged. ‘It’s okay. But I’m not going to get very far as a delivery boy.’
‘I thought you always wanted to open up your own restaurant,’ she frowned.
‘If it’s a question of money…’
‘Of course it’s a question of money,’ he said irritably. ‘I’m not exactly a safe bet for a bank loan.’
‘Tom didn’t leave me destitute, Phil. I could——’
‘No!’ He stood up to pace the room. ‘I won’t accept anything from you.’
She looked bewildered. ‘But I——’
‘Don’t you understand, I’ve taken enough from you already! If I hadn’t interfered you would have had your fling with Lindsay, eventually found out what he was really like, and the affair would then have blown itself out. Instead of which the whole thing was made embarrassingly public, and Noble crucified you.’
She touched his arm as he walked past her. ‘I’m glad I found out about Jeremy.’
‘But I could have just told you about him, you didn’t have to find out that way!’
‘No more recriminations, Phil, please. Now, about this restaurant——’
‘I can’t take money from you, Leonie,’ he told her firmly.
‘I said no!’
‘All right,’ she sighed in the face of his obstinacy. ‘I have to go now, Phil, Emily hasn’t been too well lately, so I told her I would be back early.’
‘What’s wrong with her?’ he seemed genuinely concerned.
‘She’s had rheumatism for years. It gives her a lot of pain, but this week has been worse than most. I’ve had the doctor out, but there’s really not a lot he can do except give her something to help her sleep at night.’
‘Does Noble know?’
Leonie shook her head. ‘She wouldn’t have him bothered.’ Her mouth twisted. ‘She says he’s too busy to be worried with something like this.’
Phil shrugged. ‘No doubt he is.’
‘No doubt,’ she agreed bitterly. ‘Anyway, I must go.’
‘But you’ll come again?’
She smiled. ‘Of course I will. By the way, how’s Wanda?’
‘Very well,’ he grinned back. ‘I’ll have to introduce the two of you some time.’
‘I’d like that.’
‘Really,’ she nodded. ‘Maybe the next time I come down.’
‘Okay, I’ll arrange it.’
Leonie drove back through the early evening sunlight, feeling more relaxed, the beauty of the evening soothing her. Until this move to Rose Cottage she had lived in town, in Tom’s house, and now she had found that she liked living in the country most of all, enjoyed the slowness of life, the clean fresh air.
Dorothy, Emily’s housekeeper, came rushing into the hallway as soon as Leonie entered the house. ‘Oh, Mrs Carter, thank goodness you’re back!’
‘What is it?’ She was at once concerned. ‘Is Emily all right?’
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