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فصل 09

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  • زمان مطالعه 4 دقیقه
  • سطح ساده

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CHAPTER NINE

Hugh’s little problems

In the weeks following the dinner party, Kate hardly saw her husband. He always left very early in the morning and usually came back very late, and sometimes he spent the night away - in Paris, Frankfurt, Milan or Athens. He said he was working hard to make sure his investment fund was a success. He told Kate he had meetings the whole time - about how to attract money to the fund, and how to invest it to make big profits for the partners. And even when he was with Kate, he seemed uneasy. He avoided her and didn’t seem to want to talk about anything important.

She was getting more and more worried about what was happening between them. Was something seriously wrong with their marriage? They had known each other since they met as students at Oxford. That was twenty-five years ago. After all that time, and with two grown-up children, they knew each other very well, or she had thought they did. Now she wondered how well she really knew this man she had spent so much of her life with.

Of course, he wasn’t perfect. In fact, he had some rather serious ‘little problems’. He drank too much, just like his father, who had died from drink. He seemed to be able to drink large quantities of any kind of alcohol - beer, wine, whisky, gin, vodka - and he rarely seemed to be affected by what he drank. But Kate knew that one day something serious would happen. Either he would do something stupid or he would get ill.

Another of his ‘little problems’ was that he was, by nature, a gambler. He didn’t play cards for money or bet on horses, or go to the casino and play roulette. But he was a gambler. He played with money - other people’s money. Of course, that meant he was always taking chances, hoping for a big win, but it was dangerous. Kate knew this all too well because a few years back he had lost a lot of money and almost gone to prison for it. Luckily some of his friends had helped him out. But this hadn’t stopped his gambling habit. It was an addiction. He couldn’t help it; it was stronger than him. His new investment fund was also a gamble, and Kate wondered how big the risk was this time.

And, like many handsome men with a lot of money, Hugh had a weakness for beautiful women, and they were attracted to him too. Kate remembered how he had looked when they met: so strong and handsome, with long dark hair and a smile like a film star. And she remembered the brief affair he had had with that actress after Jeremy was born. But Kate wondered if he was still quite so attractive. Now in his late forties, losing his hair, getting fat around the middle, and without his smile too, most of the time. Was it possible that he still attracted women as he had done when he was younger? Kate herself certainly didn’t find him attractive in that way any longer.

Then, one evening when she came home with all these thoughts in her mind, Kate heard a mobile phone ringing. It was coming from Hugh’s study. He was away in Paris and he’d obviously forgotten his mobile. By the time she picked up the phone, the ringing had stopped. Before switching off the phone, she noticed there were ten missed calls, all from the same number. And the caller’s name was Melpa…

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