The Eye Of The Needle | Chapter 33 of 56

Author: Ken Follett | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 133564 Views | Add a Review

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FABER WAS AWAKE. HIS BODY PROBABLY NEEDED sleep despite the fact that he had spent the day in bed; but his mind was hyperactive, turning over possibilities, sketching scenarios…thinking about women, and about home.

Now that he was so close to getting out, his memories of home became near painfully sweet. He thought of things like sausages fat enough to eat in slices, and motor cars on the right-hand side of the road, and really tall trees, and most of all his own language—words with guts and precision, hard consonants and pure vowels and the verb at the end of the sentence where it ought to be, finality and meaning in the same climactic terminal.

Thoughts of climaxes brought Gertrud to mind again: her face underneath his, makeup washed away by his kisses, eyes closing tight in pleasure then opening again to look with delight into his, mouth stretched wide in a permanent gasp, saying “Ja, Liebling, ja…”

It was silly. He had led the life of a monk for seven years, but she had no reason to do the same. She would have had a dozen men since Faber. She might even be dead, bombed by the RAF or murdered by the maniacs because her nose was half an inch too long or run over by a motor car in the blackout. Anyway, she would hardly remember him. He would probably never see her again. But she was important. She stood for something…for him to think about.

He did not normally permit himself the indulgence of sentiment. There was in his nature, in any case, a very cold streak, and he cultivated it. It protected him. Now, though, he was so close to success, and he felt free. Not to relax his vigilance, but at least to fantasize a little.

The storm was his safeguard so long as it continued. He would simply contact the U-boat with Tom’s radio on Monday, and its captain would send a dinghy into the bay as soon as the weather cleared. If the storm ended before Monday, there was a slight complication: the supply boat. David and Lucy would naturally expect him to take the boat back to the mainland.

Lucy came into his thoughts in vivid, full-color images he could not quite control. He saw her striking amber eyes watching him as he made a bandage for her thumb; her outline walking up the stairs in front of him, even clad as she was in shapeless man’s clothing; her heavy rounded breasts as she stood naked in the bathroom; and, as the images developed into fantasy, she leaned over the bandage and kissed his mouth, turned back on the stairs and took him in her arms, stepped out of the bathroom and placed his hands on her breasts.

He turned restlessly in the small bed, cursing the imagination that sent him dreams the like of which he hadn’t suffered since his schooldays. At that time, before he’d experienced the reality of sex, he had constructed elaborate sexual scenarios featuring the older women with whom he came into daily contact: the starchy Matron; Professor Nagel’s dark, thin, intellectual wife; the shopkeeper in the village who wore red lipstick and talked to her husband with contempt. Sometimes he put all three of them into one orgiastic fantasy. When, at age fifteen, he’d seduced, classically, a housemaid’s daughter in the twilight of a West Prussian forest, he let go of the imaginary orgies because they were so much better than the disappointing real thing. As young Heinrich he had been greatly puzzled by this; where was the blinding ecstasy, the sensation of soaring through the air like a bird, the mystical fusion of two bodies into one? The fantasies became painful, reminding him of his failure to make them real. Later, of course, the reality improved, and he formed the view that ecstasy came not from a man’s pleasure in a woman, but from each one’s pleasure in each other. He had voiced that opinion to his elder brother, who seemed to think it banal, a truism rather than a discovery; and before long he saw it that way too.

He became a good lover, eventually. He found sex interesting, as well as physically pleasant. He was never a great seducer…the thrill of conquest was not what he wanted. But he was expert at giving and receiving sexual gratification, without the expert’s illusion that technique was all. For some women he was a highly desirable man, and the fact that he didn’t know this only served to make him even more attractive.

He tried to remember how many women he had had: Anna, Gretchen, Ingrid, the American girl, those two whores in Stuttgart…he could not recall them all, but there could not have been more than about twenty. And Gertrud, of course.

None of them, he thought, had been quite as beautiful as Lucy. He gave an exasperated sigh; he had let this woman affect him just because he was close to home and had been so careful for so long. He was annoyed with himself. It was undisciplined; he must not relax until the assignment was over, and this was not over, not quite. Not yet.

