DisclaimerI don't own "The Tamarind Seed" or its characters. Evelyn Anthony wrote the novel, Blake Edwards directed the movie. Only the original parts of the plot and the additional characters belong to me. I don't make any money from this story.
Movie: The Tamarind Seed, by Blake Edwards, with Julie Andrews and Omar Sharif. The movie is inspired by the novel by Evelyn Anthony. Mostly missing scenes followed by the first day and first night in Canada, after Judith joined Feodor there.
Until Judith arrives in Canada, I mainly kept the plot as it is in the movie. I changed one thing though. When in Barbados the second time, I don't believe that Feodor would go for a swim despite Judith's anxiety and disapproval. They are lovers by then and they count for each other. I'd rather see Judith ask him not to go if he loves her, to do it for her and I can't imagine him refusing just for the sake of a swim. So I placed that event one day earlier and I even imagined something special she did… He he! As a consequence, I had to make up a different reason for him to be outside their bungalow when the explosion occurred the following morning…
Thanks a lot to Revsue for being my beta :o)
Pictures et Audio for this story can be found in our fanfiction section on julieandrewsforumDOTcom
It had been arranged. A car picked her up at Edmonton International Airport, Canada It was early afternoon by then and the drive to the mountains would last for about two hours. While watching the busy road through the car window without paying much attention, Judith Farrow felt a sense of anticipation growing increasingly within. Her mind drifted to the events that had unfolded during the last few months. Not so much the fear, not the doubts and not the desperation she had felt after she had woken up from her coma. She had ached long enough from these. Right now, a light smile was curving her lips as she reminisced how she had gotten to know Feodor Sverdlov.
From the start, when they met in Barbados, he had made no mystery about wanting her. He had said it openly and had tried to steal a kiss from her several times. She had soon felt attracted to this Russian man. He was handsome, incredibly kind, joyful, witty, intelligent, well-educated and she loved to hear the warm roundness of his Russian accent. But she had also felt cautious: he seemed to take nothing seriously, he didn't even believe in good and evil. Also she hadn't recovered yet from having been betrayed by her former lover with whom she had hoped to build a new life after her failed marriage and the death of her husband. She felt she wouldn't be able to trust anyone for a long time and she had decided she would rather stay alone than being hurt again. So she had kept Feodor Sverdlov at a reasonable distance, but to be in his company had somehow been irresistible for her and she had grown to like him very much and to want to see more of him. After their time in Barbados, he had flown from Paris several times to spend few hours with her in London.
Another thing she had very soon appreciated about him was his thorough honesty. Like everything else, he had treated it with lightness but that had only made it even more endearing. In Barbados, he had made fun of her naivety for hoping to find some of the "magic" tamarind seeds they had learned about in the museum. His Marxist mind was sure the story was a mere legend and that they would never find trees producing such seeds. When, on her flight back, she had opened the envelope he had given her just before she left, she had been so amused yet at the same time so moved to find one of these seeds in it. A seed with the shape of a human head! That meant that he had found it without her knowing, and through that playful and non-verbal message, he was telling her: "I was wrong and you were right", something neither Patrick nor Richard would have ever done. Even when obviously mistaken, neither of them had ever admitted it. No need to say they would have never told her she was right if they had had the means to hide it from her! Well, Feodor was not like that. Obviously he didn't feel his male pride was prevalent to his honesty.
She had told herself that her feeling towards him was only friendship until he stole that kiss from her in the dark of a deserted street of London. She had instantly felt the warmth rushing through her, warmth she hadn't felt since the time she was still believing that Richard loved her. She had been unable to not respond to his kiss. She had the excuse that they were being followed and needed to pretend they were lovers in order to hide his real plans from the Russian authorities, but he had known and she had known that her response to his kiss had gone beyond pretending.
