Rugby England, Wednesday August 13th 2262
“Calm down Norman!” Terry said, trying not to sound frustrated. That damn woman always managed to spoil things. It had been thirty minutes since Norman had tried to call her.
“I’m sure there will be a perfectly good explanation why she didn’t take your call; come and sit down, you’re wearing me out pacing up and down.”
“Like what? What possible reason could there be? I don’t like it, there is something wrong - I just know it.”
Norman plonked himself down into his chair.
“Here, have some of your scotch,” Terry said, thrusting Norman’s tumbler at him. “You’ve not touched it in the last half an hour.”
Norman took it from his brother, drained it, then dumped the empty glass noisily back on the hover table.
Terry noticed the pain and anguish in his brother’s face; something he had seen far too many times in the past when it involved Hillary Jane. “Look, she is either still out with this business associate having a better time than she expected; and therefore too busy to take your call, or she is home after a bad night and in bed already.”
Terry’s words had no impact on Norman, and he had to be very careful what he said. “It’s gone midnight so either way she won’t want you disturbing her; she knows where you are if she wants you for anything.”
Norman checked his strap. “She must have noticed I tried to call, it’s been thirty-two minutes. She should have called me back by now. What if she’s lying unconscious somewhere?” Norman whimpered, working himself up into a frenzy of emotions and irrational insecurity.
“You’re just overreacting now,” Terry sighed.
He got up, having finished his own drink, and picked up both glasses. “If she were unconscious her strap would have detected that and notified the emergency services of her whereabouts and her condition.”
Norman sat there in obvious distress while Terry replenished the glasses. A few minutes of silence ensued between them, the only sound to be heard was ice striking the inside of the tumblers.
Norman broke the silence. “Do you think I should port home quickly to check she is ok?”
“No I don’t!” Terry responded without a seconds delay. “How happy will she be to know you have been checking up on her, leave her be ’til the morning bro.”
Norman either didn’t hear Terry, or chose to blot out his words. “I could be there and back in a few minutes, it would put my mind at rest and if there is something wrong I will be there for her.”
Terry sighed and headed back into the lounge. He held the tumblers between his fingertips in one hand and knelt down behind his brother’s chair; resting the tumbler bottoms on its high back. He placed his free hand on Norman’s shoulder. “No,” he whispered softly.
Norman jumped violently; knocking both the drinks out of Terry’s hand. The whisky sloshed up one side of Terry’s face and into his hair. The tumblers hit the yellow floor tiles and smashed into pieces, creating a mixture of crystal and ice; Terry’s shirt having soaked up most of the remaining fluid.
“FOR CHRIST’S SAKE Norman,” Terry yelled angrily, jumping to his feet. He surveyed the mess on the floor while he ran a hand over his sopping hair and face.
“Oh no,” Norman yelped, shooting up himself, horrified at the mess. “I’m so sorry Terry.”
Terry’s anger subsided almost as quickly as it had flared up. “Don’t worry Norm,” he sighed. “Will you clear this up while I change my shirt… actually I think I may need a shower too,” he said, pulling at his sticky hair with his fingers.
“Of course I will, you just get showered and changed.”
“Thanks,” Terry said as he set off for the bedroom. He stopped in the doorway, took off his shirt and screwed it up into a ball. “And pour another couple of drinks,” he smirked. “Oh and you may need some fresh glasses,” he added with a snigger, trying to lighten the atmosphere a little.
He threw his shirt at Norman jovially and disappeared into the hall. Norman caught it and put it on the room dividing countertop. He spent a couple of minutes cleaning up the floor, worrying about Hillary Jane as he did. A thought came to him. Terry would probably be in the shower for at least five minutes. In that time he could port home, check Hillary Jane was okay and be back, ready for a drink with him, before he even finished his shower. It would save him a lecture from his older brother; who was probably right about her being tucked up in bed. Without another thought he swiftly and silently headed off to the port room.
11 minutes and 44 seconds earlier
The ground floor tour of the house had been interesting. Had it not been for the overwhelming urge to get Hillary Jane to her bedroom, rip open the front of her red dress and sink his face into her breasts, then Simon was sure that he would have enjoyed it far more. In any other situation he would have been fascinated by the building’s period architecture and would have been keen to demonstrate just how much he knew.
He had patiently followed her from one room to another, only making the expected appropriate noises and comments in a bid to progress to the first floor a little quicker.
“That’s about it for the ground floor,” Hillary Jane announced as they exited the library. “Had it been earlier in the evening and still light we could have easily spent an hour wandering around the gardens.”
Thank god for the late hour and darkness, Simon thought. “What a pity,” he sympathised instead.
“Do you have time to continue with the first floor?” Hillary Jane asked, with an innocent looking smile. “Or have I bored you enough already?”
“No! Far from it,” Simon responded, a little too eagerly he realised as he said it. “There is nothing I would like more.”
“Marvellous, follow me then.”
Hillary Jane led the way once more down the hallway to the main staircase. She pivoted round one of the bottom newel posts and ascended the stairs, Simon followed.
“I must take these heels off,” she said as they reached the top. She held on to the balustrading at the top of the stairs and kicked off both shoes. One of them toppled over the first stair and bounced down another five before coming to a stop on its side in the middle of the tread.
“Oh, that is so much better,” she declared, as she shrank in height before Simon’s eyes. He noticed her feet were larger than the average woman’s… she was no average woman though.
“I have eight bedrooms; all with private bathrooms, two offices and a couple of box rooms, this way.”
They spent ten minutes touring the first floor rooms. Most of the bedrooms were pretty much the same, so little time was spent in any of them.
“Finally we have my own bedroom,” Hillary Jane announced as she approached the closed door. “This is much bigger than all the others and includes a bathroom and a dressing room.”
Finally indeed, Simon thought as he came up behind her. His linen trousers did little to hide his rapidly increasing exhilaration. He trembled from head to toe as intense excitement surged through his body. He was close enough to her now that she must have noticed his increased and heavier breathing.
Hillary Jane placed her hand on the chrome doorknob and paused. Simon was up so close that she could feel his warm breath on her neck. Again his fragrance found her senses, the one that she couldn’t place earlier. This time she knew it instantly. Bitterness, he was wearing Bitterness; the aroma that she most liked to smell on Norman.