Here is an extract from Night Vision, which all being well will be available from Amazon on Thursday 28th February; Beulah and Neil Cameron have resolved to put their difficulties behind them and move to Easthope where they hope to start a new happy life together. Instead of moving into their own home, they are tempted to buy a larger house and share it with Neil’s cousin and wife, Austin and Annie. They go to view the property, a wonderful old house overlooking the sea. They arrange for a viewing and Neil goes to explore; Beulah finds him in the garage.
The garage had once been a coach house and there were holes for pigeons cut in the apex of the gable end. The holes would have to be blocked and the pigeons evicted, Beulah thought as she opened the nearest door to a store room full of tools. It led into the garage which was empty apart from several very old bicycles.
“Through here Bee, come and have a look at this!”
In the second garage was a huge and very old car standing in the webby gloom. Neil was on the other side of it, peering in.
“It’s a Rover 110, Bee! Isn’t it a beaut?” He opened the door and slid in. “Come on, get in beside me.”
She glanced over her shoulder, imagining Mrs Carnforth coming and telling them off.
“Ugh, it smells all musty,” she said as she sat in the passenger seat. Neil was sitting smiling through the smeary windscreen, hands on wheel. “You look like Mr Toad, poop-poop!”
“So what do you think of the house, Bee?” he asked. “It’s got to be ours, hasn’t it?” she didn’t need to reply. “And you really want to live with Annie and Austin?”
“It wouldn’t be living with them, would it? It would be living in the same house as them, in our house, and their house.”
Neil continued to stare out of the grimy windscreen. “I am so sorry about the other night, Bee. I was so drunk and stupid. I can’t tell you how ashamed I am.”
She put her hand on his. “It’s forgotten, Neil, totally forgotten. I love you Neil, how could I not want to put all that behind us.”
“What did Rafi say?”
Beulah stared at him in the gloom. How could she answer it?
“You must have spoken to him,” Neil smile at her. “You can’t get through the day without speaking to him, you must have discussed my phone call to him.”
At last Beulah answered. “He was worried; his wife’s in hospital, he’s working all hours, he hasn’t time to spend on the phone.”
“That must be … frustrating for you.”
Again Beulah took a long time to answer. “It isn’t like that. I don’t know why you use that word. Rafi is a friend.”
“How often did you make love with him?”
Beulah gasped as if she’d been punched.
“I have never made love to him or anyone! I never wanted to, nor he with me!”
She tried to fling the door open but it was stiff and Neil caught her arm to pull her back. She dragged herself free and tumbled out onto garage floor, catching an old bicycle propped against the wall which fell and trapping. Neil was there to rescue her, lifting the heavy old bike off her.
“Are you trying to drive me away from you?” she said angrily. He took her by both arms and tried to kiss her. “No!” she exclaimed, trying to pull free. “You can’t keep doing this to me. It’s not fair!”
“I have to win you back!” he exclaimed bizarrely.
She stopped struggling. “No, Neil, you don’t. You’ve never lost me you never will. What is the matter, what really is the matter?”
“What do you mean,” he relaxed his grip but held her still.
The bicycle made a move, its handlebars swinging round like antlers. They both grabbed it and set it back against the wall. Beulah wasn’t prepared this time to let go of the argument.
“What is the matter Neil, you must tell me, this can’t go on. Something is wrong. It’s not me. You doubt me, push me, test me all the time. Something is wrong with you.”
“Let’s talk about it later.”
“No. It gets put off, or something happens and it’s never discussed, whatever it is. I want you to tell me, and tell me now.”
He looked up at the roof of the garage, as if seeking some truth among the cobwebs.
“Let’s sit in the car,” he said. If it made him happy… He opened the back door and Beulah slid across the dusty leather seat. “I don’t know what’s wrong. I don’t know if it’s because the boys have left home, I don’t know if I’ve lost faith in myself, I don’t know if it’s Dad being so ill, I don’t know what it is.” Beulah said nothing but held his hand. “I thought a change of direction, a new job, would make a difference, moving back here would…”
Neil stopped. Was he describing the classic mid-life crisis? Beulah remained silent.
“I like being at the university, I’m enjoying it; it’s hard, it’s different. But I feel so…” He took her other hand, his face close to hers. “You don’t talk to me as you talk to Rafi. You don’t say my name in your sleep, you say my brother’s.” He kissed her. “I don’t know where you are,” he kissed her again.