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Mary-Lou went into the museum early on Monday morning, she knew she’d been booked for three tour groups and also needed to finish cataloguing the new collection from South America. She was hard at work when the door to her tiny office opened and Lily Ross came in.

“Did you have a nice weekend?” she asked, sounding slightly condescending. Mary-Lou felt irritated but nodded.

“Very nice, thanks. I visited some friends in Devonshire. And you?”

“Oh, fine… I just wanted to tell you – Mr Ellingham’s visiting today to have lunch with the Director.”

“Oh? That’s nice.” Mary-Lou said, trying to be casual and failing. She remembered how Gerard used to come in on Mondays to have lunch with her. She wondered why Lily was telling her and started to frown.

“I know he was going to fund some of that new exhibition of yours – the Peruvian pottery.” Lily indicated the pieces on Mary-Lou’s desk as if Mary-Lou didn’t know about her own work, before she continued, “But I rather think he’s going to pull out. What a shame. I do hope you aren’t too disappointed?”

Mary-Lou glared at her, wanting to throw the priceless pottery at her smug face. How did she know this? From the usual eavesdropping at doors, she expected. She must be mistaken. Gerard knew the exhibition would be a major success and he wouldn’t want the bad publicity if it failed to happen. Lily was only being infuriating, as usual. She was probably making it all up.

She opened her mouth to speak, but before she could retort, her telephone extension rang. She picked up the receiver, trying not to roll her eyes. Lily made no move to leave the office at all.

“Hello? Oh, hello David, how are you? Yes, lovely, thanks. Did you? I see – lunch? Well, thank you – that would be lovely.”

Lily listened, feeling angry inside. How she’d hoped that Mary-Lou would be upset by the news that Gerard Ellingham was coming into the museum, but here she was arranging a lunch date with another man! David – the man who had sent such lovely, expensive flowers.

“I’m sorry, Lily, I really must get on with this work. Did you want anything else?”
Mary-Lou’s tone was sharp, despite her best efforts to hide her annoyance and Lily flushed red.

“Not at all. Please don’t allow me to keep you from your – work.” she said, nastily, before flouncing out.

Mary-Lou looked after her in dislike, wondering what she had done to make the older woman into such an enemy.

~

Rix had not had the best morning. Rayner had demanded to know about the graze on his forehead and had made some sarcastic remarks about the idiocy of impulsive cave explorations. Rix had also made some rudimentary errors during the operation they had performed which had irritated the Senior Consultant further, especially as they had occurred before six medical students.

Rayner hadn’t said much about it, but he wouldn’t in front of others. Rix dreaded what he would say during their coffee break, but Rayner was unexpectedly sympathetic.

“I know you can do better, so I’m not going to say too much. You aren’t sleeping, are you? Worried about the assessments?”

“No – not really. I don’t know. I’m not sleeping well.” Rix admitted, lighting his cigarette and passing his lighter to Rayner.

“No more problems about you not joining your uncle’s practice?” Rayner didn’t know very much about the row, but Rix had had to tell him the basics at the time.

“There’s nothing worrying me. I just couldn’t concentrate this morning. I’m sorry.”

“It’s all right. Why don’t you take the rest of the afternoon off? I’ll get Forrest to assist me this afternoon. Where did you get this thing? You’d better not leave it lying about here.”

Rix looked up at the cigarette lighter, realising that it was Mary-Lou’s and he had forgotten to give it back to her.

“It’s a friend’s.” he said, as Rayner passed it back. He looked at it more closely, realising for the first time that it looked valuable. It was hallmarked gold. He realised that he ought to return it to her and decided to walk over Westminster Bridge to the Museum before he went home. Maybe he could even take her out to lunch? He felt instantly more cheerful at the prospect of seeing her and left as soon as he could.

~

Jack had sat in the bank arguing his case for nearly an hour and much to his relief, it seemed to have worked. They would extend the loan, giving him another eight months to pull things around at the San. He didn’t dare think beyond that time. Phil Graves and Eugen Courvoisier had left the San already, and it looked as if Neil Sheppard would be following them soon.

