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Chapter 18
I texted Gene from the taxi. It was 1.08 a.m. but he had leftthe ball at the same time as I did, and had further to travel.
Urgent: Run tomorrow 6 a.m. Gene texted back: Sunday at8: Bring Bianca’s contact info. I was about to insist on theearlier date when I realised that I could profitably use the timeto organise my thoughts.
It seemed obvious that Rosie had invited me to have sex withher. I was right to have avoided the situation. We had bothdrunk a substantial quantity of Champagne, and alcohol isnotorious for encouraging unwise decisions about sex. Rosie hadthe perfect example. Her mother’s decision, doubtless promptedby alcohol, was still causing Rosie significant distress.
My own sexual experience was limited. Gene had advised thatit was conventional to wait until the third date, and myrelationships had never progressed beyond the first. In fact,Rosie and I had technically had only one date – the night ofthe Jacket Incident and the Balcony Meal.
152/290I did not use the services of brothels, not for any moralreason, but because I found the idea distasteful. This was not arational reason, but, since the benefits I was seeking were onlyprimitive, a primitive reason was sufficient.
But I now seemed to have an opportunity for what Genewould call‘no-strings-attached sex’. The required conditions were in place:
Rosie and I had clearly agreed that neither of us had aninterest in a romantic relationship, then Rosie had indicated thatshe wanted to have sex with me. Did I want to have sex withRosie? There seemed no logical reason not to, leaving me freeto obey the dictates of my primitive desires. The answer wasan extremely clear yes. Having made this completely rationaldecision, I could think of nothing else.
On Sunday morning, Gene met me outside his house. I hadbrought Bianca’s contact details and checked her nationality –Panamanian.
Gene was very pleased about the latter.
Gene wanted full details of my encounter with Rosie, but I haddecided it was a waste of effort to explain it twice: I would tellhim and Claudia together. As I had no other subject to discussand Gene had difficulty in running and speaking concurrently,we spent the next forty-seven minutes in silence.
When we returned to Gene’s house, Claudia and Eugenie werehaving breakfast.
I sat down and said, ‘I require some advice.’
‘Can it wait?’ said Claudia. ‘We have to take Eugenie tohorseriding and then we’re meeting people for brunch.’
‘No. I may have made a social error. I broke one of Gene’srules.’
Gene said, ‘Don, I think the Panamanian bird has flown. Putthat one down to experience.’
‘The rule applies to Rosie, not Bianca. Never pass up a chanceto have sex with a woman under thirty.’
‘Gene told you that?’ said Claudia.
153/290Carl had entered the room and I prepared to defend myselfagainst his ritual attack, but he stopped to look at his father.
‘I thought I should consult with you because you’re apsychologist and with Gene because of his extensive practicalexperience,’ I said.
Gene looked at Claudia, then at Carl.
‘In my misspent youth,’ he said. ‘ Not my teens.’ He turnedback to me. ‘I think this can wait till lunch tomorrow.’
‘What about Claudia?’ I asked.
Claudia got up from the table. ‘I’m sure there’s nothing Genedoesn’t know.’
This was encouraging, especially coming from his wife.
‘You said what?’ said Gene. We were having lunch in theUniversity Club as scheduled.
‘I said that I hadn’t noticed her appearance. I didn’t want herto think I saw her as a sexual object.’
‘Jesus,’ said Gene. ‘The one time you think before you speak isthe one time you shouldn’t have.’
‘I should have said she was beautiful?’ I was incredulous.
‘Got it in one,’ said Gene, incorrectly, as the problem was thatI hadn’t got it right the first time. ‘That’ll explain the cake.’
I must have looked blank. For obvious reasons.
‘She’s been eating chocolate cake. At her desk. For breakfast.’
This seemed to me to be an unhealthy choice, consistent withsmoking, but not an indicator of distress. But Gene assured methat it was to make herself feel better.
Having supplied Gene with the necessary backgroundinformation, I presented my problem.
‘You’re saying she’s not The One,’ said Gene. ‘Not a lifepartner.’
154/290‘Totally unsuitable. But she’s extremely attractive. If I’m going tohave uncommitted sex with anyone, she’s the perfect candidate.
She has no emotional attachment to me either.’
‘So why the stress?’ said Gene. ‘You have had sex before?’
‘Of course,’ I said. ‘My doctor is strongly in favour.’
‘Frontiers of medical science,’ said Gene.
He was probably making a joke. I think the value of regularsex has been known for some time.
I explained further. ‘It’s just that adding a second personmakes it more complicated.’
‘Naturally,’ said Gene. ‘I should have thought of that. Why notget a book?’
The information was available on the internet, but a fewminutes of e............
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