Chapter 55


Hong Kong - Sunday December 29th, 1996




Carol and Gloria sat together on the wide, glassed-in verandah in the eastern wing of Guy’s house. Beyond the flower garden, the heavily wooded mountain fell away, revealing Causeway Bay far below, its white high-rises gleaming in the pale winter sunshine. Beyond, the harbour churned with ferries and junks, sampans and pleasure boats, going back and forth about their business.

          Gloria said, ‘I’m sorry you’re leaving so soon.’

          ‘I have a business to run. I said I’d take a week only.’

          ‘You hadn’t met BJ then.’

          ‘That’s true.’ Carol smiled slightly but said only, ‘I’m more sorry about all this than I can say.’

          ‘It wasn’t your fault, any of it,’ Gloria said quickly. ‘BJ would have found out about Pat. You just - speeded things up, maybe.’ She looked out across the garden. ‘Have you seen Guy?’ she asked in a strained voice.


          ‘He’s gone into hiding. No one knows where he is; except, I suppose, Dickie Forrest.’ Gloria made a helpless little gesture. ‘After he was released, he came up here and got some clothes. He was ashamed to face me, but I can’t stop loving Guy, whatever he’s done. I know he’s wild. I expect it’s true about Lo Chin. I told you, Guy’s like our father. Remember the story about Dad and the fork-lift? I never really believed it was an accident.’ She ended on a sob.

          There was a silence, then Carol asked, ‘What will you do now?’

          Gloria wiped her eyes. When she looked up, a hesitant smile twisted her mouth. ‘I spent this morning with David. He’s offered me a position with the company. He’s fighting to keep Langford-Price alive. He won’t let Guy come back; you can’t blame him for that. David, William and I are the only Langfords left,’ she continued soberly, ‘not counting other family shareholders. I worked at Langford-Price until Guy brought the children home. Then I left to look after them. But they’re older now; they’ll be fine.’

          She drew herself up and added defiantly, ‘It’s a good opportunity for me; it’ll take my mind off things.’ Her violet eyes glinted. ‘I think Pat would want me to take his place in the company, don’t you?’



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