Under An Island Sun – Episode 17

The main characters from the story

As well as distracting him with her conversation, Mairi’s presence was a comfort in a way he couldn’t describe.

He was glad she was with him, too, when they spent time on a sheltered sandy beach on the return journey, reached by a bumpy gully which tested the Land-Rovers to their limit.

Those of the party who wanted to swim had time for a quick dip in the crystal-clear water.

“Hey, that old German woman’s gone in over her knees,” one of the Englishmen shouted across to him at one point.

“Aren’t you going to bawl her out, like you did with us?”

Mairi put her hand on Philippe’s shoulder. He could feel the warmth of her skin through his T-shirt.

“Ignore them,” she whispered. “Antonio’s dealing with them.”

Philippe felt a sense of relief when the day ended, and they finally got back to the apartment.

“Sometimes people are unpleasant,” Antonio told him as they settled on the balcony with a beer.

“And sometimes they are stupid. Often the two things go together.

“It takes a while, but you learn how to deal with them. I’m just sorry it happened on your first day. Most days are not like that, I promise you.”

Philippe twisted his glass round and round.

“But even when you were less experienced, would you have lost your temper, as I did?”

His phone buzzed before Antonio could answer.

Expecting a text from Nicole, his spirits lifted, only to plummet again when he found it was a message from Chris.

“I’ve received two complaints about you. Be at my house at seven a.m.”

A wave of nausea washed over him, along with an overpowering sense of
déjà vu as he remembered the day he had been summoned to the headmaster’s office.

Having just started this job, was he already about to be sacked?

Hilary could hardly believe her ears when Antonio phoned.

“That’s ridiculous. We all know those men ignored the warning not to swim and put others in danger in the process.

“What if one of you had got swept out, trying to rescue them?”

She sighed.

“How’s Philippe taking it? I hope he stood up for himself.”

“He didn’t get the chance. Chris just sent him a text. I phoned to ask what was going on, but he said he was too busy to talk, and he’d deal with it in the morning.

“He was quite short with me. As for Philippe . . .”

Hilary could imagine him holding out his hands and looking heavenwards. Mairi had joked on the drive back that they didn’t come much more Italian than Antonio.

“He’s almost ready to book a flight home. I can’t believe Chris is acting like this, Hilary.”

Neither could she. Then again, in some ways she could.

His father had always rushed at problems without considering all the aspects, invariably convinced that he was in the right.

She had found Ray’s impetuous nature an attractive trait in their early days but had gradually come to learn it wasn’t always welcome.

Chris had a lot on his mind at the moment, and she could understand why he might think that Philippe overreacted.

That still didn’t excuse her son’s behaviour.

“At least he’s arranging a meeting to sort it out,” she allowed.

“It’ll probably be resolved once he’s heard Philippe’s side of things.”

“I’m not so sure. The text was very short, and the wording wasn’t, shall we say, helpful.”

Hilary cast her mind over what had happened.

“If anybody was to blame for the incident, it was me. I should have stayed closer and kept an eye on things.”

“And what would you have done when they went into the water? It would have made no difference.

“I must go,” Antonio added. “I’m taking Philippe out for a pizza, and I’ll go to the meeting with him in the morning.”

“I’ll be there, too. It isn’t fair to let him take all the blame.”

To be continued…

An error has occurred while loading your details. Please click the following link to try again - if the issue persists, please don't hesitate to contact us. Try again by refreshing the page.