Dance of Jeopardy
Dance of Jeopardy: Prologue
As the beautiful music swirled and eddied around the hall we danced in total harmony, our bodies close together and our feet floating over the floor in complete unison. I could feel the warmth radiating from his body and the light caress of his breath on my hair, while I could detect his own peculiar man fragrance. It didn’t matter how many times we danced with each other, the act of us coming together in this manner always titillated my senses in a sensual way – it was like the intimacy before having sex, the foreplay before the final act was consummated.
The man in my arms was the most important person in my life. Right from the time that I first met him when I was still very young, there had been a spark between us – a connection that had never been completely broken. It was there all through the years when he was seeking adventure in other parts of Africa – it was there when his life took a turn that excluded me completely, and it had lain dormant until the time was right for it to ignite once again. It seemed to me that too many years had passed while he was away striving to accomplish his dreams – the dreams of a man who craved action, danger and adventure. His quest for adventure had, for so many years, seemed to draw us further and further apart, but now, at last, the man I loved so much was in my arms.
Over the years we had danced to the music of the Blue Danube Waltz many times, and I always thought of it as our music because it had been playing that very first time we had waltzed together, and the magic it had evoked on that first occasion was still there every time we danced together.
I didn’t want this dance to end. I wanted to waltz in a bubble of contentment for the rest of my life, with the beautiful music reverberating deep within my soul, while my body was completely at one with the dear person in my arms.
Suddenly, the harsh stutter of gunfire shocked me out of my reverie…
Dance of Jeopardy: Chapter 1
Africa has always been a restless and troubled continent, with wars, tribal uprisings and coups affecting many of the countries that make up the patchwork of that continent. Colonisation has been a mixed blessing, and usually avarice would be the cause of the unrest – greed for land or the minerals that lay beneath the rich African soil, and the lust for power. It always seemed that it was almost impossible to democratically sort out the disputes that continually arose in Africa, so inevitably things escalated and another uprising or war would start. The rights and wrongs of each disturbance were usually hotly debated during the time that they occurred, and for a long while afterwards, but those that suffered the most were the people who found themselves living in the areas of unrest, and who usually only wanted to make an honest living and to live a quiet life.
At eight years old, Pip was completely unaware that she lived on a troubled continent, as things had gone smoothly in Rhodesia during the eight years since she had been born in that country. She had been brought up on Kamilah Farm in Matabeleland, where she had the freedom to roam for miles in the sunshine without a fear in the world. She was the youngest (and only girl) of a family of four children. Adam was eight years older than her, and the twins, Gene and Owen, were two years older than Adam. She was the ‘little late lamb’ and also the daughter that her mother, Wendy, thought that she would never have. All of them, including her father, Terry, were delighted with the unexpected addition to their family, and Pip had inevitably become a little bit indulged. The boys had called her ‘Pipsqueak’ right from the moment they had first set eyes on her, and the name had stuck in the form of Pip from then onwards. She had been christened with the rather lovely names of Roisin Lucy, but no one called her by her real name.
It was the hot month of October and Pip ran down the long driveway from the farm house and towards the gate of the home paddock. Her grubby bare feet kicked up a puff of rich red dust with every step, and her honey blond hair streamed out behind her, because it had escaped from the elastic band that had secured it when it had been done in the morning. She was feeling happy and excited as she ran, but had no inkling that today was the day that she was going to meet someone who would impact on her life in a very lasting way.
When she got to the gate she opened it as wide as it would go, and then, jumping onto the bottom cross bar, she let it swing back so that it went right past the gate post and on until it came to an abrupt stop against a tuft of grass on the far side. It made a squeaking noise as it swung, and Pip tried to imitate the sound with her voice as she rode on the gate again and again. She loved swinging back and forth on the gate, even though she knew her father would be angry if he caught her doing it. He had told her that it would wear it out, and if she wasn’t careful the cattle in the paddock behind the gate would go through and eat the flowers in her mother’s garden. She didn’t want that to happen as she knew it would make her mother sad, but there weren’t any cattle near the gate that day so there was no chance of that happening. Also, she could see down the farm track for a good kilometre, from whence she was expecting her father and brothers to return from their hunting trip, so she knew she had time to shut the gate before her father saw what she was up to.
