Tuesday, 30 July 2013
Book Spotlight: The Memory Plot by D.E. Carver
The Memory Plot
by D.W. Carver
Two years after the car crash that killed her family, mental health counsellor Jill Garvin’s memories of the events surrounding the tragedy are beginning to resurface. And with them, a painful and ugly secret that will shatter the way Jill views her late husband. The threat of reality may be more than Jill’s fragile mind can handle. But handle it she must, because a much darker force is at work: a man who would do anything to keep her past a secret, including destroy the new family Jill has found for herself.
Jill Garvin had been promising herself a skinny dip all week. Now that her sister’s children spent more time with their mother’s new boyfriend than at the villa, wearing the bikini seemed dumb, veering towards old maidish, especially in this heat. She looked down at herself. Her body was still okay. Nothing sagged too much, so there was no excuse really. In fact, none at all. Sarah walked past her to the pool’s edge. Jill glanced up as the girl dipped a toe in the water. Then of course there was comparison, but her niece’s bare bottom would make a monk sob, so that wasn’t realistic.
Sarah turned towards her and asked, “Are you coming in?”
“Maybe later.” Jill pointed. “You’ll give yourself a rash if you keep on.”
Sarah peered down at her sculpted pubic hair. “It looked crooked from this angle when I got undressed. I’m still not sure.”
“It’s not crooked,” Jill said. “It wasn’t yesterday or the day before.”
Sarah rubbed at the crease between groin and thigh, grinning. “If you’d let me go to that salon in the first place, I wouldn’t have all this aggravation.” Jill shook her head. “That was never going to happen, kid.”
Sarah offered the innocent face. “They’re professionals. It’s just like going to a normal hairdresser, only a bit lower down.” She put a finger under her chin. “Pretty please with a cherry on top?”
Jill sighed. “I’m not doing this again, my little ‘butter-wouldn’t-melt.’ Now chuck your skinny self in the pool before the flies smell that nasty body oil you bought. We don’t want them carrying you off to their lair again.”
Sarah pulled a face, saying, “You are so gross,” turned, and jumped into the water.
Jill raised a hand against the spray. The mobile phone on the small white plastic table beside her, made its three-tone demand. She picked it up, read the display, and pressed the unit alive, realising that she didn’t want to bring her employers into their life right now but had no choice. And while Creel was just a higher-up employee than herself, he was at the sharp end of minding billionaires and felt like management.
In answer to her “Hi,” Creel said, “Hi yourself. How’s tricks?”
“Tricks is tolerable.
“It’s been a while. Has anything interesting happened?”
Jill watched her niece swim across the pool using a strong, confident breaststroke. “Not really. Sarah and I are sunning ourselves a lot. My sister is off with the illustrator more than she’s here and Prue’s made a new friend. We don’t see her much either. In fact, hardly at all over these last two weeks.”
“A new friend?” Creel asked, voice a long way from casual.
“Of the horizontal persuasion: French, gorgeous and of course, female.”
Creel’s “Oh” lasted too long. Jill smiled but didn’t speak. Eventually, he dropped words into the building silence, tone uncertain. “Is that a problem?”
“Are you asking if I’m jealous?”
“We were never a couple,” Jill said. “I thought about it for a while after we left England, but decided my feelings towards Prue were mostly loneliness and reaction to all that violence and fear. You know, needing to cling to someone for comfort; looking for an adult to love who would love me back. I’m glad she’s found a partner.”
“Fair enough.” Jill could almost hear him thinking. Then he went on, “So how many tickets to England will you need now?”
“Rachel and the kids will be staying in France for certain if all goes well,” Jill said. “I don’t know about Prue, but I can tell you for sure by the end of the month. Will that be a problem, leaving it late?”
“No, not at all,” Creel said. “The house is ready now. Sarah’s university course is set and I can buy plane tickets right up to the day.”
Jill watched her niece climb the pool ladder, water glistening on her slim body as he talked.
Creel asked, “What was that?”
Jill frowned. “I didn’t speak.”
“You said something about law.”
Jill shook her head, took the phone from her ear to look at it as if that might help, then put it back. “The sun must be getting to me. I was watching Sarah climb out of the pool, barefoot, as they say, from the neck down and I was thinking there should be a law against looking that good. Guess I said it aloud.”
“Oh… all right.”
Jill wanted to laugh at the caution in his voice but said, “I talk to myself sometimes, always have. It’s not PTSD over nearly losing Sarah and my sister, or dwelling on the spooky past or anything like that.” Sarah turned towards her and waved. For a moment it looked… Jill shivered; blinking hard then closed her eyes tight.
Sarah called into the spark-edged darkness, “The water’s great! Get your cossie off!”
Jill opened her eyes with an effort. It was just Sarah, the beautiful, funny, life-filling girl who kept her heart warm.
Jill said into the phone, “Sarah wants me in there with her. So if there’s nothing else?”
“No, can’t think of anything. I’ll call you again in a few days.”
Jill disconnected on his last word, dropped the phone on her lap, and lay back, feeling as if she might need to hang onto the lounger to keep from floating away.
Sarah yelled, “No sleeping! Get in here!”
Visit the author at http://www.dwcarver.com
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