Read The Way You Look Tonight Online

Authors: Richard Madeley

The Way You Look Tonight

BOOK: The Way You Look Tonight
7.6Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Also by Richard Madeley

Fathers & Sons

Some Day I’ll Find You

First published in Great Britain by Simon & Schuster UK Ltd, 2014
A CBS COMPANY

Copyright © Richard Madeley 2014

This book is copyright under the Berne Convention.
No reproduction without permission.
® and © 1997 Simon & Schuster Inc. All rights reserved.

The right of Richard Madeley to be identified as author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act,
1988.

Simon & Schuster UK Ltd
1st Floor
222 Gray’s Inn Road
London WC1X 8HB

www.simonandschuster.co.uk

Simon & Schuster Australia, Sydney
Simon & Schuster India, New Delhi

A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-47111-265-2
eBook ISBN: 978-1-47111-267-6

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either a product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to
actual people living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

Typeset by M Rules
Printed and bound by CPI Group (UK) Ltd, Croydon, CR0 4YY

For my family

And after all her furious sound

The stillness of her face

The quiet of her sleep, tonight

Contents

Prologue

PART ONE

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

PART TWO

19

20

22

23

24

25

26

27

28

29

30

31

32

33

34

35

36

37

38

PART THREE

39

40

41

42

43

44

45

46

47

48

49

50

51

52

53

54

55

56

57

58

59

60

61

62

63

64

65

66

67

68

69

70

71

72

73

Epilogue

Prologue

He looked out across the velvet darkness of the Gulf, the tiny breakers that had begun as confident waves a thousand miles to the west off the coast of Mexico now dying
exhaustedly at his feet. Without a hurricane to resurrect them, they were as good as finished once they reached the shallows of the Florida Keys. But to give them their due, he thought, there was
more life in these pathetic ripples than in the girl whose body moved slowly back and forward in their gentle sway.

He reproached himself on only two counts. One was that she had died so quickly; much more quickly than he had intended. He put it down to nerves. She was his first, after all.

The other – and this surprised him more than anything – was that despite his meticulous planning, the rehearsals and preparations for unexpected outcomes and interruptions, he had
overlooked one of the most basic questions of all.

What to do with the knife afterwards.

He squatted patiently for a while, considering the matter, humming to himself and untroubled by concern about discovery. No one came out to the mangroves at this, the darkest hour of the
night.

The solution, when it presented itself, was so obvious that he wondered why it hadn’t occurred to him before.

He gripped the bone handle of the knife as tightly as he could and thrust its long blade vertically into one of the girl’s eye-sockets. It was seemingly a random choice, but he noted that
he had instinctively favoured the left one.

He washed the blood from his hands in the warm lapping waters of the Gulf and nodded to the dead girl as he stood, ready to leave, her song sung.

Her last gift to him had been to reveal what his signature would be.

PART ONE
1

She couldn’t believe it. Her plane had taken off forty minutes earlier but only now did she realise she’d left her cigarettes behind in London Airport’s
first-class lounge. Her gold lighter, too, a twenty-first birthday present from her grandfather.

She turned towards the window to her left and deliberately knocked her forehead against it in frustration. She was seated ahead of the airliner’s wings but if she craned her neck and
looked behind her she could see two of its massive propellers whirling in shining arcs. They, and their twins on the other side of the plane, were carrying her towards Massachusetts at an
impressive 350 mph, but it would still be at least eleven hours before they landed in Boston. She simply
had
to get hold of some cigarettes before then; she was tense enough as it was.
She’d never flown before.

‘Is everything all right, madam?’ It was a BOAC stewardess, very young and all lipstick, high heels, nylons, dark-blue uniform and a hat that the girl looking at her decided was
somewhere between sweet and silly. She supposed it was a sort of forage cap, an echo of the post-war military-style uniforms the airline had only recently and belatedly moved away from. You could
hardly expect the poor girls to carry on dressing up as if they were in the RAF. All four of the stewardesses on board wore them, perched above navy tunics, white blouses and pencil skirts. She
thought the overall effect rather chic, despite the eccentric headwear.

‘No, not really,’ she said. ‘I’ve gone and left my cigarettes behind. I’m gasping for one.’

The stewardess nodded sympathetically. ‘I’ll bet. I just put one out. Couldn’t do this job without my twenty little friends.’ She reached into her shoulder bag and pulled
out a freshly opened packet. ‘Here, have some of mine.’ She shook out a few. ‘They’re menthol – I hope that’s all right.’

The other woman gratefully accepted the cigarettes and jammed one of them between her lips. ‘Forgot my lighter, too,’ she said, indistinctly.

The stewardess laughed. ‘Something tells me this is your first time in the air.’ She produced a petrol lighter and flicked the top back, holding the wavering flame to the
cigarette.

