Chronology of Events
Paris - Antibes
Wednesday, August 24
Just wasn't up to talking to Kate last night, and took a nap after parting with Armand's aides at the bank. Got up around eleven, and hit a club favored by the motor racing set where Hank Rodgers was holding court at the best table. After waving me over, he suggested I fly to the race in his private plane.
Have a feeling he's heard rumors that Pete might be retiring next year, and knows it would do no harm to be friendly with the co-owner of the team.
I could never have been prepared for the way Armand looked. He'd been shattered at the funeral, but seemed to have aged a couple decades in the subsequent two weeks.
After greeting me, he only stayed in the room a short time, but asked if there were more he could do. Before leaving, he said, “Gina …. I've asked Leonard Bernstein to do me the favor of looking after her.”
The great musician having attended her debut at the Met, Armand said that it had taken little persuasion. But the message was clear, Armand no longer had strength for the task.
Kate and I were alone. She made a helpless gesture, asking if I understood now. When she insisted she couldn't leave him, I asked about the plans made for our marriage. “But that's only ….” she answered, then cut herself off, and said, “but we have to keep hoping.”
Hardly heard what she was saying most of the time, but before I left, started to realize the diabolical situation Katie's in, and with a little more understanding, and less selfishness, held her a long while in parting.
Then she took out a box. My birthday present. Inside was a rosary made of polished stones from Lourdes she'd collected herself, the gold of the crucifix mined at Santa Margarita.
While the bubbly was flowing on the flight to Nice, I remained affected by the meeting with Kate, and was grateful that Hank and pals didn't try to pull me into their mood.
When I cancelled the reservation Kate and I had for a suite, as a reward, the hotel got me a room in a quieter part of town. But the whole place is buzzing.
Kate and Paul's plans to attend a motor race on the Riviera have been scrapped because she feels impelled to remain with her ailing former lover, billionaire Armand de Martignac.
So Paul flies to the race in the private plane of one of the drivers, Hank Rodgers.
Thursday, August 25
Tried to concentrate myself on the new Mastin 500 and its launch at Monza, talking it up to anyone who would listen, but just can't pull myself out of these low spirits.
Hank had encouraged me to take his car out on the road, and ….I can remember it all in slow motion - my seething anger when an ordinary little sports car cut off Hank's racer at a dangerous spot of road …. Then the chase ending in the “madman” not able to hold the car at a tricky bend.
I got out to see if the driver was all right. And it was Nicole.
It feels like Niagara Falls is rushing through my brain. I can't think straight at all - just remember beautiful moments with her, the Jobim song she used to sing accompanying every memory. After twisting the thought round and round, have decided to ask her to dinner.
What might I be starting? Do I want to? I am drawn to Nicole like a magnet, but can't help remembering the cruel and capricious way she left without giving me a chance to explain that there could be a future for us.
But when I held her on the road, every fiber of me wanted her. Kate didn't even enter my head in that moment. I've spent our whole relationship wondering whether it was Armand or I who was The Other Man.
If she can't leave him now, whatever the reason, where does that put me? All I know is that I desperately want to be with Nicole.
So full of charm, I'd surely have fallen in love with Nicole if it were our first meeting. A light flirtatious love that would be, but what I was feeling this evening wasn't even a kin.
I wanted to possess her completely, but she put off every physical advance I made - even when I touched her hand in the restaurant. When I said I loved her, she just smiled happily, but made no reply.
It was like we were each reading lines from a completely different scene. Only when we said goodnight did she respond to me, then pulled away, saying “I love you” in the strangest way.
If Katie hadn't entered my head when all this started - it seems like weeks instead of hours - she is filling it now.
How can I be so completely unfaithful to her when all she's doing is staying with Armand in a time of need. What if it were the other way round, and she left him to be with me when the symptoms set in?
Kate has always insisted that I must be free to roam, free to love. But this is not the brief flirtation she had in mind, but a grand passion I can neither control nor resist.
Took out the rosary, thought about the depth and completeness of my love for Kate. I just can't start this - not with Nicole.
Went to tell her that I'm leaving in the morning, so sure of my decision, and found out she's married. It made me realize that I'd been lying to myself that I could walk away from her.
The news hit me as profoundly as the death sentence had. I can hardly believe it or come to terms with the fact.
The man is the same one I'd seen Nicole with at Rachel's party - very creepy and dilapidated. He was surly and sarcastic, and was shouting at her when I arrived at the door.
