Under An Island Sun – Episode 24

The main characters from the story

Travelling relatively slowly behind traffic, road noise was less intrusive than usual, and the pair soon started chatting about the previous evening’s meal with Philippe and Nicole.

“It reminded me of meeting relations you do not know well but have been told to be polite to,” Antonio commented.

“I know what you mean. You probably gathered I didn’t take to Nicole, even though I felt bad for even hinting so to Philippe once he’d told us something of her background. He clearly adores her.”

“He adores her beauty and style and is accustomed to doing what she tells him.

“I’m surprised that he went against her wishes in order to come and work here.

“Do you know she has insisted that they move to Paris, even though that is not what he wants? I don’t think, in his heart, he is truly happy with her.”

Hilary sighed.

“Neither do I, but I don’t think we have a right to interfere. He’s a grown man. He has to make his own decisions.” She chuckled.

“Honestly, we must sound like middle-aged parents.”

“Maybe that’s what we are with the younger members of the team. I’ve become fond of both our young drivers. And proud.

“It’s good to see Mairi looking healthy. She was so pale when she first came. As her aunt, you must be relieved.”

“Oh, I am. Chris and Isabella seem in a better state, too,” Hilary replied. “It’s all been such a worry.”

Antonio glanced at her, then went quiet for a moment before speaking again.

“Hilary, you are a wonderful woman, but you are not Superwoman. You need to take it easy and stop worrying.

“I know a quiet beach near here. What do you say? The turning is a couple of kilometres ahead, so that gives you time to make up your mind.”

“Another one?”

“There are many beaches on Fuerteventura. It is famous for them.”

It was on the tip of Hilary’s tongue to say no.

She had domestic chores to catch up on and a book she’d like to settle down with, not to mention the fact that she would be alone with Antonio.

But the idea of basking on the sand and relaxing to the sound of the waves was tempting.

“Go on, then,” she agreed, making up her mind on the spur of the moment. “Only for half an hour, mind.”

They turned off the main road on to a narrower one and then an unmade track, making her thankful that she was by now used to his style of driving.

While his skill never failed to astound her, he seemed to be travelling faster than usual, though her apprehension was probably due to the unfamiliarity of the route.

With the ocean getting nearer, the Land-Rover’s canvas roof down and the warm breeze blowing her hair, Hilary was looking forward to changing into her swimming costume for a refreshing dip in the sea.

Antonio slowed down as the track turned into a kind of gully, the type of place normally associated with trial bikers rather than drivers.

Instead of slowing even more as she would have expected, though, he kept his foot on the accelerator.

“Don’t worry. The only way not to get stuck is to keep going, even when it seems scary.”

Hilary held on to the door handle with one hand and kept the other pressed against the dashboard to steady herself as they dipped and lurched alarmingly.

After a couple of minutes Antonio suddenly swore and swerved as a boulder appeared in their path.

There was the sound of metal scraping against rock, and the Land-Rover overturned.

The world spun round, so that sky, sea and ground all seemed to be in the wrong places.

Hilary heard groaning and felt a rushing in her head.

The last thing she was aware of was a buzz from her phone before darkness and nothing.

To be continued…

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