Love and Other Murders

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Chapter 30

“How lucky that you are not yet asleep, Nathalie! I have so much to tell you!” Magda marches into the living room bursting with the latest developments in her life.

“What happened to you, Nathalie? You look awful! Look at your hair! I won’t even mention the long overdue cut but you haven’t even washed it in a week! I understand Alex does not show up anymore. Forget your writing and do something constructive before it’s too late. How can you waste this lovely evening staring at a phone that will not ring?”

“It has, though not for me, Magda! Elijah was looking for you desperately. He asked me to tell you to call him back as soon as possible.”

“Drat him! Let him wait. I’m not in the mood for losing my precious time with that twit! He really starts to bug me!”

“I wouldn’t like to appear meddling in your business, Magda, but he seemed desperate to reach you. I think you should call him were it not just to know what’s going on…Take it! It must be him again.” Nathalie hands Magda the receiver having given up all hope this time it could be Alex.

“Yes!” Magda says menacingly.

“Why should I tell you where I was? You are not my keeper, Eli!”

“NO! This is out of the question! I won’t leave Paris! Why won’t you ask Nathalie? She looks like she’d need a change of air!” Magda bangs the receiver down seething with rage.

“Can you imagine what that twit asked me for? To go to London the first thing tomorrow!”

“What is it now?” Magda cries indignantly out, picking up the receiver and slamming it down on its cradle without bothering to answer.

“We better disconnect it. I’m going to bed now and I recommend you to follow my example.” Magda says resolutely.

After a warning ring Elijah uses his key to open the door and takes the living room by storm not giving Magda time to disappear.

“How dare you to hang up on me, Magda? Are you out of your mind? Have you forgotten that without me you’d still be combing the dreary Budapest streets looking for a potential benefactor of hard currency?”

“Things have changed and I am another Magda. The poor waif you used to whistle up to give you a hand or another part of her body, better not to be named, is gone. It’s late and I am ready for bed, not with you, you nitwit, so kindly decamp and make it fast!”

He glares at her in disbelief.

“In case you refuse to do what Alex asks you, you’d be in a pickle and I can assure you he gets nasty when disobeyed.”

“Let him ask Nathalie! She needs to get a whiff of real life. Sitting at her desk and waiting for an inspiration that does not come or a man who won’t ring, is the last thing she needs.”

“I wish you both good night!” Magda leaves with the air of an outraged empress.

“Can you tell me what got into her?” Elijah asks with an awkward grin.

“Alex will kill me if I don’t deliver her. Magda is quite a dish and the job is very important. I haven’t got anybody else to replace her.”

“Where is Alex, tell me, Elijah! I need to talk to him! Could you arrange it for me, please?” He watches her disconcerted by the urgency of her plea.

“What will I get for it, Nathalie? Give and take, it’s only fair.”

“Very well then, Elijah; Magda has a sponsor, a rich IBM sales executive she intends to marry him. To be involved with Alex might mar her hopes.”

“I will tell you all I know, though it is not much. Since Vince was so badly beaten Alex has changed. He was shaken out of his former self realising he isn’t in control of certain things. He has to prove to himself that he is the master of his universe, and this is why he wants Magda to fly to London on a job. That’s not the only thing that is irking him. He was taken off-guard when you turned out not to be an interchangeable pawn in his life, always ready for him when he feels like it as the others used to be, and above all he can’t digest the fact that he fell in love with you. Love and business don’t mix well as the saying goes.”

“I don’t need a lecture, Elijah! What I want from you is to arrange for me to see Alex as fast as possible!”

“I can’t help you there, sorry, Nathalie. Now I say you Good night. Have sweet dreams!”

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