The Sports Car and the White Line
There are the geniuses. Albert Einstein the best example. There are people of immense ability. Inventors perhaps. There are thinkers. All those ancient Greek bods with their philosophical nonsense. And then of course there is Cuthbert Montgomery Reginald Carruthers the last in the line of famous Carruthers stretching back over many centuries. His ancestors had stood next to kings. Their swords preventing mortal blows. At Waterloo his grandfather five generations back took a step forward and steadied the line as the French advanced. Heroes. His history is littered with heroes.
Cuthbert known as Monte to all his friends. Thirty six. Extraordinarily good looking. Perfectly groomed blond hair of a length to sway romantically in the breeze but not get tangled or flap around his eyes. Those eyes. The most vibrant steely blue, set within the immensely strong features of his face. Nose slightly Roman but perfectly proportioned to compliment the glamorous smile that makes his eyes slightly close resulting in the crow’s feet that all the girls find so endearing. Physique of a Roman God. Six feet two in his stocking feet. Muscular and athletic. His charm legendary. Could charm the knickers off a canary. Needless to say the girls all fall over themselves.
Educated at Eton. Then Cambridge. Lives in a country pile in Buckinghamshire. Huge place. Twenty bedrooms. Many entertaining rooms. Staff of ten. Gardeners tending the ten acres of formal garden. The whole estate running into a few hundred with gallops and a deer park. Married to Lucy. Lucy Elizabeth Georgina and a few more, Forbes. So many names. Too many ancestors all dead but still wanting to be named after. Blond and well spoilt. A tongue lasher. The staff hate her, the ordering about little madam. Voice like a siren and temper to match. Fly off at the slightest. No children. Just as well some say. Monte does not work. He lives off inherited wealth. Enough to last for decades. Certainly all his life and without being unduly careful.
There are stables with horses. Huge great chargers. Black or brown some intimidating but most docile. An easy ride. Monte though is afraid. Jumps at shadows. Get on a horse... just the thought sends him to bed. The mansion is swept daily to clean away the spiders. A monstrous task that needs the full time services of a spider hunter. A weaselly little man who dresses to fight a lion with a full leather apron and gauntlets, then armed with a pink feather duster patrols the corridors and rooms leaving a path of devastation. Miss one and the sobbing screams will indicate its location.
Still he enjoys his life and is happy to mostly steer clear of Lucy, his tender demeanour not wishing to be strained by her violent manner. Not quite sure why he married her. Maybe the package was presented as an item to please. Something to adore. Anyway it was his grandmother who made the match and she is surprised as anyone by the nonconforming beauty that arrived. She had her own mind. His grandmother clearly no way close to the modern age and Monte too meek to disobey.
Every year for the month of May to recover from the rigours of winter Monte takes himself off on his own to the south of France. The best hotel in the best resort. Stays clear of the beach does not like the sand. Just relaxes on a comfy chair on the promenade watching the world go by. Never uses a deck chair. They are prone to collapse and he shies at the thought of deckchair induced injury.
One day this year Monte is leaving his hotel and strolling along the pavement towards his usual spot. It is just after eleven. His normal time, the result of a late get up and sumptuous breakfast. He stops and turns to the kerb. Something has grabbed his attention. Laughing and jumping on the pavement on the other side of the road is a young girl maybe just three years old. She is dressed in a flowery pink sundress and has a pink ribbon tying up her long brown hair. Carrying a sun hat waiting for the heat of the day to catch up so she can wear it. Her parents holding hands and smiling at her happiness. They are very young perhaps just twenty three or four. The girl is clearly very excited. Hopping, skipping being so very pleased to be in the sunshine by the sea. Clearly hoping for a day on the beach.
Suddenly she turns and in her excitement she rushes towards the road. What has made her take this action no one will ever know. But she does and she is accelerating about to rush out into the traffic. Her parents are screaming. Shouting at her to stop. Her mother has her hand to her mouth. Her father lets her mother’s hand go and rushes towards his daughter. But he cannot possibly reach her in time. They have let her get too far ahead.
Monte without any hesitation whatsoever launches himself into a sprint. His natural athleticism allowing him a standing start that would be envied by many a track sprinter. He very quickly gains speed. Dodges the traffic on his side of the road. Ignores the hoots and screeching tyres. Gets to the white line in the centre of the road just as the girl is in the centre of the lane on that side of the road. She stops. Turns. Sees the bright yellow sports car bearing down on her. Screams. Monte launches himself at her. Catches her up in his arms. He is flying prostrate. She is held in his hands. His arms outstretched in front of him. The car hits him full on. A serious blow. Going much too fast. As he is swept away he releases the girl who rolls away from harm. Her father catching up at last scoops her into his arms. She is crying. He is crying. A mixture of shock and relief. Her mother having recovered her composure is checking her over. No hurt. She has no pain.
The mother looks up. The sports car has come to a halt maybe fifty metres down the road. The driver is out round the front kneeling. Talking to the man on the ground. Wedged under the front bumper in a terrible condition but conscious. The mother approaches and kneels next to the driver. She takes up his ruined hand stroking it gently. She can see how handsome he is. Her eyes meet his and she just mouths “thank you my hero.” The distant sound of sirens rapidly approaching is the last thing Cuthbert hears.