The End Of The Rainbow – Episode 43

Kirsty was clearing Mrs Dinnimont’s supper tray as Josh came into the kitchen. He sank down into a chair, and rubbed his eyes wearily.“I’ve had enough of Michelangelo for one night. Peregrine Scoular will just have to wait for that essay!”Kirsty smiled.“Ye’re takin’ a risk. I thought he was in a bad mood?”“I’ve got used to it Peregrine’s bad moods, I mean. He’s been like that since your brother left. I think it has something to do with not having one decent pupil in life-drawing classes!”Kirsty was peering at him.“That shirt’s seen better days, Josh. I left some fresh anes for ye yesterday.”She plunged into the cupboard behind him and presented him with a pile of freshly ironed shirts.Josh grinned at her.“Thanks, Kirsty. You shouldn’t do all this for me, though. You’ve enough to do.”She sat down at the table.“Right, then, ye can mak’ the supper!”She put on a very polite voice.“Eh’ll just hev a lightly poached egg and some buttered fingers of toast, if you please, me bein’ of a delicate consti . . . consti . . .”“ . . .tution?” he finished, ruffling her hair as he went to the stove. “Supper will be served in two minutes, milady.” He made a little bow.They ate their supper in companionable silence. “I got a letter fae Adam yesterday. He’s sketchin’ tourists, he says. It pays the rent, and now it’s summer time, the tourists are crowdin’ the place.”Josh laughed.“An enterprising chap, your brother. He’s never stuck for ideas. As long as he leaves time for his serious work, though.”“He’s started workin’ on a still-life painting in the studio. Says he cannae afford a model.” “Then you’ll just have to go to France, Kirsty, for there’s no better model than yourself. You’re the Face of . . .”“Dinnae start a’ that again, Josh! That’s no’ me at a’. Fancy parties, folk starin’ at me . . .” She looked flushed and upset. Josh was immediately contrite.“No, Kirsty. That’s not you at all. You’re too practical for that.” He reached over and took her hand. “And what would any of us do without you? You keep us right, keep our feet on the ground. Scold us, drive us on . . . and inspire us, too.”Meeting his gaze, Kirsty’s eyes were bright. There was a pause that lasted no more than a heartbeat, then she pushed back her chair, its scrape on the flagstones breaking the mood.“I’ll need tae get away back up the road, Josh. Miss Downie’ll hae me locked oot!”“We’ll do the dishes first, then I’ll walk you back. I’ll wash, you dry.”As they did, Josh told her about his letter from Adam, with all the news about his exciting new life.“I wonder if he’s sent a letter tae Miss Constance,” Kirsty said.“She’s said nothing to me. Doesn’t mention Adam at all these days. And I hesitate to bring up the subject.”“That’s best.” She nodded, understanding.But somehow, Adam stayed in their minds.“I wonder what he’s doin’ just now . . . right this minute.”****At that particular moment, Adam Gray was sitting at a table outside his favourite caf, surrounded by friends. The babble of conversation had risen to hilarity at some joke or other. But Adam didn’t join in the laughter and his wine glass lay untouched. His gaze was fixed on a girl who sat alone at a table a little apart from the others. Long-limbed and languid, she was absorbed in a book. Adam caught a perfect profile as she absently pushed back a lock of raven-black hair. As she closed the book, he felt compelled to go and stand by her table, hand outstretched in greeting.“Adam,” he said, smiling.At first, she didn’t even look up. Adam studied the closed book on the table. It was inscribed with Proust in gilt letters. A serious book for a serious girl, he reflected.Just as he was regretting his impulsive move, she looked up. She was beautiful.“Madeleine,” she said, with just the ghost of a smile. Adam Gray felt himself drowning in the depths of her steady, dark-eyed gaze . . .


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