Nevertheless, she hadn't allowed that kiss to be talked about afterwards and she had seemingly come back to simple friendship, no matter his attempts otherwise. However, they had needed then to focus on having him escape from the mess he had put himself into with his own country. God! No country, and certainly not Russia in the 1970s, joked when one of their military attaches' views drifted from the official stream! She had been doing her best to help him with that, in her modest capacity, but these kinds of life and danger were not for her. She would soon come back to her quieter life and he would fly to Canada to stay there. That would be it.
The car had now left the busy outskirts of the airport and had reached a calmer area made of small towns, villages and fields. In the distance, she could vaguely see darker zones of landscape that must be forests, and round higher shapes that must be the foothills. She reached for her bottle of water, sipped slowly from it, then she lost herself in the landscape and in her memories.
Finally they had gone back to Barbados together. That was part of the escaping plan. The Russian authorities would believe he was treating his new English lover in order to have her work soon as secret agent for Russia, but in reality, the British secret services would have him fly to Canada from there, two days after their arrival. He had offered them such important information that they would protect him and provide for him for the rest of his life. That was the deal.
Well, it hadn't remained that simple for long… The Russians had known before he left that he had betrayed them. Her role as cover wouldn't be enough anymore to make him safe.
When they flew to Barbados, she was scared and anxious. Russia had most probably some men on the island, to check on him or worse. What if things turned bad? Was she really doing all this out of friendship only? Out of friendship certainly, but she also knew that by now Feodor had the effect of a magnet on her. Although he was in big trouble and his very life was threatened, that man seemed to always keep his spirits up and to always bring joy and lightness into her own life. There was some kind of sunshine in that man's personality and her quiet and more anxious nature was feeling nourished by his company. Also, since the kiss, she had felt that same warmth rushing through her each time he smiled at her or called her Dushinka (which means "Darling" in Russian) or touch her arm or chastely kiss her cheek with his soft and always burning lips. She would then feel an urge to embrace him, to lean on his strong and warm body, but there was no point. The main thing was that he had never talked about the future to her and before his escape plans came into the picture, he had refused the divorce that his wife had requested. A wife that he claimed not to love and not to be loved by. Judith believed in the genuineness of his friendship, but not in the seriousness of his attraction to her. He was a man to have affairs, probably not a man to build a life long relationship. She didn't want Feodor for an affair, she didn't want anybody for an affair. That was not her style, her heart was far too vulnerable for that.
Nevertheless, even as a friend, she ached at the idea of him living far away and of not seeing him ever again, most probably… He would have his identity changed, he would have to beware of the Russian secret services for the rest of his life. If she went to visit him in Canada, she would surely be followed and endanger him. It was all too complicated.
That first evening in Barbados, the sunset over the ocean was stunning. A festival of deep red, purple and orange! That sight and the shower she had just taken had relaxed her a little from her anxiety and from the turmoil of her feelings. Feodor was smoking a cigarette, half sitting on the low wall surrounding their terrace and he was watching her coming. She stood there passively, her hands joined behind her back, few inches from him. All was very still.
He said, "Would you like to swim?"
Judith felt a dose of anxiety rise in her again. "The instructions are to not go away from the bungalow."
"I know. But I am a man and I want you. And if I can't have you, then I must occupy myself with some pleasant distractions that will keep my frustration to a minimum."
She then had the courage to tell him, "Has it ever occurred to you that I might be slightly frustrated myself?"
He simply answered, "Then come to bed with me," and as she turned her eyes towards the horizon, he added, "or come swimming…"
She turned back to him. "Feodor, you are going to Canada. I am living in England. Where would this lead us?"
He answered, as if it was the most natural thing ever, "Come to Canada with me!"
She looked at him gravely before she spoke again. "Why would I? If you hadn't been forced to escape your country, you would still be refusing the divorce your wife is asking for. You would still put your country first and you would have no room for me in your life. Why are you asking me suddenly? Because your life has changed against your will? Because you are alone and you need company?" She was feeling both angry and tired at the same time. Tears were starting to fill her eyes but she kept looking at him stoically.
