The Tides of Memory by Sidney Sheldon

“His name’s Billy? The man from your past.”

Alexia nodded. “And there’ve been other things too. The whole cabinet hates me. I know I’m being briefed on an almost daily basis. Then there was that awful business with our dog being poisoned. Teddy’s dog, really.”

Lucy looked suitably horrified.

“Sometimes it feels as if it’s all connected, all the hatred. But I don’t know what the connection is. That’s the awful thing. I don’t know, and the not knowing is driving me mad. This ought to be the happiest time of my life, but instead I feel like I’m going crazy.”

“Well,” Lucy said reasonably, “it sounds as if this Billy guy may be at the root of it. Now that you’ve had him deported, things will start to get better, I’m sure.”

“I hope so.” Alexia sniffed. “But what if it’s nothing to do with him? Anyone could be behind these threats. It could be one of the prisoners whose sentences I increased, or one of their family members. So many people hate me, Lucy. Even my own daughter hates me. Let’s face it, if anyone wants my blood shed in the dust, it’s Roxanne.”

“That’s not true,” Lucy said loyally, although she suspected it was. She couldn’t help but notice Roxie’s brooding at supper, the way the girl had literally recoiled at the sound of Alexia’s voice, as if bitten by a snake. Things had clearly got worse on that front since Lucy had last seen the De Veres. But Alexia could be terribly caustic toward her daughter too, a fact she seemed completely blind to.

Arnie Meyer poked his head into the kitchen and was amazed to find his wife on her knees, comforting a sobbing Alexia De Vere. Arnie had never seen Alexia cry in his life. Not even when Roxie was in the hospital, fighting for her life.

“What on earth’s the matter?”

“It’s nothing,” said Alexia.

“Can I help?”

“Yes,” said Lucy practically. “You can take the coffee things out to the table. We need a minute here.”

“Should I get Teddy?”

“No.” Alexia shook her head vehemently. “Poor Teddy’s stressed enough as it is. Let him relax. Honestly, Arnie, I’m fine. I just got a little emotional.”

Pulling a perfectly pressed white linen handkerchief out of a drawer, Lucy Meyer passed it to her friend.

“We can’t talk now. There are too many people here.”

“I know. I’m sorry. I ruined your dinner.”

“Nonsense. It was your dinner anyway.”

“ ‘It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to’?”

“Exactly!” Both women laughed. “I was going to say we should take a walk together tomorrow. I know a great secluded beach on the north of the island. If we leave early enough, we’ll have the place to ourselves.”

“Sounds heavenly. But I can’t tomorrow. Teddy’s flying back to London for a big business meeting on Tuesday and I promised him we’d spend tomorrow together. We’re sailing.”

“Next week, then. After he’s gone. I’m not going anywhere.”

Alexia squeezed Lucy’s hand. She felt profoundly grateful for her friendship. “I’d like that.”

“Then you can tell me everything.”

If only I could.

“Now, come on,” Lucy said briskly. “We can’t keep moping around in here. Let’s go and see if that divinely gorgeous son of yours has finally fallen for my daughter. I’ve got my wedding outfit all planned, you know. Had it in my closet for years.”

Alexia laughed aloud.

Thank God for Lucy.

Chapter Eighteen

The morning after Lucy’s dinner party, Michael De Vere asked Summer Meyer out on a date.

“I booked us the best table at Marco’s. Saturday night, eight o’clock.”

“That’s sweet of you,” said Summer. “But I just got out of a relationship. I’m not ready to start dating again.”

“How about eating?” said Michael. “Are you eating yet? Because food’s important, you know. It’s right up there with water. And breathing air. You do breathe air?”

Summer laughed. “Yes, Michael. I do breathe air.”

“Thank God. So anyway, back to food. Marco’s food is the best on the island. That’s all I’m saying.”

“Really? Thanks for the tip. I must get some takeout and try it one night. Alone.”

She hung up.

The next morning, Michael De Vere showed up on the doorstep at Pilgrim Farm.

“I brought you a present.”

He thrust a neatly wrapped package into Summer Meyer’s hands.

She opened it. It was a cookbook.

Meals for One.

