Barbara caught his eye. She smiled, a wide, wide smile. She made a tiny come-hither gesture. He did
not really feel like mixing. But this was the big break, the new life, the fresh start. He had to make the effort.
Some of the little group, he already vaguely knew. Twittering people from the publishing world. "And this,"
Barbara said, "is Darryl." The two men shook hands. Darryll seemed young. Very young. "Darryll,
of course, is the famous violinist," Barbara said. "WORLD-famous!" Darryll proclaimed, in a self-mocking New York voice.
They all laughed, because it was true. The chatter resumed.
David noticed, vaguely, that Darryll seemed to be gazing at Barbara rather more intently than might be thought polite,
right under the nose of her husband. But Barbara seemed to be paying no special attention to the world-famous violinist.
It must be possible. It must surely be possible. It MUST be possible just to SEE your own son...
Barbara glanced at him, and felt a fresh, tiny sense of alarm.
Sarah Alexander stared coolly at the new health visitor, who carried on in that brisk, bustling, all-knowing way they
all seemed to be trained in. "And how is baby Alexander today, Mrs Alexander?"
"I am MISS Alexander. Not, in fact, married to anyone."
Together, they leaned over the tiny, white-painted wooden cradle, and its even tinier inhabitant. The health visitor
eased back the blanket and lifted out the warm little bundle. "He really is beautiful," she said, mechanically.
"Yes," Sarah said. "I suppose he is."
"Does his...Daddy...ever, uh...?"
"He has no Daddy."
Barbara, standing before one of the very latest, modish works of art to be hung in the gallery, and trying hard to think
a kindly thought about it, was startled.
"Music lover and art lover, eh!"
"Good heavens, Darryll!" Barbara said, guiltily pleased to see him again.
"Hey," Darryll said, radiating twenty-four-year-old charm, and earnestness. "How about dinner?"
"It's only half-past three in the afternoon."
"I mean, dinner tonight."
"How about breakfast then? I am unbelievably entertaining, first thing."
His slender fingers rested on her sleeve.
"Darryll, I'm most fantastically flattered. But I really do have to go." With another smile, she stepped
round him and walked boldly towards the exit. He did not, thank goodness, follow. And she did not, of course,
Barbara began to hurry. Time to get home. Not a good idea to leave David too long alone with his thoughts.
Not with these particular thoughts...