He stood up and made a few steps towards her, his eyes not leaving hers. He spoke slowly. "That request of divorce was part of a complot against me. My reason for not accepting it then was my survival, I told you. I was making plans for the divorce to go through eventually but I never tell my plans before I am sure they can really be applied." He continued, breathing more heavily, "Do you really think that I want to make love to you, then forget about you? Do you really think that all I have wanted with you was a mere love affair?" His eyes were like shooting flames by now. "I want to make love to you every day from now on, I want to share projects with you, to laugh with you, to argue with you, to marvel with you, I want to raise children with you." After a moment of silence, he added in a low voice, "But you are a free woman. If you prefer to just swim with me, let's go swimming and stop being afraid."
She first stayed immobile. She felt mesmerised by his eyes and by his words. She felt her heart was being filled with a well being that she was not sure she had ever felt before. It was a mixture of immense love and trust coming not only from his words but also from the intense energy that was emanating from him. It felt like she had wanted to know who that man really was and now she knew. It felt like she had never had a "home", like she had given up hoping for one, then she had just found it. All her doubts, all her sadness were leaving herand she could feel her heart beat faster.
With no awareness of what she was doing, she slowly took one step forward, until their bodies almost touched. She put her hands on his chest, their eyes still locked. She was slightly trembling. She shifted one of her hands to the back of his neck and lifted her lips towards his. He took her head in his hands, let his lips meet hers and almost instantly, their tongues met each other in a most sensual dance. Their embrace got as tight as could be, their hands frantically caressing the other's hair, neck, waist, back, seeming to not be able to cease their movements. She was feeling his arousal against her body, and low moans were escaping her throat intermittently. To a different extent, they both had wanted this for too long.
After endless minutes of kissing and embracing, he pulled away from her gently, then he kept one arm around her shoulders, bent slightly and put his other arm behind her knees before lifting her and carrying her to his bedroom.
He laid her on his bed and took off her sandals and his. He then switched on the small lamp by the bed and joined her, his elbows on either side of her shoulders. His eyes felt to her like they were burning her. She reached for his cheek and he leaned it on her hand, eyes closed, for few seconds.
He looked at her again and asked, "Dushinka, should I be careful when making love to you? I will want to see you pregnant, but not just yet."
She simply answered,"You don't have to be careful. I am still protected…Thank you for your thoughtfulness."
He then whispered in his delicious accent, "Let me undress you."
She responded by reaching for the back of his head and by pulling him towards her. While they were again relishing their kiss, he undid slowly the buttons of her shirt. She helped him take off her shirt and he started to undo her bra. When the piece of lingerie had totally come off too, he gently released her lips, which she accepted reluctantly, and leaning on one arm, he admired her body. His other hand started to stroke her stomach and her sides in circles, ever so gently. It made her shiver from pleasure. His hand slid slowly up and when it reached the curve of her firm breasts, she gasped.
While she was lying still and breathless, eyes closed, he held her, brushing light kisses on her cheeks, her forehead, her eyelids. Her hand was gently stroking his thick hair and she had a sense of tender fulfilment that she didn't remember having ever felt.
A little later, when her breathing had recovered its normal pace, she opened her eyes. She pushed him gently, rolled him over and her upper body was now on top of his.
While stroking his hair and smiling slightly, she murmured, "I have never been attended to that way."
He caressed her cheek with the top of his folded fingers. "It is because you have never been loved that way."
As a response, she trailed kisses on his shoulders and chest, delighting in the curves of his hard muscles. When her lips met one of his nipples, she teased it with her tongue, something she would have never dreamt of doing with her husband or with Richard. With Feodor, she felt that everything was allowed and that the expression of her tenderness and desire was freed from old interdictions. She was probably right to trust her spontaneity because she heard him breathe more heavily and his hand rested on her head, pressing slightly, as to encourage her initiative. Obviously he was enjoying it.
"Are you alright, Ma'am? Do you want me to turn the heating down?"
The sentence snapped her back into the present. She realised her head was leaning backwards on the seat, her cheeks were burning and her breath was short. She blushed even more when she saw the driver's concerned look in the mirror.