There was the problem of avoiding going back on the supply boat. Several solutions came to mind: perhaps the most promising was to incapacitate the island’s inhabitants, meet the boat himself and send the boatman away with a cock-and-bull story. He could say he was visiting the Roses, had come out on another boat; that he was a relative, or a bird-watcher…anything. It was too small a problem to engage his full attention at the moment. Later, when and if the weather improved, he would select something.

He really had no serious problems. A lonely island, miles off the coast, with four inhabitants—it was an ideal hideout. From now on, leaving Britain was going to be as easy as breaking out of a baby’s playpen. When he thought of the situations he had already come through, the people he had killed—the five Home Guard men, the Yorkshire lad on the train, the Abwehr messenger—he considered himself now to be sitting pretty.

An old man, a cripple, a woman, and a child…Killing them would be so simple.


LUCY, TOO, lay awake. She was listening. There was a good deal to hear. The weather was an orchestra, rain drumming on the roof, wind fluting in the eaves of the cottage, sea performing glissandi with the beach. The old house talked too, creaking in its joints as it suffered the buffeting of the storm. Within the room there were more sounds: David’s slow, regular breathing, threatening but never quite achieving a snore as he slept deeply under the influence of a double dose of soporific, and the quicker, shallow breaths of Jo, sprawled comfortably across a camp bed beside the far wall.

The noise is keeping me awake, Lucy thought; then immediately—Who am I trying to fool? Her wakefulness was caused by Henry, who had looked at her naked body, and had touched her hands gently as he bandaged her thumb, and who now lay in bed in the next room, fast asleep. Probably.

He had not told her much about himself, she realized; only that he was unmarried. She did not know where he had been born—his accent gave no clue. He had not even hinted at what he did for a living, though she imagined he must be a professional man, perhaps a dentist or a soldier. He was not dull enough to be a solicitor, too intelligent to be a journalist, and doctors could never keep their profession secret for longer than five minutes. He was not rich enough to be a barrister, too self-effacing to be an actor. She would bet on the Army.

Did he live alone, she wondered? Or with his mother? Or a woman? What did he wear when he wasn’t fishing? Did he have a motor car? Yes, he would; something rather unusual. He probably drove very fast.

That thought brought back memories of David’s two-seater, and she closed her eyes tightly to shut out the nightmare images. Think of something else, think of something else.

She thought of Henry again, and realized—accepted—the truth: she wanted to make love to him.

It was the kind of wish that, in her scheme of things, afflicted men but not women. A woman might meet a man briefly and find him attractive, want to get to know him better, even begin to fall in love with him; but she did not feel an immediate physical desire, not unless she was…abnormal.

She told herself that this was ridiculous; that what she needed was to make love with her husband, not to copulate with the first eligible man who came along. She told herself she was not that kind.

All the same, it was pleasant to speculate. David and Jo were fast asleep; there was nothing to stop her from getting out of bed, crossing the landing, entering his room, sliding into bed next to him…

Nothing to stop her except character, good breeding and a respectable upbringing.

If she were going to do it with anybody, she would do it with someone like Henry. He would be kind, and gentle and considerate; he would not despise her for offering herself like a Soho streetwalker.

She turned over in the bed, smiling at her own foolishness; how could she possibly know whether he would despise her? She had only known him for a day, and he had spent most of that day asleep.

Still, it would be nice to have him look at her again, his expression of admiration tinged with some kind of amusement. It would be nice to feel his hands, to touch his body, to squeeze against the warmth of his skin.

She realized that her body was responding to the images in her mind. She felt the urge to touch herself, and resisted it, as she had done for four years. At least I haven’t dried up, like an old crone, she thought.

She moved her legs, and sighed as a warm sensation spread through her. This was getting unreasonable. It was time to go to sleep. There was just no way she would make love to Henry, or to anyone else, tonight.

With that thought she got out of bed and went to the door.


FABER HEARD a footfall on the landing, and he reacted automatically.

His mind cleared instantly of the idle, lascivious thoughts it had been occupied with. He swung his legs to the floor and slid out from under the bedclothes in a single fluid movement; then silently crossed the room to stand beside the window in the darkest corner, the stiletto knife in his right hand.

