For the Love of a Devil

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For the Love of a Devil Page 8

by Margaret Carr

  Demitri led her to the forward deck where a table was set out under an awning and surrounded by comfortable seating.

  The woman was arranging the glasses on the table and stood by as Selina and Demitri seated themselves. Champagne was poured and the woman disappeared.

  ‘To us and our future happiness,’ he toasted.

  Selina hesitated then lifted her glass to her lips and sipped.


  The meal when it came was beautifully presented, smoked salmon wrapped around giant prawns on a bed of herb salad in a garlic and lemon oil. Tiny citrus fruit sorbets in the shape of flowers followed before a course of minced lamb in vine leaves with a savoury rice.

  Selina turned down the usual honey biscuits and sat back replete with her coffee. The boat rocked gently at anchor, the wind was warm on her back, it soothed her mood and she began to feel that life could indeed be good as Demitri’s wife. Was the yacht his? she wondered, trailing her hand across the blue striped seat cover. She was nearly asleep when his deep voice broke through her thoughts.

  ‘Now supposing you tell me what it is that is holding you back.’

  ‘What?’ Selina stared at him owl like. The table had been cleared without her noticing, Demitri had moved on to the cushioned seat beside her, his arm lying along the back of the wooden framework.

  ‘You were mine in Cyprus, don’t deny it, you felt the attraction as deeply as I. So what happened? I accept that your accident may have frightened you but your reluctance to be open with me since I find baffling.’

  Selina’s breath shuddered in her throat. The time had come and she ached with the pain she must cause him. She pulled herself up and crossing to the rail stood looking out to sea. She felt his breath disturb her hair and knew he had followed her, his body blocking the warmth of the sun from her back.

  ‘The accident didn’t frighten me because it wasn’t an accident. The person who pushed me did frighten me.’

  She felt his instinctive withdrawal. ‘What are you saying?’

  She turned to face him. ‘I am saying that Aristotle pushed me off that wall deliberately, just as he pushed your wife down the stairs.’ She watched his features stiffen and his glance turn into icy shards.

  Without a word she was wrenched away from the rails and marched over to the steps leading down to the dinghy. Pushed into the tiny boat that wobbled precariously she sat down and clung to the sides. The boat pushed through the water as though being driven by the devil himself, and well it might be she thought, for had she not woken the devil in him with her accusation.

  He tied the dinghy to a ring in the wall as she stumbled up the rocky path back to the car. Once inside she waited in silence for him to start the engine. They sat for several minutes like stone statues staring out through the windscreen. Selina had always found silence the better part of valour during her career when things had gone wrong. Now she ached to explain, to have him try to understand that his brother had betrayed him.

  When he spoke the coldness in his voice froze her heart. ‘Ari assured me that you had lost your balance on the wall. Why are you so adamant that he pushed you?’

  ‘I tore his shirt in the struggle. I saw his face just before I fell.’

  He started the engine. ‘Then we have to know who is lying.’

  What had she expected, she asked herself. Aristotle was his brother, it was only natural that he should want to believe his own flesh and blood, wasn’t it? What about wanting to believe the woman he said he loved, she wanted to cry.

  He drove straight to the house. She was to be given no reprieve. It being mid week shouldn’t Aristotle be working in Athens? He led her into his office and closed the door. ‘Sit,’ he said, indicating the seat to one side of the desk.

  It felt like being on the carpet before Sister Patten, as she waited for the hammer to fall. He came towards the desk with two glasses of brandy in his hands and, placing one before her, swallowed the other in slow deliberation until it was all gone.

  Selina had no taste for the brandy and leaving it where it stood said, ‘There was a witness to your wife’s murder, Maria, and she will substantiate what I have said about that. As to the attempt on my life . . .’

  ‘Ah, yes, the attempt on your life, what possible reason I wonder would there be for that.’

  She dared not look up at him for the pain was there in his voice. ‘Has there not always been jealousy between you?’

  ‘Ah, so wise on such a short acquaintance. So you think my brother covets his brother’s woman?’ The sarcasm was bitter.

  ‘Would that be so strange, all else considered?’

  His eyes blazed down into hers, alight with pure hatred. It took all her strength not to shrink before it, but she stood her ground and, as though someone turned off a switch somewhere inside him, the light left his eyes and he slumped into his chair. His head went down between his hands and Selina left him there.

  No-one asked her and she was never quite sure how she got back to the hotel. She went straight up to her room and packed her bags. Then she phoned down to reception and asked how soon she could get a standby ticket to England.


  There were no direct flights to the north but if she was prepared to go via Heathrow she could fly out at eight fifteen that evening. It was now just after three so she telephoned Yvonne to let her know she was leaving. Twenty minutes later Yvonne was hammering on her door.

  It was quarter to six and reception had just rung to say her taxi was waiting. Her ‘goodbyes’ had been said, and Yvonne was walking with her to the foyer. The tears that had run down the sides of her nose and dripped from her chin were all mopped up.

  ‘Miss Selina Adams.’ Two policemen turned from the reception desk.

  Frowning, Selina glanced back at them. ‘Yes.’ Surely he hadn’t reported her to the police.

  ‘We would like you to come with us to answer some questions.’