‘Thanks . . . got it . . . yes, it is my first time. How can you tell?’

‘From your face during take-off, mostly. You couldn’t decide if you were thrilled or terrified.’

The stewardess sank into the empty aisle-seat beside her. ‘These awful stilettos. I forgot my low heels and my feet are killing me already. I’ll have ankles like balloons by the time
we get to Boston.’

She lit a fresh cigarette for herself. ‘I shouldn’t, really. We’re only supposed to smoke in our breaks but there’s hardly anyone in first class today.’ She waved
at the rows of wide, mostly empty seats around them. ‘Only a couple of others and they’re asleep already with their eye-masks on. Just little you for us to take care of. You’ll be
feeling like the Queen by the time we’re landing. Now, I know from the passenger manifest that you’re Miss S. Arnold. What does the “S” stand for?’

‘Stella.’

‘Ah . . . and I’m Cassandra.’ She extended a slim hand. ‘How d’you do?’

‘How do you do yourself . . . Cassandra. Wasn’t she the Greek goddess who knew everything?’

‘Sort of. She wasn’t a goddess, she was a prophet, but yes, all her predictions were spot-on. She even predicted the fall of Troy but her curse was that no one ever believed a thing
she said. She went mad in the end.’

‘You’d better not tell me we’re on our way to America, then – I won’t believe you and you’ll go barmy.’

The two of them laughed, and smoked side by side in silence for a while. Stella turned to look out of the window at the Welsh valleys slowly rolling underneath them. Up ahead beyond the
nose-cone, she thought she could catch a glint of sea.

‘You were right – about take-off, I mean,’ she said eventually. ‘What threw me off a bit was all the noise. These planes make an awful racket getting into the air,
don’t they?’

The stewardess nodded. ‘It’s because they’re prop-planes. Funnily enough, the new jets are supposed to be much quieter, as well as a lot faster. Not that I’d know. Not
been in one yet.’ She turned to face Stella. ‘So, you’re flying alone, then. What are you up to in Boston?’

‘Nothing,’ Stella replied. ‘Not in Boston, I mean. I’m not staying there. I’m going on to Northampton. It’s an hour or so by car.’

‘Northampton? They do love their English names over there, don’t they? I hope it’s nicer than our Northampton. I went there once to see a boyfriend. Never again. Complete dump.
What’s the Massachusetts version got to offer?’

Stella smiled. ‘An education. I’m taking my PhD there. At Smith College.’

The stewardess’s eyes widened. ‘Wow. I’ve heard of Smith, all right. You must be terrifically bright, Stella. Smith is one of the top women’s universities in America,
isn’t it?’

‘Well, yes, it is,’ Stella admitted, ‘along with places like Bryn Mawr in Pennsylvania, and Vassar down in New York State. But I really wanted to go to Smith; we had an
exchange student from there at my university who roomed with me for a term. She made it sound absolutely wonderful. I was incredibly lucky to get in.’

Cassandra eyed her closely as she drew on her cigarette. ‘Oxbridge girl, are you?’

‘Yes, Cambridge; same college as my mother went to. Girton. Actually, she’s Professor of Modern Politics there now. Girton’s rather like Smith – it’s an all-woman
stronghold.’

‘Where you got a first, I’ll bet.’

Stella looked slightly embarrassed. ‘Well . . . a double-first, actually. In Psychology.’

Cassandra threw her hands in the air in mock alarm. ‘Heavens, I should stop talking to you at once, then. You probably know far too much about me already; all my secrets, all my vices. You
psychologists can read anyone like a book, can’t you?’

Stella laughed. ‘No! It’s not like that, honestly! And I’m not a psychologist. I only have a degree in the subject.’

‘Hmm . . . yes, well. I shall be on my guard all the same, all the way to Boston.’ She took another draw on her cigarette and looked curiously at the girl next to her.

‘So what’s your PhD going to be in, then? Something exciting, I hope. Mad people? Murderers? You know, like that chap in
Psycho.
The film, a couple of years ago. What was
his name?’

‘Norman Bates.’

‘That’s it!’ Cassandra clapped her hands and ash sprinkled onto the front of her blouse. ‘
Dammit
. . . So,’ she continued, carefully flicking the debris
away, ‘are you studying the kind of stuff that was in that film?’

BOOK: The Way You Look Tonight
7.6Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

The Magpies by Mark Edwards
Appassionato by Erin M. Leaf
Bear Necessities by Dana Marie Bell
Brick by Brick by Maryn Blackburn
Dolphin Island by Arthur C. Clarke
Horse Guest by Bonnie Bryant
The Broken Teaglass by Emily Arsenault