She seemed to be in distress, so I rushed in to find her lying on the bed weeping. After the husband's declaration I left, and she followed me in tears, begging me to at least stay for the race.
I can't deal with this torment, and am going to take a sleeping pill. In the morning I'll get a flight for Bangkok.
Driving on the road in Hank's race car, Paul has an encounter with a reckless driver who cuts him off.
It turns out to be novelist Nicole Longet, the woman he'd almost married the previous year before she left him, unable to live with his impending death and her own sorrow that she felt would be projected into Paul's life by her presence.
It is only after soul searching that he invites her to dinner, perplexed that, though she is friendly, she does not respond to him.
His conscience plagued that he is being unfaithful to Kate, Paul goes to Nicole to tell her that he is leaving, and discovers that Nicole is actually married.
Paul's immediate instinct is to depart Antibes as quickly as possible.
Friday, August 26
A little calmer, I decided to postpone my departure until after the race, and had just touched bases with Hank when Nicole's husband showed up at my door, announcing that he was Emile Marnet.
What had I been thinking? That Nicole would have taken up with a tramp? No, of course, it had to be one of the most eminent philosophers of our time.
But even if I'd have met him under “ordinary” circumstances, the man would have turned me off. Self-serving and pompous, he told me the marriage was unconsummated, with annulment procedures begun, but that he nevertheless wanted me to get out of town.
My resolve to leave has morphed into total determination to take Nicole away. I could easily have hit him, and was so close to it, in total disgust of his presence and the idea that she could have any sort of liason with this insect.
The volcanic anger bubbling up from deep inside me isn't going away, but now seems directed at Nicole herself. How could she marry such an off-putting person?
Hank was stunning in qualifying, and there's going to be one helll of a wing ding to celebrate his pole position.
Rang Barry Givens to find out what happened at the board meeting, and received his shocking news that Dr. Walker has quit over the change of name.
To my surprise, Barry then admitted his own opinion that Walker might have done as much to prevent finding a cure for my disease as fostered it.
Demanding intensified pursuit of a narrow line of research over a broader exploration for a cure, Barry felt that the increased donations they'd received in the past months should have enabled the latter.
However, Walker insisted on pressing on with his obsession, hiring more people to work in the same limited area. But his departure has apparently left a kind of chaos, with no director now, and the board there for their “names,” not sufficiently competent in the details of medical research.
I told Barry to call Katie, and be frank with her, then hoped for the best. Maybe the grand donations are going to have the opposite effect intended.
Before going out to spend the evening with the racing crowd, I picked up the copy of Nicole's new novel, and started to read it. My so-so French made it slow going, and I managed only half a chapter. It's set in French Polynesia after the War, and the hero appears to be a spy.
Nicole's husband visits Paul, and tells him that the marriage is one in law only, and about to be annulled, but that he should stay away from Nicole. He is an eminent philosopher and writer, but Paul is disgusted by him.
Saturday, August 27
This afternoon Hank had the horrific accident that's in the back of every driver's mind, no matter how much we deny it. I followed the ambulance to the hospital, and waited there until the word came through that he's going to be OK.
Nicole had approached me during the race, saying that she'd sent Marnet away. I don't know what that's supposed to mean, but my anger over her marriage to the man diluted all the feelings of desire, and I behaved stiffly with her.
Feeling that my mind was in a more reliable state, I rang Kate to discuss the clinic situation, tell her about the accident - and Nicole. Armand, despite the shape he's in, already had flowers sent to Hank in the hospital.
I asked Kate what she knew about Marnet, and her response wasn't surprising. She'd seen him a lot when she was living with Armand, and neither of them liked him.
Told her that he was secretly married to Nicole, and she paused, then said she understood how I must feel. When I explained that it wasn't a real marriage, Katie asked directly what that meant for Nicole and me.
I tried to lighten things, and said, “I'm only sitting around, waiting for you to come back,” and that broke the tension a bit, then Kate reminded me of our conversation at Santa Margarita, and her belief that if fate brought me again to Nicole, I must obey my feelings, no matter what that would lead to.
“Listen to what your heart is saying right now,” she urged, adding that, while we had to keep hoping for a cure, in the meantime, she didn't want any moment of happiness prevented by our attachment.
“I rejoice in every moment you live to the fullest,” she said emotionally, her voice starting to break, and I answered that it was only possible to guess at what she was going through right now. We were both silent then for a very long moment.
Kate admitted that she could see Armand diminishing by the day, and broke down completely. I asked if my coming to her would make things better or worse, and Kate replied that she didn't know the answer to anything any more, then suddenly changed the subject.