It was late afternoon, and the low sun spread its rays over the countryside making it look like the land had been covered in golden honey. The fierce heat had now abated, leaving everything warm and mellow, and Pip was highlighted in a shaft of light – a little eight year old girl, darkly suntanned, with strange greenish eyes that sparkled with fun. She never wore shoes if she could help it, and her shorts and T-shirt were grubby from the activities of the day. There was always plenty to do on the farm, but it usually entailed animals, which tended to dirty one’s clothes when in close contact.
As she kept a careful look out for her father’s vehicle, she wished that they would hurry up and come back. She hated it when all the men in her family went off hunting.
‘Why can’t I go too?’ she had asked Wendy when she saw them making their preparations for the trip.
‘Because you are too little and you wouldn’t enjoy it anyway,’ her mother had replied.
‘Why wouldn’t I enjoy it?’
‘Because they shoot animals, and you like animals don’t you? You wouldn’t like to see them being killed.’
‘I wouldn’t like to see animals being killed,’ she had agreed. ‘But why do they want to do something horrid like that?’
‘Because they’re men, and hunting and killing is a man thing,’ Wendy had tired to explain to her young daughter. ‘Women have babies, and it’s a woman thing to nurture them and look after other animals as well, but men are hunters and protectors. They have to provide for their families and make sure that they have enough to eat, and they also have to protect them from danger.’
‘So Daddy and the boys go hunting so that we can have meat?’ asked Pip frowning.
‘Yes, they shoot animals so that we can make biltong and boerwors, but it’s not just that, men enjoy hunting, there’s something in a man that makes him enjoy the challenge of hunting and shooting, also it keeps them in practise in case they have to protect their families from evil, Pip, but we girls are different. Perhaps you’ll understand better when you’re older.’ Pip hoped that she would because she didn’t really understand it now. She pushed her mother’s words to the back of her mind, but she didn’t forget them.
Now Pip knew that her father and brothers would be returning within the next hour or so, and was determined to be the first to welcome them home. She had told her mother that she was going to wait for them at the gate, and Wendy was quite happy for her to do so. The gate wasn’t very far from the homestead, and she knew the dogs would go with Pip and keep her safe. The biggest danger was from one of the many venomous snakes that inhabited the farm, but Pip had learned from a very young age to look out for them and keep her distance. Right now she was focused on the farm track. It swept downward from the little ridge on which the homestead was situated, and after running through the cattle paddock it meandered between maize and tobacco lands before disappearing in a wooded area.
Pip saw the dust before the vehicle appeared out of the trees. Quickly she shut the gate and secured it. She would wait until they were approaching the gate before opening it again. The three dogs, that had been lounging in the shade as she played on the gate, all now sat up. They sensed that the vehicle was approaching, and wanted to greet the returning men just as much as the little girl. The Toyota suddenly came into view as it drove out of the trees and through the cultivated lands. It was still a fair distance away and the red Rhodesian dust boiled out behind it, looking like liquid gold as it caught the low rays of the sun. Pip could make out Padoko and Daka on the back of the vehicle amid the hunting gear. They were the two African men that her father always took hunting when he went. She knew that her father and brothers would be in the cab, although she couldn’t actually see them yet. She stood hugging herself with delight as the vehicle made its way up the hill, and when it was close she jumped up and down waving both arms. Then she turned and opened the gate so they could drive through. Padoko and Daka waved to her, big grins on their dusty faces, while the dogs careered around the moving vehicle in sheer delight. Terry brought it to a halt as Pip shut the gate behind them and then he jumped out. Pip ran straight into his arms and he lifted her up and hugged her. She buried her face in his chest and inhaled the comforting fragrance of her father – sweat, diesel and dust. She lifted her face to kiss him and his full black beard tickled her chin as their lips met in a smacking kiss. Terry was a powerfully built man, and he threw her into the air and caught her as she came down laughing with delight.
‘How has my best girl been?’ he asked her.
‘I missed you,’ she said, as he put her gently on the ground. She then went to greet her brothers who had also jumped out of the Toyota. Gene and Owen took after their father in looks, although they had not filled out to his size yet, and neither of them had a beard. Both had his shock of inky hair and black eyes, and they were equally delighted to greet their little sister. Adam was next in line for a hug. He also had his father’s black hair, but his eyes were the same colour as Pip’s, a grey green, and his build was much slighter than that of the others.
