Tender Loving Care

The day after the talk with Mathis, Bond decides that he wants to finally see Vesper. He had been putting it off, even though she had been persistently inquiring of him, even sending him flowers, which Bond asked the nurse to take to other patients. He doesn’t want the sympathy, the insinuation of weakness that come with flowers in the hospital. He is also worried about having to question Vesper about her actions in the case, he knows she could be in danger of losing her job. Most of all, Bond is worried about his injuries and their affect on his “abilities”.

The Doctor has assured him that no permanent damage was done, that Bond will recover fully, but he holds of on seeing Vesper, just in case. He finally agrees to let her in, and she looks terrific. She’s described as wearing a “cream tussore frock with a black belt.” That’s a fairly tight fitted dress with a square cut front cleavage. Bond expected her to “look pale and even ill”, but she has instead been bathing at the beach each day and is bronzed and beautiful. After she tells him about her days, Bond makes a cold remark about his injuries, a remark which causes Vesper to cry and blame herself…the type of scene that Bond despises. However, the tears have an affect on him.

Bond looked at her tenderly. Like all harsh, cold men, he was easily tipped over into sentiment. She was very beautiful and he felt warm towards her. He decided to make his questions as easy as possible.

Bond is going to let her off the hook for her performance on the job. They go over the events of the night of their capture, how she was lured outside and kidnapped, how she was not touched or messed about while being held captive. Back at the villa, she was simply tied in a chair, passed out. She does recall a horrible scream, and Bond says it must’ve have been him. She cries again. Again, Bond responds kindly, comforting her, telling her “anyone could have fallen for that note” when he knows better, and trying to cheer her up. It again causes a reaction. She says she’ll try to make it up to him somehow.

Somehow? Thought Bond to himself. He looked at her. She was smiling at him. He smiled back.
‘You’d better look out,’ he said. ‘I may hold you to that.’
She looked into his eyes and said nothing, but the enigmatic challenge was back. She pressed his hand and rose. ‘A promise is a promise,’ she said.
This time they both knew what the promise was.

The chapter ends with that expectation of more.

Bond makes a rapid recovery. He makes out his report, making the kidnapping of Vesper “sound much more Machiavellian than it had been.” (Machiavellian has a meaning of cunning, deceptive, deceitful) It appears he is developing serious feelings for Vesper. He runs through the usual pattern of relationships in his life, which inevitably seem to end with a “final angry farewell on some doorstep in the rain.” He shuns these mise en scene (setting in scene) for each of these acts in the play. This isn’t going to happen with Vesper. He observes that “In their talk there was nothing but companionship with a distant undertone of passion.” As the days go by, Bond is given more and more freedom from the hospital until the day comes when the Doctor releases him.

It’s been three weeks to the day since his brutal beating, and it is now July. Bond and Vesper head out for a week together at a surprise destination that she has picked out. On the way they check out the location at which Bond’s car crashed on the shore road, and then continue on. But then,”Their drive was spoiled by a curious incident”. Vesper suddenly fears they are being followed. There is a car behind them, but Bond doesn’t take the idea all that seriously. However, he does agree to allow them to pull the car over and let the other driver past. They pull behind a hedge, over which is a brightly painted sign that says “L’Auberge de Fruit Defendu, crustaces, fritures”. (The Inn of the Forbidden Fruit, seafood, fried fish” The sign appears to catch the eye of the drive, but Vesper is convinced that he was looking directly at them. Finally Bond calms her down, and they head on to their destination. They meet the proprietor and his wife, who promise to take the best possible care of them. They would be having broiled lobsters with melted butter for dinner. Bond is looking forward to spending a week by the seaside in this inn with Vesper. It seems happy times are ahead.