Minerva Ch. 04 of 10byDenham_Forrest©
By Denham Forrest, The Wanderer
Minerva chapter 04
I slept very well that night all things considered. But that might have been down to how much I'd drunk in the bar; I can't say that my mind was very settled. For reasons I didn't understand at the time, Kylie had really got to me. Yeah, I was no stranger to women. But without really knowing her, I thought that Kylie, and my attraction to her, was somehow different from what I'd felt for any female before.
It was! I was rapidly falling in love with the girl; or maybe it was just an infatuation. Whatever, the effects on me were the same; I really wasn't sure of myself anymore and my emotions -- and stomach -- were turning summersaults.
On arising the following morning, for some inexplicable reason I was disappointed when I saw that the motor yacht was no longer in the bay. I don't know why, maybe I figured that Kylie might have sailed off with Fabian in it.
I was even more disappointed, when I noticed that the three cars were missing from the hotel car park, as I made my way down to breakfast a little later, than was my norm.
Jean, the waitress, informed me that his lordships party had taken their breakfasts very early and then almost immediately left in the cars. She told me that she hadn't noticed whether Kylie had left with them, or gone out to the yacht; that had apparently left the bay around the same time. Jean actually said that she couldn't recall seeing Kylie at all that morning.
As subtly as I could -- which was probably not very subtly at all -- I enquired of the rest of the staff on duty, whether they'd seen Kylie that morning. None them could recall whether they had seen her that day. Mind you, except for Jean in the dining room, that wasn't very surprising, as the morning was a busy time for the staff.
Because I had risen later than usual, I headed for the beach shortly after I'd eaten my breakfast. I had to sneak out before Aunt G or Grace spotted me though, because they would have chastised me for swimming shortly after eating. Probably the only thing those two ladies agreed on, was what I should, and should not do.
As was usual the beach was almost deserted, so I took my swim out to the headland and back again. On the return trip, I noted Jack at the top of the cliff stairs, talking to someone; I couldn't make out whom because he or she was almost completely hidden by a bush.
Just before I got in close enough to become invisible to anyone standing on the patio, Jack gave me a wave. I returned the greeting as best I could while swimming.
On reaching the beach, I headed for my normal spot beside the big rock, where I settled myself down to catch some rays and dozed for a while.
I think I told you that I used the rocks shadow as a kind of alarm clock. As the sun moved across the sky the shadow would eventually begin to fall on me around twelve o'clock. That gave me the option of going up for an early lunch, or taking another swim out to the headland and back first.
I have no idea how long I lay there dozing before something disturbed me. It wasn't the rocks shadow though. Something, a fly I figured at first, tickled my nose. At low tied when the seaweed is exposed, flies can be a real nuisance on that beach.
But brushing it away with my hand only caused a familiar voice to giggle. Surprised I opened my eyes.
"Kylie, where did you spring..." Was as far as I got before she clamped her lips against mine.
"I thought we could take a swim together this morning." she said, breaking the kiss. Then kissed me again before I had time to answer.
Look, I weren't going to complain; I was in seventh heaven. There is no better way of being woken from a snooze, I can assure you. Well, not in my experience anyway.
Whatever, those kisses kind-a developed in the real snogging session. With me doing my utmost to keep my hands from wandering somewhere they shouldn't. I hadn't had a chance to look around to ensure that no one was watching us.
Then, as suddenly as she'd started to kiss me, Kylie broke away and grinned down at me for a second.
"Beat you to the headland." She said, then jumped to her feet and began running towards the water.
Kylie must have been nearly twenty feet from the shore, before I plunged in the sea after her.
She was a surprisingly fast swimmer, but eventually I overhauled her, then dropped my pace and swam alongside her, only accelerating again when we got near the rocks of the headland. The sea was remarkably calm that morning, so getting ashore on the rocks would be neither difficult nor dangerous. The gentlemanly side of my nature had come to the fore.
Although I touched bottom first, I helped Kylie climb up onto the rocks before me, so we could call it a tie. See born gentleman, aren't I?