‘I brought you some porcupine quills,’ he told Pip. ‘And some little stones which have pretty colours in them.’ Adam always seemed to be able to find something that he could give to his sister when he had been away, no matter where he went.
It was only after Pip had finished greeting Adam that she noticed another lad standing next to the Toyota. A smile played about his lips as he watched the little girl greeting her family, and when Pip suddenly noticed him and her green eyes met his brilliant blue ones, a grin broke out on his face. Pip gasped as a trill like an electric shock ran through her entire body – it was as if there had been a connection between them when their eyes had met, and it left a strange feeling in the pit of her stomach. He was about the same age as Adam and was quite tall, but his build was slim and wiry, and his smooth skin was lightly tanned. His face was angular, with a square chin and a strait nose, but his lips were full and sensuous. His incredibly blue eyes seemed restless, and the brows over them were straight and fair. His wavy hair was even fairer than hers, and there was no shadow of a beard or moustache. His arms and legs were covered in a fuzz of fair hair, but it was not dense and curly like the dark hair that covered her brothers.
‘This is Fergal Magee, a school friend of mine,’ Adam told her. ‘Fergal, this is my kid sister, Pip.’
‘Pleased to meet you,’ he said holding out his hand. She noticed that his hand was quite slim and that he had long fingers. His teeth were very white as he smiled down at her.
‘How do you do?’ she said shyly, shaking his hand. Pip thought he was the most beautiful man she had ever seen, and she was trying to understand the strange feeling he had evoked in her when her father spoke.
‘Come on, Pip, you can drive my vehicle up to the house,’ said Terry, getting back into the driving seat. Pip scrambled onto his lap, happy to forget the strange and disturbing feeling she had experienced.
‘Get in everybody,’ she commanded.
‘Not on your life!’ laughed her brothers. ‘If you’re driving we’d rather walk!’
‘Walk then,’ said Terry. ‘Ready Pip? Right, I’m putting the clutch in now.’ Pip took the gear stick in both her hands and shoved it into first gear, then she grabbed the steering-wheel and when Terry let the clutch out, she carefully steered the vehicle towards the house.
Wendy was there to greet them all, and she was as surprised as Pip had been to find that they had a visitor. Terry explained that he had invited Fergal to stay for the rest of the school holidays, and she graciously told him he was very welcome.
That evening, the fascination that Pip had found for Fergal made her hope that her mother would say that she could stay up and have her evening meal with the adults, but to her disappointment she was told to bath and have her supper at the normal time, after which she was expected to go to bed.
The next morning, as she made her way sleepily to the kitchen in search of a glass of milk, she was surprised when she looked out of the window and saw a little tent erected in their garden.
‘Why is there a tent in our garden?’ she asked Wendy, who was organising some milk for the two orphan calves that were housed up at the stables.
‘It’s Fergal’s tent,’ her mother replied. ‘For some reason he thought that since I didn’t know that he was coming to stay he should sleep in his tent. I did tell him that he was more than welcome to use the spare room, but he seemed to think it would be more convenient for me if he slept in his tent.’
Just at that moment Adam appeared. Yawning, he went to switch on the kettle. ‘Anyone for a cup or tea or coffee?’ he asked.
‘Why does Fergal want to sleep in his tent?’ asked Pip.
‘Fergal is completely penga – mad as the mad March hare,’ said Adam, grinning at her. ‘He’s my best friend at school and is great fun to be with, but you can rely on him to be different to everyone else in everything he does,’ he chuckled. ‘Sleeping in his tent when there is a very comfortable spare room on offer is madness – but it’s just typical of Fergal.’
‘Is he in there now?’ asked Pip.
‘I very much doubt it. My guess is he was up at sparrow’s fart and has gone out on the land with Dad and the twins. Fergal is packed with energy and he’s only happy when he’s burning it up by doing something.’
‘He’s not like you, then,’ said Pip. ‘You’re always the last out of bed!’
‘Hey, that’s a bit unkind! I’m an evening person; I usually go to bed long after everyone else so I should be allowed to get up later.’ Adam sat at the kitchen table, sipping his tea.
‘Well, you can make yourself useful now that you are up,’ said Wendy. ‘You and Pip can go and feed the orphan calves – the milk is ready for them now.’
‘No rest for the wicked,’ muttered Adam, picking up the bottles of milk. ‘Come on, Pip.’
