The Catalyst

The Catalyst by Angela Jardine Read Free Book Online Page B

Book: The Catalyst by Angela Jardine Read Free Book Online
Authors: Angela Jardine
trouble to deny her accusations.
    Gradually she became aware he felt he was behaving respectfully to her if the other woman was not actually sitting down to breakfast with them but leaving him had somehow never seemed to be a viable option even though she could not have explained why.
    So she had waited for the years to pass and for him to settle down into staid middle age and it was true that in time he had become a little more sensitive to her feelings. The affairs had not stopped but he had learned to be more discreet for her sake and, pathetically, she had welcomed his obvious lies and clumsy subterfuges. She wondered now if she would ever have gone to live with him if she had known he was a serial seducer when they first met.
    Her loneliness had been so overwhelming and she had loved him so much that she suspected she would still have wanted to share his life. Judging by her anger today she guessed her feelings were still the same, unless it was a sign she had finally reached the end of her tolerance of him.
    She just really could not analyse how she felt about him at this moment but she was uncomfortably aware he might think nothing of trading her in permanently sometime for a younger, prettier model.
    Just as she was thinking she dare not let herself think about that she felt an ominous jolt as she reversed into a parking space in the narrow street outside Sacha’s coffee house and realised she had hit the kerb. Embarrassed, and knowing she should really have been concentrating on her driving, she pulled out again to get a better line and was immediately aware of a car horn, sharp and peremptory, behind her.
    Glancing over her shoulder she saw a momentary blaze of headlights on a silver Mercedes and realised she had pulled out without looking. Hot-faced and hating the way she felt she had been caught as the stereotypical woman driver she waved and mouthed her apologies before reversing neatly into the space and turning off the engine. The mistake had ruffled her even more and she sat there struggling for calm.
    A knock on her window made her jump and she was aware of a man standing beside her car. What in the name of arse does he want, she wondered, correctly suspecting it was the driver of the Mercedes. The last thing she felt she needed today was a smug dressing down about her driving from some patronising man but she forced herself to get out of the car to confront him, aware of a strange weakness in her knees.
    ‘I’m so sorry … I ...’ She tried to rein in her rising temper even as she apologised, anticipating his reaction. She fumbled with her car keys, trying to put them in her handbag but dropping them in the road instead.
    ‘I’m not...’ the man replied.
    It was not the response she was expecting and startled she looked closer at him as he picked up her keys for her and handed them back. There was something instantly familiar about him and a tentative hope took hold of her, one she hardly dare acknowledge in case she was mistaken. He smiled mischievously at her as he watched her puzzle with the memories.
    ‘Perhaps you should try to remember who I am somewhere where we won’t get run over?’ He took hold of her elbow and gently edged her onto the pavement.
    ‘Jasper? Is it really you?’ For no good reason she could fathom, her eyes filled with tears and she hastily dashed them away. ‘Sorry … it’s been a bad day so far.’
    The shock of seeing him so unexpectedly after all these years had brought on the tears and immediately she was angry again, this time with herself. What a stupid reaction, she thought, I have so much to ask him and all I can do is cry.
    ‘It’s lovely to see you, Jen.’ Although he tactfully said nothing about her tears his kind words brought even more to her eyes and she tried to blink them away to stop them falling.
    ‘Oh, Jazz, you too … you have no idea.’ She wished she could think of something cool and amusing to say instead of weeping like an idiot. She was

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