“How thoughtful.” She tried not to laugh but it was impossible.

“I am very thoughtful,” said Michael. “How’s the heartbreak coming along?”


“Wanna speed it up?”

“Good-bye, Michael. Thanks for the book.”

At two o’clock the next morning, Summer was roused from a deep sleep by a sharp rap on her bedroom window. Staggering out of bed, she opened it, narrowly missing being hit in the face by a pebble.

“What are you doing?” She rubbed her eyes blearily.

Michael grinned up at her in the moonlight. “Trying to get your attention. Is it working?”


“I brought a guitar.”

“You did not.”

“Would you like me to serenade you?”

“No! I’d like you to go home, you lunatic. It’s the middle of the night.”

“All right. I won’t sing, if you agree to have dinner with me.”

“Michael, we’ve been through this.”

“You can cook dinner for one and I’ll eat half.”

“I’m in love with someone else!”

“I know. Chad Bates. Your mother told me.”

“Well then.”

“Well then, what? You broke up. I know Barry Manilow, you know.” Michael shook his guitar mock-threateningly. “And I’m not afraid to use him.”

Summer burst out laughing. “My God. You don’t take no for an answer, do you?”

“It’s a family trait.”

“Fine. I’ll have dinner with you. But as an old friend, nothing more. Now for heaven’s sake go home and let me get some sleep.”

Michael De Vere went home. But Summer Meyer didn’t sleep. She lay awake thinking about Chad, Chad whom she’d loved so hard for so long and whom she really believed she was going to marry until he’d told her back in May that he “needed space” and never called her again. Chad was serious and cerebral and a genius. Chad was going to be an important journalist one day.

Then she thought about Michael, in his leather bomber jacket with that ridiculous guitar slung over his shoulder, Martha’s Vineyard’s answer to John Mayer. Michael was sexy and immature and impulsive. Michael had given up Oxford to become a professional partier.

There’s your answer, Summer told herself. Michael De Vere is not the sort of man I need in my life.

Absolutely, categorically not.

“I wrote you a poem.”

They were having dinner, not at Marco’s but at a little, nondescript café by Eastville Point Beach. Summer had finished a delicious burger and fries, washed down with two Sam Adams, and was just starting to relax about the evening (Of course, two old friends can have dinner together. It doesn’t have to be a big deal) when Michael pulled the envelope out of his pocket.

Summer’s face fell. “A poem? I thought we agreed. I meant it when I said I’m not ready to start dating again. And even if I were, I’m not really a poetry sort of girl.”

“How do you know? You haven’t read it yet.”

Summer opened the envelope and read aloud.

“There once was a loser named Bates.

Who danced the fandango on skates.

But a fall on his cutlass

Has rendered him nutless,

And practically useless on dates.”

Summer grinned. “Very romantic.”

“You like that?” Michael smiled back. “I made up a whole bunch of limericks, but I thought that was the best. He never deserved you, you know.”

“How would you know? You never even met him!”

“I know, but come on: Chad. What kind of a name is that?”

“It’s a perfectly normal name.”

“Let’s be honest, it’s not a name one can imagine screaming in ecstasy, is it? ‘Chad! Oh, Chad! Harder Chad!’”

“Stop!” Summer feigned indignation. “I suppose ‘Michael’ would sound so much better, wouldn’t it?”

“Naturally. It just rolls off the tongue. I’ll show you later if you like.”

Summer cocked her head to one side and studied him closely. In faded brown Abercrombie shorts, flip-flops, and a Balliol Boat Club T-shirt, with his Hamptons tan and dark curly hair grown out, rocker-style, Michael looked even more handsome than usual. Ever since he was a kid, he’d been beautiful. But was there any substance behind the pretty face?

“I had the biggest crush on you when I was little.”

“I had an inkling,” said Michael.

“This is the part where you’re supposed to say you always liked me too,” Summer teased him. “Didn’t you?”

“The thing is . . .” Michael swirled the beer around the bottom of his bottle thoughtfully. “You weren’t that little.”


“No, really. You were absolutely enormous.”

Summer picked up a piece of bread from the basket between them and threw it at him. “That’s not very gentlemanly!”

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Categories: Sidney Sheldon