I'd never wanted a boyfriend, before Claudine arrived. Albert, the gardener's son, was just my friend. We'd known each other from way back and had always gone off exploring together, down by the river among the weeping willows, or further afield, chasing each other along one of the lanes that led to the sea.
For years, he'd been my only friend.
Clauidne made me see Albert differently. 'He's beautiful,' she told me. 'I want to kiss him. I'm going to make him die for me.'
'What d'you mean, die for you?' I didn't like the sound of this.
'You know. Want me so much he could die.'
'You're such an innocent.' She pulled her face into a snarl. 'Still stuck at the age of eight. I mean sex, of course.'
'But Albert's just...'
'Just a kid. Too young for all that.'
Claudine was half-smiling now, her full lips curling, her eyes not quite joining in. 'We'll see about that,' she said. 'But I'll need your help.'
We were out of doors, in bright summer sunshine, but I felt a cold draught blowing round my legs and I began to shiver.