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In the next six weeks we went out together several times and I realized that Penelope Ashton was becoming a serious part of my life.
One evening we had dinner at my flat. I cooked a Chinese meal for her and, when she told me how much she had enjoyed the meal, she also invited me to her home for the weekend. To meet her family.Marlow is a small town on the River Thames, about an hour’s drive from London. The house where Penelope lived with her father and her sister was in the countryside, just a few minutes from the town. It was a large and beautiful house, the kind that you read about in the best magazines. It had a big, well-kept garden, tennis courts and a swimming- pool.
Penelope’s father, George Ashton, was in his mid-fifties. His wife was dead and he had not married again. He was tall, grey-haired, and very fit, as I discovered when he beat me at tennis. After the game I was tired, but Ashton dived in to the swimming-pool for a swim before going back to the house for a shower. He was twenty-five years older than I was, but I was exhausted from the game of tennis, which I had lost. I sat down beside Penelope.

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