He heard the door open, heard the intruder step inside, heard the door close again. At that point he started to think rather than react. An assassin would have left the door open for a quick escape, and it occurred to him that there were a hundred reasons why it was impossible that an assassin should have found him here.

He ignored the thought—he had survived this long by catering to the one-in-a-thousand chance. The wind dropped momentarily, and he heard an indrawn breath, a faint gasp from beside his bed, enabling him to locate the intruder’s exact position. He moved.

He had her on the bed, face down, with his knife at her throat and his knee in the small of her back before he accepted that the intruder was a woman, and a split-second later acknowledged her identity. He eased his grip, reached out to the bedside table and switched on the light.

Her face was pale in the dim glow of the lamp.

Faber sheathed the knife before she could see it. He took his weight off her body. “I’m very sorry,” he said. “I—”

She turned onto her back and looked up at him in astonishment as he straddled her. It was outrageous, but somehow the man’s sudden reaction had excited her more than ever. She began to giggle.

“I thought you were a burglar,” Faber said, knowing he must sound ridiculous.

“And where would a burglar come from, may I ask?” The color rushed back to her cheeks in a blush.

She was wearing a very loose, old-fashioned flannel nightgown that covered her from her throat to her ankles. Her dark-red hair spread across Faber’s pillow in disarray. Her eyes seemed very large, and her lips were wet.

“You are remarkably beautiful,” Faber said quietly.

She closed her eyes.

Faber bent over her and kissed her mouth. Her lips parted immediately, and she returned his kiss. With his fingertips he stroked her shoulders, her neck and her ears. She moved underneath him.

He wanted to kiss her for a long time, to explore her mouth and savor the intimacy, but he realized that she had no time for tenderness. She reached inside his pajama bottoms and squeezed. She moaned softly and began to breathe hard.

Still kissing her, Faber reached for the light and killed it. He pulled away from her and took off his pajama jacket. Quickly, so that she would not wonder what he was doing, he tugged at the can stuck to his chest, ignoring the sting as the sticky tape was jerked away from his skin. He slid the photographs under the bed. He also unbuttoned the sheath on his left forearm and dropped that.

He pushed the skirt of her nightgown up to her waist.

“Quickly,” she said. “Quickly.”

Faber lowered his body to hers.


SHE DID NOT FEEL the least bit guilty afterward. Just content, satisfied, replete. She had had what she so badly wanted. She lay still, eyes closed, stroking the bristly hair at the back of his neck, enjoying the rough tickling sensation on her hands.

After a while she said: “I was in such a rush…”

“It’s not over yet,” he told her.

She frowned in the dark. “Didn’t you?…” She had been wondering.

“No, I don’t. You hardly did.”

She smiled. “I beg to differ.”

He turned on the light and looked at her. “We’ll see.”

He slipped down the bed, between her thighs, and kissed her belly. His tongue flicked in and out of her navel. It felt quite nice, she thought. His head went lower. Surely he doesn’t want to kiss me there. He did. And he did more than kiss. His lips pulled at the soft folds of her skin. She was paralyzed by shock as his tongue began to probe in the crevices and then, as he parted her lips with his fingers, to thrust deep inside her…. Finally his relentless tongue found a tiny, sensitive place, so small she had not known it existed, so sensitive that his touch was almost painful at first. She forgot her shock as she was overwhelmed by the most piercing sensation she had ever experienced. Unable to restrain herself, she moved her hips up and down, faster and faster, rubbing her slippery flesh over his mouth, his chin, his nose, his forehead, totally absorbed in her own pleasure. It built and built, feeding on itself, until she felt utterly possessed by joy and opened her mouth to scream, at which point he clapped his hand over her face. But she screamed in her throat as the climax went on and on, ending in something that felt like an explosion and left her so drained that she thought she would never, never be able to get up.

Her mind seemed to go blank for a while. She knew vaguely that he still lay between her legs, his bristly cheek against the soft inside of her thigh, his lips moving gently, affectionately.

Eventually she said, “Now I know what Lawrence means.”

He lifted his head. “I don’t understand.”

She sighed. “I didn’t realize it could be like that. It was lovely.”


“Oh, God, I’ve no more energy…”

He changed position, kneeling astride her chest, and she realized what he wanted her to do, and for the second time she was frozen by shock; it was just too big…but suddenly she wanted to do it, she needed to take him into her mouth; she lifted her head, and her lips closed around him, and he gave a soft groan.