Jack also knew full well that if Laurie Rosomon hadn’t been family, he would have gone months ago and even Reg, his closest ally, had been worried enough to ask him about the future the day before Jack had flown to London.

“I have to think about Len and the baby now, Jack. I just need to know if we can carry on here. They say TB’s finished…”

“It hasn’t finished.” Jack had replied, stubbornly. “Anyway, we’ll branch out. I’ve got plans, Reg. I appreciate your patience.”

Reg had left, but he hadn’t looked satisfied. Jack hoped that he hadn’t shared his worries with Len. The Maynards’ first grandchild was due very soon and the last thing he wanted was for Len to discuss the situation with her mother.

Jem would have been a good help at the bank, but he had taken retirement now and passed control of the Welsh San to David. Madge had wanted to live in Australia to be near to her two eldest daughters, so Jem and she had packed up and flown over as soon as the twins were old enough to start school.

After leaving the bank, Jack decided to phone David and offer to take him out to dinner. They could discuss their respective plans.

He found a phone box and telephoned Guy’s. He was annoyed to find that David had left for lunch, but left a message anyway. Glancing at his watch, he saw it was ten to one. He decided to go and celebrate his stay of execution with a spot of lunch, but halfway to the nearest restaurant, he paused, thinking. Would this be a good time to visit his other nephew at St Thomas’s and attempt some kind of reconciliation?

He had always wanted Rix to work in the San. Not only had he heard through the medical grapevine that Rix was a hard-worker and already a skilled doctor, he was also an oncologist; and Jack was desperate to branch out into that field. Despite his reassurances to Reg, he was aware that the era of TB was nearly over and the San had to adapt to survive. Without the money for high salaries, he was finding it difficult to recruit or even keep his current staff. If he hired his nephew, he could offer well under the going rate and it would still be more than Rix earned on the NHS. Or so Jack tried to tell himself, feeling slightly guilty. Rix wouldn’t need the money soon anyway, as Dick’s heir to the Quadrant.

He made up his mind, and headed for the Underground. Rix was at work and wouldn’t be able to argue the way he had in the Quadrant. Jack might be able to finally talk some sense into him.

~

David arrived early to take Mary-Lou out for lunch. She was pleased to get away from the Museum for an hour or so. She was anxious to avoid Gerard and Lily was seriously starting to annoy her. She had made it her business to be hanging around the main reception when David arrived and had accosted him officiously, asking if she could help before Mary-Lou could get to him, making sure that Mary-Lou was forced to introduce him to her.

“Oh, you’re David!” she’d squealed, giving a false-sounding laugh. “I’ve heard all about you, and seen your beautiful flowers. How nice to meet you.”

Mary-Lou had dragged him away so quickly, that he had looked surprised and Lily was offended. She’d only tried to be friendly! Who did Mary-Lou think she was? She slammed back up to the offices, fuming.

In her office, she sat down heavily on her chair and stared out of the window, wondering how she could pay Mary-Lou back for embarrassing her in front of that attractive man. Her telephone started to ring and she answered it moodily.

“Miss Ross? Mary-Lou’s hasn’t gone out, hasn’t she? There’s a gentleman to see her.” The girl on the front desk said, warily. She didn't like Lily.

“Who is he? No, wait. I suppose I can come down,” Lily sighed exaggeratedly, hanging up before the receptionist could reply.

She stomped down the stairs. Halfway down it struck her that it could be Gerard Ellingham and she smoothed her hair down. If only she could make a good impression! Some of her recent ideas for exhibitions had been turned down, but she was convinced that they were as good as Mary-Lou’s own. If it wasn’t for the favouritism that existed… Lily felt disappointed when she saw that it wasn’t Gerard Ellingham but a tall, dark-haired man who was very handsome – possibly better looking than Mary-Lou’s other friend.

