The Sins of Sebastian Rey-Defoe

By: Kim Lawrence


Blaisdon Gazette. 17 November 1990

A hospital spokesman this morning said that two babies, believed to be twins, found yesterday on the steps of St Benedict’s Church, are now in a serious but stable condition. Police are anxious to trace the mother, who might be in need of medical care.

London Reporter. 17 November 1990

The foundation stone of the hospital’s new wing was laid by the late Sebastian Rey’s grandson, who was named after his philanthropist grandfather. Stepping in for his father, whose duties captaining the Argentine national polo team kept him away from the ceremony, seven-year-old Sebastian Rey-Defoe is the son of the well-known English socialite Lady Sylvia Defoe. Sebastian is set to inherit the Rey billions and the Mandeville Hall estate in England. He suffered only minor injuries in the crash that killed his grandfather outright.

14 February 2008

‘THERE IS A REASON, I suppose, why I am staying in a place called the Pink Unicorn?’ Not a name you could say and think of minimalist decor, and not a name Seb could even say without a grimace of distaste.

‘Sorry.’ His irritatingly cheerful PA pretended she hadn’t heard the sarcasm. ‘But it is Valentine’s Day and there isn’t a decent place within twenty miles of Fleur’s school that isn’t fully booked. The Lake District is considered romantic. Don’t worry, it’s not contagious,’ she soothed. ‘And it is five star, so you won’t be slumming it, and it has great reviews—people on the website rave about the little personal touches. Your room is... What does it say...? That was it: charming and bijou with beams and—’

‘Oh, God!’ he groaned. Six-five in his bare feet, he did not do bijou or beams... Was his petite PA punishing him for something?

‘Don’t be such a misery. You’re very lucky that the Pink Unicorn had a cancellation.’

‘I’ve sacked people for less. I’m ruthless, haven’t you heard?’ The previous month’s article in a particular Sunday supplement, even though it had spawned several rebuttal articles in well-known financial journals, had left a public perception of him that suggested his wealth could not have been made without an utterly ruthless disregard for the rules or his fellow man.

‘Where would you find someone else who gets your weird sense of humour?’

‘You think I’m joking?’

‘Or someone who is as efficient as me who doesn’t weep when you scowl or fall in love with you when you don’t?’

He fought back a smile and, with resignation in his voice, grumbled, ‘Who the hell calls a place the Pink Unicorn?’

* * *

Now Seb knew—the same people who sat a poor guy with a classical guitar out on a lawn on a zero-degree February evening that neither the heat from a glowing brazier nor the open-sided gazebo affair lit by lanterns offered any protection against. To add insult to injury they’d had him wear some ridiculous Spanish get-up that no real Spaniard would have been seen dead in, while he played a cheesy love song in the candlelight as loved-up couples groped one another.

Sebastian’s lip curled. If this was romance, they could keep it!

It was a spectacularly stomach-churning sight, but probably a fitting end, he mused, to a day where the high point had been getting a parking fine from an overzealous attendant.

It should have been a good day, a celebratory occasion. His thirteen-year-old half-sister had won the under-fifteens prize at the science fair her school was hosting, and against all the odds their mother, Lady Sylvia Defoe, had turned up in a display of rare parental support.

He should have known better, yet, as she had walked into the room causing conversations to stop, taking the attention as her due, Seb had almost got sucked in by the ‘caring mother’ act.

Until, that was, she had stepped back from the arm’s-length maternal embrace, looked at her daughter’s face and delivered some very loud advice on skin care, adding complacently that she had never had acne or actually even a spot, and then, presumably because she had not traumatised her thirteen-year-old daughter enough, she had gone on to flirt with every male in the room that caught her eye while her daughter had cringed and wished herself elsewhere. Seb, who had been there, done that, had felt his half-sister’s pain as his own anger had built.

The breaking point had come when Seb had found their mother in a classroom in a very close embrace with the newly married biology teacher. The doors had been wide open—anyone could have seen—but then maybe that was the idea. His mother loved nothing better than creating a scene.

Offering the embarrassed man a tissue for the lipstick smeared across his red face, he’d then suggested the teacher might like to rejoin his wife. Seb had waited until the teacher had gratefully scuttled away before asking his mother, on whom subtlety was wasted, point-blank what the hell she thought she was doing.

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