‘How come Fergal is staying here for the rest of the holidays?’ Pip asked Adam as they walked up to the stables in the hot sunshine.
‘He had a bit of trouble at home, so I asked Dad if he could come on our hunting trip with us. We picked him up before heading into the bush, and Dad was so impressed with him he invited him to come and stay here for the rest of the holidays.’
‘Why was he impressed?’
‘Well, like I said, Fergal is a real action man – always busy doing something useful, helping out, making things easier for others – it’s just the way he’s wired, and everyone likes him even though he has some strange ideas sometimes.’
‘What sort of strange ideas?’
‘When you get to know him you’ll soon find out. Come on, let’s get these babies fed.’
The two calves were still locked in the end stall and were moving about excitedly when they heard their meal approaching. Adam and Pip had their milk in beer bottles with long teats attached.
‘I’ll feed the little brown one, and you can feed the white one with brown patches on it,’ said Adam.
‘The brown one is called Fanny, and the other one is Molly,’ Pip informed him.
‘Good Lord! Do they even have names?’ exclaimed Adam.
‘Yes, I thought of the names,’ said Pip proudly. ‘Fanny’s mother died just after she had been born, and Molly’s mother broke her leg and had to be shot. It’s a good thing that these two babies are girls, because if they were boys they would probably be sent off to the butcher in a few months time. Girl cows are more lucky, because they can usually stay on the farm so long as they are able to have babies of their own when they grow up.’
‘My goodness, you’re becoming quite the little farmer,’ said Adam as the two calves sucked noisily from the beer bottles. ‘Do you want to be a farmer when you grow up?’
‘Yes, I think I do. Dad says I’ll probably marry a farmer, which would be nice, because I like animals and living on a farm. Are you going to be a farmer, Adam?’
‘Good God, no! I’ll leave that to Owen and Gene. They will eventually take this farm over and make a jolly good job of farming it I’m sure. I want to become an architect and design beautiful buildings. I’ll build a nice house for myself in the city where there are lots of exciting things going on, and I’ll work from there, designing houses and buildings for other people.’
‘But won’t you miss the farm?’
‘Yes, but I won’t miss working on it. I don’t like farm work, Pipsqueak, I don’t like the early morning starts, the dust, the smell of cow dung, and most of all I don’t like living in the middle of nowhere. I like having lots of different people around me and shops and cinemas and things like that. I want to go to university and learn how to be an architect when I leave school. I know Gene and Owen couldn’t wait to finish school so that they could start working on the farm, but I’m different to them. It’s a good thing really, because there wouldn’t be room for us all to live and work on the farm.’
Pip digested this all in silence. It seemed strange to her that Adam didn’t want to be on the farm, but on reflection, living in a city might be quite exciting. She wondered what Fergal wanted to do when he had finished school and decided that she would find out at the very first opportunity.
She waited until later that day, when he came back with her father and the twins, and she kept a watch on his tent so that she would know when he went into it. When he did, she poured a glass of orange squash and took it to the tent. It was her excuse for being invited inside.
‘Hello, Fergal, are you in there?’ she called as she approached the tent, knowing full well that he was. ‘I’ve brought you a glass of orange squash.’
The flap of the tent was moved aside and Fergal’s smiling face came into view. ‘That’s very kind of you,’ he said. ‘Would you like to come in?’ That was exactly what Pip wanted to do and she needed no second invitation.
Inside the tent everything was bathed in a green light as the sun filtered in through the green canvas. It made Pip feel like she was in a gold-fish bowl. There was a low camp-bed, a camping chair and a camping table in the tent, and also a rucksack that presumably held all Fergal’s clothes. On the table there were three knives that caught Pip’s attention; she went over to look at them.
‘You can pick them up if you like,’ suggested Fergal. ‘They are all razor sharp, but I know you are much too clever to cut yourself.’ Pip carefully picked one of the knives up. It was a sheath knife and had a very ornate handle. Gingerly pulling it out of the sheath, she saw that the blade had been burnished to a bright shiny silver that flashed greenly in the tent. It was obviously very sharp, and she was surprised and delighted that Fergal had allowed her to handle the knife. Usually she was told not to touch things like that – they were dangerous, and not safe for a little girl to have in her hands.
‘I like the pretty handle,’ she said, and Fergal laughed.
‘It’s a beautiful knife,’ he agreed. ‘It’s perfectly balanced and makes an excellent throwing knife.’
