In September 2015, I wrote a short piece I called ‘Assimilated‘. A short while later, I wrote a sequel titled ‘You have nothing to fear, but …‘, which I produced in response to a challenge at esthernewtonblog.wordpress.com that asked for a story about fear.
Using those as a start-point, we now follow Victor’s adventures after his exposure to Martinus mendax.
Let’s run with this for a few weeks, to see where it takes us.
I will welcome storyline suggestions or even complete scenes, as long as they fit the overall scheme (which I hope will emerge before too long).
Catch up on earlier episodes of Martinus mendax at this link
“Fancy a trip to France, Gina?” I asked over coffee one morning.
“What, with you?” she asked.
“Yes, with me,” I responded, “Why not?”
“Where in France are you thinking of taking me?”
“Not taking you, Gina. It wouldn’t be a case of my trip with you tagging along. I thought we’d go together, as friends. Take turns deciding where to go, what to do.”
“Okay. I didn’t mean taking me like taking me. But you’d be driving, if we were going by car, and you’d be booking hotels and stuff. I just want to know where you had in mind.”
“I’ve told you about the Lot valley, Rocamadour in particular. It’s a fascinating old place, and from what you’ve said about the travels you had with your late husband, in the diplomatic service, I thought you’d love it.”
“Yes,” she said wistfully, casually flicking her fringe away from her eyes, “Henry and I did visit, and live in some wonderful places.” She became more serious, “But what about sleeping arrangements. I hope you don’t think, just because I’m a widow, that I’d be looking for—”
“Gina, Gina, Gina,” I interrupted, “that is nothing like I had in mind. Of course, we’d have separate rooms. We’d just be company for each other, that’s all.”
I think Martin joined us then. I felt a stirring in my loins that I hadn’t felt in many a year, and my heartbeat increased by an order of magnitude as some particularly salacious images flashed through my mind.
“And,” I added, “Jack and Jill would be there to protect you if you found yourself in a situation that wasn’t to your liking.”
Gina laughed heartily. “Firstly, there is no way those dogs would protect me against you, if that’s what you’re thinking. You’ve seen the way they are with you. Ever since you trained them through their barking thing, they’d do anything for you. I’ll tell you what – let’s try it. We’ll both call them at the same time…”
We called their names. The two dogs ran into the room and jumped on my lap, barging each other to make space.
“See what I mean?” Gina said, still laughing, “Some protectors. Anyway, I can’t see you putting me in a situation that I wasn’t comfortable with; you’re far too much of a gentleman.”
It was those pictures again. One of the dogs, Jill I think it was, moved around and started sniffing to see what had just poked at her underside. I shooed both of them off, whereupon they relocated to Gina’s lap.
Gina looked down at the dogs and started stroking them, to their obvious delight. Angling her eyes up to me, coquettishly I thought, or maybe Martin thought, she quietly added, “And sometimes, you can find something you weren’t looking for, and not be sorry that you found it.”
I swear she winked when she said that. I’d never seen Gina like this; never seen her wink; never heard her say anything that could be construed as remotely suggestive.
“W-what do you mean by that?” I asked, hesitantly.
“Oh, I didn’t tell you, did I? Sorry. That must be so confusing. When I was tidying out some drawers last week, I found my passport; and it still has two years left on it.”
If this is ever made into a film, the directions at this point would be to show a flag being lowered down a pole, or a tall chimney yielding to gravity after a series of controlled explosions at its base.
“Victor, are you blushing?” she asked.
“No, I don’t think so.”
“You are. Victor, you are blushing.”
Of course, being found out like that only makes it worse. I could feel the blood rising in my cheeks.
“It’s too hot in here,” I lied, “I think I need to go out for some fresh air.”
“I think a cold shower’s in order for you, Victor,” Gina replied with a giggle, “We’ll talk later.”
Gina rose from her chair and carried the coffee cups through to her kitchen, leaving me in my seat watching her. She looked back at me and smiled the way a mother would smile to her child, or maybe… It may have been fanciful thinking on my part, or it may have been Martin’s doing, but I’d swear there was a lightness, an unusual gaiety in her gait as she walked off.
I left her house and walked around the dividing hedge back to my own. Once I had closed my front door behind me, I felt moved to jump a little, touching my heels together to one side as I did so. Why on Earth was I doing a victory leap? And why did I follow that with a fist-pump?