"Uh no, thank you, I am alright." And to make a diversion, she asked: "Are we still far away from our destination?"
"Another hour, Ma'am."
They had now reached the hills and they were surrounded by forests and green meadows. The sun was shining and it was beautiful. She pretended to rearrange her bag and items around her, so that she had an excuse to move to the other side of the seat, where the driver couldn't see her in the mirror. Once she was seated comfortably again, she dove back determinedly into her memories.
She was holding him tightly, his heavy body still connected to hers, and she felt totally content, a feeling that she had experienced very rarely in her life. Yet she was feeling fully aroused again. When was this night going to end? She wondered that with a new twinkle of amusement and excitement, another mixture of feelings rather unknown to her…
A little later, they were lying on their sides, their bodies entwined and facing each other. He was stroking her hair..
He murmured, smiling slightly, "I knew you would surrender eventually."
"Hmm, how presumptuous! I only came to bed with you so that you wouldn't go swimming."
"Liar! If that was so, you wouldn't have enjoyed it so much."
She felt her cheeks flush at the memory of her obvious pleasure and she buried her head in the hollow of his shoulder.
He laughed while resting his hand on the back of her head. "Ha ha! It's too late to be shy!"
She pulled her head back and looked at him seriously again. "Feodor, you are a wonderful lover. I have never made love that way before."
Gently, he asked, "How did Captain Paterson make love to you?"
She had always been surprised by the bluntness of his questions. But she had learnt to appreciate it. Especially at this point, she thought it was probably healthy for them to tackle any subject openly. "Oh! He was rather having sex than making love, I suppose!"
"You mean he was having sex like a rabbit, taking his own pleasure in no time, then falling asleep?"
"No. He would get into short preliminaries, explore various positions, attend me in some ways, but only because it's the way a modern gentleman should have sex, so to speak. For instance, he would never look at me when making love and never say a word. He would use his seductive look and conversation before the act, knowing that he would attract me to his bed that way, and it never failed. But once in bed, he was not really there anymore. He was more making love with himself, I guess… I also remember that after the act, he would often ask: "Were you happy?" or "Did you like it?" He would ask this like a formality. In fact, he hadn't cared during and he didn't care after. Whatever I would answer or not answer, he would fall asleep all the same."
"Did you ever tell him about the problem?"
"At the time, I didn't know there was a problem. I thought it was just shyness and I believed that our love would lead to more trust and loosen things eventually, not only in our sex life. When I understood that he had no intentions of leaving his wife, although he had told me again and again he would and that there was nothing between them anymore, I knew he had always seen me as a convenient mistress, nothing more. A mistress to whom you lie if it makes things easier. That's when I left him." She paused and he respected her silence. Then she added, almost whispering "I loved how you looked at me when making love."
He rolled over a little to be on top of her. "It would be a sin not to look at you. You are incredibly beautiful when you are pleasured." After a pause, he added: "And I will pleasure you much more, soon and always."
His lips met hers and started to brush them lightly. It was delicious and innerving at the same time. She parted hers slightly and he trailed the tip of his tongue between them, then he started teasing the tip of her own tongue. It was even more enjoyable than a deeper kiss. She felt a new wave of desire rush through her, but his lips parted from hers.
"This was a foretaste of more pleasure, but first, let's celebrate!"
"Would you like some champagne?"
She then stretched her arms languorously and smiled. "Hmm, yes, and some water too."
He dropped a light kiss on her lips and murmured, "At your service, Madame", before getting up, wrapping a towel around his waist and disappearing inside the living room.
They drank champagne in bed, they flirted again, they made love once more, lengthily, and this time, they reached their orgasms almost at the same time. As if she didn't deserve fully that happiness, or maybe as the expression of the anxiety that would remain in her as long as he was not safely living in Canada, a nightmare seized her in the middle of the night. She felt incredibly relieved when she came back to her senses and found herself in his embrace. They made love again, and did again in the morning. They seemed to never have enough of each other.
"Now, let's make plans. When are you joining me in Canada?"
