The Codes of Love by Hannah Persaud
English | 2020 | General Fiction/Classics | ePUB | 2.7 MB
This is a wonderfully compelling novel which looks unflinchingly at the power of sexual attraction and what can happen when people give into their desires. A page-turning portrait of a contemporary marriage where all is not quite as perfect as it seems.
‘Ambitious,’ she is saying, ‘to wear shorts in Wales.’
The clouds hang low as rain canvases against the windscreen and Ryan struggles to keep the car steady as it is buffeted by the wind. A steady trickle of water runs down the join between door and window and drips onto his knee, pooling in between his toes. The sole of his foot slips against the rubber of his flip-flops as he accelerates.
When he’d opened the curtains of the room at their B & B this morning, sunlight slipped through a crevice in the clouds and streamed in through the window. As he watched Ada sleeping in the shaft of light, he’d taken it as a sign. He’d had a good feeling about today.
Now he’s not so sure it was sensible to make this trip out to the Cregennan Lakes. As soon as they got into the car the weather turned. Today would have been the perfect excuse to stay in bed, windows fastened. The most fleeting of decisions gather volume when inspected later, but for now the cottage is undiscovered. Hindsight is everything.
Ada’s warm skin distracts him from the road. He moves his left hand to rest upon her thigh and feels her shift into his fingers.
‘Careful,’ she says as the chassis of the car crashes against the tarmac in between the potholes. Whose idea was it to bring this ridiculous excuse of a car anyway, little more than a tin can on wheels, not even watertight? She lifts his hand from her leg and places it back on the steering wheel. ‘Later.’
She smiles and turns up the music, singing along tunelessly. They could have brought the Audi, or the Range Rover, the Range Rover the obvious choice for a trip like this, but she’d insisted on this car she’d learned to drive in twenty years ago. Emotional about so little, she surprises him with these nods to sentiment.
‘We must be nearly there.’ He slows to peer through the water sluicing down the windows. ‘We’ve been driving for at least an hour.’
‘I’ll check,’ she says, reaching for her phone. ‘It said twenty minutes from Dolgellau this morning.’ Opening the window, she extends her arm out, phone to the sky. ‘Crap. No reception.’
‘Great,’ he sighs and pulls over to the side of the road, startling a buzzard that is picking at a carcass.
‘Isn’t this what we wanted?’ She leans over and kisses his cheek. ‘A break from everything, total focus on ourselves?’ Despite his frustration at the road and the gnawing hunger in his stomach, the car is fogging up and it’s exciting being lost among the mountains. They are playing at being free. When she slides his chair backwards and straddles him he worries briefly about being spotted by passing cars; then she becomes everything.