“Where is Vincent? Has he been delayed?” Magda questions the unusually nervous Alex pacing up and down the room like a caged tiger.
“Vincent was attacked at his home and badly beaten up. He is in hospital. You know where he lives and have his keys, Magda! Has anyone approached you and inquired about him? No? Anyhow, I’d prefer to have his keys back.”
“Of course, Alex, here you are! I don’t think I’d use them under the present circumstances. Going to places where gruesome things happen isn’t my habit.” Magda says peevishly fumbling about her handbag.
“It’s strange. I can’t find Vince’s keys. I don’t understand how it’s possible. This morning, leaving the flat, I locked and put the keys in my purse. I must have lost them at Valentino’s when signing the check. I’ll call the shop. They must be there, where else? Poor Vince! I’ll go and see him at the hospital. Tell me where he is.”
“You won’t do any such thing, Magda! You have harmed him enough.”
“What have I done to him, prey, Alex? Don’t be ridiculous! Who knows how many other people have the keys. Most of them are demented junkies taking themselves for geniuses. They stay until dawn reading from their masterpieces and tearing each other apart. Any of them could have beaten Vince. So think twice before pointing your finger at me! If that’s all why you wished to see me I have better things to do and I am leaving. Bye, Alex! You can reach me on my cell phone.” Magda picks up her carrier bag and bangs the door after her.
“What’s got into her, Nathalie? Do you know?”
She watches him in two minds what to tell. At last she decides for the truth.
“Magda thinks she can cope on her own. She earned easy money at the Plaza Athénée and shortly after she met another man. She plans to marry him. I am certain she is dialing his number at this very moment. A propos, Alex, you didn’t tell me she lived with Vincent.”
“I didn’t think it of any importance to you, Nathalie. Vince had a crush on her and it solved the problem where to put her up as I don’t wished to impose her on you. She must get into his place as she has there all her personal belongings and she’ll surely wish to recover them. Do you think she may have lost the keys at Valentino’s?”
“It’s a fair possibility as she spilled her things from the handbag on the cash desk when looking for the check. Losing Magda would be quite a blow for you, wouldn’t it, Alex?”
“I wouldn’t say so. I have also been considering to get rid of Vincent as he is a mess and looking for trouble. The annoying thing is if I lose Magda I’ll have to find another sexy girl as decoy for our operations, something I would never allow you to do. Now I ask to be excused. Elijah will take you home and stay with you for your protection. Considering what happened to Vince I’m worried about your safety, so, please, promise me to be careful.”
He takes her into his arms and holds her close.
“I love you, Nathalie! Don’t let anything bad happen to you, I beg you!”
The tone of his voice makes her shudder. For the first time she becomes aware that the games she plays are potentially deadly.