The Unexpected Husband(6)

By: Lindsay Armstrong



looking at you, let alone the rest of it, so...’ She paused with an uplifted expression on her face that Lydia felt answered her question better than words might. ‘So,’ Daisy went on, ‘then I thought, Perhaps I should hang on to him but, put simply, Lyd, he’s not that easy to hang on to.’

Daisy’s eyes were a true violet. She wasn’t tall, she had a perfect oval face, a lovely figure, she was exquisitely groomed, even for a dinner at home, and she looked every inch a sophisticated twenty-nine-year-old. Nor did her just uttered sentiments belie this—unless you knew her well enough to know that of the two of them she was the much more naive.

‘Does he have other women?’ Lydia asked, packing her shorts and reaching for a blouse.

‘I don’t think so. But the fact of the matter is he hasn’t had much of me lately. He’s losing interest, I would say.’

Thank heavens, Lydia thought. She said bracingly, ‘Then he’s not worth it, Daisy. Besides, you could end up with a moody kid!’

‘All the same, there’s something about him—’

‘Listen, Daisy.’ Lydia was suddenly serious. ‘I went along with this when I thought you were theorizing as opposed to actually doing it, because you’re a lot like Dad. Once he gets an idea into his mind nothing can change it until he gets it out of his system.’

‘Thank you,’ Daisy said gravely.

‘But now it’s time for straight talking,’ Lydia went on pointedly. ‘If you love Joe Jordan and he loves you and wants to marry you, you have my blessing. Otherwise it’s a dangerous game you’re playing—don’t do this to yourself. You’re worth much more than a life of seducing men so you can have a baby.’

Daisy turned the brush over in her hands. ‘You don’t know what it’s like, Lyd,’ she said slowly. ‘You fell in love once and it worked out perfectly—well, until Brad died, of course. But it never works perfectly for me.’ She brushed away a tear.

‘Could you be.. .could you be a shade too generous, Daisy?’ Lydia suggested, picking her words with care. ‘Why don’t you play hard to get for a change?’

Daisy lifted her head as if struck by inspiration. ‘Oh. Maybe Joe would respond to that.’

‘Forget Joe Jordan—’ Lydia broke off and bit her lip.

‘Why?’

‘Uk—you told me yourself that he’s very clever and that he can be moody and sarcastic. That’s always hard to live with unless you’re clever in the same way. What you need is someone musical, someone who could share the area where you’re really sensitive and creative.’

Daisy stared reflectively into the distance. ‘There is a new oboe player who’s just joined the orchestra. He’s rather sweet, and I can tell he’s interested, but, no, it wouldn’t work.’

‘It’s probably far too early to tell whether it would work,’ Lydia commented practically, ‘but l can you be so sure it wouldn’t?’

‘He’s younger.’

‘Younger... How much?’

‘He’s about your age, I guess.’

Lydia was struck silent for a long moment, struck by the irony of her sister plotting to have some man’s child to bring up on her own yet unable to contemplate a nor mal relationship with a man because he was a little younger...

She said, at length, ‘Three years—that’s nothing, re ally.’

‘Oh, yes, it is. ‘When I’m thirty he’ll still be in his twenties. More importantly, when I’m fifty, he’ll still be in his forties. I’m sure it should be the other way around because men tend to age better than women, don’t you think?’

But Lydia was suddenly gripped by the feeling that a younger man could be just what Daisy needed. Might it not bring out a so far latent streak of maturity in her? As well as getting her over Joe Jordan, of course. Then she sighed and decided she’d done enough interfering in her sister’s life for one day.

‘Why don’t you just wait and see what happens?’ she murmured, and reached for the silver-framed photo of Brad on the dressing table. She stared down at it, blinked a couple of times, then laid it gently face down on top of her clothes in the suitcase.

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