Chronology of Events
Tuesday, August 16
While Erich Krieger was met by a long limousine, I was picked up by a battered police car with none other than Tonio getting out to greet me.
The caution of a police escort to Vabocelli reminded me of the chilling time I had spent nearly a year ago in the clutches of his brother and himself.
For some reason, we took a circuitous route to Vabocelli over back roads, and I got a little worried that maybe I was being kidnapped again, but the policeman said there had been some trouble on the main road, and it was closed.
The villagers were all concerned to know why Kate hadn't come along as expected, but I explained that she'd gone to the side of a bereaved friend, and her halo grew brighter in their eyes.
It is wonderful to be home again in this village, with the enveloping sense of comfort and caring I need so much right now, but this must surely be the last time I'll see my mother's birth place.
Wednesday, August 17
Think I've never eaten so much in so short a time, but it's been a joy, and nourishment for my soul to replace royalty and millions with simplicity and naturalness.
But these down-to-earth folk have followed each and every Formula 1 race, and went into detail over all of them, full of technical questions, some I couldn't begin to answer.
Their enthusiasm was nothing short of entrancing, and I truly regret that the time was so short, but the next stage of Rachel's cruise is a command performance.
Paul leaves Rachel Pike's cruise at Sicily to visit his mother's birthplace.
Paul is warmly received by villagers.
Thursday, August 18
We drove back the normal road, and the policeman pointed to a spot where a terrible accident had taken place the day before I arrived. Four people killed, including a father and mother, all because one of the cars was in bad repair, and ran into the others.
The tragedy stuck in my mind despite the fact that the flight to Venice was clear enough to see all the terrain below. Left my overnight bag at the yacht, and found a message to call Kate, who said she would not be able to join the cruise, and couldn't leave Armand yet.
Though she insisted that nothing had changed between us, Kate kept reminding me of her wish that I feel free to experience whatever life might give me.
Her words kept echoing in my head as I crossed St. Mark's Square, and then wandered until I purposely lost myself among magical lanes again and again until departure time loomed.
Stayed on deck until the last sight of Venice faded from view, then went to look at my mail which included a letter from Joe Murray, probably in reply to the one I sent him, but I decided to put it aside.
Paul flies to Venice to rejoin the yacht.
at sea from Venice to Corfu
Friday, August 19
Had a chance to talk shop with Clive and Pete after lunch, and was filled in on the new developments for the Italian Grand Prix. Clive was referring to one in the steering when he astonished me with an aside, complimenting me for my handling of the car at the Nurburgring.
“I made a mess of it,” was my rejoinder, knowing that I shouldn't have taken the Mastin out without having spent time at the Malaga test track, but Clive's response was, “just the opposite.”
Apparently, when the mechanics were taking the T car apart to put it back together, they found a defective part in the steering system which virtually meant I was driving a time bomb.
As Clive went into detail, Pete covered his eyes and said I could have wiped out half of Formula 1. Both of them then praised me for the control I'd maintained over the faulty machine, but I just kept thinking of what could have happened, and said so.
When I repeated this a couple times, June tensely retorted that nothing happened, and I should be remembering that. I'd never seen her so uptight about anything. Pete just looked into his drink.
Rhona joined us then, and took an envelope from her purse and handed it to me, saying “from us, for the foundation.” The fourth donation I received today.
The two of them were charged up over Clive's presentation tonight of the Mastin GMD (the baby is going to be named Geoffrey or Georgia), and the subject moved to its launch at Monza.
Then we all turned towards the door of the lounge where a bellowing voice was entering attached to a large figure. It was Julian Hays, with a pregnant Diana trailing him, and he came directly over to me, nearly smothering me in a huge bear hug.
Just before all went dark, I saw the tall Clive and Pete shrinking back, but I was more than delighted to see the Hayses, and Julian called for three bottles of champagne.
There are a lot of new people on board from Venice, and this afternoon, Rachel introduced me to one of her sorority sisters, Dr. Jean Winter, a psychiatrist, and her banker husband Mark.
