Love and Other Murders

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Chapter 15

His body makes love to her in the springy double bed of the Grand Hotel while his heart goes raging mad. Where has she learnt these titillating quirks, her nude breasts lashing against his loin, this wild twist of her hips that makes him mad with lust?

Their breath slows down, their bodies soften, her head nestles on his chest.

“What’s wrong, Nathalie? Haven’t I satisfied you?”

“Just on the contrary, Alex, you made me deliriously happy!” She crushes her lips against his, transforming him into Vincent; with all the might of her longing she is betraying the three of them.

“This doesn’t seem to be our night, Nathalie.” He releases her from his embrace.

After a blank kiss on her brow he gets up to take a shower without asking her to share it. She fixes the darkness with dry eyes. Will she go on with a story where love had already happened? Is a moment’s fancy worth fighting for? Will she lose interest in a man once they made love? The first time in bed with Alex was wine and roses yet somehow the thrill brushed off.

The shower stops running. What ought she to do? Try to win him back? Try harder? The refrigerator opens, glasses clink, Alex nears the bed bringing a tray with a bottle of champagne and two flutes, his wet hair sleeked back over his perfectly shaped scalp, his bronze eyes sparkling. He pours the champagne out and hands her a flute with a courteous bow.

“Making love never solves a problem. It’s just an amateurish bandage over an infected wound, a failed remake of a badly written drama. Let’s start again, Nathalie, don’t be afraid of the truth! Would you tell me what really happened in Oslo? You wouldn’t? Then let me do it. I have two explanations; firstly, you have never loved me. I was just the first male available when you were in the mood for sex. Secondly, you resent me because I sent you away with another man when I should have been unconditionally in love with you and adore you day and night, night and day. Will it help if I told you I had no other choice? Before Vincent went away with you I made him promise to respect you as my girlfriend. I know him well enough to be certain that this narcissist couldn’t fall in love with anyone else but himself. Now I told you my version, can I have yours?”

She watches him undecided. Tell him the truth? Does she know it? She sees no reason to discuss love a few moments after they were making it.

“Let’s clink glasses, Alex. Don’t they say in vino veritas? And if the truth is in wine then it’s still more in champagne.”

“Anything you wish, my fair lady!”

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