He held her head in his hands, moving it to and fro, moaning quietly. She looked at his face. He was staring at her, drinking in the sight of what she was doing. She wondered what she would do when he…came…and she decided she didn’t care, because everything else had been so good with him that she knew she would enjoy even that.

But it didn’t happen. When she thought he was to the point of losing control he stopped, moved away, lay on top of her, and entered her again. This time it was very slow, and relaxed, like the rhythm of the sea on the beach; until he put his hands under her hips and grasped the mounts of her bottom, and she looked at his face and knew that now, now he was ready to shed his self-control and lose himself in her. And that excited her more than anything, so that when he finally arched his back, his face screwed up into a mask of pain, and groaned deep in his chest, she wrapped her legs around his waist and abandoned herself to the ecstasy of it, and then, after so long, she heard the trumpets and cymbals that Lawrence had promised.

They were quiet for a long time. Lucy felt warm, as if she were glowing; she had never felt so warm in all her life. When their breathing subsided she could hear the storm outside. Henry was heavy on top of her but she did not want him to move…she liked his weight, and the faint tang of perspiration from his white skin. From time to time he moved his head to brush his lips against her cheek.

He was the perfect man to have this with. He knew more about her body than she did. His own body was very beautiful…broad and muscular at the shoulders, narrow at the waist and hips with long, strong, hairy legs. She thought he had some scars, she was not sure. Strong, gentle and handsome. Perfect. She also knew she would never fall in love with him, never want to run off with him, marry him. Deep inside him, she sensed, there was also something quite cold and hard—his reaction, and explanation, when she came into his room was extraordinary…she wouldn’t think about it—some part of him that was committed elsewhere…. She would have to hold him at arm’s length and use him cautiously, like an addictive drug.

Not that she would have much time to become addicted, he would, after all, be gone in little more than a day.

She stirred, and he immediately rolled off her and onto his back. She lifted herself on one elbow and looked at his naked body. Yes, he did have scars: a long one on his chest, and a small mark like a star—it might have been a burn—on his hip. She rubbed his chest with the palm of her hand.

“It’s not very ladylike,” she said, “but I want to say thank you.”

He reached out to touch her cheek, and smiled. “You’re very ladylike.”

“You don’t know what you’ve done. You’ve—”

He put a finger over her lips. “I know what I’ve done.”

She bit his finger, then put his hand on her breast. He felt for her nipple. She said, “Please do it again.”

“I don’t think I can,” he said.

But he did.


SHE LEFT HIM a couple of hours after dawn. There was a small noise from the other bedroom, and she seemed suddenly to remember that she had a husband and a son in the house. Faber wanted to tell her that it didn’t matter, that neither he nor she had the least reason to care what the husband knew or thought; but he held his tongue and let her go. She kissed him once more, very wetly; then she stood up, smoothed her rumpled nightgown over her body and went out.

He watched her fondly. She’s quite something, he thought. He lay on his back and looked at the ceiling. She was quite naïve, and very inexperienced, but all the same she had been very good. I could perhaps fall in love with her, he thought.

He got up and retrieved the film can and the knife in its sheath from under the bed. He wondered whether to keep them on his person. He might want to make love to her in the day…he decided to wear the knife—he would feel undressed without it—and leave the can elsewhere. He put it on top of the chest of drawers and covered it with his papers and his wallet. He knew very well that he was breaking the rule, but this was certain to be his last assignment, and he felt entitled to enjoy a woman. Besides, it would hardly matter if she or her husband saw the pictures—assuming they understood their meaning, which was unlikely, what could they do?

He lay down on the bed, then got up again. Years of training simply would not allow him to take such risks. He put the can with his papers into the pocket of his jacket. Now he could relax better.

He heard the child’s voice, then Lucy’s tread as she went down the stairs, and then David dragging himself to the bathroom. He would have to get up and have breakfast with the household. It was all right. He did not want to sleep now anyway.

He stood at the rain-streaked window watching the weather rage until he heard the bathroom door open. Then he put on his pajama top and went in to shave. He used David’s razor, without permission.

It did not seem to matter now.

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Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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