Resignedly Claudia Got in

October 31, 2013 by James J123  
Published in Marriage

"My God," said Paul, "you’re freezing." He put his arm round her, and after a
moment’s hesitation she put her head on his shoulder. It fitted there quite well. Paul
stretched out an arm and put the light off. They lay silently in the dark. Claudia felt
the warmth slowly returning.

“My God,” said Paul, “you’re freezing.” He put his arm round her, and after a
moment’s hesitation she put her head on his shoulder. It fitted there quite well. Paul
stretched out an arm and put the light off. They lay silently in the dark. Claudia felt
the warmth slowly returning. Paul made no further move to touch her. She began to
relax. Her stomach cramps were abating. Maybe he was right about keeping warm.
“So, Claudia. Tell me about your father.”
Claudia went rigid. “I don’t want to talk about him.”
“You have to. How else am I going to believe you about Franco?”
She was on the point of snarling back that whether he believed her or not was
entirely his problem.
“Come on,” said Paul cajolingly, “tell me.”
The rooms in the annex were separated by flimsy bamboo partitions that gave
very little privacy. Their neighbours on one side had spent most of the evening
counting their money in German. On the other side there had been a deep American
voice and some flirtatious giggling. But now everyone seemed to have gone to sleep.
Apart from the occasional snore, creak or sigh, there was no sound anywhere. No one
was awake but them, whispering in the dark.
She decided to hedge. “I don’t usually talk about it.”
“That’s bad. You should never keep things bottled up inside you like that.”
“You’re very motherly all of a sudden. Keep warm. Tell me your troubles.”
“Everyone needs someone to look after them now and again. Even you. Come
on, tell me what happened. Did he walk out on you?”
“Oh no. He never walked out on us. He was never there in the first place.” She
hesitated and then decided that having said that much she might as well tell him the rest.
“My father is married, you see. He always has been. Not to my mother. His wife is an
Italian from a fancy bourgeois family. It was more or less an arranged marriage, and
they both went their own way from the start. Giulia supervised the maids and sat on
charity committees. Alberto had his mistress. My mother. For the past twenty-five
years, he’s been having an affair with my mother.”
“Mm hm. Go on.”
“Well that’s about it, really. The affair started a couple of years before I was
born. For all I know it’s still going on. He used to call her whenever he came to London,
and I suppose probably he still does. There,” she announced dismissively. “Now you
know all about my father.”

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