He approached her, smiling, “I’m looking for Mary-Lou Trelawney…” he began.

“She’s not here. She’s gone out with her boyfriend,” Lily snapped. “Or at least one of them. Our Mary-Lou’s a popular girl. But I expect you know that already.”

His smile disappeared instantly. For a second she felt slightly guilty, he looked so completely stricken. He recovered himself, slightly.

“She’s a friend of my sister’s. I wanted to return this to her. Perhaps you could pass it on – Miss - ?”

“OK, I will,” Lily took the lighter from him, without answering his query.

“Thank you. That would be very kind of you.”

“All right.” Lily said, sullenly. “Wait, you didn’t tell me your name.”

“Bettany.” he replied, unwillingly. At least Mary-Lou would never know he had wanted to take her out. He wondered who had taken her out for lunch, but didn’t want to ask. He said goodbye to her colleague and left, heading for the bus stop, deep in thought. He didn’t notice Mary-Lou and David laughing together in a café opposite the Museum.

~

Jack walked around the corridors of St Thomas’s, noticing how busy and shabby it was. Nothing at all like the quiet, comfortable San in the Oberland.

A middle-aged receptionist asked politely if she could help him.

“I’m looking for a Dr Richard Bettany. Can you tell me where I might find him?”

“Bettany – I don’t suppose you know which Department?” she asked, hunting through a book printed with names and telephone extensions. Jack was amazed at how large the hospital staff seemed to be. “Oh, here we are. I’ll try his number for you.”

Jack grimaced. He had reckoned on the element of surprise. Rix might well refuse to see him. “I need to talk to him fairly urgently and I’ve come from Switzerland. My name is Maynard, Dr Maynard. Could you direct me to his office, please?” he asked, authoritatively. The receptionist blushed.

“Of course, sir. I’m sorry. If you head for the Oncology Department, he shares an office with Mr Rayner. It’s on the fifth floor, third door on the left of the lifts.”

Jack nodded his thanks and headed for the lifts.

On the fifth floor, he located the office easily. Rix’s name was etched onto the door, underneath that of his senior colleague. He knocked and waited for Rix to answer.

Inside, Rayner looked up from his paperwork and sighed. He was busy and did not welcome the interruption.

“Come in,” he called, sounding irritated.

Jack entered and frowned to see that Rix wasn’t there. “Good afternoon. My name is Maynard and I’ve come to see Richard Bettany. Do you know where he is?”

“I sent him home – he didn’t look well to me. Can I help you? I’m Francis Rayner.” Rayner was bemused. The name Maynard rang a bell, but he couldn’t place the older man’s face.

“It’s a family matter.” Jack said, coldly. In his San, the younger doctors stood up when he came into their offices and Rayner hadn’t even bothered to put his pen down.

Rayner looked up sharply. The name Maynard fell into place.

“Ah. You must be Dr John Maynard of the Gornetz Platz. Richard’s uncle.”

“Yes, that’s right. Maybe you could tell me his address so I can speak to him – if it’s not too much trouble.”

“I’m afraid it is. I don’t give out my colleagues’ addresses without their permission.” Rayner said, mildly. “Perhaps I could give him a message? Or ask him to contact you.”

Jack glared at Rayner, furiously. “I have a right to speak to my nephew. I must insist that you give me his address at once, or else I will have to speak to your Senior Consultant.”

“I’m afraid you’re speaking to the Senior Consultant already.” Rayner sounded amused. “I run this section of the Oncology Department and report directly to the Board of Trustees. And as I said, Richard has the right to privacy. If you wish to wait, I can telephone him and ask if he will return to see you. I expect he won’t have reached his home yet, however.”

Jack stared at the younger man, an expression of great fury on his face, but Rayner just raised an eyebrow. He knew that Maynard had tried to browbeat Rix into joining his Swiss Sanatorium and wasn’t prepared for his assistant to face more stress. Not when he had looked so pale and ill. He could tell that Maynard was a bully, but he had faced down many of them during his own career.

