Kaptain's Blog

The writings and musings of The Kaptain

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Number One Under Heaven (65)

Less than two hours later they were speeding across the Gulf of Tonkin in a powerful motorboat, skippered by its reluctant owner. Blake had lied when agreeing to meet the man’s outrageous financial demands, but that was a problem he would have to deal with later. If the weather stayed favourable and the tidal movements behaved as the charts said they would, he would be reunited with his daughter within a matter of hours. Blake felt apprehensive and elated at once: aware on the one hand that reaching the yacht where Sophie was held captive meant danger lay ahead, but thrilled simultaneously at the prospect of recapturing his ringleted seven-year-old and holding her in his arms once more. Never again will I be as neglectful as I’ve been, he chastised himself, recalling his errant behaviour of late.

And there was another emotion flowering in Blake’s heart. For the woman beside him was no longer just an object of desire – something he wanted to invade, to possess. She was now, he realised, someone he could not do without. Through her proximity and persistence, as much as the generous support she provided, Elle had become an essential spice in the curry of Blake’s happiness. Her presence was reawakening in him a sensation he had not experienced in years. Was making him wonder, in fact, why it had taken him so long to rediscover what he knew to be at the heart of his persona. Passion. In recent days, his preoccupation with finding Sophie had dominated every waking thought, blotting out all other emotion. But now that they were closer to their objective, he found himself thinking more about Elle, and in a much more serious – and sensual – way. He was becoming aware, slowly, of something that to any observer would have been self-evident: Adam Blake was in love.

Blake knew that much of the progress he had made in the search for Sophie was due to Elle’s instinct. He also appreciated the sacrifice she had made in order to be with him in this, his darkest of hours. And so when he now turned to face her, reaching across to take her hand in his, the feeling was of such intensity that he thought he might burst. Pulling her towards him, he bellowed the words directly in her ear, in an attempt to make himself heard above the engine noise. “I LOVE YOU!” The harsh crackle made her reel away. It sounded like someone had stamped on a full packet of crisps. “What? Why d’you say… that?” she recovered, a hand cupped instinctively to one side of her mouth. “’Cause it’s true…! I–” “But why…? Why now? Why’re you saying it now?” Leaving the question unanswered, Blake simply cast a look in Elle’s direction: a wordless affirmation of his devotion to this rock of a woman stood at his side.

“When this is all over, Elle, I want to be with you,” he added less intrusively, after a pause. “I can’t go back to her. My wife, I mean.” “We’ll talk about that later!” she replied, a little too quickly. For Elle had anticipated this moment. But the conspiratorial wind grabbed her words, snatching them away before they could reach his ears in what was perhaps a final confirmation of their common destinies. For Blake, in any event, no further talk was necessary. He was feeling confident, stood next to this woman. It was as if she had taken ownership of his heart. And it felt good, if a little itchy, this obsession. Most importantly, it made him feel young.

Not unexpectedly, then, Blake found in the ensuing moments the need for quiet reflection. For like a new passport, he had long ago given up resisting the wear and tear that time brought with it. But inside, he also knew that he had been the same person all his life. That there was no difference between Adam Blake: shy schoolboy wishing he had sufficient courage to ask the girl for a kiss and Adam Blake: Country Manager, Hong Kong. It was as if a pivotal moment had come and gone, in which his future had, momentarily, been held in the balance – only now to be determined. Absently, he watched his lover’s lips moving, without hearing the sound. Because for him, it did not matter what she said. He had already crossed over into some new and essential domain. One that she inhabited, alone: with only him for company. A place where, together, they could never be disturbed.

Suddenly and without thought, Blake pulled the wedding ring off his finger and tossed it into the foaming sea, astern. It was an unseen gesture made no less poignant by the fact. Adam Blake had turned. Had become, strangely, the man he had always been.

posted by Kirk at 9:59 am  

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