The Couple in the Dream Suite

The Couple in the Dream Suite by Marguerite Kaye Read Free Book Online

Book: The Couple in the Dream Suite by Marguerite Kaye Read Free Book Online
Authors: Marguerite Kaye
Justin? You don’t have any scars.’
    ‘Buried deep,’ he said tightly, trying not to panic. ‘We’re talking about you, not me. Did the matron make you miserable?’
    ‘Oh no, I did that all by myself.’ Vera said. ‘I worked ridiculous hours cleaning floors and washing sheets and every other disgusting task they threw at me, because I was doing my bit and I had a hell of a guilty conscience to drive me. But I also – I did, I flirted. Because it seemed the least I could do, you see, and it meant nothing to me. It was then I discovered that I have the kind of face and the kind of body men like. They look at me and they think about sex. You’ll think it’s strange that I didn’t know that before, when I was married, but it was different with Adrian. He loved me. He respected me. I was his wife, not his tart. I was never anyone’s tart, not really, but I played up to it on the wards, because it made the men laugh, and it made the nurses despise me, and I felt I didn’t deserve any better because – well, because I didn’t.’
    Justin swore, but Vera shrugged, and gave a brittle little laugh. ‘Darling, there’s no need to get all het up on my behalf, I’d found my metier. So when the war was over, and they said thank you very much but we’re done with you now, off you go back to your old life, I carried on. I didn’t have a life to go back to, you see. I went from useful to useless in the space of a few weeks. But I could flirt, and I learned how to party, and both were a thousand miles from the person I’d been before. Though of course I never learned to
deliver,
as they say, but I met Dexter before that could become a problem, and – and there you have it. Here I am.’
    ‘Still playing the part. Running to keep ahead and not looking back,’ Justin said.
    ‘I – yes. I suppose that is it, though I had rather thought what I was doing was living in the moment. How did you know?’
    ‘I recognise a kindred spirit,’ Justin said slowly. ‘It’s what I do myself.’
    Vera nodded, as if she had already seen this. ‘Do you want to tell me?’
    ‘Yes.’ He hadn’t planned it. He hadn’t thought it through – how to say it, what to say – none of it, but he did want to tell her. As she’d poured out her own obviously pent-up emotions, his own feelings seemed to swell inside him, to become too big to contain. It was like the lifting of a curtain, what she told him, as if she had invited him backstage to see the workings behind the perfect façade, and so much of what she said resonated. Too much for him to remain silent. ‘I’ve never told anyone,’ Justin said.
    Her hand was still in his, their fingers entwined. ‘I’m not anyone,’ she said. ‘This isn’t anywhere. What happens in the Dream Suite stays right here, remember? Tell me. Maybe the clock will stop.’
    ‘Did it work for you?’
    She could simply have nodded, but she didn’t. She bent her head, staring down at their twined hands, running the thumb of her other hand over his knuckles, frowning. ‘I don’t know,’ she said finally. ‘I can look over my shoulder though, and see it was a long time ago. It seems much further away. As if maybe it happened to someone else. A little. It’s a start, don’t you think?’
    ***
    Justin closed his eyes. Vera studied him in the shadowed light. He looked older, sadder. She wanted to wipe the heavy frown from his brow. She wanted to make whatever it was that caused it go away. It was so strange, so utterly bizarre really, that she could be sitting here, quite naked, quite exposed in every sense, with this man who until a few hours ago she had never met. This sense of complete intimacy could not possibly be real, but it was such a relief.
    No, relief didn’t really cut the mustard. She hadn’t realised how much effort it was to keep herself together. To let go like this, to allow herself to unravel just a little bit, was something she hadn’t known she needed.
    She couldn’t help

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