Never by Ken Follett

Never by Ken Follett

Author:Ken Follett [Follett, Ken]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Published: 2021-11-09T00:00:00+00:00

* * *

Pauline had dinner with Gerry and Pippa in the Residence that Sunday evening, looking out at the streetlights of Washington, while people in Beijing and Pyongyang were getting up in the dark on a winter Monday morning.

The Residence cook had made curried beef, Pippa’s new favorite dish. Pauline ate the rice and the salad. Food did not excite her, nor did booze. Whatever was put in front of her, she would eat or drink a little.

She asked Pippa: “How are you getting on with Ms. Judd now?”

“Old Judders is off my case, thank God,” Pippa said.

If Pippa was no longer attracting the attention of the school principal, it probably meant that her behavior had gotten better. It was the same at home: there had been no more rows. Pauline thought the improvement might be due to the threat of home schooling. Regardless of how much Pipa rebelled, school was the center of her social life. Pauline’s talk of a tutor had served as a reality check.

Gerry said irritably: “Amelia Judd is not old and she doesn’t judder. She’s forty, and an extremely competent and capable woman.”

Pauline looked at him in mild surprise. He did not often reprimand Pippa, and this was an odd issue to choose. The thought crossed her mind that Gerry might have developed a little crush on “Amelia.” Perhaps it was not surprising. The head teacher was an authoritative woman in a leadership role, like Pauline but ten years younger. A more recent edition of the same book, Pauline thought cynically.

Pippa said to her father: “You wouldn’t like Judders so much if it was you she was trying to push around.”

There was a tap at the door and Sandip came in. It was unusual for staffers to disturb family meals at the Residence; in fact it was forbidden except in an emergency. Pauline said: “What’s up?”

“I’m very sorry to interrupt, Madam President, but two things have happened in the last few minutes. CBS has announced a long interview with James Moore, live at seven thirty.”

Pauline looked at her watch. It was a few minutes after seven.

Sandip said: “He’s never done an interview with network television.”

“As I pointed out this morning,” Pauline said.

“It’s a scoop for CBS, which is why they’re rushing it.”

“Do you think he was stung by my calling him Timid Jim?”

“I’m sure of it. A lot of the broadcasters used those words in their reports of the press conference. That was very clever of you. It’s forced Moore to try to prove you wrong, and for that he has to stick his neck out.”


“He’ll probably make a fool of himself on CBS. All they have to do is put up an interviewer with a brain.”

Pauline was not so sure. “He may surprise us. He’s slippery. Pinning him down is like trying to pick up a live fish with one hand.”

Sandip nodded. “In politics, the only thing that’s certain is that nothing is certain.”

That made Pippa laugh.

“I’ll watch the interview here, then come over to the West Wing,” Pauline said to Sandip.


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