Cass made her way to the platform for Cambridge at Kings Cross, pushing past the annoying tourists by Platform 9 3/4. Boudica was allegedly buried under Kings Cross but Harry Potter was obviously more of a moneymaker.
It was a dark afternoon in February and Kings Cross was already thronged with its seedy inhabitants. Cass thought it was amazing that no matter where she went in the world, the train station always attracted the broken and dysfunctional. She wondered whether Limbo was like that, people stuck between two places and not being able to fit in or get to either destinations.
She luckily found a seat on the train, sat with her little case tucked between her knees, next to a suited man talking loudly and arrogantly into his mobile.
Cass played her usual game of counting how many “Tox” tags she could see on the way through the London suburbs. She glimpsed a Tox 15 and was happy. At least the tagger had lived into the New Year. She had noticed this tag when she first moved to London. She was pretty sure that Tox was a very bored accountant, who did this for kicks. She had even seen one of his tags in the Paris Metro, so he must have had enough dirty lucre for a EuroStar ticket.
The train pulled into Cambridge. Luke was waiting for her. She could see that he was over excited from the train window. He ran up to her on the platform. In horror, she tried to faint left and move right. He was too quick for her, grabbed her around the waist, picked her up and span her around joyously.
Mortified, Cass commanded,”Put me down this instance, you freak.”
“Sorry” Luke said unconvincingly. “I’ve always wanted to do that! I find train stations romantic. Forgive me?”
“Drama Queen,” accused Cass. “Where’s the car?”
The Drama Queen regally ignored Cass’ suitcase and lead her to the car. The car was a shiny black sporty Mercedes. “This isn’t your car?” Cass stated more than asked.
“No it is Sabina’s. Nice isn’t it.” Luke smirked
“Oh to be kept!” Cass smiled, sinking into the leather seat.
“Cassandra, jealousy does not suit you.”
They drove out of Cambridge to a village on the outskirts and pulled up into the gravelled driveway of a Queen Anne style town house.
Sabina greeted them at the front door. Sabina gave Cass a lovely warm welcome. Cass did not know why she found the normality of this greeting so off putting. She did not know what she expected but she thought it would involve more high heels and stockings, rather than slippers and jeans.
“Come in, come in. I am so glad you came.” she ushered them through the hall way into the kitchen. The house smelt expensively of beeswaxed floors, cut flowers and incongruously of baking.
“I have made something to snack on before the party, we will need our strength,” beamed Sabina. The something to snack on was a three teared cake stand of expertly made petit fours. Sabina made coffee and they sat around the marble kitchen island, munching greedily.
Cass realised that Sabina was about seven years older than them. Cass thought it was amazing that just this tiny age difference could mean the difference between having her flat and a kitchen the size of her flat, with an extra five bedrooms.
The front door opened and a man in his early forties walked in. Sabina jumped up and kissed him and introduced him as “Ulric, my husband. Now he is here, we can open the Sekt. Did the children settle with Mutti?”
Cass tried not to look surprised. She sipped the bubbly wine with a little mantra was going around her head,”This is not weird. This is not weird. Try not to look like this is weird.”
Ulric seemed to read Cass’ thoughts,” Sabina we have shocked our new friend. Cass, you can be married and into sharing. It is so nice to meet you at last. Luke has told me much about you.”
Ulric was surprisingly normal. She thought that he would be more intense, but he was tweedy looking, almost academic. He was handsome, fair and tall, and not the sort of person who had sex parties on the weekend. Neither did Sabina, a very sophisticated and attractive lady but not a person who sends an acquaintance expensive sexy underwear. The only person who did look like he should be there was Luke, lounging byronically on the enormous sofa in the kitchen.
Luke showed Cass to her room and sat on the bed with a bottle of wine. “Have another one, you look confused,” he urged wickedly. “I’ve got some coke if you prefer.”
“No thanks, I don’t want to sit there talking loudly about how wonderful I am for the whole evening. I was hoping to get some and for some reason men do not find overconfidence in women a turn on,” Cass glared at Luke playfully. “Anyway I thought you had stopped that shit.”
“I know gak is slightly moreish, but I only get it on special occasions now. Your initiation is what I consider to be a special occasion.” Luke lay back languidly on the enormous pillows. He reminded Cass of a cat, a big self-satisfied cat. He irritated her.
“Out!” Cass commanded. “To your own room. I am going to get changed and I don’t want you in here.”
“How rude! I am going to see it all tonight anyway. Can’t I have a peek first?” Luke smirked from the bed.
Cass childishly started to push him off the bed. “Out!” she retorted trying to maintain her resolve, “But leave a glass and the bottle.”
“Good Girl, see you in an hour.” Luke swung his long legs off the bed, put the bottle and one glass down on the bedside table and slunk out the door.