The borrowed Granada estate swished past the Northampton turn-off. Seventy miles gone. Sixty or so to go.
David had deliberately picked a family car for his purpose, and cluttered the back with family-looking bits and pieces.
Including a well-anchored carrycot.
As he drove through blinding spray, he struggled to weigh the pros and cons of using someone from the motel to help in
the venture. What it needs, he thought, is a woman.
"Well, Mr Hunter, I don't really know..." Kath Brownlowe from the motel, anxious, considerate, longing
to help, but worried at the sound of it all.
"Just to see him, Mrs Brownlow. Don't you understand - I've never even seen him. He's my baby. My son.
And I'm not allowed to set eyes on him."
Kath Brownlow's teaspoon tinkled in her cup. The waiting became almost unbearable. "What exactly do I have
to do, Mr Hunter?"
They sat in the Granada at a safe distance from the house where, the investigator assured him, Sarah Alexander now lived.
Sarah and her son. His son.
"Look!" Kath Brownlow leaned forward in her seat. She pointed eagerly. The yellow door of the house was now
open. A woman backed slowly down the three stone steps to the pavement, pulling a pram after her. When she had
gone 50 paces or so, David started the engine.
His voice, to Mrs Brownlow, had a funny, strangled sound to it.
"It is just to look, isn't it? Nothing more than that."
David managed a smile. "Just a quick peek at the little chap, Mrs Brownlow. I promise."
The promise was a lie. But he had to do it. Nothing else mattered now.
Back from a cheering lunch with her favourite publisher, Barbara looked around the silent hotel room. On the telephone
was a note.
"Darling, had to go out of town. Back ASAP. All my love - D."
Out of town.
Barbara knew all too well what her husband's "out of town" mission must be. How dare he risk their entire
future in a mad venture like that! The phone jangled.
She said nothing.
"Listen Barbara. I'm down in your lobby. Will your old man let you out to play? Cup of coffee,
amything like that?"
She hesitated. "Darryll, why don't you just come up?"
"Hallo, Sarah!" As Kath Brownlow spoke Sarah Alexander spun around. David watched as Mrs Brownlow pressed
some sort of conversation on his one-time lover, among the loaded grocery shelves.
Silently, swiftly, David seized the pram. The brake was off. Without obvious hurry, but still at speed, he
was out of the store before even Kath Brownlow realised it.