“What’s the matter, Dear?” Nigel Wharton asked his wife, Sable. “You’ve been very quiet all day. Is something on your mind.”
“Layne isn’t going to be joining us again for dinner tonight. This is the third time this week.”
“Oh, is that all?” Mr. Wharton was relieved. “Well, we can expect that to happen more often in the future.”
“What do you mean?”
“Hasn’t he told you?”
“Told me what, Nigel?” she tried not to sound impatient although she was.
“He’s looking for a flat in Manchester.”
“Manchester?” She supposed that she should be thankful that he was moving to Manchester which was closer to Yorkshire instead of London as he had planned, but she wasn’t. She couldn’t bear the thought of not seeing him everyday or going to his room at night. Why didn’t he tell her that he was moving out? Was he afraid that she would talk him out of it last she had done before?
“Yes. I’ll miss him when he moves out but, I can’t say that I blame him. He’s in his thirties and he wants to have his own space.”
“Why does he have to move out? And why does he need space? This mansion is big enough for all of us.”
“I expect he wants his own place so that he could entertain.”
“Yes, have female company over whenever he wants.”
“What female company?” she demanded. “Layne doesn’t have a girlfriend.”
“My dear, Sable, the reason why he isn’t having dinner with us tonight is that he’s having dinner with Olivia.”
“Who is Olivia?”
“She’s the real estate agent who is helping him to find a flat.”
Red, hot jealousy clawed at Sable. “Is it serious between them?”
Nigel shrugged. “I don’t know. I guess we will know soon enough. I think it’s great. I was beginning to think that Layne was spending too much time here when he should have been out enjoying himself with people his age. Maybe, we can invite Olivia to dinner one evening so that we can meet her.”
The idea of inviting the real estate agent Layne here for dinner was repulsive to Sable. She wouldn’t be able to hide her fury and jealousy. How could Layne do this to her?
“What’s the matter?” Nigel’s asked, watching her closely.
“Nothing,” she mumbled. “Did he happen to mention where they were having dinner?”
“No, he didn’t. Why? Would you have liked to have dinner there too?”
“No. I wouldn’t want Layne to think that we were spying on him.”
“Spying on my own son, how ridiculous. Anyway, I like when it’s just to the two of us enjoying a quiet home cooked meal and then, relaxing in the drawing-room afterwards.”
Sable stood up. “I’m going upstairs, change and then, lie down for a while.” She quickly left the room.
Nigel walked over to the sofa she has just vacated and sat down. He reached over, picked up The Times and began to read it.