[ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]
.She didn’t like the idea of a midnight rendezvous, but it had taken half the day to get in touch with Aeneas Sweet, and once they had reached him he had insisted that they connect that very day.Now there was nothing left to do but ride it out to the end.She stretched her legs, she had been sitting a long time, and her foot once more nudged the metal case.Along with the boots, Grace wore black jeans and one of Peter’s black turtlenecks; he seemed to have an unlimited supply—perhaps left over from his former career.He, too, wore black jeans and black turtleneck.“What the well-dressed commandos are wearing this season,” Grace joked, plucking at the material of her shirt and glancing his way.“We could use a couple of commandos,” Peter replied, shifting gears as the road wound through the trees.“Well, we have Monica and Calum.” At least they would, if Monica and Calum didn’t get sidetracked along the way.They seemed easily distracted.Especially by each other.Peter retorted, “Exactly.We could use commandos to protect us from Monica and Calum.”She said slowly, “Do you not trust them?”Peter said grandly, “I suspect everyone.And no one.”Grace chuckled.“Oh Monica’s all right.He’s not what I expected.Especially when you figure Monica’s period is the Victorians.Robert Browning was always her ideal man.”“And instead she married the nutty professor?”Grace chuckled but Monica’s emotional detour did bother her on some (granted) irrational level.The changes Monica had made in her life and her future meant changes in Grace’s own life.She would miss Monica when she returned to St.Anne’s without her.Tom and Chaz would miss her, too.Tuesday night bridge would never be the same.“I’ve been thinking about the cameos,” she said, to distract herself from that line of thought.“I think each one was intended to represent something significant to Byron.Even the dog.Byron loved animals, especially dogs.He built a monument to his favorite dog, Boatswain, on the grounds of Newstead Abbey.”“You think the cameos would have been his tacit acknowledgment that Medora was his daughter?”“I don’t know.He never singled her out in any other way, never showed her any special attention, but if you take into account what each of those cameos seems to represent individually, especially the Astarte one, and then put them all together …”“Not so tacit an acknowledgment after all,” Peter concurred.“Those cameos are as irreplaceable for what they symbolize—for what they represent to Byronic scholars—as they are in intrinsic value,” Grace said.Peter’s eyes left the road and met hers for a long moment.It was quite late by the time they reached the Pen-with estate.Peter parked in the woods and cut the car engine.They could see lights from the tower rooms winking through the trees.Peter glanced at his watch.“Right on schedule.”“Should we wait for Monica and Calum?” Grace shivered.It wasn’t that cold in the Rover, so it had to be nerves catching up with her.The night was alive with the sound of crickets, the whisper of leaves.Normal friendly sounds that somehow emphasized how alone they were.“Look to your left.”She looked.Several yards away, deep within a stand of trees, a car’s headlights flashed once, twice, and then all was black.“Do you think it’s a trap?” Grace whispered as Peter reached for his door handle.He paused.“Gee, a midnight meeting in a tomb in the middle of the woods? I don’t know,” he whispered back.For some reason his smart-aleck response cheered her up.Together they walked across the cleared area to the blue Mustang parked in the trees.Monica and Calum were waiting beside their car.Monica gave Grace the thumbs-up.Calum offered Peter a drink from his flask, which Peter declined.Monica took a swallow instead.It didn’t appear to be the first time the flask had made the go-round.Grace could feel Peter’s exasperation, but he controlled it as he reminded everyone of his and her various roles in “The Plan.”Grace thought that “plan” was an exaggeration, but they had come too far to turn back now.At the appointed hour they separated once more, Monica and Calum tip-toeing off amid the crunch of autumn leaves.Peter sighed and then glanced down at Grace.“Ready?”“As I’ll ever be.”He hesitated.Grace put a hand on his arm.“I know,” she said.His smile in the starlight seemed twisted.“Then you’re way ahead of me, Esmerelda.I’ve no idea what I’d say to you even if we had time to say it.Just keep your head down, will you?”“I’ve had a lifetime of practice.”In white relief above the square entrance, Grecian women wept into hankies.At least they looked like hankies.Grace supposed the ancients had another word for them.She glanced at Peter, wondering if he would have trouble entering the confines of the crypt.She remembered his reluctance the morning of their first visit to Penwith Hall [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]