I AWAKE in darkness. My mouth is dry. Just for a moment I am uncertain as to my whereabouts. Then I turn and see Juliette’s lustrous brunette curls, loose and spread across her pillow. I watch her sleep, peacefully, the sheet rising and falling with her breath.
Juliette stirs. I know I should turn away, that there’s a certain etiquette on such occasions. She stretches and then, inevitably, turns towards me.
She sounds surprised. “Good morning Juliette” I reply, rather formally.
“Oh, is it morning already?”
“Actually, I’ve no idea,” I answer, truthfully. Juliette smiles.
After a moment I ask, “Do you want anything? I could ask for tea. Or juice?”
“No thank you.” She looks away.
“David, actually I wanted to apologise for, well, explain really, what happened at your friend Caroline’s barbeque.” She turns towards me once more. “There hasn’t really been an opportunity until now. Sandy, he’s my godfather. He and my father were at university together. The hands…” She looks away. “Holding hands. I’ve known him all my life. He’s just very tactile. I wouldn’t want you to think…”
“Juliette, it’s none of my business,” I interject, although I cannot deny that I am curious to know more. More about her, rather than about Sandy. She looks at me intently. “And I wanted you to know that I’m 100 per cent committed to the bank.”
It’s my turn to smile. “I would never have thought otherwise, Juliette.”
“Please don’t laugh at me. It’s important to me, David.”
“I’m not laughing at you. I’m touched, impressed. By your sincerity.”
“And Sandy…” She hesitates. “He can be rather possessive. And of course, he helped me to get the job in the first place.” She is evidently troubled.
“Yes, I understand. But you more than merit your position Juliette. I assure you.”
Lights fade up in the first class cabin. “Good morning ladies and gentlemen, this is the first officer speaking. I trust you’ve all had a pleasant night.”
“Thank you David” she says, suddenly composed. “I’m going to brush my teeth.” I turn to see a stewardess enter the cabin, bearing a tray of assorted fruit juices. I hear Juliette slip from the first class seat adjacent to mine.
To be continued next Tuesday. For previous City Dad episodes, see www.cityam.com.