"What I don't understand," Ms. Madison confessed, over a cocktail in the bar of the Priory Hotel, Caerleon, "is how you managed to turn up just in the nick of time."
Although she had changed back into an elegantly tailored suit, Ms. Madison's face was still cut and bruised. Indeed, the black eye she was sporting did rather spoil the girl's normally immacculate appearance.
"I'm only sorry I wasn't able to keep you from the beating Ygraine gave you," the Green Man sighed. "At the time, I was breaking into the laboratory through the back door. After that, I had to 'persuade' the Professor's Assistant, Bach, to re-programme the matter transmitter, first to dump the Professor's mercenaries in the Bristol Channel, and then to give me a sword when I needed it."
"Oh, I can forget the beating," Ms. Madison laughed. "Remember, I paid that little fury back in her own coin."
"How could I forget?" the Green Man chuckled. "You are a most accomplished girl, Ms. Madison. "I don't know what I'd do without you."
She did not reply at once. For a moment the air was filled with tension, as Ms. Madison looked down into her cocktail. The Green Man nodded soberly.
"Don't be afraid to tell me what's on your mind," he told her. "At worst, three others have gone before you. And all with my blessing."
"Thanks," Ms. Madison managed a tight little smile. "But I'm not leaving you permanently - at least not yet. Remember the message I got at reception when we walked in here?"
"Of course," the Green Man nodded, understanding, voice level and calming.
"It was from Mike - Mr Rake," Ms. Madison coloured becomingly. "He wants me to take a holiday with him to Bermuda. Oh," she shook her head, "I know we've been to Bermuda this year, but I'd really like a holiday where I could just lie on the beach in my swimsuit all day and dance the night away, rather than dodging bullets."
"If you want a holiday," the Green Man replied, "be my guest, Ms. Madison. And you show Michael Rake you are fond of him. Remember, no man can wait forever, no matter how pretty the girl."
"Thank you!" Ms. Madison rose from her seat and scampered upstairs.
By nine o'clock that evening, she was in the Savoy ballroom, dancing in the arms of Michael Rake. Her bags were packed, and all she could do was wonder just what the futue held for her. Not that Rake noticed. He was far too busy gazing into her eyes.
The Green Man Returns tomorrow in a brand-new adventure
When Green Meets Grey