For the Love of a Devil

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For the Love of a Devil Page 2

by Margaret Carr

  ‘The candles and torches are perfectly safe.’ As Selina struggled to collect herself he suddenly dropped down beside her and, scooping up the rubbish, bundled it outside.

  ‘I shall return when you have all gone to make sure everything is secure. Please leave this door unlatched.’ He swung round and disappeared down the shadowed path.

  Selina stood for some time before the composure she sought would return, when it did she calmly bolted the door and returned to the party.


  The party had been a great success. Selina had found what she hoped would be a suitable replacement for Caroline in the flat and the wedding day was drawing close. They had travelled up to Northumberland on their last days off to have their dresses fitted and last minute details ironed out.

  Now Selina rarely saw Caroline for she spent every spare minute at the Hall, where work was in progress to restore, redecorate and furnish it in readiness for their return from honeymoon. The flat was littered with pattern books and colour charts for everything from ceramic tiles to curtain material and kitchen units to lighting.

  It was raining again, the sky dark and overcast. Selina shivered as she let herself into the empty flat. They were into September now and although the last two weeks had been a real Indian summer, there was no doubt that the change was here to stay.

  ‘Selina, I want you to meet Clifford Harris, my best man. Clifford, Selina Adams.’

  It was the pre-wedding get together that Mr and Mrs Wareham were giving the evening before the big day. Selina looked up into the face of a man with the bluest eyes she had ever seen.

  ‘Selina is Maid of Honour so you will be working together.’

  ‘How do you do,’ said the tall owner of the blue eyes. Selina replied and waited for her hand to be released.

  Henry winked at his friend and said, ‘I think I can leave you in good hands now.’

  Selina made a face at him as with a wave he plunged back across the crowded room to join Caroline.

  ‘Are you from Bishopslea also?’ asked Selina.

  ‘Heavens no, I’m from London. I came up to the Oates’ place on Wednesday and travelled up here with Henry this morning.’

  He has nice hands, Selina noticed.

  ‘That’s right.’

  ‘Are you going straight back after the wedding?’

  ‘Yes, I’m getting a lift with Caro’s sister. I’m on duty Monday and Tuesday before flying to Rhodes on Wednesday morning,’ replied Selina, gazing over the room from across the rim of her glass where Caroline was standing secure within the circle of Henry’s arms.

  Clifford Harris looked startled. ‘You’re going to Rhodes?’

  ‘Yes, on holiday.’

  ‘Well this is a piece of good fortune, so am I,’ he smiled down at her, ‘where are you staying?’

  ‘The, er, Belvedere in Rhodes Town. Are you on holiday too?’

  ‘I am. I’m glad you won’t be disappearing like Cinderella after the ball.’

  ‘It will be nice to know someone else there,’ agreed Selina.

  The get together came to an early end. Selina and various members of the family were staying with the Warehams. Henry, his father and Clifford Harris were staying in a hotel two miles down the road. As the cars pulled away the group on the porch shivered in the cold Northumbrian air. Selina gazed anxiously at the clouds riding fast across the moon and offered up a small prayer for good weather tomorrow.

  Warm sunshine brightened the day, lighting up the soft coloured leaves that lay scattered across the moss covered path between the small village church and its lych gate. Caroline and Henry had arrived in a pony and trap. Everything went perfectly and now they were leaving, Henry tossing coins for the children that ran behind the trap on its way back to the farmhouse.

  Clifford and Selina’s duties were nearly over as the happy couple changed for their departure. They were to spend the weekend in Clifford’s London flat before flying off to Spain.

  ‘Where are you to spend the weekend?’ Selina asked Clifford.

  ‘I have accepted Mr Oates’ offer of a bed for the weekend.’ His hair shone like bronzed gold in the late sun as they stood slightly to one side of the photographer, who with an imperial summons ushered them into place for the last pictures.

  ‘I was hoping we might get together while I’m there,’ Clifford suggested as the pair of them rescued the young couple’s luggage which had been secreted away from marauding jokers.

