The goodbyes turned a bit tearful, at least as far as Diana was concerned. Mark and Mike were staying on in the suite until Ted returned from blocking up the road outside Diana’s house while unloading their luggage. Mike was being dropped off at the station later to get a train to London because he found it easier to do his paperwork on the train than in the car, and Mark was going back to the Cotswold house with Ted. He’d promised to visit Debbie from there and take her presents with him, but would be using a smaller car to make his journeys; Ted didn’t trust anyone else with the Bentley.
Mike warned Diana that there would be a ‘For Sale’ sign outside her house for a day or two at least, until the sale was completed and the house put into trust for Ben and Caroline. She was worried that John might object to this, but as Mike pointed out, they were paying over market value anyway, and disputing the sale would cost John a bomb in legal fees. The solicitor had been asked to advise him of this, and give him an estimate of just how much it could cost him if he objected.
Sitting in the back of the Bentley, Danny’s head resting on her shoulder, Diana couldn’t help wondering what he would make of her small and not particularly attractive house. She had tried to update it over the years, but with the exception of the new kitchen, she knew that the rest of the house was showing its age.
Oh well, shabby chic was in at the moment, anyway.
“Umm, do we need to go out for shopping when we get there?” asked Danny nervously.
“Not immediately, Jane has got some bread and milk in for us, and the fridge freezer is fairly full – unless Caroline ate it all on the weekend. I can understand you disliking clothes shopping, but what’s wrong with buying food? Have you had an incident that has mentally scarred you?”
“Very funny. I pay other people to do the food shopping. Lisa never made me go shopping for food, even in the early days. Once I was making money, we had a housekeeper and a cook to do all that. If we’re at an event, Mark or my PA will go out with Ted for anything we need. I haven’t the faintest idea who did what when we lived in LA, we had loads of staff and food just appeared.”
“I’ve spent most of my married life doing things alone or with the children, so it would be nice to have someone to laugh with while I’m pushing the shopping trolley,” said Diana. “I’m afraid you’ll have to put up with my cooking, which has never killed anyone but is not exactly cordon bleu.”
Taking her slightly by surprise, Danny put his arms around her and pulled her close, kissing her very firmly on the lips, so firmly that she hoped Ted had his eyes on the driving and not on the back seat. There was no point in resisting after all the day’s stress, so she kissed him back and left him in no doubt that the magic they had found in her hotel room was going to be rekindled once they got home, to her home. She came up for air, and stroked his face with her fingertips.
He was smiling.
“If the worst comes to the worst, we can live on toast, coffee and fruit juice, or order up some takeaways, and eat them in bed watching the TV.” said Diana.
His smile increased, and he kissed her again. “We were happy in your hotel room, weren’t we, my love? When we made love and curled up to spoon at night? I sleep so much better when I can hold you close.”
“Yes. We were very happy, and when we get home and there will be even less reason to get up and sort out other people’s problems, we will be even happier. Just you and me, getting to know each other, and getting back to basics.”
“I can do basics. I’ve been accused of being very basic actually.”
“I had noticed. If necessary, I shall instal you on the sofa in the living room so you can flick through the sports channels, while I nip up to the local Co-op and get us some nibbles.”
“Going home with you is sounding more and more interesting by the minute. Do you have a bath or a shower?”
“Both, but in the same room. There’s a downstairs toilet as well.”
Obviously reassured, Danny fell asleep in her arms for the rest of the journey; Diana relaxed until she began to recognise familiar scenery; she looked up and caught Ted’s eyes in the mirror.
“Nearly there.” he said over the intercom. “I have a favour to ask.”
“Will you need the toilet?” Diana asked.
“Probably, but can I have a little look around your house afterwards please? Jenny wants to make the big house more welcoming for you. It’s all a bit modernistic and white. I had a feeling that your house might be more like our cottage in terms of décor. It would give us a chance to make the big house more homely?”
“Oh Ted, how kind! Won’t Danny mind though?”
“He’s spent time in the gym, the pool, and in his bedroom but the rest of the house is a mystery to him. We all moved there once the work in the US was finished and we didn’t like to make too many changes at the time. Jenny will be relieved.”
“You haven’t seen the inside of my house yet.”
She woke Danny very gently; and he blinked, confused as to where he was and what was going on. Jane was at her front window, clutching the cat and waving. Ted got out of the car and opened the passenger doors; Danny emerged, stretched and looked around him curiously while Diana opened the front door of the house, and Ted started unloading their luggage.
