It had been almost a week since he had encountered Pablo in that restaurant. Martin had been distracted since, unsettled by the appearance of someone from what he now thought of as another life. He hadn’t let on to Ness, deciding to settle into life with her for now, and go with the flow. And the flow was pretty good, he had to admit. She liked to have what she called her Siesta Sessions, most afternoons, and he couldn’t remember when sex had been better for him. The evenings were good too. Early drinks on the patio, Ness cooking some great food, and Melanie spending her time either down in the town, or in her room. It was peaceful, and relaxing in every way. But he still hadn’t found the old Remington anywhere around the house.
Consuelo walked past, giving him a respectful nod. He watched as she carried on through to the kitchen. Her tiny body looked like a medical sculpture, one of those designed to show anatomy. There was no spare flesh on the woman at all. Her legs looked like those of a racehorse, pure muscle. She looked to be around sixty, and Martin reckoned she would live to one hundred. At least. He got up from the sun lounger and followed her. As she noticed him, she stopped and smiled. “Señor?” He gave her his best friendly face. “Consuelo, necesito las llaves para los viejos garajes. Hay cajas allí que necesito mirar”. Martin was amazed. When had he learned how to speak Spanish? He certainly hadn’t written that on the Remington. Consuelo had clearly understood that he needed the keys for the old garages to look through his boxes, as she opened a cupboard door, and took a full bunch of keys from a hook. “Aquí está señor, los dos pequeños, al final”. He understood her perfectly. The two smallest keys, on the end of the bunch. He nodded his thanks, and left.
As he walked past Ness, he stopped. She was sprawled out on a sun lounger, between the terrace and the pool. As Luis was not expected that day, she was naked, enjoying the freedom of the hot sun on her body. She shone like oil on water, covered in factor thirty. “Ness, can I speak Spanish?” She opened her eyes slowly, and gave him a slanted smile. “Is that a joke?” He smiled back. “No, not at all. But I just spoke Spanish to Consuelo, and she understood me. And I knew what she said in reply”. Ness shook her head. She thought he was teasing. “Well, Martin, it must be a miracle, because you couldn’t speak it yesterday”. With that, she closed her eyes again, and returned to baking her body in the sunshine.
The first of the garages was half-empty. Some old sun umbrellas, a kettle barbecue, and two patio heaters dominated the space. He wondered when anyone would ever need patio heaters, in these temperatures. No boxes though. He went on to the second one, and whistled as he opened the door. It was at least half full of sturdy boxes, all marked with the address of the villa, and with arrows pointing which way up they should be transported. He tore the tape from the closest one, and found it was full of his old shoes. Deciding to create two piles, which he named ‘keep’ and ‘chuck’ in his head, he slid that one over to the ‘chuck’ pile. Almost two hours later, and the ‘chuck’ pile contained almost all the boxes. On the other side, he had stacked two boxes of DVD films, and books. None of the boxes had contained the typewriter, though three of them had already been opened, so he feared that someone might have taken it.
He arrived back at the house, dirty, hot, and pissed off. Sure, things were great here. He kept admitting that to himself. But without that Remington, he felt incomplete, never having the chance to change anything, ever again. Ness was on the terrace, enjoying a cold drink. She had a piece of colourful flimsy gauze wrapped around her waist, to spare Consuelo the embarrassment of seeing her employer naked. She looked up at Martin, shaking her head. “Look at the state of you! What the hell have you been up to over there?”
He wasn’t feeling very happy, and was about to launch into a rant about the Remington, when they heard a shout from inside the house. “Mum, MUM! Come quick!” It was Melanie of course, and she sounded hysterical about something. Ness jumped up, the gauze slipping off and wrapping around the chair. She walked quickly into the house, with Martin following close behind. At the end of the corridor, Melanie was standing in the doorway of her room, holding a phone, and smiling. Just like her mother, she didn’t have a stitch on. As he caught up, Martin respectfully averted his eyes from the young woman’s naked body. “Am I the only one who ever wears any clothes in this house! For Christ’s sake, Mel, put something on”. She ignored him, showing no embarrassment whatsoever. Ness raised a hand to stop him talking. “What is it love?” Her concern had been diminished by her daughter’s smile.
“I was just talking to Dad. You’ll never guess. Never!” Ness had no chance to reply, before she continued. “He has sent the divorce papers. He asked me to tell you not to delay them, as he wants to get married again. Can you believe it? All that fuss when we left, and now he’s getting married again, already”. Martin turned and started to walk away. Their family business wasn’t anything to do with him, and he would give Ness some privacy, to take in the news. He hadn’t managed three steps, before Mel spoke again, her voice rising excitedly. “Her name is Chloe Harris. She lives in Totteridge, and she’s really rich!” Martin thought he might either pass out, or vomit. His ex-wife was going to marry the deserted husband of his current fiance? How could that have happened? How could all that even exist in the same time scale? He heard Ness reply. “Well good for him. He might stop pestering me now, and get on with his life. Did you hear that, Martin?”
He turned slowly, and nodded. He was unable to manage a smile. Still trying not to look at the naked young woman in the doorway, he allowed his gaze to wander over her shoulder, into the large room beyond. There, in the middle of an antique desk, stood the old Remington, the case open. That made him forget about Chloe for a moment. “What the hell are you doing with my typewriter, Melanie? I have been looking everywhere for that”. He turned to Ness. “Did you know the bitch had it? You know I was trying to find it”. Melanie looked shocked, and Ness hardened her face. “There’s no need for that, Martin. Of course I didn’t know she had it, or I would have told you”. She turned to her daughter. “Give him the bloody thing, love. I don’t know why you even took it. You already have the latest Apple thing”. Melanie was furious, but mainly because her eyes were tearing up. She stomped over and grabbed the Remington, not bothering to zip up the case. Martin flinched. “Careful with it!”
As she handed it over, she raised the watery eyes to Martin. “I never took it. It was here when I arrived, sitting right there on the desk. I didn’t know it was yours, it’s just as it was when I moved in. I have never used it, but I thought it looked nice. You know, retro, like a designer item”. She sounded convincing. Martin zipped up the case. “OK, I apologise then. It’s just that this is very precious to me, for sentimental reasons. I didn’t mean to upset you, Mel. But like I said, I have been looking everywhere for it”. She sniffed her runny nose, and shrugged. “Well, nobody told me”. He tore his eyes away from her body once again. “All over now. Put some clothes on. Please.” She went back inside, and banged the door shut.
As they walked back along the corridor, Ness was eyeing him from the side, and shaking her head. He turned to her, smiling.
“All right. I know I was over the top. I will buy her something nice to say sorry”.