  ‘I have a taxi waiting outside to take me to the airport. I have a flight to catch.’ She tried to quash the rising fear.

  Yvonne tried to object but they ignored her. ‘Don’t worry, mate, I’ll get to the bottom of this,’ she called as Selina was led away.

  * * *

  Placed in the back of the police car she was driven to the police station and shown into a small office. A swarthy-faced officer with a goatee beard sat in front of a plain wooden table. He indicated that she should sit on the wooden seat facing him and waved a dismissive hand at the two men who had accompanied her.

  He looked up from the work on his desk top. ‘You wish to make an allegation against Mr Aristotle Vardos?’

  She shook her head. ‘No, it was a purely personal comment I made to Mr Demitri Vardos.’

  The dark eyes never wavered. ‘You know something about the death of Mrs Sophia Vardos?’ When she didn’t answer he continued, ‘You have been on this island for a little over two months, Miss Adams, and yet you claim to have information that we, the police have needed for some time. I ask you again what do you know of the death of Mrs Sophia Vardos?’

  It was obvious to Selina that this time he wouldn’t just let it go, so she told him what she knew and how she had a witness to what she had said.

  ‘Who is this witness?’

  ‘Will she be in trouble?’

  ‘She withheld information, she must be brought to account for this.’

  ‘Then I cannot help you further.’

  The beard quivered and he replaced the pen he had been playing with on the desk top with a snap. ‘You are a foreigner on this island, Miss Adams, it would be a pity to have to jail you too for withholding information.’

  Selina’s heart gave a skip of pure terror, but she managed to visualise Sister Patten in place of the foreign officer and straightened her shoulders. ‘What information, I don’t have any information, only that which I have already told you.’

  ‘I see,’ he sat back fingering his lapel, ‘well we’ll see if a night in a cell wil
l clarify your memory,’ and he rang a bell on the desk.

  Determined not to betray Maria, nor let them see how afraid, she was she stood up and turned as the door opened. Her relief at seeing Demitri standing there with Maria behind him made her feel faint.

  Maria told the officer what she had seen the night Sophia Vardos died. Then she and Selina were sent from the room leaving Demitri and the policeman alone. Selina glanced at her watch, if she left now she might still make her flight.

  Maria had been assured by Demitri that she would not go to jail so she promised a distressed Selina that she would tell Isobel how much Selina loved her and regretted leaving her. Selina thought of Yvonne’s story of her lost baby and understood how truly a heart could indeed break as hers was breaking now.


  The taxi was caught up in traffic and as she alighted at the airport her plane was taking off. Not wanting to go back to the hotel and have to explain to Yvonne, she rang up but was told her friend wasn’t there. She dragged her bags over to a café and ordered a coffee. There were no more planes out that night and she could give no thought to what her next move should be.

  The tannoy continued to announce arrivals. Another cup of coffee and the tannoy had gone quiet. Looking around she realised she was alone. All the shops were closed and the man wiping down the bar was looking decidedly uncomfortable. Time to go. Her shoes made a hollow ring as she crossed the terminal to the exit.

  A car cruised up out of the darkness and Selina moved forward, taking it for a taxi, she bent to the window to ask to be taken to the Hotel Miranda, when she recognised Denys and backed away with a gasp.

  ‘I am to take you wherever you wish, Miss Adams,’ he said, climbing out of the car and coming around to open the rear door for her.

  ‘I wish to go to the Hotel Miranda,’ she repeated.

  He nodded acceptance and picking up her luggage placed it in the front passenger seat.

  ‘How did Mr Vardos know where I was?’

  ‘I believe a Miss Campbell was the informant.’

  ‘Of course. I missed my plane,’ she said, by way of an explanation.

  Denys glanced once in the rear-view mirror and continued to drive in silence.

  Denys left her on the hotel steps. The place was locked up and the night porter had to be summoned. She had given up her room and hoped she would be allowed to share with Yvonne. A message handed to her by the porter solved the problem. Yvonne had persuaded the management to let her have her old room back for one night only. Relief flooded through her and she trudged wearily across to the lift and up to her room.

  The lamp by the bed cast a warm glow around the room and with a sigh Selina dropped her bags and fell on to the bed. It was several minutes before she became aware of someone sitting in the chair opposite. The scream rising in her throat was cut off when Demitri spoke. ‘I have been waiting a long time. Where have you been?’

  ‘I missed my flight.’

  ‘You left before we had finished our business.’

  ‘I didn’t think we had any more business.’

  His face was cast in bronze by the light and Selina’s heart, which she had considered broken, thumped heavily in her chest.

  ‘Aristotle and Anna have left to live in Northern Greece, we will not see them again. I have come to take you home.’ He rose to his feet and bringing her from the bed pulled her into his arms.

  She awoke next morning in her green and white bedroom in the Vardos town house and stretched lazily. The dreams that had awoken in Cyprus were coming true, Demitri loved her and they were to waste no time in getting married. Loneliness was to be a thing of the past.

  There was a scratch at the door and Isobel burst in. ‘It’s true, Daddy said you were back. I wanted it so much I just knew you would come back.’ Running across the room she flung herself on to the bed and into Selina’s arms.

  Demitri stood in the doorway and, as their eyes met over the little girl’s head, Selina smiled.




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