Novel Name : Hot Revenge Box Set 2

Chapter 23

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After clearing up the breakfast dishes, I go looking for Klempner. I find him outside, on the terrace. The
fog is clearing and leaning with both hands on the wall, he stares out over the valley, watching wreaths
of silver mist twine over the lake.

I take a place beside him. “You okay?”

He turns. “Yes,” he smiles, “I'm extraordinarily okay.”

He looks away, then looks back, meeting my eye. “But we both know I fit in there like a giraffe in a wet
suit. However, my thanks for the invitation. I appreciate it. I really do...” He picks at a bit of lichen
growing on the stonework.

“But you're not ready to settle down with the carpet slippers and the chocolate Labrador by the hearth?”

“No. And as you said, there are things I need to do, dealing with Baxter being the priority.” He blows air.
“Do you think Mitch will handle that? For some fairly obvious reasons, I can't stay here long. But even if
I could stay, it wouldn’t work. Not long term.”

“I think you should ask her yourself…”


“… But… I suspect that for both of you, simply knowing that the other is there will count for a lot. And
besides, if you're careful, you can visit from time to time. See your daughter, your grand-daughter.”

He looks at his feet, scuffing at the ground. “I suppose.”

“Does it occur to you that for Mitch, a… um… part-time relationship, might appeal?”

His forehead furrows. “Run that by me again.”

“Mitch has had men controlling her all her life. Or trying to. She’s enjoying her freedom, especially now
she’s earning money… Real money… in her own right. Living a life of her own but having a partner…
you… there occasionally might just work, for both of you. The two of you would simply spend quality
time together.”

He rubs the back of his neck. “Would that work?”

“It might. It wouldn’t be for everyone. But for Mitch… And for you… Who knows? Wouldn’t it be worth a

His head sways, slowly, up and down. “Do you think Jenny will want to see me?”

“I think so, yes. It might be a bit of a rocky road for a while, but it will be good for her.”

“And you? Will I be welcome here?”

“For me, yes, you’ll be welcome. But for now, will you stay for Christmas? I’m sure Mitch would like

“Yes…” He scuffs at the ground. “I think I will. In any case, there are things I need to do here too.”

“And after that? Back to Thailand?”

He flashes me a startled glance, then his smile twists into humour. “Um... Nooo… Not Thailand. It's not
a very healthy environment for me just now. No, it’s South America for me next.”

“Will you keep me informed on that? Anything you learn.”

“Of course. I’ll set something up so we can stay in contact this time… without you having to rig up my
old wiretap again.”



At the door, standing ajar, I hesitate, my stomach suddenly dropping away.

Have I done enough?

With muscles oddly reluctant to move, I tap on the door, very quietly.

“It’s open.”

I push, and too slowly, the door swings wider.

Jenny’s sitting in a rocking chair by the window. Her hair, so like her mother’s spills over a thick shawl
pulled around her shoulders. A warm blanket covers her lap. And her face, while pale, has lost that
sheen she had when Michael and I found her.

And held in her arms, wrapped in layers of knitted woollens…


Your daughter.

My granddaughter.

I want to say something. Something appropriate, but I’m not sure what it should be.

I abused you…

Mistreated you…

Took my revenge on you…

For something you had no involvement in.

And as your gaze rises to me, you smile… “Father…”

When did I ever think to see you smile at me?

“May I come in?”

“Of course you can.”

She adjusts her position, fiddles with the layers of blankets and then, in a cheek-scalding moment, I

Oh, God…

She’s feeding her…

I don’t know where to look. “My apologies. I didn’t intend to interrupt my granddaughter's lunch.”

Female flesh isn’t exactly new to me. Even seeing Jenny giving birth to the baby in her arms was just…
biology… But…


Too personal…

Hot around the neck, I spin, trying to find somewhere else…

Anywhere else…

… for my eyes to rest…

There’s plenty to look at: unicorns charge around the walls in a multicoloured herd accompanied by a
kind of rainbowed Pegasus above them. A mermaid and frog sit in conversation…

I find myself easing one way then the other, trying to get perspective on the frog.

It moves…

“I see someone let your mother loose with a paintbrush in here.”

“You recognise it? Her work?”

“I can spot her touch, yes. She's still using that trick I see. Making them move.”

She smiles. It’s almost the loveliest smile I’ve ever seen. “You've seen it before.”

“Hmmm, yes.” I shift again watching the thing nod in agreement with the mermaid. “It was a butterfly
the first time I saw the trick.”

“I don’t know how she does it.”

“She told me she’d seen something about cave paintings; how they were intended to be seen by
firelight, to give the illusion of moving.”

Her mouth opens a little. “Will you tell me more like that?”

