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Illingworth House: Chance Child - Part One: 75 - A Man Out Of Tune With Life

Rosemary finds that John Illingworth is a changed man.

John Waddington-Feather continues his novel concerning the turbulent lives of a Yorkshire mill-owning family.

Rosemary took him to the kitchen, closed the door then turned to face her cousin. She had him to herself at last. After Helen's death he had lost weight and his RAF training had left him tanned and fit. But he had aged, too, and his face was rugged. It made him more attractive, adding a maturity which wasn't there before. He had always been attractive, but now his profile had a craggy cast which heightened his good looks. His cheekbones were more pronounced, his mouth more firm, but above all, he had a new air of authority. His father had discovered that.

There were also other signs, especially round his mouth, which set like steel when he was angry. But it was his eyes which had changed most of all. They had once been alight with boyish good-humour. Now they were cold. They were the eyes of a man out of tune with life, who calculated all he did and flirted with danger. And yet those who knew him well, saw sadness there, too.

Rosemary's eyes, like her cousin's, were blue. Not as piercing as his, for they contained flecks of green and were very beautiful. When she smiled they lit up her whole face, and that night she smiled all the time. She said again and again how delighted she was at meeting him again, and dreamy eyed she chatted and laughed as she fixed him a snack. Her smiles were smiles of anticipation as well as delight for she felt him responding as they danced to smoochy music from the lounge.

There, the horse-play had given place to small-talk. Harry Clemence had been carried off to bed dead-drunk and the guests were too tired to dance. They sat sipping their last drinks in that hinterland before going home. Some had already gone, calling their farewells to Rosemary through the kitchen door.

She sat next to John on a kitchen stool, very close. She never took her eyes off him, flattering him all the time and giving him the come hither. She said how terribly she had missed him and added flippantly that she was going to make the most of him now she had him in her grasp, but he knew she meant it.

When he'd finished eating, she suggested they dance again, just the two of them alone. He made no excuse to leave as he had always done in the past when she'd made a dead set at him. Instead, he lifted her off the stool and held her close, feeling her body quiver when they danced cheek to cheek, barely moving.

And as they danced, he ran his hand up and down the nape of her neck. She was wearing a low-cut cocktail dress and her shoulders were bare, so that he saw the skin colour as he caressed them. They stopped dancing and she kissed him hungrily on the mouth. He responded, running his hand across her breasts, making her sigh and press herself closer. She was his for the taking.
He slept that night at Rosemary Nook, and when he went upstairs she said goodnight to the remaining guests and locked up.

Grimstone was among the last to go. He noted John Illingworth was still there and smiled quietly to himself as he got into his taxi with his girlfriend. "Yer've had a right good night, haven't yer, Rosie?" he slurred. "An it's not done yet, is it?" Then he pinched her bottom and fell into the taxi.

**

To read earlier chapters please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/illingworth_house/

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