Books » Eternal Wish

Synopsis

Peter Porter, a successful writer in his mid-forties is a widower twice over and, not wanting to risk losing a third wife, he regularly avails himself of the services of a gorgeous blonde escort called Debbie. However, there is far more to their relationship than that of a business arrangement and, although they manage to keep their true feelings a secret from each other, they are in fact falling love and finding it much harder to say goodbye following their sex sessions.

When Peter has a book-signing engagement in London involving a helicopter trip, he finds himself at Stapleford Flight Centre. Once a keen pilot – and still interested in all aspects of aviation, he spots a Beechcraft 18,  one of his ‘dream’ machines. Unable to resist a closer look, he is told vaguely that it belongs to ‘some lesbian who uses it for shopping trips’ and goes in search of the owner. The so-called lesbian is Miss Julie Johnson – who turns out to be none other than Debbie. Julie’s late father left her the aircraft together with a property and her double life as Debbie pays for the expense of keeping them going.

After they recover from the shock, they both confess their love for each other and, with their mutual love of flying, and high sex drives they soon become inseparable. Although there are some tricky issues to be addressed, their love endures and they marry. Peter makes all the arrangements for a surprise wedding and they are married in style at a luxury hotel where their first night of married bliss is a night of love to remember.

They fly themselves off to Paris and Prague, enjoying the romantic sights by day and exhausting their passion by night, finally returning home – where their honeymoon continues; the couple are blissfully happy and life is perfect.

Then the bubble of perfection bursts and things begin to go wrong. First of all, Nigel, an instructor at Compton Abbas, tells Julie that he knows all about her past life and tries to attack her. Fortunately Peter arrives just in time to prevent him and punches him in the face, breaking his nose.

Full of hatred and thirsty for revenge, Nigel cuts through the fuel pipes of the Beech 18 the night before Julie is due to fly in her the following morning. Her life is threatened when she has to crash land the plane which falls to the ground in flames. Miraculously, she escapes with only minor injuries, but considerable shock and also a deep sorrow at the thought that her beloved Beech is a write-off.

Air Accident Investigators find evidence that the plane was tampered with and probe into the couple’s private lives, discovering that they have recently married and taken out large life assurance policies. The inference is that Peter has attempted to murder Julie, making it look like an accident so that he can pick up the insurance money. Peter has an idea that Nigel may be implicated, but Julie is very reluctant to tell the investigators of the incident, fearing that the truth about her past will come out and ruin their lives, but Peter in particular, as a successful author. Peter only wants to have the culprit caught and punished and tells the investigators all he knows.

It transpires that Nigel has vanished. Peter takes extra precautions for their security in case Nigel should return and strike again, but eventually their lives settle down again and Debbie fades away into the past where she belongs… well, she does appear again, in disguise, on the nose of the rebuilt Beech 18. Julie has always called the plane ‘Alfie’, but as Peter points out, all planes are female – everyone knows that! So Julie is taken aback when she sees the nose art – an airbrushed picture of a shapely female attired in 1940’s lingerie with the name Debbie underneath.

Mr and Mrs Porter put the past behind them and life is good again. Until tragedy strikes once more when Peter is unexpectedly diagnosed with a brain tumour after collapsing at his cottage. Julie is told by the surgeon that he has only about six weeks to live and her world is turned upside down. Peter is unconscious following surgery and she stays at his bedside, holding his hand and talking to him. After a few days he returns to consciousness and Julie has to break the devastating news. Peter’s reaction is to discharge himself immediately and after a battle with the doctors, his wishes are respected and Julie takes him home.

Responding to Julies love and care, Peter rallies and begins to feel better – even agreeing to a book-signing in Scotland, a place neither he nor Julie have yet visited. They admire the breathtaking scenery, are enchanted with the Northern Lights, and have a happy, restful time.

When they return home, Peter’s condition deteriorates again; there are disturbing behaviour patterns and severe memory lapses, and everything is uncertain. He finds himself back in hospital but, as before, he fights his illness and again is able to return home, although this time he is weaker and more confused.

Then one day Peter tells Julie that he thinks it would be a good idea to have some dog-tags made with his name on and Julie’s number in case he loses his memory at any time when they are apart. Julie sees no need for them – she is never far from his side now, but she humours him, agreeing to drive him in to town to order them. As she turns out of their drive, there is an almighty crash and everything goes black.

Peter wakes up and looks around. The car windscreen is smashed and the door is hanging off; there is the wreckage of a large white van in front of him. Not knowing who or where he is, he sees that a light is on at the house nearby and staggers towards it to ask for help. When he hears a woman screaming he knows something is wrong and then he sees her – a half-naked woman with her hands tied to the table legs, kicking and screaming and a vicious man hitting her, and about to finnish her off., and suddenly he sees a crystal that they had made in Prague which has his and hers faces in it and just in the nick of time he saves her.

Peter remembers nothing when he comes round again in a hospital bed, but slowly, with Julies help, they complete the picture. Nigel had been watching them, awaiting his chance, and had come tearing towards them in his transit van. Leaving Peter for dead, he dragged Julie back to the house and was attacking her when Peter came in, smashing a large vase over his head. The blow itself didn’t kill him, but he fell awkwardly and broke his neck, so it was an accident; Peter was in the clear.

Against all the odds, Peter recovers enough to be able to leave hospital and he and Julie make the decision to make the most of the short time left to them. They go out walking, for picnics, and just to enjoy their own company – their own world of love. One day they decide to fly to Alderney for lunch. Julie knows that time is running out and thinks it best to end it all now while they are both happy, and shuts down the engines. Peter realises, just in time, and brings everything under control, avoiding a fatal crash in the Channel. Peter wants her to live on after his death, to find happiness again, but Julie is adamant that when he dies, she does too.

After yet another spell in hospital, Peter’s behaviour becomes unpredictable and bizarre at times. The specialist makes it clear that time is rapidly running out now and asks Julie to make arrangements for him to be re-admitted. Instead, she calls the airfield to arrange a flight from there the next day. She has a plan, and tells Peter that she has heard of a clinic in Switzerland who may be able to help him. That night is very special – like no other.

Next morning, they dress in their most attractive clothes – Julies choice – and prepare for their trip to Switzerland. She even lets Peter drive her to the airfield in his beloved Mk 2 Jag. Once airborne, she breaks down and confesses to Peter that there is no clinic in Switzerland; no miracle cure. He tells her he is quite aware of that – he knows from her body language what the plan is and asks her again to turn back; to make a new life for herself… but no way.

But she has one final request; she has brought some handcuffs and asks Peter to secure their wrists and ankles together so that their bodies are not separated when they crash into the sea.

Drowsy from the sleeping pills she has taken, Julie dozes off into her big sleep; Peter swallows the remaining pills, switches to autopilot and together they fly on to their final destination – their island of  Eternal Love.