Though combined, the two of them had put more than seven million into the clinic, neither Kate nor Armand knew what was going on there, and I felt bad having sicked Barry on her with all she is already coping with.
But Katie's voice rose uncharacteristically, and she declared that any disarray had to be brought to order as quickly as possible, and Armand would have specialists to get things right.
I said how sorry I was not to be able to hold her in my arms in this moment, and Kate replied very softly, “me too,” then ended the call almost pleading that I give myself a chance with Nicole.
I promised to come to Paris after seeing Dr. Lamas, and hung up, loving her more than ever. To try and clear my mind from her sorrows, the disruption at the clinic and Hank's accident, I rang Nicole, and am going to meet her for dinner.
Nicole approaches Paul at the race, and tells him that she's sent her husband away. Paul's confusion over the statement is whisked away when Hank suffers a serious crash.
He speaks with Kate who urges him to follow his heart in the matter of Nicole, so he invites her to another dinner.
Sunday, August 28
To be able to celebrate my 36th birthday was extraordinary enough, but to spend it with Nicole by my side was more than I could have dreamed possible when we said goodbye last October.
We went to see Hank in the hospital, and he was in surprisingly good spirits, looking forward to getting back on the track, indicating that he loved motor racing so much, he'd only be half alive without it, then said, “if you need something, it's worth facing any risk involved.”
Individually and collectively, Nicole and I immediately seized on his words, later on the beach comparing Hank to Marnet as philosophers, and being sure which one's thinking we want to follow.
Whatever the risk, I have to have her. To know that she feels the same is completion. I think I'd follow Nicole to the end of the earth, and can't comprehend now, how I could have considered leaving.
She gave me a bottle of vintage champagne for my birthday, and we're going to drink it when we arrive in Barcelona. I am filled with the joy of a five-year-old on Christmas morning. Meanwhile I wait with growing impatience for Nicole to finish packing.
Monday, August 29
Our favorite spot on the beach was there, as if it had been waiting for us. We talked, swam, loved, and were just glorying in being together when Nicole asked about “the woman you were with when I saw you at Rachel Pike's.”
While it sounded like she was making casual conversation, I wasn't sure, and hoped I sounded off-handed, responding that Kate was one of the investors in Pete's racing team.
“That was announced by Mrs. Pike,” Nicole replied, obviously wanting to know our relationship. “And I was her escort for the evening,” I said, kissing her and trying to change the subject.
But Nicole slid from my embrace, insistent on pursuing the topic, asking me if I knew who she was. “Kate Pierce,” I answered, and Nicole began tickling me, saying that wasn't what she meant.
I tried to look innocent, and seemed to have convinced her of my lack of knowledge, and she began a tale of my fiancée that was riddled with information I never knew.
Nicole romanticized Kate's years in Paris as if she were a movie star, and implied that she had a similar status, claiming that Kate and Armand were seldom out of the columns or illustrated magazines. The whole country apparently followed their relationship and everything they did.
I tried to appear patiently indulgent, bordering on bored with all she was saying, kissing her back while she was talking, so she couldn't see my face.
Paul and Nicole have become lovers again. When they visit Hank in the hospital, he remarks that one is only half alive if lacking the thing that is most important in the world, and Paul asks Nicole to come to San Patrazio with him, the place where their earlier romance blossomed.
Paul has arrived in San Patrazio to see a doctor specializing in a particular area of research on his disease, but while waiting to see him, Paul enjoys revisiting all the places that meant much in his time with Nicole.
Tuesday, August 30
Waiting here in Dr. Lamas' office, I feel like I'm still on the beach with Nicole - wrapped up in one another, it was only last night when we started talking about her new novel.
I'd taken it out, and she saw that the bookmark was on page 20, then began to read it aloud to me. We went through three chapters, and she read more this morning, always explaining what I didn't understand.
The spy has fallen in love with a painter, but has left her to go on a mission in Indochina. It's full of their thoughts about one another, and very moving - especially when read out by Nicole.
When she put the book down at lunchtime, I praised her writing warmly, and she said, “can't you see that it's about us?” I was taken aback. Even though I indeed had been thinking about us as she read, it never occurred to me.
Dr. Lamas greeted me pleasantly, saying that he had the results of all my tests for the past 15 months, and had been following my case with interest.
Told him that I'd been trying to learn everything possible about the disease and all the research, particularly his own area of study, the effect of corollary illnesses, but he showed virtually no notice of my interest, clearly not willing to share anything in a collegial way.
