Danielle Steel: The Kiss

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  • Название:
    The Kiss
  • Автор:
  • Издательство:
    Random House, Inc.
  • Жанр:
    Старинная литература / на английском языке
  • Год:
    2002
  • Язык:
    Английский
  • ISBN:
    9780440236696
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    3 / 5
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The Kiss: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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Danielle Steel: другие книги автора


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Gordon's coldness toward his wife, on the other hand, was far more extreme. Sophie's seeming distance from her mother could be interpreted as an attempt to stand on her own two feet, in contrast to her brother's constant neediness, and to be different from him. In her case, it seemed almost an attempt to prove that she did not need the time and energy her mother did not have to give, due to Teddy's being constantly ill. In Gordon's case, it seemed to be rooted in something far deeper, which at times seemed, or felt to Isabelle at least, like a deep resentment of her, and the cruel turn of fate that had cast a handicapped son on them, for which he appeared to blame her.

Gordon had a dispassionate view of life, and generally observed life from a safe distance, as though he were willing to watch the game but not play it, unlike Teddy and Isabelle, who were passionate about everything they felt, and expressed it. The flame that she and the child shared was what had kept Teddy alive through a lifetime of illness. And her devotion to her son had long since distanced Gordon from her. Emotionally, Gordon had been removed from her for years, since shortly after Teddy's birth. Years before she met Bill, Gordon had moved out of their bedroom. At the time, he had explained it by saying that she went to bed too late and rose too early, and it disturbed him. But she had sensed accurately that there was more to it than that. Not wanting to make things worse between them or confront him, she had never dared to challenge him about it. But she had known for a long time that Gordon's affections for her had at first diminished, and then finally disappeared.

Isabelle could no longer even remember the last time they had touched or kissed, or made love. It was a fact of life she now accepted. She had long since learned to live without her husband's love. She had often suspected that he not only associated Teddy's illness with her, but blamed her for it, although the doctors had reassured her that his infirmities and premature birth had not been her fault. She and Gordon never actually discussed it, and there was no way to acquit herself of his silent accusations. But she always felt them, and knew they were there. It was as though just seeing Isabelle reminded Gordon of the child's sickroom, and just as he had rejected his son from birth, out of a horror of his defects and illness, he had eventually rejected Isabelle as well. He had put up a wall between himself and his wife to shut out the images of illness he detested. He hadn't been able to tolerate what he perceived as weakness since he was a child himself. The wall between them was one Isabelle no longer attempted to scale, although she had at first. Her attempts at drawing closer to him after Teddy's birth had been futile, Gordon had resisted all her efforts, until finally she accepted the vast, lonely chasm between them as a way of life.

Gordon had always been cool and businesslike by nature. He was said to be ruthless in business, and not a warm person in any aspect of his life, but in spite of that, he had been affectionate with her at first. His standoffishness had almost seemed like a challenge to her, and was unfamiliar to her. But because of that, each smile won, each warm gesture, had felt like a victory to her, and all the more impressive because he showed no warmth to anyone else. She had been very young then, and intrigued by him. He seemed so competent, and so powerful in her eyes, and in many ways impressive. He was a man in total control of every aspect of his world. And there had been much about Isabelle that Gordon had liked, and which had reassured him that she would make a perfect wife. Her ancestry certainly, her aristocratic heritage and name, her important connections, which had served him well at the bank. Her family's fortune had evaporated years before, but their importance in social and political circles had not. Marrying her had increased his stature socially, which was an important factor for him. She was the perfect accessory to enhance both his standing and his career. And in addition to the appeal of her pedigree, there had been a childlike innocence about her that had briefly opened the door to his heart.

In spite of whatever social ulterior motives he may have had, there was a basic sweetness to Isabelle as a young girl that would have been hard for any man to resist. She was compassionate, kind, without guile. And the loftiness of Gordon's style, his considerable attentions toward her, and his exquisite manners when he courted her, had elicited a kind of hero worship from her. She was fascinated by his intelligence, impressed by his power and success in the world, and Gordon had been smooth enough with the advantage of being seventeen years older than Isabelle, to say all the right things to her. Even her family had been thrilled when he proposed. It had been obvious to them that Gordon would be a perfect husband and take extraordinarily good care of her, or so they thought. And in spite of his reputation for being tough in his dealings at the bank, he seemed extremely kind to her, which ultimately proved not to be the case.

By the time Isabelle met Bill Robinson, she was a lonely woman standing vigil over a desperately ill child, with a husband who seldom even spoke to her, and leading an unusually isolated life. Bill's voice was sometimes the only contact she had with another adult all day, other than Teddy's doctor, or his nurse. And he appeared to be the only person in her world who was genuinely concerned about her. Gordon rarely, if ever, asked her how she was. At best, if pressed, he told her that he would be out for dinner that night, or that he was leaving in the morning on a trip. He no longer shared with her what he did in the course of his days. And their brief conversations only reinforced her feeling of being shut out of his life. The hours she spent talking to Bill opened the windows to a broader, richer world. They were like a breath of fresh air to Isabelle, and a lifeline she clung to on dark nights. It was Bill who had become her best friend in the course of their conversations over the years, and Gordon who was now the stranger in her life.

She had tried to explain it to Bill once in one of their early-morning phone calls, in the second year of their friendship. Teddy had been sick for weeks, she was feeling run-down and exhausted and vulnerable, and she was depressed over how cold Gordon had been to her the night before. He had told her that she was wasting her time nursing the boy, that it was obvious to everyone that he was going to die before long, and she had best make her peace with it. He had said that when the boy died finally, it would be a mercy for all of them. She had had tears in her voice and her eyes, when she spoke of it to Bill that morning, and he had been horrified by the callousness of the child's father, and his cruelty to Isabelle.

“I think Gordon resents me terribly for all the years I've spent taking care of Teddy. I haven't had as much time to spend with him as I should have.” She entertained for him, but not as frequently as she knew he felt she should. Gordon had long since convinced her that she had failed him as a wife. And it irked Bill to hear how ready she was to accept what Gordon said.

“It seems reasonable, under the circumstances, that Teddy should be your first priority, Isabelle,” Bill said gently. He had been quietly researching doctors for her for months, in the hope of finding a miracle cure for Teddy, but he hadn't been encouraged by what he'd been told by the physicians he'd consulted. According to Isabelle, the child had a degenerative disease that was attacking his heart, his lungs were inadequate, and his entire system was slowly deteriorating. The consensus of opinion was that it would be a miracle if he survived into his twenties. And it tore at Bill's heart knowing what Isabelle went through, and would have to face someday.

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