"Okay Kylie, you've got me hooked. Now what's the score?" I asked her after we'd settled ourselves on a large flat rock, hidden from anyone watching from the shore by much bigger ones.
"I'm sorry, JG I don't think I understand."
"Look Kylie, you are a very attractive young lady. You know as well as I do what you can do to any guy's heart, just by flashing those eyes of yours at him. All right, you've caught me girl, hook, line and bleeding sinker.
"But I'm wondering to what end? Why are you giving me all those signals if you're supposed to be with that Fabian fella?"
A look of complete surprise came over Kylie's face.
"But Fabian is just an old friend and the son of my uncle's business associate."
"Kylie, when we danced together last night, Fabian was giving me the evil eye. Whether you realise it or not, Fabian thinks he's placed his personal stamp on you."
"No, JG you're wrong. Fabian's just a good friend, and he just gets a little over protective sometimes, that's all. I have to humour him because his father does a lot of business with my uncle. But there's nothing between us; there's no romance or anything."
She sounded pretty adamant, but her protestations didn't really do anything to convince me that my first assumptions hadn't been correct. Even Jack and Grace had come to the same conclusion about Fabian, almost completely independently.
"Off the top of my head, I'd say that Fabian doesn't share that view of your relationship Kylie. I'd say the guy has visions of you and him getting hitched in the long term."
"Oh don't be silly JG. Fabian and I have known each other since before my Brother and father..."
Kylie checked herself and changed her mind about what she was about to say, possibly because it was emotionally painful for her.
"Fabian was my brother's best friend at school and since he's been gone, he's kept in touch with me. Fabian likes to think of himself as my protector, my replacement brother sometimes; but we're not particularly close friends or anything. Why does it worry you anyway?"
Whoops, I weren't quite prepared to answer that question and found myself fumbling around for the right words.
"Because... Well because... Oh shit. Look Kylie, from the moment you flashed those damned great eyes at me the other day, you've had me hooked. I can think of nothing else but you. Jesus girl, I think I've fallen in love with you."
She leant towards me and kissed me gently on the lips.
"JG, you will never know how much it does my heart good to hear you say that. When I saw you walk into the dining room on Sunday evening, my heart stood still. You've had me hooked, as you put it, ever since."
"I'm pretty sure that Fabian would be upset to hear you say that."
"No, you're reading Fabian completely wrong. It's my uncle who doesn't seem to approve of anyone I like. Of my own age anyway. He sees gold diggers everywhere. My father left me pretty... Well, I'll never have to worry about money anyway."
"I truly wish you hadn't told me that Kylie. Look, you and I come from completely different backgrounds and I fear some people are going to get the wrong idea."
"Oh don't be so silly JG."
"I'm not being silly Kylie; I'm being very logical and thinking things through. You apparently, are an heiress of some kind, and I'm a junior reporter on a regional weekly newspaper. And not a very good one at that; I haven't even been able to discover who you really are.
"Look girl, not only do we come from opposite ends of society, we live in different worlds. I don't want either of us to get into something that we can't... Well, you know what I mean?"
Kylie sat and stared at me for the longest time.
"No, I don't know what you mean JG. I'm used to getting what I want. And at this moment, I want you!" I have no idea what expression those words brought to my face. "What's more I'm sure that I'll always want you to be with me. I've never felt like this about anyone before."
"Kylie, I feel the same way about you, but we've got to look at the big picture."
"Damn the big picture JG. I'm used to getting what I want."
"And your uncle?"
"He's my guardian. But he doesn't own me. I can fall in love with and marry whomever I chose. He'll kick up a stink for a while, obviously. But eventually he'll come around to my way of thinking, he always does. Now can we get away from all this morbid talk and enjoy our day together."
I'm not sure why I decided to drop the point. Wishful thinking I suppose; but I did my best to do as Kylie asked.
"How come you didn't go with them this morning anyway?"
"I pretended to be sick. My uncle had a very important meeting this morning that will keep them all away all day. I thought it would be the perfect opportunity for you and me to get to know each other a little better."
Then smiling once again she put her arms around my neck and kissed me. I'm afraid natural instincts took over after that.