They were having a generous late breakfast on their terrace, enjoying the view to the ocean. A light breeze was cooling the air. At his question, she felt anxious again.
"Oh Feodor, I wish I was there already, and you too. I wish all this danger was behind us."
He put his hand on hers reassuringly. "Everything will be all right. I don't like Mr. Loder but I have seen him at work. I trust his infallible organisation."
"I hope you are right… I guess I will need his help in order to join you, don't you think?"
"Most certainly. Listen, I'll leave a note for Loder, to Mister McLeod who is here. When you are back in London, Loder will contact you. He will arrange everything. He will probably change your identity in England, then again in Canada." After a pause, he continued. "Dushinka, you will leave everything behind you. You might never go to England again. Are you sure you want this?"
With a twinkle in her eyes, she answered, "What if I said "No"?"
"I would kidnap you from here"
Smiling, she rested her hand on his cheek. "You won't need to. I will join you."
He took her hand and kissed her palm. "Tell me, what are you leaving behind? You never told me anything about your family."
"Oh, my father died 15 years ago, I loved him very much. I have very little contact with my mother. She is a rather egocentric and very busy lady who never cared much about her children. Other than that, I have a brother who lives in Kenya, in Africa. I guess my friends are more important to me than my family. I don't have many but we count for each other."
"That's another thing Mister Loder will help you with. What to say to your family and friends… You realise that nobody must be in your confidence…"
"I hadn't thought of that yet, but of course… Oh, I hope all this won't take too long!"
They spent the day reading, talking further about their lives and playing chess. He had asked her if she could play and they had had a chess board brought to them. Like many intellectual Russians, and a military officer on top of it, Feodor was very good at chess and almost unbeatable, but he was surprised at how difficult she had made his victories.
While sipping a coffee on their terrace, he asked her about her late husband. She said that they had never been terribly close and that she had felt guilty after his death because she had never tried to remedy the distance between them.
"Why did you marry?"
"We shouldn't have. We had been college friends, he wanted to be married and I was free and wanted a reason to live away from my mother. We knew we were not in love somehow, but we thought we could make it work. We never could. On the contrary, it was hell on earth after the first year."
"It sounds a little like my story with my wife."
"Yes. Marriages for the wrong reasons."
"If he hadn't been killed, I would have left him."
He smiled at her. "Well, you won't be allowed to leave me."
She reached her hand to his cheek. "You are the most persistent man I have ever met."
"Do you mind?"
She looked and him intensely and murmured, "No!" She pulled her hand back and looked puzzled again. "But Feodor… Before we make long term plans, I think it would be better if I first joined you for two or three months. I could take that time off, I am sure. Then, from there, we could decide better."
"Do you doubt your love for me or my love for you?"
"I am very much in love with you and I don't doubt your love, Feodor. I have never felt with anybody the way I feel with you. But we haven't known each other for long, we haven't spent that much time together and the circumstances have been so strange, unusual so far... We can't know for sure how we would feel together on a day to day basis, can we?"
He reached for her cheek and smiled. "My cautious Dushinka! If that is the way you want it, so be it. But I can promise you that you will not want to leave me."
She kissed his hand and smiled.
By evening, they were surprised that their involvement in the chess game and in their talks had prevented them from making love during the day. He said mischievously that he would make sure they made up for it that night, their second and last night together in Barbados!
Before they ordered their room service dinner, he wanted once more to go swimming. He was not a man to stay for long in a confined space and he hated not to be free. Judith had almost succeeded in convincing him not to swim, having asked him to renounce his intention if he loved her.
Then she got tired of her own seriousness and decided to bring some playfulness into the matter, surprising herself at her bluntness. "And what if, instead, I undress for you to your favourite music?"
He looked at her teasingly before saying, "Oh, I would miss any swim for that."
She went to the record player, started "Play it again", the song to which they had danced weeks before in London, then she took his hand and led him to his bedroom. She made him stand still by the top of the bed, walked a few steps away, faced him and, never looking away from his eyes, started to unbutton her shirt very slowly.
