Piccolo had indeed elected to select all of their clothes and do all of the packing. She would not have wanted it any other way, and her husband was more than happy to concede. Although they would only be away for a couple of days, the formality of such elevated surroundings required careful consideration. There could be no excuse for not being properly dressed. As for further preparations Lady B had not revealed anything of her plan, so detailed anticipation was difficult if not impossible. It warranted repetition that neither the identity of the blackmailer or even the probability of their attendance was known to Simmonds or Piccolo. But, as so much of what had transpired over the past three weeks had been undefined, it seemed churlish in their minds to baulk at the addition of yet another opaque dimension.
It so transpired that the 23rd December was the anniversary of Simmonds’ and Piccolo’s first meeting, a date which they cherished. So as there was destined to be no private Christmas for them this year, they chose an early dual celebration. They went out for a meal and exchanged gifts – a French diamond pin for her, an American wristwatch for him. They laughed and smiled and reminisced, blissfully ignorant of the traumas that lay directly ahead.