---- ---- ---- ----
Eventually we were driven from our hiding place on the rocks by the rising tide and we had to return to the beach. I noted Kylie's minder watching us swim across the bay from the cliff top. But he was nowhere in sight when -- after drying ourselves on the beach -- we arrived on the paved area at the top of the cliff stairs.
We were late for lunch, but I managed to twist the chef's arm and he rustled up something that we ate in the staff dining room -- much to aunt G's horror, when she spotted us, or most likely 'Lady Minerva' -- in there.
Kylie seemed to think it was fun, going behind the scenes, so to speak. I got the feeling though, that she was no stranger to going "below stairs" as they say. Some of the staff who were taking a break or also eating their midday meal, were a little unsettled to start with by her presence, but Kylie soon put them at ease. She insisted that they drop the "Milady" attitude completely. Aunt G almost went into palpitations when she heard them calling Lady Minerva, Kylie.
After we'd eaten, Kylie and I went for another long walk along the cliffs together, where we talked about inconsequential things that courting couples do discuss. I have no real recollection of our conversations that afternoon; I believe it was about our general likes and dislikes, interspersed with periods of kissing and cuddling.
Whatever, by the end of that walk, I was somewhat surprised to have come to the conclusion that Kylie and I, had a predilection for the same things and that should mean that we were remarkably compatible.
We appeared to enjoy the same kind of music and films, and considering the opposite ends of the spectrum we came from, our political and religious views were similar. Now, that's a dangerous area of discussion to venture into with anyone, but Kyle's thoughts seemed to echo my own on most subjects.
There was one thing that kind-a stopped me believing I had fallen on my feet; we were not exactly alone. Although he tried to avoid my eye, I caught sight of Kylie's minder a couple of times.
I suppose his presence really should have brought me to my senses. If Kylie required that kind of security all the time, then it stood to reason that it couldn't work out for us in the long term. I was just an ordinary bloke; how could I ever think of getting involved with someone who needed security guards hanging around all the time.
I suppose it's the arrogance of youth. Questions did enter my mind that I should have taken more notice of. Christ, Aunt G had warned me off Kylie when I'd first ask about her. But when you're in love, the heart kind-a pushes those questions and doubts to the back of your mind.
---- ---- ---- ----
I was somewhat surprised to see Kylie's minder stood on the path someway in front of us as were neared the hotel again. By my calculation he should have been somewhere behind us. That guy sure knew how to sneak around.
Anyway, I noted that he gave Kylie, who was holding onto my right arm as we walked, a little hand signal. Immediately I sensed that Kylie had flinched, before the guy vanished again. He appeared to be very adept at doing that as well.
Then as we crested the brow of the hill, from where we could look down on the hotel, I could see that her uncle's motorcade was back in the car park.
Kylie's step faltered a little as she saw the cars, but then after taking a deep breath she urged me on with the words.
"My uncle is back. I think it's time to introduce you properly JG."
I definitely got the impression that, although Kylie claimed that she always got her own way in the end, it wasn't without a fight or two with her uncle.
I'm not sure if my reluctance to meet the man showed in my general demeanour or not. But I was surprised by his reaction to my presence with his niece as he watched us cross the paved area at the top of the cliff stairs.
He was standing on the hotel's patio with several of his entourage. All of whom were looking at me as if I was something the cat dragged in. His lordship though, had a welcoming smile on his face; he was almost grinning at his niece and me.
With a wave of his hand he dismissed the flunkies as Kylie and I got close and they scampered away to god knows where.
"Uncle William I'd like you to meet my friend JG." Kylie said.
"Hello Gilroy; pleased to meet you my boy. I knew Minerva would get around to introducing us in the end. I'm afraid that she's a little lax on the formalities of life sometimes."
Then the guy, after insisting that I called him William started chatting to me like he'd known me all my life, eventually insisting that I joined his party for dinner that evening.
I can tell you, his reaction confused me a lot to start with. But later, before the meal, when I discussed the encounter with Jack, he didn't seem surprised at all.