Jack knew when he was beaten. He pulled out a pen and paper and scribbled down the address of his hotel, throwing it onto Rayner’s desk. “Give this to him and tell him I want to see him.”

“Certainly. Good afternoon, Dr Maynard.” Rayner replied, returning to his paperwork. Jack hesitated for a moment, and then left the office, slamming the door.

~

Gerard Ellingham was feeling very pleased with himself. He had successful merged two of his newly acquired companies at a great personal profit and Louise had stopped being so cold to him after his latest indiscretion. The expensive ruby necklace had gone some way to bringing her round.

He was meeting the Museum Director, Sir Anthony Melton, for lunch at half past one, so he had time to see if Mary-Lou was in her office. She hadn’t replied to his note but he couldn’t really blame her. He felt slightly guilty about the way he had broken the bad news to her, but yet irritated that she had been so naïve. How could she not have realised he was married in two years? He sincerely hoped that she hadn’t gone around telling all and sundry about their relationship, yet feared the worst. At least Louise never came to town so the two of them would never meet. Louise had heard rumours that he was involved with a young girl from the Museum, but luckily no names had ever been passed on to her.

As he entered the Museum, a young man pushed past with a muttered apology and didn’t stop. Gerard stared after him, offended, realising that not only was his appearance familiar but also that he looked like he’d been given bad news. He wasn’t interested enough to think about it for too long, however, and decided to pop up to Mary-Lou’s office to see if she was around. Louise wouldn’t be expecting him to start up anything again so soon and Mary-Lou was young and inexperienced, despite all her independence. She would be easy to manoeuvre back into bed.

Gerard knocked on Mary-Lou’s office door but got no response. He opened the door and looked inside. A voice behind him made him turn round.

“Hello! She’s gone out for lunch.” Lily said, unable to believe her luck and wondering if she could charm him into sponsoring one of her ideas for exhibitions, which had so far all been turned down by the Director. “Can I help you, Mr Ellingham? I’m Lily Ross.”

“Hmm. I was looking for Mary-Lou to – erm – go over the opening night details for the Peruvian exhibition,” Gerard lied, smoothly. “But it doesn’t matter. How nice to meet you.” he added, smiling, using the charm he used on all the women he came across.

Lily smiled back at once, fiddling with the gold cigarette lighter. His gaze was drawn to it and he frowned.

“Where did you get that?” he asked, sharply.

“It belongs to Mary-Lou apparently. One of her friends dropped it in for her a few minutes ago. I was just going to leave it on her desk.”

Gerard took it from her. He remembered giving it to Mary-Lou as a gift and it was valuable. He didn’t like the idea of her lending it around to her friends.

Lily saw his scowl and knew he was jealous. “She’s due back in at two, I believe. Her friend David said they wouldn’t be long.”

“David?” Gerard questioned at once, picking up Lily’s bait.

“Oh yes. He sent her the most gorgeous flowers last week. And did you know, she actually had another gentleman caller this lunchtime as well? I believe his name was Bettany.”

“Oh yes?” Gerard remembered the young man who had pushed past him in the reception. Now he could place him, Frank Rayner’s young colleague. So he was interested in Mary-Lou was he? He wouldn’t be once Gerard had spoken to him - and to a few of his superiors at the hospital.

“Yes. Well, she’s so pretty, why wouldn’t she have gentlemen callers?” Lily said, with an unpleasant edge, looking at Gerard in a way that left him in no doubt of her knowledge of his relationship with Mary-Lou.

Gerard felt himself getting angry. How many of her friends had Mary-Lou told? Did the whole Museum staff know? Did the trustees know? Louise’s brother was on the board of trustees. He had conveniently forgotten that he had told Mary-Lou that he was separated from Louise and given her the impression that their relationship had a future. He also didn’t think of the humiliation she had gone through when he ended things.

Gerard put the gold lighter into his pocket.