The visit had been a waste, but being here with Nicole, where our love began, has filled me with life.
Rang Barry as I promised, and he said that a team had arrived in Burlingame yesterday, composed of leaders in medical research from Paris, London and New York.
Representing the Odette de Martignac Foundation, they offered help in getting the Garms Clinic back in order and making ultimate use of the new funds.
These consultants were meeting with the directors today, and Barry said the plan was to appoint him interim head, then told me that I was to be given a seat on the new board, and as such, might I approach Dr. Lamas about joining the new research foundation himself, in whatever way he was willing.
Went back to see Dr. Lamas, but his secretary said that he didn't have time to see me again. I explained about The Foundation, and was escorted in as soon as his patient left.
When I offered him what was surely an astronomical salary, he just blinked, obviously thinking the patient in front of him was suffering some advanced mental symptoms of the disease.
I said the Foundation would be contacting him by mail, but I was approaching him personally because we wanted him so much. Dr. Lamas became even more sceptical, especially when I claimed to be on the board.
So I explained that things were up in the air over the departure of Dr. Walker, and that he could contact the clinic directly if he were in doubt, hoping I showed enough knowledge to convince him.
He admitted that it was something that would interest him, if true, apparently having offered to work with Garms several times, sharing his findings and theories, only to have Dr. Walker turn him down.
When I got back, Nicole read more of the book, and I became thoroughly absorbed. The spy returns to his love, and knowing now that she was writing about us, I found everything in it especially intense and erotic.
It had become almost a Scheherazade situation. I didn't want her to stop, and she read on after dinner, but closed the book at eleven, saying that she wanted to read the end tomorrow.
Nicole is reading her new book out to Paul, explaining any French he can't understand, and he learns that the story is a veiled description of their love affair.
San Patrazio - Paris
Wednesday - Thursday, August 31 - September 1
Nicole finished reading her novel in the morning, a tragic conclusion in which the spy decides to give up espionage and marry the artist.
She tells him that she's dying of an incurable disease, then leaves the spy because she cannot bear to live with the look of despair that greeted her revelation.
So touchingly told, I know that one would not have to be a part of the novel to be deeply moved, not just by the story, but Nicole's incredible skill in telling it.
But I also had to wonder how Marnet had not seen through it, and not realized how the new book exposed the truth about my relationship with Nicole that he couldn't seem to perceive.
In the afternoon we went to a street market, and when I bought her a little bird in a cage that she absolutely had to have, Nicole let it loose immediately, and I wondered how long it could survive.
Her action disturbed me, as did the amused expression on her face. But it was an isolated moment in an exquisite time.
We were just deciding what to do with our day after breakfast when a telegram from Nicole's mother arrived stating that Marnet had disappeared, having not been seen for three days.
There seemed nothing for it but to fly to Paris and contact his close friend Georges Corot. The publisher offered Nicole a tip he hadn't supplied to police about a building where Marnet lived as a child, and we found him there in a stupor.
And here I am again. A woman who possesses my heart feeling bound to a man who needs her - while the days of my own life disappear like fine sand through an hour glass.
I left Nicole at the hospital, standing by Marnet's bedside, transfixed, saying that she would stay with him until he came round. Returned to my apartment to think. I have to see Kate, and talk with her.
Paul has a somewhat disconcerting experience with Nicole.
They learn that Nicole's husband has disappeared, and fly to Paris looking for him.
When he is found, Nicole chooses to stay by his bedside instead of accompany Paul to Italy for the Monza Grand Prix.
Friday, September 2
Perhaps I'd just gotten used to his deteriorated state, but Armand seemed in better spirits today, and spoke of his determination to immortalize Odette via a wide-ranging series of projects from buildings through charity and fellowships to every possible aspect of the arts.
“But we must tackle this first,” he said intensely, his pressed together fingers gesturing towards me, “and I want you to be my representative on the board.”
Answering that I wasn't sure I'd live long enough to do much, he responded, “NO, we'll make it happen!” It was the first time the three of us had been alone together for more than a moment, and I had dreaded such a meeting.
But these feelings were banished in the first minute. Whatever the secret, this is a man who somehow instills confidence in the person he is with, something that not only makes Armand feel approachable, but an intimate friend. Charm, yes, but ever so subtle.
If I'd always thought of him as my rival, he banished any barriers between us, and far from being the uncomfortable occasion I'd expected, much as I might have wished to talk privately with Kate, I equally wanted this time with the three of us not to end.