  Eventually Caroline and Henry escaped and the guests slowly began to slip away. Selina was standing with the Warehams on the front drive when Mr Oates and Clifford drove off. ‘See you Monday evening,’ Clifford called.

  Monday evening came and went as did Tuesday without Selina ever getting time to ring and confirm a date with Clifford. In fact it wasn’t until she caught sight of him in the airport lounge on Wednesday morning that she felt a stab of guilt at not having thought of him at all.


  ‘Hello, Clifford,’ she smiled warmly. ‘Would you mind keeping an eye on my luggage while I go for a wash?’

  ‘Of course.’

  When she returned Clifford went off to a shop and came back with two coffees and a plate of sandwiches.

  ‘Are you with Airways too?’ asked Selina.

  ‘Yes, but I’m travelling with friends and staying further up the coast at Faliraki.’

  ‘Well perhaps I’ll see you on some of the tours.’

  Clifford laughed. ‘Most definitely you’ll see me. I’m not about to lose track of you now, Selina Adams.’

  He arranged to sit next to her during the flight and for the four-and-a-half hour journey they chatted off and on comfortably. On landing he guided her through the airport and sat next to her on the bus on its thirty minute run into Rhodes Town. He wanted to meet her that evening for drinks but Selina turned him down flat saying she wanted to settle in first.

  After checking in and finding her room Selina unpacked her clothes and taking a light cotton dress changed out of her now crumpled suit. She thrust her feet into open sandals, checked her purse for euros and travellers cheques then picking up a large straw hat she had bought in Spain several years before left the room.

  As she walked along the sea front the heat folded around her like a warm blanket. Turning up into the town she strolled around the shuttered sleepy streets until she came to a small taverna with bright awnings shading its pavement tables from the hot glare. Selina sat down at one of the empty tables and soon the round elderly owner bustled out to serve her.

  ‘English?’ she queried tentatively.

  ‘Ne, ne,’ he nodded vigorously. ‘English good.’


  ‘Yes, what with please.’

  Selina considered the menus. ‘Hamburger and a lemonade please.’

  The old man smiled and asked with the eyes of a Cocker Spaniel, ‘English or Greek salad?’

  Selina smiled back and said very definitely, ‘Oh, Greek.’

  She watched the old man’s smile broaden. ‘Good salad, Greek salad, you like,’ and off he went.

  A canary in a cage that hung suspended from a hook under the awning trilled its pretty song, making Selina feel at once excited and sad. The owner returned to set the table and an elderly man wandered in to occupy a seat in the far corner. Pulling out a newspaper he was soon buried behind it.

  Back in her room she cast off her dress and sandals and lay down on the bed meaning to rest, but soon she was fast asleep. She woke just in time for a quick bath and change before she was due downstairs for the holiday company’s welcome drink. Here she collected information about the tours but she was shocked by the prices.

  Dinner was taken in a large room overlooking the sea. Selina sat on her own trying to ignore the couples and families around her. Loneliness is all in the mind, she told herself, but she thanked Heaven for Clifford Harris.

  Sitting in the lounge later Selina thumbed through the tour information, working out what she
wanted to see, and what she could afford.

  ‘Best way is to travel native,’ advised an Australian voice behind her. Selina twisted around in her seat to see a beautifully tanned girl of about her own age, glass in hand, standing idly watching her.


  The girl swung around the back of the chair and lowered herself into the chair opposite. ‘I come here regular. Know the place like the back of my hand. Mom married a rich Swede a couple of years ago and we’ve been travelling ever since.’

  ‘That must be exciting.’

  ‘It’s better if you go native. The tourist trails pall after a while. Can I get you a drink?’

  ‘No, thanks,’ Selina said, gathering her things together. ‘I thought I would go for a walk.’

  ‘Look, would you mind if I came along?’

  ‘No, of course not. I’d like the company.’

  The two girls left the hotel. The wind from the sea blew their hair across their eyes, and wrapped their skirts around their legs. Laughing they hurried on into the town where they were more sheltered. The little shops with their produce spilling out on to the pavements were busy and the girls wandered in and out of the slowly-moving crowds. Suddenly Selina’s attention was caught by the sound of a loud speaker and excited voices some way ahead of them.