‘Why would you want to throw a knife?’ Pip asked.
‘Well, you might have to defend yourself, and if you can throw a knife accurately it could save your life.’
‘Can you throw a knife accurately?’
‘Indeed I can! Look, I’ll show you. See that tree over there? Well, pretend that it’s a really nasty man. His heart is just below the lowest branch where there is a dark patch on the bark. He’s shouting at us and his face is all red and ugly. He’s brandishing a gun and is threatening to shoot us both. He knows we don’t have a gun so he is quite confident that we won’t be able to hurt him. You’re really scared and I’m really angry…so suddenly I act…’ In one fluid movement Fergal hurled the knife at the tree, it flew through the air making a slight whispering and whistling noise and then the tip of the blade struck the dark patch on the bark and buried itself in the trunk, so that the knife stood out at a right angle. ‘And the man falls dead at our feet!’ said Fergal dramatically.
‘Golly!’ said Pip, her eyes big with surprise, ‘I didn’t know anyone could do that with a knife.’
‘It’s not so hard when you practice a lot, and I’ve been practicing since I was about your age.’ Fergal retrieved the knife from the tree, and carefully wiped the blade before putting it back in its sheath. ‘This knife is a flick knife,’ he told her, picking up a small knife from the table. ‘If you press this button the blade flicks out – see?’ The blade shot out with a click.
‘Can you throw that knife as well?’
‘No, it’s not good for that, it’s just a general purpose knife really.’ He picked up the third knife. ‘And this one is a machete, or a panga as they are called in Africa. I’m sure you’ve seen lots like this.’
‘Yes I have. Dad has one in his vehicle and most of the Africans have one as well, but they don’t look as clean and sharp as yours, you must really love your knives.’
‘I do. I like guns as well, but I only have one – a .22 rifle. One day I’ll get some more – I’ll have a whole arsenal.’ His eyes looked dreamy.
‘Do you love hunting then?’
The dreamy look in his eyes faded as he contemplated her question for a few seconds before answering.
‘I enjoy the preparation and the chase,’ he said at length. ‘But I don’t really like killing the animal in the end. I mean, it’s not a very fair contest, is it? People are more intelligent than animals and so the outcome of the hunt is pretty obvious right from the start. Even the more intelligent animals like the buffalo or leopard that sometimes circle around and hunt the hunter, are normally doomed in the end. They only have their horns or teeth for weapons at the end of the day, while a man has his powerful rifle and a pocket full of bullets.’
‘So why do you go hunting if you think it’s unfair to the animals?’
‘I’m always looking for excitement, Pip, and hunting can be quite exciting, but to be honest I’d really like to be pitting my brains against a more worthy opponent – someone who could actually harm me as much as I could harm them. Now that would be really exciting!’
‘Well, in that case you would have to hunt a person. Maybe you should join the army, and then you would have the chance to shoot the enemy.’
‘I’ve always thought I’d join the army when I leave school,’ said Fergal. ‘And I probably will. But I was born too late, Pip; I wish I could have fought in the Second World War – I would love to go after the enemy, pit my wits against theirs, kill or be killed – that would be a really great challenge!’
Pip could see a fanatical gleam in Fergal’s eyes as he said these words, and it made her feel a bit unsettled, but she felt very flattered that he was telling her how he felt. Most of the time she was being told that she was too young to understand something, and she shouldn’t let it worry her pretty head. But Fergal had spoken to her like an adult and let her into his thoughts – which she wasn’t at all sure weren’t rather bad thoughts. However, she felt he was a really exciting sort of person, and she was sure that he would get the better of anyone he took on.
During the next few weeks, Fergal worked on the farm and gained the respect of Terry and the twins.
‘He would make a damned fine farmer,’ Terry told his wife one evening. ‘He has a feeling for the farm animals and the land, he’s good with the labour, and he has the energy of ten men. He seems eager to learn as well and cottons on very quickly when I teach him something about farming. But he tells me he has no intention of becoming a farmer. Apparently his own father died, and his mother remarried a farmer who has sons of his own who will inherit their father’s farm eventually. Fergal says he’s not worried about that, because having the responsibility of the farm would tie him down to one place and give him no other options. I did suggest that he could get a job as a farm assistant once he has left school, but he’s not at all keen. Anyway, whatever he chooses to do I’m sure he’ll do well, he’s that kind of bloke.’