This was only the beginning of their second night together.
When she woke up the next morning, the bed was empty and she was hearing voices coming from the living room. She recognised McLeod's. She closed her eyes, wishing she could go back into the night, into Feodor's embrace and never have to go through today…
When she left the bedroom, Feodor was alone on the terrace, sipping a cup of coffee and smoking. Before she joined him, she watched that beautiful man who now was hers and would remain hers if events permitted. She could see his profile, He was slightly frowning while fingering his tea spoon. He was not as relaxed as he wanted her to believe and this increased her anxiety.
She came from behind him, gently slid her hands over his chest and buried her head in the hollow of his neck, kissing it. He held her arms and kissed her cheek with infinite tenderness in return. They stayed like this for a moment.
When she had sat down and was sipping her coffee, his features had recovered their calmness. "Mr. Mc Leod just left. I gave him the note for Loder. I will be picked up here in two hours."
She bit her lips and couldn't help burying her face in her hands.
He touched her arm and said gently, "Dushinka…"
She gathered herself. "I am sorry. I am so anxious! I know it's no use but I can't help it."
"In few weeks, we will be together."
"I know. I hope so."
"And we will stay in bed for a whole week."
She blushed a little and she managed to smile at him.
Half an hour later, she was upstairs where her own bedroom was, finishing getting dressed. That's when the tragedy happened. The explosion, her running to her door and opening it, the storm of fire rushing onto her, then nothing.
When she woke up at the local hospital, St. Patricia's nursing home, her face, her neck and her left arm were aching badly from the burns. She had to wait for the head nurse to learn what had happened and what had become of Feodor. The head nurse told her about the electrical fault which probably had caused the explosion and that Mister Sverdlov had been killed, which was confirmed later by the police officer who visited her.
Two weeks later, while resting in the garden of the nursing home, she hated to see Mister Loder approaching her with his sinister look. She knew very well that an electrical fault had not been the reason of the tragedy. Loder had not been able to protect them. The man she had grown to love like no one else was dead. What was Loder doing here?
When she opened reluctantly the blank envelope that he had handed over to her, and found one of the magic tamarind seeds in it, she stared at it and her heart was beating confusedly. "Where did you get this?"
"He isn't dead, Mrs Farrow. He is alive. In Canada…Obviously, he was outside, at the back of the bungalow when the explosion occurred. When he heard the explosion, McLeod dashed and found him there, unconscious, a few yards from the bungalow. He had two of our men take Sverdlov to his bungalow while he ran inside to rescue you."
Before leaving her, Loder added: "If you want to see him, it will be arranged. Good bye, Mrs Farrow."
Tears were running along her cheeks. She was trembling and holding the Tamarind seed against her heart.
She had to wait for two more weeks before recovering enough to be able to fly back home. From there, the arrangements that needed to be done by Loder took four more weeks. She was supposedly going for three months to Australia where she had an imaginary old friend, in order to complete her physical and mental recovery after the late painful events. She indeed flew to Australia where her identity was changed and flew to Vancouver the next day where her identity was changed again. She now was Ms Helena Worthington and she was joining her lover, Christopher Watson. Yet another flight took her to Alberta.
That last flight had been this morning. The car was now climbing a narrow and steep road. A small wooded valley was visible on her right and beautiful green mountains were standing all around, some with their tops still snowy from winter. The sun was shining and she could guess from the quality of the light that the air outside must be much colder than where she had come from.
She leaned towards the front seat. "Excuse me, how much longer before we arrive?"
"About twenty minutes, Ma'am."
"Would you mind if I sit in the front seat for the rest of the trip? I'd like to have a better view."
"Certainly." He parked the car on the side and began to open his door.
"That's ok, I'll manage."
When she was out of the car, she breathed deeply in and she felt the crispy air bite the skin of her cheeks. Once seated at the front, she smiled politely at the driver. "Thank you."
Her heart was beating. From now on she would stay in the present for the rest of the journey.
To be continued…