Chapter 24 – Pimlico House

Ariel – March 1983
Ariel missed having her stepdaughter, Caitlin around. Consequently she reconnected with old model friends. She had kept up with two of them in particular, a stunning black girl Kara and Jordana a fellow Texan. At a loose end with her children in school and Frank still working long hours Ariel had taken up an invitation to attend a studio photo shoot in downtown Manhattan.
Arriving at the location Ariel was transported back into her old days of fashion shoots. The recollections were both good and bad. She remembered the excitement of the early days, spotting famous photographers, models, magazine editors and other hangers on. Remembrances of the less than glamorous locations, the long hours in broiling or freezing temperatures trying to get the perfect shot in a fur coat or a bikini also intruded into her thoughts. Nevertheless Ariel greeted her old friends with genuine affection though less than genuine air kisses. Kara and Jordana made a striking contrast as they modelled swimwear for the July issue of American Vogue.
Ariel felt rather disconnected from this world since she had married Frank and had two children in quick succession. She certainly didn’t need to work but since the children were in school she was feeling the need to do something with her life. She quickly realised that it would not be a return to fashion modelling. Much as she had enjoyed the past the whole fashion industry appeared rather vacuous now.
Perhaps she would return to her studies that had been interrupted. She had been scouted for modelling back in the early 60s while she had been studying literature at Brown. She had been the first of her family to go to University. That she was also a stunningly attractive girl made the fact even more of a coup. Her mother, who had named her daughter for the Shakespearian character, was immensely proud of Ariel. It was a difficult choice for Ariel and for her mother to forsake an academic education for the world of modelling. Fame and fortune had beckoned Ariel however.
Ariel was woken from her reverie by the arrival of a new photographer on set and the frisson of excitement that accompanied it. She recollected the gossip that she had heard about this guy. Apparently he had screwed most of the top models all of who were gagging for more. Ariel assessed him nonchalantly under her lashes. Not her type she decided immediately but there was no doubt that he was a good-looking guy. His olive skin and black curls giving him a raffish gypsy air. The more Ariel observed him the more she felt that she knew him from somewhere. She racked her brains trying to place him to no avail.
Ariel hung around as she had arranged to go for drinks with her friends when they had a wrap. The shoot completed most of the entourage drifted off, Kara and Jordana to get dressed. The photographer busied himself gathering his equipment pausing for a moment as he caught sight of Ariel sitting quietly. Dylan knew her immediately. He never forgot a face, particularly one as strikingly beautiful as Ariel’s. He searched for her name as he crossed the room with a self-assured stride extending his hand in greeting.
‘Ariel isn’t it? We met at Caitlin’s wedding? Dylan Byrne.’ Of course that was from where she knew him. So this handsome bastard was the one who had left his wife with two babies and had not been heard of since. Ariel smiled and executed a perfect air kiss and an exclamation of pleasure nevertheless. You never knew the full extent of a story from one side she reflected. Close to he was remarkably attractive. ‘How is Caitlin?’ Dylan continued, genuinely interested. He had obviously heard the gossip about her husband.
‘Well thank you’ responded Ariel, ‘she’s moved back to London for a while. We miss her of course but she is enjoying spending some time with her friends again.’ This remark was too pointed to ignore. Dylan knew that she knew. It wasn’t surprising that Caitlin would have discussed her friend’s situation with another confidante.
‘Do you happen to know err…’ Dylan searched for the way to ask his question, ‘how Rebecca is doing?’ He asked lamely.
‘Fine I hear’ Ariel responded, trying to remain neutral, ‘I understand that she and her two boys are living in…Pimlico? Is it? They’re at another friend’s house. Her business is very successful…’ Dylan had stopped listening.
‘Her two boys?’ he echoed, ‘is she…is she with someone else then?’ Ariel was puzzled by his response,
‘No. No one else; at least not that I’ve heard.’ Dylan looked less than assured; his mind was digesting this information. Could he be the father of another child? Dylan was uncomfortably aware just how much of a bastard this would make him appear. He wondered how to find out. He was, despite himself, acutely sorry that he had left his wife and child when he allowed himself to think about it.
‘Is Caitlin at her old place, Pelham Crescent wasn’t it?’ He asked casually, thinking of a way of discovering the true situation.
‘Yes she is’ Ariel responded distracted by the arrival of her friends. The three greeted each other, Jordana raising an eyebrow and smirking at finding Ariel deeply engaged in conversation with the handsome photographer. Kara took the opportunity of flirting suggestively with Dylan whom she had already shagged and wouldn’t mind a repeat performance. He was hot! Dylan responded on automatic pilot, he was preoccupied with plans for the phone call he would make to Caitlin shortly. Would she just put the phone down he wondered. He knew that there was no point calling Rebecca she definitely would.

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