Paris France, Wednesday August 6th 2262
23:22:46 hours (local time)
The evening on the Eiffel Tower was going superbly. Hillary Jane was on top form and in a great mood. Norman was content and relaxed just because she was. They had just finished the cheese course and were waiting for coffee and liquors.
They’d spent an enjoyable and exhausting time in the bedroom prior to their arrival. She had been rampant and had managed to destroy his shirt in the height of passion; literally tearing it off his body. He’d been elated; on an emotional high, with the closeness and intimacy that he took from such fervour.
The lighting in the restaurant was low; bright light of any sort would have marred the panoramic nocturnal view of Paris. Soft classical music emanated from different areas emphasising a high-class feel that you couldn’t fail to notice on arrival. The uncrowded table layout, the crisp white table linen, the superb décor and minimalist artwork, the elegantly suited waiters; one per table, and the quality of the other clientele all equalled a night that many would yearn but few would attain.
The small square table they were seated at was situated in the optimum location in the restaurant and boasted the finest views with only the finest names taking it; if you had to ask the price then you were not really eligible.
A selection of genuine wax candles flickered on the table, reflections of the flames danced about in the unused silver cutlery. Norman stared across the table and into Hillary Jane’s dark eyes; in the subdued light they looked jet black, the light from the candles flitted across them, but not enough to restore them to their usual colour. He was drawn in to them and lost for a moment or two while she reiterated the highlights of her meeting with the Russians.
She was dressed in her customary black and looked magnificent as her elegant floor sweeping dress hugged her slender body. Sparse random sequins had shimmered sporadically as she glided through the restaurant on their arrival. He always felt underdressed when he was with her, his mauve tuxedo seemed quite bland by comparison.
“This time it does feel as if we have achieved something with them, yes there has been ground lost; ground lost to both sides, but that middle ground is oh so much closer now,” she paused to sip delicately at her glass of Romanée Conti.
“Today will go down in history as the beginning of the end of this long war,” she said with confidence and passion.
Norman smiled. “And you my darling are part of the team responsible. You have achieved what many a government has failed to; since the stalemate bought on by the peace treaty all those years ago.”
She beamed; loving the praise she received for her accomplishments. “We felt something in that meeting room today, there was a bond; if that’s possible with a Russian,” she joked.
Hamilton, their waiter for the evening, appeared with their coffee and two glasses of brandy on a silver tray. Hillary Jane paused, she was always wary about what she said in public. There was already one leak somewhere in the government to the press; she wasn’t going to be responsible for another one.
“Your coffee Madam,” he announced, as he placed the delicate bone china coffee cup on its saucer in front of her.
“Thank you, Hamilton,” she said politely, lowering her eyes to look at the young English waiter’s crotch as she moved her cup and saucer slightly. For a few seconds she pictured Hamilton and Norman servicing her every need in their bed. Hamilton would be dressed in his current black jacket and matching shirt with white bow tie, from the waist down he was naked and doing unspeakable things to her while she satisfied Norman. A shudder of excitement ran down the length of her spine.
“And yours Sir.”
“Thank you, Hamilton,” Norman echoed, leaning back slightly in his chair to give the waiter better access to the table.
“We would be honoured if you accepted this cognac on the house,” Hamilton suggested. He stood up straight, waiting for a response before he served them.
“What a lovely gesture,” Hillary Jane beamed. “We would be more than happy to accept your kind offer.”
Hamilton served the two cognacs in tulip glasses and then left them to enjoy their drinks. Hillary Jane watched him go. “What a darling he is,” she declared turning back to Norman. “I do love this place”.
“Oh, me too,” Norman agreed. Was she checking out the waiter as he left? He dismissed the idea; he was being paranoid, again. She wasn’t going to sleep with every waiter they came across. He put the thoughts out of his mind but subconsciously fiddled with his gold and ruby coffee-bean neck chain draped over his shirt, her guilt-gift to him.
“You were saying about the feeling in the meeting room?”
“Oh yes, compared to February’s meeting there was a bond this time; on both sides,” she said, pausing to sip her coffee. “They are just as tired of this stalemate-war as the rest of us.”
“So how long until there is an agreement signed with all the countries involved?” Norman asked.
“If I had to put a time on it, then I would say approximately eighteen months. There are a lot of laws and protocols to change on both sides before that happens; teleporting procedures are going to be radically different in the near future.”
“So are the other countries going to agree to this first phase of changes?” Norman asked, swishing the brandy about in his glass.
“This is all highly classified Norman; I shouldn’t really be divulging this sort of information,” she looked down at her cognac, waiting for his eagerness; needing his enthusiasm.
“Darling, you know you can trust me, I love it that you feel you can share things with me,” he pressed wholeheartedly.
She didn’t need any further prompting and had always felt she could trust him. She did like to boast about her triumphs and he was the only one outside of government with whom she could safely blow her own trumpet.
