Pieces Of Modesty
From this printing: Its non-stop galloping adventure through six exhilarating capers all bursting with excitement as Modesty and Willie use anything and everything — from circus cannon to human kite-flying — to grab a piece of the action.
Half an hour later, at a parking meter off Whitehall, Tarrant got into a Jensen and sat down beside Modesty Blaise. Once again he was intrigued by the fact that on her return from a situation of high danger she always looked younger, quite ridiculously young. He thought that perhaps this was how she had looked on the day Willie first saw her, when she was barely out of her teens.
She was looking at him with an inquiring smile, and he remembered the little bunch of violets he was carrying. "With my love," he said, and presented them to her.
"Why, thank you. They're beautiful."
"I could think of nothing else," Tarrant said. "The point is, they have a rarity value. They're not really from me, they'll be paid for out of the Special Fund. It's difficult to get money out of the Special Fund at any time, because the PM has to approve, but getting twenty thousand pounds would be easier than getting two shillings, which is what I've put in for. Waverly wanted to give me two shillings out of his pocket, but I wouldn't have it. I wish you could have seen his face."
She laughed, and put her lips briefly to Tarrant's cheek. "They're just what I've always wanted. I'll ask for a vase when we get to Claridge's. You hold them while I drive." She started the Jensen and backed from the meter.
Tarrant said, "How is Willie forgetting his sorrows?"
"With Mavis. He's flown to Jersey for a long weekend with her."
"I haven't met her, but according to Willie she's a very tall showgirl with more and bigger curves than you'd think possible on any human being. Mentally as thick as two planks, but unfailingly cheerful and bursting with enthusiasm. He says it's like going to bed with four girls and a cylinder of laughing-gas. I think she's just the sort to take him out of himself."
Tarrant sighed, baffled. "You're a woman, and Willie is a part of you," he said. "Why on earth aren't you possessive about him?"
He saw humour touch her face. "I suppose it's just the pattern," she said patiently. With her eyes still on the road ahead she grinned suddenly. "But if Mavis ever starts shooting people over the Berlin Wall with him, I might feel like bouncing some of those curves off her."
Tarrant laughed. He felt very happy. It had started to rain, but for him the sun was shining today. "I don't suppose it will ever come to that," he said.
Peter O`Donnell, Pieces of Modesty, 1972