Harry felt guilty as he walked behind Alan, back towards the flat – but it was nothing to do with Carrie. He knew (he was 99% certain, anyhow) that he didn’t think about his ex-sister-in-law in that way. He couldn’t conceive he’d done anything but share her bed, and the more time that elapsed since Friday, the more certain he was of it.
His guilt was all about Danny. Some ‘colleague’ he was turning out to be for the poor kid. He knew it should have been him showing Danny around the flea market that morning, that the two of them should have been able to stand, sharing the awe, in front of the Picasso just now. He felt a failure.
Alan looked to be brooding, as he walked ahead, his pace quickening as if he didn’t really care that his brother was following him. In fact, he was thinking about what Harry had said about Yolanda, and trying to quell an anger that was building up inside of him.
However right Harry might be about his feelings for Yolanda – and for Carrie, for that matter – he wished his older brother had kept it to himself. He knew, well enough, that Yolanda wasn’t ‘the one for him’, but she was convenient, as far as relationships went. It had certainly been helpful for Carrie to discover about Yolanda, and he wondered if her interest in Harry might have been sparked by the news of his having taken up with Ana’s sister? Perhaps it was her way of responding in kind: touché!
Suddenly, it occurred to Alan that everyone in this strange rectangle de l’amour was using everyone else, all to their own ends. Except perhaps Ana – though, of course, she wasn’t without an agenda of her own, either.
By the time they’d reached the flat, Alan had resolved exactly what he needed to say to Harry. And he’d also worked out something he put up his sleeve, for discussion with Yolanda, when the opportunity presented itself.
Pausing in the hallway, he turned to Harry and looked him square in the face:
“Look, brother … I never asked you to come to
Harry was listening, and knew there must be more to come.
“Here’s the deal, then. You’re in my house. At least for one more night. Danny will be back soon, if he’s not already here. I don’t want to hear any more mention of Carrie, or Yolanda, or Ana – is that clear?”
Harry nodded. There was some sense in protecting Danny from the debris, anyway.
“We’ll have something to eat. Then, I suggest you take your guest out somewhere. Unless that’s another friendship you want to foul up?”
No answer was expected. Alan, in fact, had turned to climb the stairs, leaving Harry to accept the terms as the fait accomplis they were meant to be. They’d be out of there tomorrow, anyway … and Harry didn’t really care if he never saw his kid brother again.
Harry never got the chance to make the calls he’d wanted to make – to Laurel McFry and to Bill Blunt – even if he’d remembered.
The rest of the late afternoon was spent following Alan’s schedule and, in truth, it worked out well enough. Yolanda had surprised herself, in the end, by preparing a simple tortilla salad, along with fabada, a hearty stew that had seemed the obvious choice when she had seen the chorizo, the morcilla and the beans hidden at the bottom of the fridge. Even Alan had seemed impressed, she noticed.
Any conversation kept well away from the subject of families and relationships, and no one was more surprisedby this than Danny Longhurst. He felt the atmosphere of stilted politeness, of course, but it was a relief. They didn’t even discuss the case that he was working on with Harry. They talked, instead, about Picasso. Yolanda had said how
Soon enough, the table was cleared, and Harry suggested that Danny might like to take a walk with him up to the Plaza Mayor, Madrid’s main square, where they might catch something called the ‘paseo’. It sounded good to Danny.