“You must excuse me, Miss Ross. I have to go to lunch with Anthony now. If you wouldn’t mind, please tell Mary-Lou that I wish to see her at three.” he said, as he turned and headed for the Director’s office. “Regarding the new exhibition, naturally.”

“Naturally.” Lily echoed, smiling a secret little smile and humming a cheerful little tune as she headed to her own office.

~

Francis Rayner put his pen down and sighed. He couldn’t concentrate for thinking about the visit from Jack Maynard; running it over and over again in his mind and wishing he had handled the situation differently. Rayner knew how cutting he could be when his temper was roused but still, it had been incredibly galling to be spoken to like that. He knew Maynard and Rix had had some kind of disagreement; now he hoped he hadn’t made the situation worse for Rix. He rubbed his eyes, and then looked at the note Maynard had left for his nephew on the corner of his desk.

He picked up his telephone and used the automatic exchange to telephone Rix, who answered.

“Is something wrong?” Rix asked bluntly, after they had exchanged greetings.

“Not at all. I apologise for telephoning you at home, but your uncle, Dr Maynard, came to the office looking for you, and asked me to pass on the address of his hotel.”

Rix was silent for a moment or two “My uncle? He’s in London?” he asked.

“Yes. He wanted your address but I wouldn’t give it to him without your permission.” Rayner paused, “He didn’t seem very happy about that.”

“I’m glad you didn’t… I couldn’t face him today.” Rix admitted. “We aren’t on speaking terms at the moment. Did you say he left an address, sir?”

Rayner read it aloud. “Are you going to go there?” he asked.

“I don’t know. I want to explain things properly to him – but he just won’t listen. Maybe I should apologise for some of the things I said to him... It’s complicated.”

“And none of my business, of course.” Rayner said, kindly. “But I would recommend you sort it out before it starts to affect your work here. No, I’m not reproaching you, but it was very clear this morning that you’ve got something on your mind. Probably best to get things sorted out, don’t you think?”

That’s not the only thing that affected my concentration this morning, Rix thought uncomfortably, but he only made his farewells and hung up the receiver, frowning at the piece of paper he’d scrawled Jack’s details on. Maybe he should go and see him and try to sort things out once and for all.

He had made up his mind and was just pulling on his coat when he heard his doorbell ring.

~

At half past two Mary-Lou said goodbye to David at the Museum gates and headed back to her office. She felt much better for the break and David had been very charming company. She had hinted to him that she would prefer to be friends rather than anything else and he had seemed to respect her wishes, much to her relief. His kiss on her cheek as they parted had been pally rather than amorous.

In her office, she resumed her work on classifying the pieces of pottery. She was anxious to get it all finished before the end of the week. A knock on her door made her groan.

Lily poked her head around the door but unusually for her she didn’t come in.

“Oh you’re finally back! Mr Ellingham – Gerard – came by and he asked me to let you know he wants to meet with you at three. About the new exhibition. I am sorry, Mary-Lou.”

“Thanks for the message.” Mary-Lou said, trying to hide her thoughts but feeling completely dropped on.

“Oh, and a Mr Bettany called to see you – he must’ve just missed you actually. I told him you’d gone out but I didn’t say it was with David.” Lily continued, dropping her voice as if she and Mary-Lou had a great secret. “He was rather rude to me actually, but then I suppose he was disappointed you weren’t here.”

Mary-Lou bit back an exclamation. She could just imagine the conversation Lily would have had with Rix. “Did he leave a message?”

“No, he didn’t. As I said, he was rather rude.” Lily repeated.

“Well, I’m sorry he was rude.” Mary-Lou said, uncertainly, but Lily had gone.

Mary-Lou buried her face in her hands, trying to stop the tears from falling onto the pieces of pottery on her desk. She sniffed and hunted for her handkerchief and was blowing her nose when Gerard entered her office without knocking.

“Darling,” he said at once, “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing. Hayfever.” Mary-Lou lied at once, hoping he didn’t think she was crying over him. She wasn’t, she told herself, well, only partly.

