David looked across the table at Jack Rees.
“And what does Jack know?”
Jack looked quickly over his shoulder then leaned forward, his voice low.
“Look, I would have happily thrown Drake off that balcony, but he knew me. I couldn’t get within a mile of the house. And the window seat? I couldn’t get in it. We tried.”
“But I fitted, Olivia, didn’t I? In every way.”
She bent her head and closed her eyes and nodded.
They sat without speaking. David knew that his world had ended. He hated her. He loved her. Even now he loved her.
“What now?” he said.
“Jack is going to stay with his mother for a couple of days. Then we are meeting at Southampton. We’re going to America. You need never see me again, David. Try to forgive me we can’t choose who we fall in love with, can we?”
* * * *
He left them in the roadhouse. As he drove, his mind teemed with memories of her, remembering being with her, remembering the wind in her hair, remembering her splashing barefoot in the sea, laughing. She had been happy with him. He knew that she had.
He remembered her in his arms, the softness of her skin, the tenderness of her lips. It couldn’t all have been a sham. It couldn’t! He couldn’t let her go to someone else.
At his office there was a man sitting in the tiny waiting room, a large middle-aged man who stood up as soon as David walked through the door.
“Mr Gilmore?” he said. David nodded. “I’m Detective Inspector Birch. Could we have a word?”
David stared at him. He was still half dazed by his betrayal.
“Yes,” he said. “Come into my office.”
David sat behind his desk, the inspector in the chair opposite.
“We have received certain information, sir, from a Mrs Ruth Winston.” He paused.
David looked at him blankly. The inspector continued.
“She is the sister of a Mrs Enid Norris whom I believe you knew, Mr Gilmore.”
“She was the housekeeper at Holly Mount.”
It was Inspector Birch’s turn to nod.
“Well, it seems that Mrs Norris told her sister of her suspicions regarding the death of Mr Andrew Drake, implicating you and Mrs Olivia Drake. Oh, and she also gave her sister this for safekeeping.”
He reached into his inside coat pocket and produced a green-coloured fountain pen.
There was silence for a moment. Inspector Birch continued.
“Mrs Winston was worried about making such serious allegations, but eventually she came to us. And I must tell you this, Mr Gilmore, we then had another look at Mrs Norris’s car. We came to the conclusion that the brake cable had been cut. There were fingerprints on the cable. Of course, we haven’t yet tried to match them.” He paused. “Is there anything you’d like to tell me, sir?”
David sat quiet for a moment. It was over. Porphyria’s lover had kept her. No-one else must have Olivia.
“It began, Inspector, when the most desirable woman in the world came into this room and sat where you are sitting now. The most desirable woman, yet so very dangerous.”