This Blake I would want to keep beyond the three months stipulation.
For dessert mother serves a chocolate melt in the middle pudding. Again, Blake makes it a point to finish every last drop. When my mother offers him a strong, Middle Eastern coffee, he immediately accepts.
There is only one uncomfortable moment in the evening when my mother turns to Blake and asks, ‘Have you ever done anything that you wish you could go back and undo? Something you regret?’
‘No,’ Blake says easily.
My mother turns to me. ‘What about you, Lana?’
I look my mother in the eye. ‘Absolutely not.’
We sit in the back of the Bentley with Tom driving.
‘How is it you know so much about Persian history?’
‘It was part of our school curriculum.’
‘I don’t remember learning anything like that in school.’
‘That is because you were right in what you said yesterday. My education has been designed to make me a leader, and yours to turn you into an obedient worker. It is how a capitalist system works. No country can be successful without its workers.’
‘But is it right?’
Blake turns away from me and stares out of the window.
For a while neither of us speak, then Blake turns towards me. ‘You needed the money for her, didn’t you?’
‘To send her to America for treatment. She leaves tomorrow.’
‘Where is she going?’
‘The Burzynsky Research Center.’
‘I have heard of Dr. Burzynsky. The FDA have taken him to court a few times and not been able to indict him. A good sign for your mother.’ In the dark his eyes stare at me with an expression I cannot comprehend.
When we reach the apartment, he drops the key onto the side table. ‘Want a nightcap?’
We go into the living room with its low lights. ‘What will you have?’
I go to the long sofa and watch him pour me a drink, drop some ice cubes into it, and then pour himself a finger of Scotch. He stands over me and holds my drink out to me. I take it and he eases himself beside me.
‘Would you like to go shopping with Fleur again tomorrow?’
He turns to look at me. ‘Why not?’
I shrug. ‘I’ve still got things I haven’t worn yet. Besides, I’d like to spend some time with my mum before she leaves in the evening.’
He nods. ‘What kind of cancer?’
‘It is in her lungs, liver, femur bone and pelvis.’
There is a flash of something in his eyes. He does not believe my mother will make it. He drops his eyes to his drink. He takes a sip, puts it down on the glass table.
‘Come here,’ he says.
I scoot closer, but he lifts me bodily by the waist while I squeal, and puts me so I am sitting astride him. My open pu**y comes in contact with the bulge in his trousers. I stop laughing. I can feel myself becoming wet. I bend forward and run my tongue along his ear. When I reach his earlobe I take it between my teeth and nibble.
‘Hey,’ he says suddenly, and pulls me away from him.
I look at him surprised.
‘Where did that come from?’ he asks.
‘My best friend Billie taught me the technique, but I probably did it wrong. Did I bite too hard or something?’
‘Or something.’ He rubs my plump lower lip absently. ‘I can’t believe an innocent like you still exists.’ He lifts his eyes to mine. ‘Here, let me show you a much more useful technique.’
And that night, he unzips his trousers and teaches me how to take his silky c**k entwined by its two angry green veins and pleasure him with my mouth.
I awaken in the dark and know immediately that I am not alone. For the first time, he has stayed the night with me. I feel the heat from his body and listen to his deep, even breathing. Carefully, I ease my body away from his and as silently as possible grope across the surface of my bedside table. I find the remote control and switch on the bathroom light.
Light filters through the half closed door and dimly illuminates his face. I turn my head and for a long time simply watch him asleep on his side, facing me. The lines that hold his face so tightly during the day are relaxed and soft. Like this, he is heartbreakingly beautiful. I have an irrational desire to run my index finger along his stubby eyelashes. I don’t. Instead, I slip out of bed and throwing a large T-shirt over my head, make for the light.
I close the door behind me, use the toilet and wait for its quiet whirling to end before I open the door. My trip to my side of the bed is interrupted by the sight of his wallet lying on his bedside cabinet. I stop and look at it. Once, when I was very young, I opened my father’s wallet to look inside and was saddened by what I found inside. Two five pound notes, the coin purse bulging with small change, a petrol receipt, and no photographs of either my mother or me.
I had taken it to my nose and sniffed it. Many years after he left us, I would come across other men’s wallets and wonder what they kept inside theirs. I find myself moving towards Blake’s wallet. As my fingers connect with the expensive hide, a steely hand clamps down on mine. I gasp with shock and land on the bed beside him, my startled eyes flying to his face. His are alert and watching.
‘What are you doing?’
‘Nothing,’ I say lamely, my face flaming.
‘Ask if you need money.’ His voice is cold and distant.
Only then it occurs to me what it must look like to him. I shake my head in horror. ‘I wasn’t trying to steal your money. I just wanted to see what was in it.’
For a moment he looks at me curiously, almost the way a dog will tilt its head when it is trying to figure out what you are trying to communicate to it. Then he takes the wallet and tosses it into my lap. ‘So look.’ His eyes move to my mouth as my teeth worry at my lower lip.
‘What? With you watching?’
His eyebrows rise. ‘Would that spoil the…er…experience?’
I swallow, sit up and open the wallet. It is slimmer than my father’s, the leather wonderfully soft. And it smells new. There are no photographs behind the plastic of his wallet either, only the deep red card that it came with. I run my thumb along the stitching and down the credit card sleeves. There are only five cards in it, none of them from high street banks. One seems to be from Coutts, another is an American Express Black, and the other three I do not recognize. There is a wad of fifty-pound notes that have the look and feel of freshly-minted money. No small change at all in the purse section. I close it and return it to the bedside.