Copyright © 2010 Angharad
All Rights Reserved.
That I slept fitfully probably comes as no surprise, what with the risk of shenanigans in the bedrooms and bad dreams about the forthcoming meeting, I had a rather poor night.
As far as I could tell nothing happened and everyone stayed in their own bed. I was up early, so was Tom, who was muttering about the snow–we’d had more in the night.
Looking at it through the window, I did wonder if even a 4x4 would get through it, so we could be stuck with Dr Sage a bit longer–I suppose as long as no one did any stuffing, in this house at any rate, it could be worse. At least he was decorative.
Tom informed me tersely that Gareth knew of my previous status. I felt that was as good as a slap in the face, so didn’t pursue who had told him. I suppose it was no great secret but it did tend to ensure I’d be out of any running for a bit of slap and tickle. Would Stella do a thing like that? Absolutely.
At least Julie couldn’t tell him–she didn’t know. Did Tom tell him? Was it common knowledge? I was too weary to rack my little brain any further. I poured some tea and sipped it. It was too hot to drink comfortably, but the burning in my mouth made me think of things more immediate.
A fragment of dream I recalled was being humiliated in the meeting by Perryman–who called me Mr Watts, rather loudly, then apologised, ‘Sorry, that was what we always called him at Sussex.’ I shuddered when I thought of it.
“Do you think, Perryman is going to make trouble based upon my past?” I asked Tom.
“If he does, he’ll be in hot water–both universities and DEFRA, hae strong policies against discrimination.”
“It’s funny, I can hardly remember him at Sussex except in the bike rides we did. I don’t remember him with girls or–hang on, he was always with Han Solo.”
“Who is Ham Solo?” asked Tom furrowing his eyebrows.
“Oh we used to call him Luke Skywalker and his friend Han Solo, from Star Wars. Now what was his name--Rod Burgess–that was it. Now, there was something about him in the papers a couple of years ago.”
I sat at my computer and did a search for Burgess–apart from Burgess and Mclean, the spies, it didn’t seem to have too much, then I hit pay-dirt. “Daddy, what do you think of this?”
Tom came and looked at the screen, “Nasty piece of work,” and scrolled down a bit further.
...Burgess admitted twenty five offences of indecency with children, which started when he was at the University of Sussex studying Child Psychology...
...He was to be further charged with downloading and possession of child pornography, and with distributing such material to a paedophile group based in nearby Brighton...
A second article showed he was sent down for seven years. There was nothing to tie him to Perryman, who was probably innocent–but it showed I wasn’t the only oddball he knew.
Burgess had come unstuck in 2008, just before Christmas, so it was about a year ago–nah–South Tampon would have done a CRB check on him anyway–as he’s working with young people.
Out of pure whimsy I sent an email to a girl I had known at university, hoping her address was still the same–it probably wasn’t. I explained who I was or had been, mentioned the dormouse film and my recent marriage. I also mentioned that Perryman had popped up again and was making unpleasant noises. I said it would be nice to hear she was well and doing okay, then, left it at that. I didn’t expect to get any response.
I’d just finished when the girls came down, then Gareth, followed by the boys and Julie. Breakfast was organised bedlam, but I think everyone had something to eat and drink–except me. I made myself some toast when everyone else had finished, went to move my laptop from the work top and noticed I had mail.
Hi Cathy(you said it was now),
Wow, I saw that film and had no idea it was you–boy, you’re quite a stunner, my partner John was drooling the whole time we watched it.
I remember those two bastards, Perryman and Burgess–were very involved with the local choir if you remember, I’ll bet they were surplice to requirements. How many choirboys did they de-cassock on the hassocks? Pity they only got one of them, but I reckon Perryman was the photographer–remember he always had a camera with him? They never proved anything sadly. :(
I’ve got a little girl, aged two called Sophie and I’m working part time as a temp–John’s a solicitor in Eastbourne, so we get by. Be lovely to talk to you and maybe meet up some time if you’re down this way.
I told her I was looking to adopt three girls, and was fostering two boys and a teenager. I thought that was probably enough for the moment, as I’d already mentioned the mammal survey in my initial email.
I showed this to Tom, who nodded then shook his head. “All speculation–nae facts. Gimme facts an’ I’ll sink him wi’oot trace.”
“I don’t think there are any, Daddy, he was always too smart to get caught and then let Burgess be the fall guy.”
We heard an engine revving and discovered that Gareth had managed to start his car. The boys were helping him to shovel snow and, surprise, surprise–so was Julie, and she was putting her back into it.
Gareth switched his engine off and came back to the house. “Some garage you’ve got there.”
“Yeah, I like to fiddle with bikes.”
“Impressive hobby for a girl.”
“Well, I like to be different,” I blushed.
“Oh I don’t know, you seem to bulge in all the right places.” He winked at me and I blushed again. “Pity you’re married, we could have gone dormouse spotting together.”
“Stella isn’t married.” I tried to do the decent thing.
“Nah, I prefer outdoor types, especially ones who can make snake and pygmy stew.”
I blushed again. “So you’re off, then?”
“Pretty much, I look forward to working with you on your survey, it’s so important we get this running while we have some momentum. Southampton are very much secondary players in this.”
“Thanks, Gareth, I appreciate your support–though I’m not sure what Perryman is up to.”
“Yes, your father mentioned you knew him in a past life.”
“So he told you about my–um–you know?”
“I already knew–ecology isn’t too big a world is it–besides it’s old news. However, having the eminent ecologist and film maker, Lady Cameron, at the heart of the project–is very important to its success and future support.”
I offered him my hand, which he took and pulled me to him, he kissed me on the mouth and let me go. I was trembling. “Don’t let anyone tell you you’re anything but a very lovely lady, and as sexy as hell.” He winked again and as I stood there blushing and trembling, he walked to his car. “See you at the next meeting, Lady C,” he waved and drove off.
Tom came by a moment later–“Whaur’s he gone?”
“Gareth, who else, ye daft gowk?”
“Damn, he wis goin’ tae gi’ me a lift.”
“He must have forgotten–blinded by my beauty.”
Tom gave me a hard stare, “Beauty–hae ye seen yersel’, ye look like ye’ve been pulled backwards through a hedge.”
“Oh thanks, Daddy, remember I did get everyone’s breakfast.”
“Och, ye lassies are tae thin skin’t, ye look lovely, as ye always dae.” He pecked me on the cheek and walked off chuckling.
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