We got to talking about Mike Green and his situation, and Jean said that security was one of the trickiest problems she faced, mentioning a patient in her hospital who had escaped and hanged himself. I thought of the two brothers in Columbus.
Then the Carpella robbery came up again, along with Clive's show tonight, and Mark brought up a huge heist in his bank where robbers stole a sports car in a nearby garage for their getaway, not realizing it wasn't there for sale, but for repairs.
They had a huge accident, and were both killed instantly. His description of the inferno was chilling. I guaranteed him that the new Mastin was going to be one of the most technically sound sports cars ever built, and mentioned the presentation tonight.
Pete was sharing the stage with Clive to add a little glamour to the show, so I sat with June, and she told me that she'd received a letter today from Gin who'd just hired a new secretary - someone I knew.
Kathy Aller - who I'd dated when she worked for me at the DA's office. A shame that things didn't end very well for us. I felt bad the way she took it when I started seeing someone else - simply quitting and moving to Seattle. So now she is in New York.
Clive's presentation of the new road car was nothing short of thrilling. Just dynamic and enthralling - nothing like the easy-going man I knew, but a real star. Now I know how he got Rachel to invest three million in his company.
I'd found it difficult to sleep, having become so excited about the new car, but finally did, only to have a frightening dream I can't seem to shake, even though I'm awake, and have walked around the deck for the last half hour.
In the nightmare I was driving on a long highway. For a while it was Italy, then California, then the German Autobahn. It droned on and on - just unending straights, but suddenly there was a bend, and when I tried to turn, the car went the other way, and there was a mighty crash with lots of other vehicles involved.
I was carried away in an ambulance. One of the medics was from my accident at the Nurburgring, and in the hospital the doctor treating my injuries was Rachel's psychiatrist friend. She told me that the blood tests they did showed that I was dying.
As with the crash near Vabocelli, two members of a family had been killed in the one from my dream, leaving a daughter badly injured. I went to see the girl, and Joe Murray was her uncle - very concerned about the insurance payment she'd be getting.
I looked over at the letter I'd received from him, but still didn't feel like opening it. In the dream my own insurance man was trying to limit the award, and when I met him, he was Christopher Blunt from the haunted house.
I asked him how his brother was doing, and he replied casually, “oh, he hanged himself.” The next moment I was one of the traffic officials sitting around a table as a uniformed officer described the crash in detail - over and over. He kept saying that it was Paul Bryan's fault.
When I went to see one of the other victims, she was Kathy Aller whose boss had dumped her. I talked to him, and he was the Hays' unscrupulous lawyer, Tom Stone. Kathy had been driving to Seattle, and I told her that we could go there together in the car which had been crushed in the accident.
When she and I went to the garage to look at it, we were captured by a man who'd also been in the crash, but had left the scene. He was a bank robber, coming back to get the loot from his stolen car.
All through the dream I kept saying, “it was my fault,” and each of the other people agreed. I had bought a defective used car without checking it out.
As horrifying as all the incidents were, the dream then went into a phase where I was driving long, long straights with Kathy by my side, saying she always knew I'd come back to her because all my other women turned out to be unfaithful.
Cry Hard, Cry Fast (part 1) &
Cry Hard, Cry Fast (part 2)
The conversations of the day all mix together in a horrible nightmare in which Paul's defective car causes a road crash in which four people are killed, he learns that he has a terminal illness, is reunited with an old girlfriend who was injured, and his insurance adjuster tries to absolve Paul from guilt.
He meets the daughter whose parents were killed, and visits the garage where crash vehicles were impounded, to be captured by a bank robber whose loot is still in the car he abandoned.
Many of the people in the dream have the faces or persons of people he's met or been thinking of.
Saturday, August 20
The yacht had been docked at Corfu for a while before I woke up, and saw a note slipped under my door. It just said, “come to room 15, my prince,” and was unsigned.
At first I considered it to be a practical joke by Pete, but quickly remembered that he and June had debarked for Spain early this morning with the Darrels.
But whoever might have engineered the prank, I decided to go along, quickly dressing and shaving, then heading to the deck above.
When the door to stateroom 15 opened, the sight that greeted my eyes was as unexpected as one could imagine. Gina Milan. She embraced me warmly, and brought me in, delighted with her surprise coup.