As busy as Fergal was on the farm and with the other boys, he always made sure he spent a bit of time with Pip every day. He would invite her to come into his tent and she would sit on the bed and chat to him. He would discuss the events of the day with her as if she was already an adult, and he was always interested in what she had been doing.
‘What’s your real name, Pip?’ he asked her one day, shortly before he and Adam were due to go back to school.
‘It’s Roisin Lucy Pullman,’ she told him.
‘Roisin is a beautiful name,’ he said. ‘It’s Irish you know, and it means Little Rose. You should get everyone to call you Roisin because it suits you – you are like a little rosebud about to burst into full flower!’
Pip thought it was the nicest thing that anyone had said to her. Although her brothers loved her dearly, they called her Pipsqueak, or Toady, or something equally boring. It was the first compliment that she had ever received from a person of the opposite sex, and she had started to love Fergal just a little bit from that day forward.
‘How do you know what my name means?’ she asked.
‘Well, most names mean something, and I have a cousin who has the same name as you. One day we found a book that gave us the meaning of names, so we looked up what ours meant.’
‘What does yours mean?’
‘Fergal means – brave, courageous or valorous, and Magee means fire. No wonder I’m always looking for adventure, huh?’
When the time came for Adam and Fergal to return to Plumtree Boarding School, Pip was really sad. She was always sad to say goodbye to Adam at the end of the holidays, but she knew that she was going to miss Fergal even more than Adam, because a special friendship had developed between them despite their age differences.
‘Don’t worry, we will see each other next holidays because your kind parents have invited me to come and stay again,’ Fergal consoled her.
‘I’m glad that you’re coming back,’ said Pip. ‘But don’t you want to go to your own home and your parents?’
‘I will, but I won’t stay for long because if I do there’ll be a lot of arguments as usual.’
‘Why will there be arguments?’
‘Well, the man Mum is married to is not my father. My father died when I was very little, and when I was about two years old Mum was re-married to a man called Tom Villers, whose wife had also died. He had two sons of his own, so I grew up with Claud and Henry, my two step-brothers, and we were a happy family. Claud is the same age as me, and Henry is a year older. I didn’t know that Tom wasn’t my real father for ages – I called him Dad, just as the others called my mother, Mum. My step-father is a farmer and has a farm in the Gwelo area, but unlike this huge farm, his one is quite small – there’s a dairy and a small acreage of maize and not much else. Well, problems started when we grew up, because Claud and Henry seem to think that I’m trying to persuade their Dad to leave the farm to me as an inheritance, and they rightly feel it should be left to them. The thing is I don’t want the farm! They are totally wrong in what they think.’
‘But why do they think it then?’
‘Well, you know what I’m like, Pip, I have ants in my pants and have to be busy all the time, don’t I? So when the school holidays come, I can’t laze about like a normal chap, I have to be doing something so I go and help Tom on the farm. He thinks it’s great, but Claud and Henry say that I’m just trying to butter him up in an attempt to get my hands on the farm. The thing is, I hate it when I’m at loggerheads with my brothers – they are both good blokes, but they just won’t believe me when I say I’m not interested in inheriting the farm. To make matters worse, my mother isn’t at all well now. I’m not sure what the problem is, but she’s sick a lot of the time and it doesn’t help when we’re all arguing. It annoys Tom to see my mother upset because he adores her and, well, I just feel the right thing is for me to stay away from the family as much as possible, and then the arguments don’t happen. Most of the year I’ll be at school anyway, and your dad has kindly said I can come and stay here every school holiday, if I want to, so that sorts the problem out – and best of all I’ll be able to see you every holidays!’
Pip was glad that she would see Fergal again, but she thought it was sad that he couldn’t go home for the whole holidays like most children. Her brothers had always seemed so pleased to be home at the end of each school term.
Pip was lucky, as Wendy and some of the other farmers’ wives in the area had started a lift club, which had enabled them to send their younger children to school in Bulawayo as day scholars. Pip knew she was glad at the end of each school day to get home and kick off her school shoes, and she wouldn’t like to have to be away from her home and parents for weeks at a time.
‘Do you like going to Plumtree School?’ she asked Fergal.
‘Yes, it’s not a bad school, and I love playing sport.’
‘Will you write to me?’
‘Of course I will. But you have to write back – is that a deal?’