Malcolm Vexley, or, as he liked to remind those careless of rank, Sir Malcolm Vexley, was a business tycoon of standing who enjoyed what he modestly described as “A position of note in the city.”
I had no immediate knowledge of the man, I was an office junior in the department which existed for no other purpose than to organise his diary, and mediate between those competing for his time. “The modest exercise of power is more telling than a crude demonstration of strength” he used to say and I can vouch for that. He was one of those people who could make an entire district shake merely by moving his little finger so when his eyes fell on me in passing and he said I needed to go to his tailor and obtain a replacement tie, something to do with accidents and coffee, I just nodded and walked off as if I knew where his tailor was.
Once he was out of sight, I asked my department senior for the address and set out to obtain the required item; presenting it to him about forty five minutes after his request. That marked the beginning of a relationship where I became his errand runner of choice, and thus to the occasion when I was told to “Obtain some truffle chocolates “and take them to his wife: apparently it was her birthday, or another day of note.
His wife was about twenty-five years younger than him and had enjoyed a successful career in modelling, some of it involving clothing, until Sir Malcolm rescued her from a life of pitiless self-promotion and settled her in his town house sited in the better half of Mayfair.
An hour later I was at her door, chocolates in hand and a card carefully written by myself, wishing her the very best of days. She answered the door nearly dressed in some silk robe styled with a Chinese print, and a glass of something inspiring in her hand. “Come in, come in” she said, and her look invited no disagreement. I was young and inexperienced so a woman of her background, age and connections was difficult to argue with. Another hour later there I was, but now slightly tiddly, lost in her admiring gaze and with a departing sense of life’s imperatives.
“I am so bored Alfie. Boooored I tell you. Entertain me please” she said and I endeavoured to do so, sure that diverting his wife for an hour would only gain me credit with my employer.
Two glasses later and suddenly she moved over and settled on my lap saying, “Do you know what love is Alfie” and, if I did not, she seemed determined to demonstrate the subtleties of emotion by moving her lips to mine in a moving display of physical generosity. Panic filled me, only partly dimmed by the fact that her gown now opened to reveal a body which had been the subject of a million daydreams, albeit some years ago, and after a short period of kissing she led me without pity up the stairs and into the marital bed.
“Please me” she whimpered in a tone of menacing surrender, and I considered it reckless to refuse. I moved to kiss her once again: struggling with the awkwardness of foreplay with a lady now clearly uncoupled from sanity and unaware of a disturbance until a familiar voice said, “What is the meaning of this?” As I turned round I saw Sir Malcolm looking notably unsettled and in danger, I thought, of moving more than his little finger. “She loved the chocolates” I said, hoping to curry late favour with this man of note, but something in his manner suggested he had other things in mind.