She lowered her voice even further. “There is a meeting scheduled in New Downing Street next Monday with Wales, Scotland, France, Germany and Mexamerica; we have to convince them of what has been provisionally agreed today before we can progress; so you can see why this is going to take some time.”
“With you onboard my love I’m sure it will just be a formality.”
“Oh Norman; if only everything in life was as simple as you portray.”
They sat in silence for a moment, enjoying their coffee and cognac.
“Hillary Jane!” Boomed a woman’s voice from behind her. “Well I never; it’s been a life time darling, how are you?”
Hillary Jane flinched at the volume of the voice she recognised but hated with a passion. She turned in her seat and put on her best fake smile. The beautiful younger woman before her was in a long white dress with a string of pearls around the open neck; her long flowing blonde hair partially covered her bare shoulders.
“Tamarah, what an absolute delight!” she lied. “You’re looking well,” she added. “And I’ve always loved you in that dress, it’s so flattering.” A subtle dig at the dress that had seen too many outings just lately.
“It must be two months or more since we last met up,” Hillary Jane concluded.
“Oh at least,” Tamarah replied, noticing Norman. “Are you not going to introduce me to this gorgeous young relative you’re dining with this evening?” She threw back at Hillary Jane, a blatant dig at the age gap between them. She knew full well that this was probably the young man Hillary Jane was engaged to. She had heard so much about him on the grapevine.
Hillary Jane fumed silently, but hid it well. She put on a short phoney laugh, throwing her head back to emphasise it further. “Oh Tams, you silly thing. This is my fiancé, Norman Bradleigh.” She gestured towards him.
“Have you not met?” she added with a frown, knowing full well that they had never met; and never would have if they hadn’t had the misfortune of bumping into her like this. She always tried to keep Norman away from her most attractive acquaintances.
“No, never darling, wherever have you been hiding this cute young thing?”
Hillary Jane ignored the question and turned to face Norman. “Norman this is Tamarah Stein, we’ve known each other for absolutely years.”
Tamarah moved round and stood between them. Norman stood up and took her right hand, kissing it delicately.
“Oh, he’s a darling isn’t he? What a catch,” she said, eyeing him up and down.
“Yes, he’s wonderful,” Hillary Jane agreed, a little irritated at the attention Tamarah was giving her fiancé. She had taken hold of his hand when he had kissed hers and hadn’t let go.
“So when’s the big day then?” Tamarah asked.
“We’re looking at a spring wedding next year,” Hillary Jane confirmed, making a point of not revealing the exact date.
“I look forward to the invite,” Tamarah announced with a small laugh.
Over my dead body, Hillary Jane thought with her best smile on show. “Oh, of course darling; you are definitely on the guest list.”
Norman gently pulled his hand away from Tamarah’s. “Lovely to meet you Tamarah; will you join us for a drink?” he gestured towards the table. “I’m sure Hamilton will provide another chair.”
“How very kind of you Norman,” she replied, clutching his right hand between both of hers and squeezing it gently. She noted that Hillary Jane’s eyes had flicked downwards for a fraction of a second. “I’m with my husband though, we have a table the other side of the restaurant.”
“Oh what a shame,” Hillary Jane chimed in with. “Another time then, the poor old boy will be wondering where you’ve got to.”
She regularly took Albert Stein’s advice and made use of his connections for years now. He was definitely worth every V-credit she paid him.
Tamarah smiled trying not to show her annoyance at Hillary Jane’s blatant remark concerning her husband’s age. “Yes definitely, another time,” she let go of Norman’s hand and he sat down. “I must dash, we have to order yet and time is getting on.”
“I’ll make a point of calling you by the end of the week Tams,” Hillary Jane confirmed. “Norman do remind me to call Tamarah,” she added with sincerity.
“I will,” he confirmed with a smile. “Goodbye Tamarah, it was lovely to meet you.”
“Bye bye,” Tamarah said with a smile and a little wave of her fingers as she headed off in the direction of her waiting husband.
They watched her go.
“What a lovely woman,” Norman said, turning back to face Hillary Jane.
Her smile dropped in a second as she turned back to the table. “She’s a bitch and I can’t stand her.”
Norman was a little taken a back. “But I thought…” he started.
“Norman, I do wonder about your misconceptions of people sometimes.”
“What’s wrong with her then?” he asked a little confused about it all. “You seemed to be getting on great just now.”
“We tolerate each other; I’m pretty sure she hates me as much as I despise her.”
Norman’s puzzled expression said it all.
Hillary Jane sighed. “Albert Stein, her husband, who incidentally must be at least forty years older than her and worth a small fortune, knows a lot of influential people. I got introduced to him a couple of years ago at one of the garden parties. I knew straight away he was someone I had to get to know; he has helped me out on more than a few occasions since then. The only problem is that she, the pretty trophy airhead, is part of the unspoken deal. If I don’t have some ‘girly thing’ going on with her then I jeopardise my connection with him.”
