Erratic steering told its own story: a puncture. Thirty miles from home, late on a chill night after a business dinner as unproductive as it had been boring. When I called the breakdown service they were sympathetic to the plight of a woman alone but said the best they could predict was forty-five minutes.
It was a surprise to see a vehicle pulling in behind me less than fifteen minutes later; an even bigger surprise to discover that it was a Bentley. A rear window was lowered and a voice, cultured, polite but with a slight accent I couldn’t define, enquired if I had a problem. I pointed to the flat tyre, explained that I waiting for the breakdown man.
“No need,” said the voice from car’s dark interior. “Call your service and tell them it is fixed. Stavros will deal with it.”
Seconds later. a uniformed chauffeur stepped out, asked for my keys, opened the boot and set to work.
“This will not detain you long,” said my rescuer. “But would you care to sit inside for the moment?” Seeing my hesitation, he went on, “I understand your reluctance but I can assure you that you will not come to harm. And it is warmer inside, or will be once I close the window.”
It would have been churlish to decline, and the presence nearby of the chauffeur was reassuring. As my eyes grew accustomed to the interior, I was able to discern that I was sitting next to a man of about sixty with a lean face, silver hair, intense dark eyes and a full, sensuous mouth. He asked how I came to be driving alone at night. I told him about the dinner but felt entitled to ask him a similar question. While he was explaining he had been picked up at the airport after a transatlantic flight I became aware of his hand resting on the top of my thigh. The gesture could have been threatening but somehow it was almost paternal. In any case, it would have been at the very least ungrateful to have turned prudish without further provocation. My instinct was justified. He made no further move before the chauffeur opened the door and handed me my keys.
I thanked my saviour profusely and shook his hand. “Let me give you my card,” he said, taking out a silver case. “My name is Nikos. There are details here of how you can contact me if you wish. Perhaps we may meet again? I would be delighted to offer you dinner, a chance to talk in more congenial surroundings.”
“You’re very kind,” I replied. “I’ll think about it.”
“Drive carefully – no more punctures.” The chauffeur closed the passenger door, saluted me and returned to his place behind the wheel. I watched the Bentley purr smoothly away before resuming my own journey in thoughtful mood. But no matter how deeply I pondered, I could never have foreseen that soon I would have embarked upon a journey into a sexual world previously closed to me.
My marriage to Jeremy had been a mistake. We met as young recruits to a firm of city financiers, thought we had fallen in love at first sight and delighted our respective parents with a grand white wedding. I wasn’t a virgin (though by no means experienced); Jeremy was an absolute novice. We might have found our way through that if the will to do so had been the same on both sides, but what I soon recognised as my own powerful sex drive was in no way matched. When we fucked, it was missionary style and in silence. Jeremy was horrified when I suggested different positions and the possibility of some verbal encouragement during the procedure. I offered him oral and he flatly refused, saying it was an unhygienic perversion.