Mr. Chartwell by Rebecca Hunt


Mr. Chartwell by Rebecca Hunt

Author:Rebecca Hunt [Hunt, Rebecca]
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 978-0-679-60434-1
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Published: 2011-02-07T16:00:00+00:00


CHAPTER 23

1.20 a.m.

“God in heaven, you stink,” Churchill said without looking up from his book. Lying in the hot bath his body was the rosy pink of a boiled gammon. The evening had gone undisturbed so far. And now the dog had clumsily reappeared near the linen closet. He reeked of alcohol and strenuous physical effort.

Tears of condensation wept down the night-blackened windows, the bathroom filled with steam. “We quite enjoyed your little hiatus,” Churchill said, turning the page. “I had expected you earlier.”

“I had another appointment,” Black Pat said, slurring his words and regretting the amount he had drunk. “Sorry ’bout that.”

“No need to apologise, you bushy popinjay,” Churchill said. “Your company is never much appreciated around here.”

Black Pat didn’t answer at first. Then said, “I had a barbecue to attend.”

Churchill turned to look directly at him, amazed, water sloshing over the tub sides onto the tiled floor. “That explains the stench of foul liquor, although I wouldn’t have thought it was very professional to drink on the job.”

“It wasn’t a job,” Black Pat replied. He sniffed delicately at Churchill’s slippers until Churchill’s book caught him on the side of the head.

Churchill said to the dog, “You’re telling me you were invited?”

He answered pretentiously, “I would hope so, being as it was my barbecue.”

The absurdity of it forced Churchill to smile. It was a tart, unwelcome smile. “Well, well, well.”

Black Pat went to make a pithy comment but caught one of his paws and pitched into the towel rail, dragging towels down over him.

“You’re drunk!” Churchill broadcast to the room, watching from over the rim.

“And you’re naked,” Black Pat shouted through towels, trying to remember the quote. “But in the morning I will be sober.”

“Obnoxious guinea worm. In the morning I will be clothed,” Churchill shot back, retreating out of sight into the water. “But you will always be a bastard.”



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