“Like what?”

“About you and Mom. How you met. How you got to know each other.”

The Past gnaws at me. “You’re sure you want to know?”

“I think so, yes.”

But I’ve run out of things to say. Small talk has never been my strong suit, and now, here; in this place,
this situation…

I pace the room. She watches me, calm, unspeaking.

“Jenny… I… I wish I could change what’s past. I wish…”

She interrupts me. “You can’t change the past. What’s happened, has happened. But you can change
the future…” She tilts her chin. “You’ve already changed the present.”

And still, I don’t know what to say. Inside I’m tight, cold, but heat rises up my chest and neck.

Long seconds pass.

Jenny shifts, adjusting the blankets and her clothes as the rocker moves slightly, to and fro. Absently, I
notice that the chair also has received the ‘Mitch treatment’, painted cream, ferns twine up and around
the posts and seat.

Then she stands, takes a step or two towards me, the baby still in her arms. “Would you like to hold

Something inside me jolts. “Hold her?”

“Yes, hold her. She’s your granddaughter. Don’t you want to say hello?”

My mouth is dry and the heat in my chest disperses to chill.

Jenny simply stands there, offering me the cooing, gurgling blanket-wrapped bundle.

Then her eyes slide past me and I turn to see James, Michael and Mitch, all gathered in the doorway.

Uncertain, I look to James. He raises brows, lips twitching. “She’s the mother. It’s her call.”

Jenny weaves a little as she moves, but Michael steps forward, a hand under her arm. “Take it easy,

And she steps closer, offering her baby to me.

My granddaughter…

The miniature face is red and wrinkled, as though protesting the indignity of the world. The features are
soft and unformed. A drop of milk dribbles from her mouth… She smells milky too, a kind of musty

Now what do I do?

What’s expected?

Tentatively, I extend a finger into the bundle…

Almost as I touch, another hand, smaller than the end of my thumb, takes hold of my finger, gripping

Such tiny fingernails.

Jenny presses her to me. “You want to. I can see that. Take her.”

I’m clumsy. I’ve never done this before, but carefully…

For fuck’s sake don’t drop her…

… I cradle her in my arms.

Mitch moves close. “Like this.” She takes my hand, slipping it under the head. “Her neck muscles aren’t
developed yet. She needs support.”

Then she steps away.

The tiny eyes are dark, hazy and, I think not quite focussed on me. A wisp of hair spirals the skull…

Dark-haired like her father?

Is there a touch of red in there?

What to say?

“Hello, Cara.”

Jenny says, “It’s not Cara.”


How many fucking times can I fucking fuck it up?

Can’t even get the name right…

“It’s not? I thought…”

Michael comes close, a hand on her arm “Charlotte? I thought…” There’s hurt in his voice. And
confusion. “I thought it was decided? She was going to be named for my mother?”

Even James is frowning.

But Jenny chuckles. “It’s not just Cara.”

Mitch, a touch of impatience in her tone, “Jenny, you’re not being very clear. None of us…”

“Her name is Cara Deanna.”

My stomach drops. I take a breath, then another.

Michael looks bemused but not unhappy.

James looks down, but he’s not hiding his smile. “A good choice, Charlotte, commemorating the brave
woman who died defending her little boy.”

Her smile… arms outstretched to me. “Larry… Sweetheart…”


And Him… ‘She's gone. She’s left. Don’t you get it you stupid little turd? She's sick of you…’

… The face, dead… bloated black… the flies…


“Klempner!” It’s James.

Shocked, I hurtle back to the present. My heart thumps and the breath shudders in my throat. “You
knew about this? The name. Jenny told you?”

James smiles. “Until now, no. But I do think it is very well chosen. And I for one am proud to have my
daughter named for your mother.”




My baby girl…

I want to put my thoughts… No… My feelings into words.

And I’m struggling.

I’m no kind of poet. As an engineer-cum-architect, I have always focussed very much on the here-and-
now. Even when Georgie was a baby, I was too busy working to pay the bills to have time for being

It’s different this time. There’s something I want to say and I’m trying to get it down on paper.

I examine my attempt so far…

There was a time

When I was

But you were not

And then I was

And so were you

Until you were

But I was not

Except a memory

Your memory

The door clicks open. “Master?

“Charlotte.” I turn, smiling at my lovely Jade-Eyes, my daughter cradled in her arms.

“I’m putting her to bed. I thought you might want to say goodnight first.”

And quickly, opening the top drawer of my desk, then just as quickly closing it, I hide my attempt at


The Story Continues (For a bit of light relief lol! Simone) In

‘Kirstie’s Christmas’

And Then In ‘Predator’

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