The Mysterious Disappearance of Marsha Boden - Chapter 29
Lucy was being drawn deeper and deeper under Billie’s spell
Hello and welcome to Rosy’s Ramblings where I am currently posting bite-size chunks of my debut novel, writing it as I go, every Wednesday and Saturday. If you’re a regular visitor, I hope you are enjoying the twists and turns of the story so far.
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It’s great to have you here.
“William Tidmarsh. I have a reservation for eight o’clock.”
The maître d'hôtel nodded, checked his reservation list and then said, “If you would like to follow me, this way, sir,” and he ushered the handsome young couple through some huge plate glass doors, opened by a Bell Boy in a striking red, gold and black uniform, who smiled and nodded when they passed through into the beautiful EauZone restaurant, a palatial glass structure suspended above a small lagoon of the most exquisite shade of blue Lucy had ever seen. Under-lighting accentuated the beautiful, serene setting and she couldn’t take her eyes off the gigantic flower arrangements of virginal white gladioli in two feet tall vases strategically placed in eye-catching formations to enhance the opulent setting. She had never been anywhere so luxurious.
They were seated at a circular table set for four people with a dazzling white linen tablecloth and exquisite table decorations which matched the décor of the fine restaurant; minimalist with a slight clinical feel, but which worked perfectly.
“Can I get you a drink while you wait, sir, ma’am?”
“No, we’ll wait for our guests to arrive, thanks. Do you have a wine list?”
Within seconds, a waiter arrived with a wine list and said he would return to take the order in a few moments.
It was a warm, sultry evening and Lucy was glad she had worn a lightweight dress and no hold-ups. She secretly wished she had a tan but would hopefully redress that situation tomorrow when she intended to frazzle herself by the pool so that she didn’t feel out of place amongst the high-class clientele dining in the restaurant.
When Sam and his stunning female companion arrived, there were lots of air kisses and bonhomie before Lucy settled between Sam and Billie, directly opposite Sapphire, whom she quickly deduced was not a long-term companion of Sam’s but in all probability, a high-class escort.
As the evening wore on and fine wines accompanied each course of the meal, followed by champagne on the terrace overlooking the beach and then nightcaps at the sunset bar of the hotel, Lucy was enjoying the decadence of the setting and blanched when she saw the prices. She worked out that the meal for four plus the wine and drinks must have cost what she earned in a month. That wasn’t her problem though because Billie had put everything on his tab and was obviously used to the high life.
“Here’s to the two most beautiful women here tonight,” Sam raised his glass and proposed a toast. Lucy felt herself blushing and Sapphire smiled across at her and winked.
Guy poured himself a large Scotch and settled into his favourite wing-backed chair by the fire. Summer was turning slowly into autumn and the realisation of long, cold winter nights alone had suddenly hit home.
Marsha’s Skechers were tucked neatly under the chair opposite, just where she had left them. He missed her flitting in and out, always smiling, tossing her long, ash blonde hair like a teenager, skipping along with Jasper, who missed her terribly and was pining for his mistress. Then his thoughts turned dark and he jerked himself back into the room and downed his glass in one, wincing before pouring himself another generous measure.
He was just settling into his chair again when the landline rang. He wondered who on earth it could be at this late hour.
“Boden’s Funeral Directors,” he answered, sounding very formal.
“Yes. Who is this?”
“It’s Helena. Miss Moorcroft.”
“Oh, hello Miss Moorcroft. Is everything alright?” he asked, his voice softening.
“Yes, I’m sorry to bother you, Mr Boden, but I forgot to give a donation at Bert’s funeral and I wondered if you knew which charity he wanted donations to go to, that’s all.” She sounded frail and not quite sure of herself.
“Oh, it’s no trouble, Miss Moorcroft, if you want to drop an envelope in and leave it with me or Ann, we’ll make sure it gets to Bert’s family.” He knew that Helena Moorcroft would never entertain making an online payment and had probably never heard of JustGiving.
“Oh, that’s very kind of you, Mr Boden. I do appreciate that, very much. I’ll see to it in the morning and drop something into the office,” she hesitated and then said, “I don’t suppose there’s any news on Mrs Boden, is there?”
Guy clenched his fist and his demeanour changed instantly. “No, Miss Moorcroft. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have work to do,” and he slammed down the phone onto its cradle. ‘Bloody woman,’ he muttered and went back into the sitting room to enjoy his Scotch in peace.
When Billie suggested that everybody join them for a nightcap in their suite, Lucy went along with it, buoyed up by the alcohol.
Following on behind, she watched as Sapphire had an arm around the waist of both men, one on either side of her; they were all laughing and joking and Lucy thought for a split second that she would just bounce and leave them to it but she had nowhere to go. She desperately needed the loo and as they were heading towards the club bar of their swanky hotel for yet another nightcap before going up to their suite, she decided to branch off and find the bathroom in the lobby. After she had finished in the cubicle, she washed her hands and dried her hands on one of the fluffy white face towels piled up in a pyramid in a small basket on the marble counter-top. She looked at her reflection in the mirror and liked what she saw; she had come alive and her eyes were sparkling like diamonds. She had fallen in love with this rich lifestyle and in that instant, she realised that she had also fallen in love with Billie.
When she woke up the following morning, the room was a complete mess. There were clothes, empty champagne bottles and glasses dotted around the lounge area and she had gaps in her memory of how the night had unfolded. She made her way unsteadily to the bathroom and tried to recall what had happened. Then she remembered. Billie had ordered more champagne and they had all sat in the lounge area of the suite before…oh, God, no. Had she really done that? Had Billie really sat back with Sam and watched as she and Sapphire slowly undressed each other?
She dived into the shower to try and focus her fuzzy brain and snapshots of the night kept popping into her head. Sapphire’s slender body was beautiful; her skin soft and alluring; her hands did wonderful things and her tongue…Drying herself with a huge white fluffy towel, she didn’t know whether she could face Billie or Sam ever again. What had she been thinking?
“Hey baby! You okay? You look like you could use a strong coffee.” Billie enveloped her in a beautifully tender bear hug and kissed her gently on her forehead.
She stood silently, still wrapped in the white bath towel and waited to see what Billie would say next.
“Let’s get you some coffee. Take a seat and I’ll bring it over.” He was acting normally as if nothing had happened.
“Billie, last night…”
He sat opposite her on the cream settee and set a small coffee cup and saucer filled with dark liquid on the table between them.
“It was just a bit of fun, babe. You seemed to be enjoying yourself,” he added, smiling at her. He looked relaxed and calm and was dressed in some white chinos and a pale blue Prada polo shirt.
Lucy’s heart skipped a beat. She sipped her coffee and realised that she hadn’t been that drunk since her student days.
“Cheer up, Luce! It’s not the end of the world. In fact, it’s just the beginning. I’m off for a round of golf with Sam and you and Sapphire can relax by the pool, go shopping or do whatever it is that you ladies like to do.” He got up to leave and flashed her one of his smouldering smiles, making his eyes crinkle around the edges, and her heart skipped a beat.
She looked at him quizzically, hoping to be able to spend more one-to-one time with him.
“Don’t worry about maxing out the credit card, babe. Just buy whatever you want. Whatever makes you happy. I mean it. Anything.”
Lucy was left all alone in the suite, sipping coffee wrapped in a towel with an uneasy feeling settling over her like a thick, black cloud.
To be continued.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organisations, places, events and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.