The house seemed in a reasonable state; either Caroline had been particularly tidy, or as Diana guessed, Jane had been in and given the place a once over after their earlier conversation. She tried not to look too closely at her old familiar furniture and furnishings. Ted indicated ‘upstairs’, with his head and took the bags up. Danny was still looking a bit bewildered, so Diana steered him into the kitchen, sat him on a stool, and poured him some orange juice. He leaned on the breakfast bar and drank two glasses full before he looked at her and smiled.
“Just us then? What about the cat?”
“I’ll unlock his cat flap. He might come in just to see who you are, but he’ll probably run back into Jane’s once he’s had a look at us.”
Ted had a quick look round the front room and kitchen, then came out smiling.
“Right, I’m off. Danny’s got my number and if you want me to come and fetch you, just call. I’ve some ideas for Jenny to be getting on with. See you both later.”
Diana hugged him, and he was quite surprised when Danny gave him a bit of a man hug too. They came outside to the driveway and waved Ted goodbye. Quite a few of the neighbours were looking out of their windows at the Bentley, some of them had actually come out of their houses as well. Danny put his arm around Diana, and gave her a big kiss on the cheek before they went back inside, and closed the front door very firmly.
And put the chain across.
It was a moment of peace, broken only by Danny whispering in Diana’s ear.
“Where’s our bedroom?”
She took his hand, and they walked up the stairs together, with Diana indicating which room was which.
“Bathroom, the room that Caroline and Ben have taken it in turns to use when they come home, Ben’s old room which has been occupied by John for the past two years. I gave him our old double bed to sleep on. I splashed out a new king-size bed on interest free credit. It is now paid for, and until now, the only person who has slept in it, is me.”
She threw open the door to her bedroom, and giggled as Danny jumped on the bed and dragged her with him. She’d bought new curtains and bedding in lilac and pale blue to help rid the room of John’s presence, his red sheets and black duvet cover; it was now a place of calm that had soothed Diana on many occasions when John had been particularly irksome. Danny had only one thing on his mind, and if she was honest with herself, the thought of making love with him on her own bed and in her own bedroom, had flitted in and out of her mind throughout the journey back home in the Bentley.
Inhibitions flew out of the window; clothes were strewn around the floor, and Diana was overjoyed to find that she didn’t need to be in a hotel room to experience lovemaking with the man who made her feel so incredibly alive. From the look on Danny’s face as he lay in her arms afterwards, it was just as wonderful for him. No tears from either of them this time, just the happiness that came from being close to each other again.
“Not so bad being in my house, is it?” said Diana as she ran her fingers down his spine and kissed him.
“Brilliant. Can we do this all week?” he asked. “Can we make love in some of the other rooms? Not Ben and Caroline’s obviously.”
“Not keen on the toilet or bathroom; they’re a bit cramped. This is the only room in the house where rare and very dull marital sex took place with me, and that was a long time ago.”
“Let’s face it, your ex is a dick, Diana!” Danny exclaimed. “A limp dick! When we first met you told me that he found you boring and frigid. You could never be boring to me, and judging by the way you respond when we make love, you are most definitely not frigid! Perhaps the reason why he had so many affairs, was because he really wasn’t any good, in bed or out of it. Thank heavens for that, or you wouldn’t be lying in bed with me now. I hate to sound like a sex maniac, but I really fancy you, Diana.”
“It’s a good tension release – apparently. Now we are home and have nothing else to do, I think we should do some more exploring so that we have an even better idea of what turns us both on. I’m hungry now though. Do we have to get dressed to go down to the kitchen?”
“Open up that overnight bag by the door.”
Danny leaned over from the bed and undid the zip. There, where she had thoughtfully placed them, were Danny’s boxers, Ben’s borrowed tee-shirt, and Diana’s nightshirt. Thus attired, they went downstairs to the kitchen and rummaged through the fridge freezer and the larder. Before she went away for the weekend, Diana had stocked up with goodies for Caroline, but she didn’t appear to have made much of a dent in the chocolate bars, crisps and biscuits. There were healthier things available, but it was instant food gratification that Danny was after. Diana poured him some more juice, and sat next to him at the breakfast bar, grabbing the odd crisp from his packet.
Diana felt very happy.
So did Danny.