  ‘Political meeting,’ Yvonne mouthed above the din. The crowd thickened and the traffic came to an untidy halt. Jammed in as they were by people of all shapes and sizes, shouting and waving banners, Selina couldn’t help but compare them with the tourists sitting with quiet amusement in the cafés watching the events unfold.

  ‘It’s the elections,’ said the Australian girl, raising her hands in a hopeless gesture. ‘They go bananas.’

  Selina laughed. They made to turn away when a big black car tried to reverse out of the traffic jam. A heavy thump to the back of her legs sent Selina sprawling. She heard the raised voice of her Australian friend, then nothing.

  When she came around there were lights flashing across her vision. It took only moments for her to realise that she was in the back seat of a car and the lights of the town were winking across the darkened windows. Her head lay in Yvonne’s lap.

  ‘Oh thank goodness,’ the Australian girl cried. ‘She’s coming round.’

  ‘We’ll not be long now.’ The man’s voice sounded familiar and she stared at the dark outline of his back in the driving seat.

  ‘Where am I, what happened?’ She struggled to sit up.

  ‘It was an accident, kid. This gentleman was trying to get out of the traffic and knocked you down. We’re going up to the hospital to have you checked over.’

  Selina groaned. ‘It would have been better if he had watched what he was doing in the first place.’ From where she lay she couldn’t see the eyes in the mirror or the quick flash of recognition.

  When they pulled up in front of the hospital the driver climbed out and came around to hold open the rear door, as Yvonne helped Selina from the car. Selina looked up into the dark face with a frown between her brows. Again there came a niggling feeling of familiarity quickly replaced by anger as she was swept off her feet and carried straight to a cubicle where he sat her on the edge of the bed like a small child.

  ‘Wait there,’ he said, then disappeared.

  Yvonne popped her head around the curtain. ‘Can I come in?’

  ‘Why not, I really am quite all right you know.’ She smiled reassuringly at the Australian girl’s stricken face.

  ‘Your legs are going to be awful sore in the morning.’

  Selina eased off the edge of the bed and twisted around to inspect the damage. There was some grazing behind the knees and a cut half way down the calf, other than that they were extensively swollen and promised to be all the shades of the rainbow by morning. ‘Here’s hoping Clifford doesn’t want to do anything too strenuous in the morning.’

  ‘You have a friend with you?’

  ‘He’s staying up the coast in Faliraki but he is coming over tomorrow to see me.’

  ‘Then he’s going to be disappointed young woman,’ said the doctor as he pushed past the curtain. ‘I believe you were unconscious for a while.’

  ‘Well yes, but . . .’

  Yvonne had sidled out of the cubicle.

  The doctor did the usual checks, then stood back and played with his stethoscope. ‘Well we don’t need an X-ray, but I would strongly advise an overnight stay. Being a nurse I’m sure you will appreciate my precaution.’

  Selina stared back in dumb frustration. He was right of course, especially as she was a visitor in a foreign land. If anything went wrong after she left the hospital there would be little comeback. With a sigh she nodded her head and lay back. The doctor was smiling as he left the cubicle. There was the sound of male voices then Yvonne appeared again.

  ‘They say you’ve agreed to stay the night. Do you want me to get you anything? The gentleman who brought us has agreed to ferry me to the hotel.’

  ‘No thanks, they’ll have everything I need here. I’ll be back in the hotel before you get up.’

  ‘Righty-oh. See you in the morning then.’ And she backed out of the cubicle.

  A nurse bustled in with a wheelchair, and Selina was whisked off to the ward.

  Next morning after no problems other than an extreme stiffness, Selina was up with the dawn light, washed, dressed and waiting when the nurse appeared with her breakfast. She ate the breakfast slowly, still pondering the question that had been bothering her since she had woken.

