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The Beach House by P.R. Black

The Beach House by P.R. Black

Author:P.R. Black [Black, P.R.]
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9781789543087
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Published: 2020-01-15T16:00:00+00:00


19

Cora got up and turned to the door. Had the Australian man put a hand on her, she would almost certainly have screamed; might even have stretched things out to a backhander across the chops. But he didn’t. He smiled, a kindlier cast to his face than she remembered, and raised his hands in a supplicatory gesture.

‘No need for you to rush out,’ he said, in a different tone of voice to the sneering lech she remembered. ‘It’s all good. I just want to say a couple of things to you.’

‘Say them very quickly,’ Cora said, sliding her bag over her shoulder.

‘First of all, I want to apologise for being a jerk, the last couple of times I met you. I was drinking a bit too much. This is a rebound holiday, I guess. I haven’t quite been acting myself.’

‘I’m sure the real you is a charmer. Look, I’m having a bit of a bad day, I’m really sorry…’

‘I don’t want to extend my apology to your boyfriend, though.’

‘What do you mean?’ Maybe this was something from another time. The boat trip Jonathan had gone on, before the casino night – maybe this guy was on the boat trip. What had his name been again – Horace?

‘You don’t remember? Mind you, you were a little bit worse for wear.’

‘Please don’t waste my time – what about my… boyfriend?’

‘Maybe you didn’t see it… ah, that would make sense. I suppose we were sunk in roughly four feet of bubbles at the time. Just as well there weren’t any dwarfs in the room, we’d have had to throw in a lifebelt.’

‘The club… The foam party. Oh, I see what you mean.’ He wasn’t my boyfriend, she thought about saying. Then she thought better of it. ‘Did he hit you – the man I was with? I couldn’t be sure.’ In actual fact, now that she thought on it, she’d wondered if Dylan had stabbed Horace with something. He’d gone down in the foamy maelstrom absurdly quickly.

‘He hit me all right. Kidney punch. Here… avert your eyes if you’re of a nervous disposition.’ Horace got up from the stool and pulled up his short-sleeved check shirt, to reveal a great purple lake, etched across his otherwise pale skin. Cora could easily have spanned her hand across it. ‘Thought he’d bust my ribs. I’ve had some interesting pisses in the past couple of days, too, I have to tell you. Seems to be all right, now. Lucky me.’

‘That shouldn’t have happened to you. However you got that bruise… I’m sorry. But you were acting like a grade-A pain in the arse, I have to be honest with you. So I do have a bit of sympathy, but I hope you’ll learn to keep yourself to yourself in future. It’s the healthy option.’

‘Point taken. I just wonder a bit, though, about you and your twin sister?’

Again, she paused. ‘Oh yeah?’

‘You and your doppelganger.’ Horace signalled to the bar for a beer. ‘Or should I say, near-doppelganger.



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