He came right up to her desk and took hold of her hand. “Listen darling, I meant it when I sent you that note with the flowers. I do still love you and if it weren’t for the girls I’d leave Louise for you. You must know how I feel. Maybe we could try again? You’d have to be more discreet this time of course.”

“I don’t believe this.” Mary-Lou pulled away from him and stood up. “Who do you think you are?”

He scowled. “Your friend Lily told me about all these boys hanging around you. What are you trying to prove? I’ve told you I still love you. You don’t need to make me jealous.”

“What are you talking about? Why would I try to make you jealous? You don’t mean anything to me anymore. And what on earth are you talking about, boys hanging around for me? I went to lunch with the brother of a friend, whom I’ve known since I was eleven years old! Hardly a romantic liaison.” Mary-Lou said scathingly. She was very much on her dignity and it infuriated him. No woman had ever turned him down before!

He tried to grab her arm to draw her closer, but she pulled away, her blue eyes flashing with anger. “Don’t touch me, Gerard.” She said.

“I realise I upset you, but I do love you! If it makes you happy, I will leave Louise for you. Just say the word and I’ll start divorce proceedings.”

“I don’t want you to, Gerard. I can’t – you’re married! I’m not interested anymore. You deliberately deceived me. Just leave me alone.”

She saw the anger flare across his face and felt afraid. She had never seen him so out of control before. He reached into his pocket and threw something onto her desk, not caring about the precious pottery.

“What’s going on between you and the Bettany boy from St Thomas’s?” he snarled. “Remember when I gave you that lighter? How you said you’d treasure it?”

Mary-Lou stared at it. She hadn’t missed it since she’d left it with Rix in the tunnel while she went for help. That had only been the day before yesterday, even though it seemed like weeks ago. Rix must have brought it to the Museum for her and she dreaded to think of what had happened if he had run into Gerard in that mood.

“Nothing! He’s a friend and I was at his family’s house at the weekend. I must’ve left it behind.” She replied, moving further away from him. “I’m sorry. You can have it back. I know it was expensive.”

“That’s not the point!” he hissed, but he was starting to cool down. Her obvious fear of him was not pleasant to see.

“Gerard, I’m sorry you feel this way – but I don’t want to go back to what we had. I need to move on,” she said briskly. “I’m not involved with anyone else. I just want to concentrate on my career and spend time with my friends.”

"You'll be sorry for this," Gerard growled, storming out of the room and slamming the door behind him. She picked up the lighter sadly. Rix had obviously had it refilled for her and this little bit of kindness made the tears well up in her eyes again. She hoped Lily hadn’t told him about Gerard, but she feared the worst. What would he say if he knew she had been in a relationship with a married man?

She suddenly wanted to see him. She scrubbed fiercely at her eyes and stood up, picking up her handbag. She would go to St Thomas’s and if he wasn’t there, she would go to Guy’s and get his address from David.

Rix went downstairs and opened the heavy front door, wondering who could be calling to see him. He was rarely home during the day. He hoped it wasn’t Jack; he wanted to think about what he could say on the way to the hotel.

A pair of arms was immediately thrown around his neck and he was kissed and greeted by a familiar voice.

“Gina – how are you?” he grinned at his former girlfriend, who was chattering away in her native Italian, and bent down to kiss her. She was a nurse at the hospital and although the relationship – his longest relationship, lasting three years – had been over for nearly two years, they were still friendly. “How did you know I was home?”

“Sylvia told me she saw you leave and you look unhappy! I have early shift, so I thought I come and cheer you up. We could go for a walk and coffee, and go to the meeting later? They say you have not been to any of the meetings for a long time.”

“No, I’ve been busy. I can come tonight though.” Rix pushed the piece of paper into the pocket of his coat. “And coffee sounds great.”

“But you are going out already? You have your coat?” Gina asked, taking his arm companionably.

“It can wait till tomorrow morning. Where do you fancy going? West End maybe?”