After a few thousand kisses, she finally let me ask what was happening, and said that Rachel had invited her at Odette's funeral. I hadn't even seen her there, but apparently she'd been heavily veiled, only at the cathedral, and not the country estate.
Then came the flood of tears over Odette, and my heart went out to poor Gina who'd so quickly lost her new friend, maybe the first she'd ever had. I held Gina for a long time while she cried herself out, and found that the cruise invitation had been Katie's doing.
Though Odette's friend, Gina seemed clearly unperturbed by the presence of “Armand's lover.” The pain I felt in my heart from her phrase meant that I didn't even hear what she went on to say.
When my hearing started working again, Gina was telling me how Mme Tenati had forbade any possibility of going on Rachel's cruise, but her conductor friend had insisted.
“He couldn't join us,” she was saying, but was putting together a new management team. I asked her if it wasn't a bit sudden, but Gina was very positive. What else? There's no in between with this girl. After more kisses, she let me go, and we made a date for lunch.
I rang Kate, and she too seemed proud of the little surprise, saying that I should support Gina as much as possible. I dared not joke with her, but also feared being very serious about my feelings. Kate was very elusive as far as connecting.
Leaving the cabin my first sight was a raging Mme Tenati on her way to my door. She pushed her way in, and shouted that I was going to be the cause of ruining Gina's career.
After the call with Kate, it was all I needed to snap. Surely, I didn't threaten Angie Zeno as intensely, telling Tenati that it was she who had been ruining Gina's career for years.
Obviously, the woman hardly expected this retaliation. Being used to dominating everyone, she looked like she was going to have apoplexy - but I was fuming too, and just getting started.
I pointed out Gina's sensational reviews in London, New York and San Francisco, and audaciously claimed to be responsible for the unexpected and resounding emotion in her performance that all the critics raved about.
Thought Tenati was going to hit me, and moved behind the table. Then there was a loud knock at the door, followed by the booming voice of Julian Hays. I told him to come in, and with Julian looking ferocious, even when he's friendly, think Tenati got a real fright, and backed against a wall.
Julian gave her a menacing look, but she slipped out of the room when he turned to me, pulling out a check, saying it was for the foundation.
We went up to the dining room together, and I introduced him to Gina. “He'll protect you,” I told her, “Madame Tenati is afraid of him!” Though we all had a laugh, I know that she's in a difficult situation.
In the afternoon I was introduced to a syndrome everyone witnessed twice on the day - Gina in hysterics, railing at Mme Tenati, then tears, followed by begging for forgiveness.
Ramon had come by at the first, and whispered that I obviously preferred women of fire to cool ice princesses. If he only knew.
Learned from Rachel that it had been Gina herself who requested that Tenati accompany her on the cruise, but the disruption has gotten to a distress level that was affecting all the passengers by dinner time, and the pair had only been on board less than 12 hours.
Trying to play prince charming in these circumstances has not been easy, but we did make it away on shore for a few hours together, and that was fun, rambling around and getting tipsy on kumquat liqueur.
Gina Milan boards the yacht, and while she is delighted to see Paul, her mentor is very angry for his influencing the singer.
at sea from Corfu to Piraeus
Sunday, August 21
When I went to Gina's cabin last night, we had a long talk about her circumstances. She sang Armand's praises, said that he'd given her many hours of knowledgeable advice, not just for her career, but for life.
She mentioned me to him, and in the kindest way, Armand told her that he knew me, and that while he was sure that I loved her, I had another commitment in my life.
Gina had denied the idea, but he'd been gently persuasive, and she asked me if it was true, saying that had to be impossible. I replied that there was someone in my life, but we weren't together at the moment. “Then I will pretend it isn't so,” she replied.
Armand promised to support her in any way she needed, and Gina admitted that she'd imagined being his wife, but also loved Odette, who was the first real friend she'd ever had.
Tears started again, and when they were finally spent, Gina told me about the conductor Odette had introduced her to. He was very dynamic, and she admired him, even thought she could fall in love, but so far, they were only friends.
