It was mid-January and high time that our Christmas visitors headed off home. While non-stop partying had its appeal, these so-called friends were eating us out of house and home, and TPR had strong suspicions that they were sponging off us.
Eventually only family members were left at the White House, and soon most of us would be on our way too. In my case I had to return to France – just as soon as I had finished my packing. I popped upstairs to check that I had not forgotten anything.
First I peered into my sister S’s mess of a bedroom. There was nothing there that I needed.
A guest was staying in the room next door, so there was no point in checking in there. I just made sure that the door was firmly closed – we had been trained to keep the heat in.
In the corridor to my bedroom I noticed a new piece of furniture. A light wood Chinese-style cabinet stood where once there were fitted cupboards. When I pulled open the cabinet doors and drawers I found paints, pens, and brushes all designed for creating Chinese artworks. Although I had no need for any of these items, I was interested in a stack of onion-thin paper. I considered stealing some of this for letter writing.
While I was considering this someone approached me from behind. It was N who, unbeknownst to me, had followed me upstairs. Earlier we had had a wee cuddle in the bed that he shared with his wife and a less attractive, muscly, stranger. Now that he had me on my own, N pulled me through the door of my own bedroom, then took me in his arms for a long kiss.
‘What are we doing?’ I asked, even though I fully aware of his intentions, and just how much I would enjoy what he had planned.