“I see,” Norman declared. He thought for a moment. “If she hates you as much as you hate her; why doesn’t she just tell Albert she isn’t interested in a friendship with you?”
“Because she is materialistic; why do you think she married the old boy in the first place, I’m sure it wasn’t his charm or his looks; neither of which are that favourable.”
Hillary Jane finished the remainder of her brandy. “Every now and again I take her out and we spend the day or the night together. I buy her little things to keep her sweet… a bit like throwing a dog a bone to keep it happy and off your back for awhile.” She laughed wickedly.
“You are cruel,” Norman said, joining in with her laughter.
“Are you ready to leave Norm?” She asked.
Not waiting for him to answer she rose from her chair. “I will settle the bill with Hamilton on the way to the teleporters. You take the first port slot while I do.”
Norman drained his brandy glass and stood up quickly. “Okay honey.”
He took her arm and they set off together, giving the impression to all that they were the perfect couple.
Twenty minutes later they were at home and sat up in bed chatting. She wore a little black lacy number that left nothing at all to the imagination. Norman wore his dark blue boxer briefs. The climate-duvet kept the temperature beneath it at a steady sixteen degrees; absorbing excess heat and releasing it from the bottom hem line.
Following such a lovely evening he was in two minds whether to bring up his night out with his brother the following week. Perhaps while she was in a good mood, and on a high, was the perfect time; then again if she wasn’t happy about it the end to the evening would be ruined and once more it would be his entire fault. He could never judge how she would react to things. His stomach started to turn over. If he didn’t mention it now, he could forget about sleeping tonight.
He decided to go for it. “I spoke to Terry today.”
“Oh yes, how is he?”
“He’s doing fine; things are looking up for him. He’s moved into a new flat.”
“What’s he doing for work now?” she enquired.
“I never ask; I’m not sure I want to know really.”
“Yes, he’s always been a bit of a rogue that brother of yours,” she quipped. “A lovable one though,” she added with surprising warmth.
Norman’s heart pounded in his chest. “He’s bought me a present.”
“Oh yes.” She stiffened at the news. “Nothing untoward or illegal I hope Norman; you know we can’t be involved in anything like that.”
“Oh no darling, nothing like that; he knows better than to associate us with anything untoward.”
Hillary Jane relaxed again. “Good,” she said bluntly. She started running her fingers up and down his arm. “What has he got for you then?”
Norman swallowed nervously. “He has bought he and I tickets for an open evening at a new museum in Northampton next Tuesday.”
He’d said it now; there was no going back, he felt like he was going to be sick, he stared at her waiting for a response; it could go either way.
“How nice of him,” she said with a smile. She moved her hand from his arm and slipped it under the bedcovers and started running her nails delicately up and down his thigh. “Why has he bought you a present out of the blue?”
Norman let out a discreet sigh of relief. “Who knows? You know what he’s like; unpredictable at the best of times.”
He hadn’t told her that he’d been helping Terry out financially for the last few months, she wouldn’t have understood.
“You don’t mind then?” he said, noting that her hand was creeping higher up his thigh with each stroke; he knew where this was going; what she wanted… again.
“Why would I mind Norman? Honestly you do make me out to be a complete ogre at times.” Her hand stopped mid-stroke.
“No, not at all my love; I don’t mean it like that,” he had to rescue this conversation before it went downhill rapidly. “I wasn’t sure what your plans were for the evening; you may have had a function or dinner booked in for us… Terry’s also asked me to stop over at his afterwards for a bit of brotherly bonding.”
She resumed her thigh stroking; she was nearly up to the hem of his boxer briefs. “We have nothing planned next Tuesday evening Norman so there is no problem.”
Norman thought for a few seconds, relieved that she hadn’t reacted to the sleepover. “Why don’t you meet up with Tamarah? It would be a good chance to have that catch up with her.”
“I don’t need you to try and manage my social diary Norman; I’m perfectly capable of doing that myself.”
Oh god, why did he always have to say the wrong thing. “I’m not trying to organise you honey; it was just a suggestion.”
“I had already considered it myself anyway; when you first mentioned your night out with Terry.” She lied, silently thinking it wasn’t such a bad idea after all. She could cross Tamarah off her list of chores for another month or so then. “I will get Stephen to organise it in the morning.”
He concealed a smile; it amused him that her idea of organising her social diary was getting Stephen to do it. “That’s going to work out well; and if you need me back after the museum I can always port back when you return home from your night out.”
“I’m sure I can cope without you for one night Norman,” she stated, lust evident in her voice, her breathing a little heavier.
She moved her hand up breaching the skin to fabric threshold for the first time and started running her nails up and down the outside of his underwear. His reaction on the inside of it was as she’d hoped. Within seconds she was under the covers and tugging at the waistband with her teeth. He closed his eyes and decided that the best idea was just to let her do whatever she wanted.