"I should imagine his lordship will invite you onto the patio later JG, for a cigar or something. Anyway, he will do his best to get you alone somewhere. I suspect it will be then that he'll either, warn you off Kylie, or most likely try to buy you off. Whichever, he will act as if he's quite happy that you and Kylie are together when she is around."
Grace much to my surprise concurred with Jack's assessment.
"If he knew your name as you say he did, then you can be sure he's investigated your background Gil. But I suspect he'll go for buying you off first, that's the preferred way of doing these things. Then it can be let slip to Kylie later, that your only interest in her was money." Grace informed me.
"Well it isn't!" I assured them.
"Of course it isn't my boy; we know that." Jack insisted, "But that's how these things are done in what they like to call polite society. Whether you are bought off, or frightened off doesn't really matter. Kylie will subtly be informed at a later date that you took a pocket full of cash to make yourself scarce. That's how it's done, my boy."
"That usually puts paid to any romantic feelings a young lady had for what her family considered an unsuitable suitor." Grace added.
---- ---- ---- ----
They were right: during that meal Lord William was most charming to me. Actually he centred almost all the conversation around me. You know, he not very subtly enquired about my education and profession etc. Although it was clear to me that he knew all the answers before I spoke. Whether the old bugger was trying to catch me out in a lie, or drum home to Kylie that we came from opposite ends of the financial spectrum I'm still not sure.
Jack had been correct in his prediction, after the meal, whilst the others headed for the Palm Court, His lordship did ask me to accompany him onto the patio for a little while. There he didn't actually make a financial offer, he just kind of implied that a certain young cub reporter, might possibly find himself being offered a post on one of the big London newspapers in the near future.
Also, not in so many words, his lordship pointed out. That would be extremely unlikely to happen if I was gallivanting around dating young ladies who were above my station.
He further suggested that it was doubtful that any young reporter would ever find himself employed by the big news organisations or TV companies, if he upset the wrong people. The inference was obvious.
Then his tone turned amicable again, and we went into the Palm Court to join the rest of the party.
Kylie asked me what we'd talked about and I... well, I chickened out of going into details. I informed her that her uncle wasn't particularly enamoured that we were seeing each other.
Kylie laughed and told me not to worry, that he'd come around in the end.
We danced until the band packed up for the evening, then I walked Kylie to her room. Accompanied of course by Kylie's ever-present minder; although he stayed out of sight whilst I kissed Kylie goodnight at her bedroom door.
I never did get to know the bugger's name, but I think he was a good bloke. Before I went back down to my room, without being specific, he reinforced what Jack had said about me watching my back.
"You're all right when you are with Kylie. No one will try anything when I'm around. Just be careful when you are on your own lad. That's all I can say."
---- ---- ---- ----
The next morning Kylie and I went swimming together again. Spending a lot of the time on our rock out on the headland where we couldn't be seen.
We shared lunch together and I took her to the cinema during the afternoon. Kylie's minder following in another car. That evening, I ate with his lordship's party again and I got the feeling that they were all warming to me a little. Even the battleaxe who had given me such a dirty look on the stairs that day, smiled at me a few times.
It was during that meal that his lordship announced that the whole party was moving on to Monaco the following weekend. Or maybe it was St. Moritz in Switzerland, I really can't remember now; somewhere elite and exclusive anyway. Then he really shook me by inviting me to join them for a few days.
I was due back at work the following Monday so I couldn't say yes or no, on the spot. I kind of fluffed around answering by telling his lordship that I'd have to check with my editor. Kylie was doing her best to persuade me to go with them, but her uncle pointed out to her that some people have work obligations. Rather cleverly demonstrating to Kylie the difference between our lifestyles.
The invitation had confused me, but the following morning things began to come clear to me. I was awoken by a telephone call from my editor. Two of his top reporters had -- apparently overnight -- been offered lucrative positions with top London news organisations; with the proviso that they started immediately.
With hindsight I can see what happened. Believing that I couldn't be bought off, his lordship had called in a couple of favours. The newspaper that I worked for wasn't very big and losing two reporters at the same time, left my editor in Shit Street. He'd given me a chance in the industry and I couldn't let him down.