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A Suspicious Couple. (standard:mystery, 3025 words)
Author: meg malpasAdded: Jan 26 2009Views/Reads: 2545/1199Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
On a short trip from various parts of the Paris people start to loose money and travellers cheques. As they cross the english channel on a ferry and as their coach speeds through the french countryside two people start to engratiate themselves with

A Strange Couple. 

It was the moist reds of the Summer Fruit Pudding that caught my eye.  A
single portion pudding, the size of an individual steak and kidney 
pudding you might buy in a chip shop.  He sat, the man at the next 
table to us, eating his main course and this dessert awaited him and 
the lady beside him had a piece of cheesecake awaiting her. It struck 
me that they looked as different from each other as their chosen 

We were aboard a ferry travelling from Dover to Calais.  We are my
youngest daughter and myself. My husband and I have four daughters, 
three of whom are in their 20's and have flown or semi-flown the nest.  
Julia the youngest at just 16 was about to sit GCSE in French. 

"It would be good to practise your French." I had persuaded her,  "if we
had a few days in France." So we embarked on a four-day coach trip to 
Paris.  My ulterior motive was to rest my weary feet from the pacing of 
the orthopaedic ward of our local hospital.  After over thirty years of 
nursing my retirement was looming on the horizon yet still a long two 
years away. 

After an early morning start from our home on the East Coast of England
our coach had brought us to the south coast for lunch time and we had 
already eaten before boarding. Now as the ferry pulled away we sat at a 
table in the self-service café with just a drink and talked about what 
we might see in Paris.  As we chatted I watched the intriguing couple 
over Julia's shoulder. The man looked very much like Phil Collins, if a 
little chubbier and I started to picture him sat behind a set of drums 
and singing. His partner looked like Nicole Kidman.  She was much 
taller than him and her light copper hair, though half clipped up at 
the back of her head, fell in abundant curls down the front of her 
bright red sweater. Her outfit of a pencil-slim grey cotton skirt and 
crisp white blouse, brought to life by the red V-Neck sweater, made her 
appear more like someone's secretary than a film star. Yet she had a 
presence about her just as I always think Nicole Kidman has. 

They didn't talk much.  Just those short clipped phrases that you hear
between two people who know each other well.  In my presumptuous way I 
had already assumed that they had been married for years.  I guessed 
that if he had a taste for Summer Fruit Pudding they probably didn't 
have four children to run around after, as this is a dessert that needs 
to be eaten slowly and digested over time. 

Maybe they didn't have any children at all and that is why they were
able, in probably their late thirties, to enjoy a romantic trip to 
Paris. More suppositions would have followed had Julia not been anxious 
to explore the ferry. This was Julia's first time on a ferry so I 
reluctantly joined her as she ventured up to the top deck to wave 
goodbye to the beautiful white cliffs of Dover. We were blown about so 
much that we headed for the ladies to tidy up. There I saw the tall, 
beautiful redhead again. While tidying my hair in front of the mirror I 
could see "Nicole" running her fingers through a wallet in my 
peripheral vision.  She then dropped it back into a large black handbag 
and began to wash her hands.  As I watched her walk I was reminded of a 
theory I have that very tall people have a walk of their own.  Similar 
to a graceful horse they seem to bend the knee more then the rest of us 
and pick up the foot and put it down so gracefully.  Is it my 
imagination or do the bones in the lower leg curve more in tall people? 
A typical observation for an off-duty orthopaedic nurse. 

Sixty minutes later as the ferry neared Calais we tore ourselves away
from the many on-board shops and headed down a central staircase to 
rejoin our coach. As we settled back into our coach seats I noticed the 
same couple coming up the coach.  Not realising before that they had 
been on the same coach, I now started to take even more notice of them. 
 They chatted and smiled to people they passed on their way to the rear 
of the coach.  She, I heard, had a Scottish accent and sounded more 
like she was from Edinburgh rather than Glasgow.  He hardly spoke and 
only smiled as we made eye contact as they passed our seats. Was it my 
imagination or was it a black handbag I had seen in the ladies because 
now she carried a small white one.  It hung from a long strap over her 
shoulder and it matched perfectly the "strappy", white sandals she was 
wearing. Our coach left the ferry and headed into France as I turned to 
mention the bag to Julia only to find she had put on her headphones.  I 

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