“Fine. I’m glad you are coming to the meeting, Rix, we missed you.”

Rix was touched. He put his arm around Gina as they headed to the bridge, listening to her chatter about their mutual friends and about her new boyfriend, even though she seemed to have conveniently forgotten she had cheated on Rix with him. Rix didn’t care; it was water under the bridge. They were just walking past the hospital when they ran into Mary-Lou, getting out of a taxi.

Mary-Lou saw Rix with his arm around such a beautiful girl and felt shocked, her thoughts were swirling around her head; a mad jumble of confusion and hurt. She suddenly wished she hadn’t come to see him. What on earth was she doing?

In desperation, she got back into the taxi, but the driver glared at her.

“Are you getting out, luv? I’ve not got all day yer know!” he said, indignantly.

“I need to go back to Bloomsbury.” She said, urgently, aware that Rix was waving, and obviously about to cross the road and come over to her. “I’m sorry.”

“I’m starting the meter again.” The cabbie said, grumpily. He clearly thought she was insane. Maybe I am, Mary-Lou thought, but Rix having a girlfriend was something she didn’t want to deal with right now. She would write and thank him for returning the lighter, care of the hospital.

As the taxi pulled away, her eyes met his and he looked confused and hurt.

Later that evening - while Rix was sitting glumly with Gina at the meeting and refusing to answer her interested questions - Mary-Lou sat at home in her flat. She had told herself firmly that she had finished wasting her time crying over men and that in future she wasn’t going to bother with them at all.

She still blushed thinking about what a fool she had made of herself in front of Rix, imagining that he was interested in her that way when he so clearly wasn’t, and as for Gerard – she felt nothing but shame. She could imagine what her Gran would have said about her carrying on with a married man. And the fact that he had told her he was separated would have been no excuse!

Don’t think of it anymore, you moke, She told herself firmly. She made a cup of tea and picked up her post.

A letter with a Swiss stamp caught her eye and she remembered her letter to Joey Maynard telling her an edited version of the break up with Gerard. At last, the reply! She tore it open eagerly and scanned the contents.

Joey had written reams about the Maynard family’s latest news, and about Len expecting her first grandchild. She had written some kind words about Mary-Lou’s ‘troubles’ and invited her to visit Freudesheim with a warmth that was delightful.

‘You know I’ve always wanted you to consider it your second home – no, your first! As long as Jack and I are around you needn’t be lonely. Margot is still studying in Edinburgh, of course, and spends her holidays in a retreat there, but Con is at home now, writing away like anything, and Len only a few miles away on the Rosleinalpe, and of course I’m here. I’ve nearly finished my latest novel and after that I’ll have oceans of time to catch up.' She had written. 'Do try to come if you can. Hilda, Nell and Rosalie were here for English tea when your letter came, and of course they demanded your address and will write in due course. You have neglected us, my child!’

Mary-Lou read to the end and sighed, wishing she could visit. She turned the paper over and saw that Joey had scrawled a PS.

‘Jack is coming over on a flying visit on 16 April – I’ve given him your address and he says he will try to pop round to see you, either at home or more likely at the Museum. I think he’s attending a Medical Conference so he mightn’t be able to manage it, but hopefully he will! Much love, J’

Mary-Lou folded the letter and put it back into its envelope, with a rueful smile. She could just imagine Lily’s face if she had yet another man visiting her at work! And the mention of Jack had reminded her of his row with Rix, though Joey hadn’t mentioned that once in her letter.

Mary-Lou wrote a note to Rix at the hospital, thanking him for bringing the lighter back. She didn’t mention anything about seeing him outside the hospital or about the weekend at the Quadrant. She read it through once, hoping it wasn’t too cold – after all she had never asked him if he was in a relationship or not - and sealed and stamped the envelope. Tomorrow she would post it and then that would be that. The next time she would see him presumably would be at Maeve's wedding in June, but she expected he would be attending with his girlfriend.



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