We spoke about Emile Marnet whom Armand had known since they were in the Resistance.
While making no specific statement against him, Armand seemed disturbed by the fact of Nicole's marriage to Marnet, wondering if she was intentionally styling herself after Francoise Sagan in a personal as well as literary sense.
I hung on everything he said about her. They'd not met, but he'd read Sadness, and said that its depth was not in the over-romanticized story, but the dialogue.
He commented on the impulsive nature of the heroine, and I was fascinated about how much of Nicole he had gleaned from the little book.
“And now she's written about you,” Armand said to my shock. He hadn't looked at the new novel himself, but Kate had read the copy that Corot had sent over.
It was as if they had witnessed every moment of my time with Nicole, and I felt embarrassed, but Kate just said, “now you know why I couldn't bear deterring you from being with her again.”
We stayed out in the garden until all light had disappeared from the sky, interrupted through the day only over the most critical matters.
I observed how quickly Armand was able to make important decisions, and the gentle way he gave instructions. Nothing like the many high-powered people I'd known, constantly emphasizing their importance.
After going back inside, Armand insisted that I stay the night, then excused himself, indicating that he knew Katie and I would want to talk.
He said that he wouldn't see me in the morning, then shook my hand, and said “adieu.” Instead of au revoir, it sounded so final, and I felt painfully aware of my mortality. And perhaps his.
Along with the occasion in the Bahamas, this evening was the most soul searching time Kate and I ever had.
Paul spends the day with Kate and Armand, hoping that Nicole will still go to Italy with him.
Paris - Monza
Saturday, September 3
Kate and I met early for a small breakfast, and she walked me to the garage. I'd expected one of the drivers was going to take me back to the apartment, but Kate said that Armand thought I'd like to drive to the airport myself.
As if timed to our footsteps coming around the corner, there emerging from the archway was the Daimler 500 which Armand had bought from Sir Harry.
Kate wanted to say goodbye at the apartment, and we wished each other Godspeed there, and I went down to the street alone, taking the wheel of the car beside the chauffeur who would drive it back.
Was just about to board the flight to Milan when …. there she was like a vision.
I almost ran to Nicole, thrilled that she was coming with me after all. But she had only come to say goodbye. Forever, it would seem, as Marnet has threatened to kill himself if she ever leaves.
My poor weak darling. From the zenith of believing we'd be together, I am enveloped by the darkness of knowing that she is beyond reach. Is this total sense of pain - not only the body but the soul as well - what it will be like at the end?
When I arrived at Monza, my gloom was tempered immediately by the fantastic unveiling ceremony, the glorious structure that had been built for the new Mastin as futuristic and breathtaking as the gorgeous car itself.
The spectacular launch did a lot to temporarily mask my despair via the glow of happiness exuded by Clive, Rachel and Rhona - and the delight of everyone who saw the car on its dazzling podium.
Lots of hugging and tears, and even Pete seemed rather emotional. After the grand show, he did a bit of dazzling on his own, and notched up fourth on the grid, then took the GMD out on the track for all to see. The champagne is going to flow the rest of the day.
Considering his performance on the track today, I was surprised by Pete's subdued manner at all the parties, especially when most of them centered on Mastin.
At one of the last, he called me out to a balcony, and said that Mexico was going to be his last race. He hadn't told Clive and Rhona yet - not June either. Then he said - nothing.
None of the things I'd like to have uttered came out of my mouth, but I felt tears behind my eyes. We just shook hands, and he said we should go back into the party.
At the airport, Nicole tells Paul that she can't leave her husband because he has threatened to kill himself if she does.
Sunday, September 4
The interest in the new car has everyone exhilarated, and Pete has landed the team its very first point today. It felt like it was he instead of Jack Brabham who'd won the championship, Pete's driving skill on the impossible surface a joy to behold.
Feels so good to be swept away in the glory, and I wondered if he was still sure of retiring. Now, on to the partying until time for my flight.
I've read so many articles by Dr. Anderson Lewis that Barry sent me, the specialist has started to achieve god-like status in my mind.
Having given up a professorship at Johns Hopkins, he's returned to a family estate on the Gulf, and the chances of our getting him to come to California would appear slim, but the main thing is to link him in to the work of the clinic.
5 - 10 September 1966 ("One Bad Turn" / "Don't Count on Tomorrow")
The new Mastin Road car is unveiled at Monza and Pete scores the team's first point at the Italian Grand Prix.