  The doctor had appealed to her as a nurse to know he was acting in her best interests. But how had he known she was a nurse? She had heard it said many times in the past that medical staff wore their profession like a badge, but not literally, surely. Shaking her head she finished her meal and pushed the tray from her.

  Another question that puzzled her was that she would swear that she was in a private room. Perhaps it was expediency, but she doubted it. Determined to question the doctor when he appeared to discharge her she sat back to wait.

  When he did come, however, it was a different doctor from the night before, and this one appeared to have very limited English. On her way to the main entrance a voice checked her.

  ‘Miss Adams.’

  Selina’s eyebrows rose as she regarded the driver from the night before. He was well over six feet tall and dwarfed her five foot eight. His grey eyes narrowed cat like as he looked down into hers.

  ‘I am here to offer to take you back to your hotel.’ He fell into step beside her.

  ‘Then you will have to wait while I sort out my insurance,’ she said, heading for the reception desk.

  His arm shot out and gripped her wrist. ‘There is no need, I have settled your account.’

  On the point of protesting, Selina was hurried forward. ‘It was the least I could do under the circumstances.’ They crossed the forecourt to the big black car that had done the damage, and he held open the front passenger door.

  ‘I don’t believe I know your name,’ Selina said, as they drove down into the town.

  ‘Demitri Vardos.’ His voice held a quiet control as did his hands on the wheel. They reminded Selina of surgeon’s hands, slim yet strong, nails clipped short and immaculately clean.

  ‘It’s an unusual name yet I can’t help thinking I’ve heard it before.’ She screwed up her face in an effort to remember. ‘Not long ago either. You’re not someone famous for something I suppose. I must apologise if I should have recognised you.’

  ‘It would have been difficult under the circumstances.’

  ‘Circumstances, I don’t understand. Have we met before?’

  He inclined his head. ‘You weren’t very co-operative then either.’

  Selina frowned, she didn’t like the disadvantage she found herself in. Had it been this man that told the doctor she was a nurse? How did he know that? She prided herself on remembering most of the faces that passed her way. No, she was certain he had not been a patient. A visiting doctor?
Could be, she considered carefully.

  They pulled up in front of the Hotel Belvedere. ‘You have friends living at Lambwick Hall, I believe.’ He’d turned towards her, and suddenly the right slide fell into the projector.

  ‘You,’ Selina choked, seeing again the shadowy figure who’d helped her collect the rubbish on the night of the party, and made her cry. ‘Then after this last disaster it’s to be hoped we don’t meet again. Goodbye Mr Vardos, you’ll forgive me if I can’t say it was a pleasure.’

  ‘It would be a surprise to hear you say otherwise, Miss Adams.’

  She climbed out of the car and slammed the door.


  When Selina entered the hotel, Clifford rose from a seat by the reception desk. ‘Where have you been? I called earlier and the receptionist said you were already out.’

  ‘I have just this minute returned. I spent the night away.’

  ‘Oh I see,’ he stepped back as Selina collected her key, ‘I didn’t realise you already knew someone here.’

  He followed her over to the lift. ‘Why are you walking so stiffly?’

  Selina pressed the bell on the wall. Temper had made her headache return. ‘Because I had an accident and spent the night in the hospital,’ she snapped.

  The lift arrived and disgorged a family. Selina stepped inside. ‘I’ll see you in the bar at eight,’ she said as the door slid shut.

  Yvonne called mid morning to check up on her friend. Selina told her about Clifford. ‘I’m afraid I snapped at him so now I’m not sure whether he’ll turn up tonight or not.’

  ‘Tell you what, I’ll come with you, then if he shows I’ll disappear.’

  ‘I can’t let you do that.’

  ‘Course you can, I’m not doing anything else, the parents are off to yet another nightclub. A dip in the pool might help those legs of yours, what do you say?’

  ‘I think it’s probably a good idea.’

  Later as they lay on shaded loungers around the pool sleeping off their lunch, Selina shivered at a sudden coolness. She opened her eyes, a person was standing directly in front of her blocking the heat of the sun.

  ‘We meet again, Miss Adams.’


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