He's promised to organize the best voice coach around and take on her career himself, but if it's a romantic liason, that might not be the long-term prospect she needs.
So we have had this wonderful time together - broken up by several rows with Tenati and subsequent apologies. I just wonder if the relationship has gone too deep for Gina to shake the woman off.
at sea from Corfu to Piraeus
Monday, August 22
These beautiful waters and the kind hours they've given me with Gina are coming too quickly to an end, but I can only hope the time we've had together has helped to strengthen her resolve.
The scenes with Madame Tenati have grown more intense in their anger, but less forgiving in their finales.
Paul continues to try and help Gina escape the clutches of her mentor.
Slowly, Gina seems to be coming round to seeing her coach for what she is, a negative influence.
Piraeus - Paris
Tuesday, August 23
Gina's conductor was at the dock to greet her, and she swept away with barely a glance at me, Tenati black-faced in pursuit.
Though they should have been out of earshot, I could hear the entire row that was going on beside the limousine, all three voices at top decibel.
The conductor was pointing at a parked taxi, and in the end, its driver took Tenati's luggage after Gina had driven off in the conductor's mile-long vehicle.
Went to Ramon's cabin, but he was gone, then found a note to meet him at a hotel in the afternoon. Was surprised when a steward came up to me then, saying that Rachel wanted to see me, since she'd bade all her guests goodbye last night.
She had a smug expression on her face, and said, since it was I who'd brought Ramon on board, I should know that he was about to receive an unpleasant surprise.
Told her that I wasn't Ramon's agent, just someone whose life he'd saved, and she nodded, saying Kate had told her that at the Monaco Grand Prix when Ramon had first tried to approach her.
“You knew all along?” I had to ask, and she just smiled, saying that once one got past the oily Riviera fortune hunter garbage, Ramon was actually a kind and interesting person whose dossier didn't do him justice.
Then she added, “you think I'd have allowed him on the cruise if I didn't know he was more than a common gigolo?” Saying she'd see me at Monza for The Launch, Rachel turned to her desk, and I went back to finish packing.
Feeling very much alone after Gina's departure. Unable to reach Kate, I've decided to go ahead with our original plan,to watch Hank Rodgers race at Nice.
Was just about to get a taxi to meet Ramon when I found him on board again. He'd apparently pulled his usual ranch disaster with Rachel at Malta, only to have her write out a large check, but hand it to her assistant to deal with the “trouble in Andorra.”
Ramon had rushed ashore this morning in hopes of getting a percentage from the assistant, but of course, Rachel was way ahead of him. When he returned to the yacht, she offered him a check for Services Rendered on board.
I asked if he took it, and he offered a huge grimace, saying in horror, “what? You mean take money from a woman for my time? Of course not!”
We drove into Athens for lunch, and I rang Kate, but she said things were still too uncertain to make any plans to meet me - maybe I should come to see her in Paris at Armand's. Where is this leading to?
I started acutely feeling the absence of Gina despite all her peaks and valleys of emotion - so suddenly gone now. Even Ramon's usually entertaining company didn't take me out of the gloom.
He's suggested we go to the Riviera, as there'll be a lot of money flowing at the motor race this weekend, but I didn't feel in the mood for more of that society. The decision was made for me when I rang Barry to say that we'd taken in 3.2 million, and asked what I should do.
He said I should take the checks to Paris for lodging in the Foundation account which already contained $45 million, adding that the board of the clinic would be meeting tomorrow about the name change.
So I booked a flight, and went back to the yacht to pick up the checks. Rachel's secretary gave me a typed list of all the contributions, and rang one of the security team to accompany me to the airport.
She'd arranged for someone from Armand's staff to meet my flight. Everything like clockwork by Rachel. How could I have imagined that Ramon would have slipped on board without her knowing exactly who he was.
24 August - 4 September 1966 ("The Word Would Be Goodbye")
When Ramon de Vega goes to meet Rachel Pike's assistant to collect his share of the check she wrote, no one arrives. Rachel offers him $2,500 for his services as an entertainment for her guests, but Ramon gives it back, saying that he doesn't like to be underpaid.