The Wardrobe Mistress 3 (Second Part: Chapters 8 -11)



After the interview at the theatre, Vanessa goes to see her friend Joanna, who is an actress. They talk and she tells her that Alistair has a reputation of being a womaniser, and it is rumoured that he abandoned his crew when his ship was torpedoed. Vanessa thinks that she can’t refute the allegations of his philandering, but she is certain that Alistair is a loyal man and couldn’t have done what people say.

After seeing Joanna, Vanessa returns to the house and finds a note from Fern. Apparently, she has gone to Paris as her brother has broken his ankle, and she needs it is her duty to go to him. Later Alistair calls her to tell her that she got the job, and when she asks to talk to Fern, Vanessa has to tell him about the note, but when the man keeps questioning about his wife, she feels she needs to defend Fern and makes up a story about Chris, Fern’s brother, falling down the stairs in the museum and the Embassy calling her, and Alistair skilfully catches the lie.

Later when she is having a bath, she hears someone thumping on the door, so she has to leave her bath, slip into a bathrobe, and when she opens the door, it is Alistair. He is tipsy, and he comes to tell her that Fern can’t be with Chris as he has seen his brother-in-law in his club earlier today. There is the usual dialectic confrontation between them, and at some point Alistair kisses her. Vanessa has to think about a particular moment with her late husband to pull away and slap him. Alistair finally sobers up and even thanks her for stopping him. After this clash, Vanessa tells him that maybe it isn’t a good idea for them to work together, but Alistair won’t hear any of it, and insists she will be expected on September 16.

I am curious to know the real reason why Alistair and Fern have split up. Is it true that Fern has a lover? Is that the reason why she has fled to Paris? I am also eager to know a bit more about Vanessa’s marriage. When we learnt about her rush marriage, she mentioned that it was a bad decision, and in this romantic moment with Alistair she has to force herself to pull away by thinking about her husband and the day when he apparently treated her harshly during their lovemaking. I wonder what happened between Vanessa and her husband,  and why she says her marriage was a mistake.


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