When Alex didn’t contact her on the following day and her many calls were not answered she decided to go to him without waiting to be invited. The very thought of being sent back to Prague haunts her. Strolling alone about Paris she feels like a moth attracted into a spider’s web. She can’t count on Elijah, either. He told her he had no time to see her without précising why. Spending her time at the cinemas which used to be great fun in Prague lost its charm when watching the films on her own and being as lonely and lost as anywhere else. At one moment she thought to see Nick Else at a bus stop. It wasn’t him.
She stands in front of Alex’s house undecided whether to ring the bell and ask him what he intends to do with her presently, something she considers her right, or wait until he contacts her. Fate is impersonated by a lady walking her dog who lets her inside. She takes the key from its hiding place, opens and proceeds along the corridor. She is met by the clamor of popping champagne bottles and piercing shrieks of an unabashed coupling soaring to its climax. Her heart skips a beat at the sight of Alex and Vincent, evidently again on best terms, sharing in a foxy redhead on the carmine cover of the bed, the same bed where Alex made her to his lover while Sinatra crooned about “this foolish thing called love”.
She tries to stay cool, to bridle her jealousy, leave before being noticedand never let Alex know of her intrusion on his privacy being completely dependent on his good will.
She sees her situation more clearly in the broad daylight of the street: She has a valid French passport, a fair amount of money and a roof over her head. Though money won’t last long and her stay at the apartment will end if falling out with Alex. Her future is uncertain, but not hopeless. To continue her studies will be impossible since all her degrees are under her real name. All she can do is being a cashier in a supermarket or a waitress. This is certainly not how she imagines her Parisian existence. Would Marc Ferrer employ her? She speaks six foreign languages and is not bad looking.
The ringing of her cell phone interrupts her musing.
“Alex! How wonderful! When did you come back?” She coos. She has to use him just as he uses her, accept him as he is and not to care about what he is not.
“I have always time for you! Shall I come over?”
“Then I‘ll wait for you at home.”
She ends on a kiss and rushes to her place to make herself glamorously ready, patting perfume all over her body and slipping on her sexiest negligee.
Decided to conquer the wayward lover by any means, she runs to meet him, throws her arms around his neck and presses her mouth against his.
“I missed you, Nathalie!” He whispers, his lips playing with her earlobe. She sighs with relief. It seems she won’t be obliged to look for a boring job.
“Tell me, were you lonely without me?” He turns her face up to look straight into her eyes.
“You can’t imagine! t seemed endless!” She coos.
“No problem with the delivery?” He asks.
She holds her breath noticing his enigmatic half-smile and has the disturbing feeling he knows more than is good for her.
“Didn’t Elijah tell you?”
“Of course he did. A propos he also told me you didn’t feel well and needed urgently some medicine. Is your malaise gone?”
“Completely, don’t worry. The bumpy flight made me sick.”
“Poor baby, we must find a solution, maybe recruit another go-between and find for you something else.” His lips curl in a parody on a smile and she shivers.
“No need, Alex! I enjoy my work. Next time I’ll take an air-sickness pill before the flight.”
“This one seems to suit you. I might need it also when the weather conditions are bad. What’s its name?”
“It’s a homeopathic pill. Its name differs by country.”
“How is it called in France? May I see it?”
“Sorry but that won’t be possible. I bought just one dose. Elijah will get it for you if you wish.”
“Thanks for the information. A propos, you did a good job, Nathalie. What would you like for a reward, a jewel, maybe? This time it will be yours for the keeps not to be passed on. Yes, a jewel is a good idea, maybe a ring, a sort of an engagement ring. What do you think about it?”
“I don’t need a ring to feel committed to you, Alex.” Nathalie says righteously.
“And then, jewels don’t appeal to me.”
“As you wish, Nathalie, let me know if you change your mind. A friend of mine owns a jewelry shop at Place Vendome. He’ll find something very special for you. Is there anything else I can offer you?”
“Being with you is reward enough, Alex!”
Is the jeweler friend of Alex’s Marc Ferrer? Though there are many jewelry shops at Place Vendome. Is it possible that Ferrer is one of Alex’s spies and she was tested…and failed?
“Sorry to rush you, Nathalie, we have things to do! Firstly I’d like to make you meet Vincent’s recent conquest Magda. You have lots of things in common. She has left recently Hungary; she is charming and will be a good friend for you. We’ll meet her at Angelina’s, a famous pastry shop at Rue de Rivoli, a must for all those who like good pastry in a historical setting as the shop is more than a hundred years old. It’s not near so it will be better Elijah drives us.”