Love and Other Murders

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Chapter 33

A victor over his grey past, the conquering hero, alias Jean Polland, is holding Magda’s hand as a token of his newly won happiness. London at night, shimmering in the rain, is dark but for Magda exuding light from every pore of her body. Her very presence metamorphoses drab passers-by, mere shadows upon slippery pavements, into human forms.

Reclining lusciously on her seat Magda becomes the fantasy creature of this man who is going to be history after she has gotten from him all Alex is asking for and has squeezed him dry. She is not fool enough to become a woman notorious in a sleazy divorce case of a family man with two little boys and a wife whose sole reason is to be mother, housekeeper and an occasional bed-fellow. Jean Polland as a divorcee-to-be loses out to a hardened divorcee Frank Norton with all his riches in evidence.

“Do you mind?” His arm sneaks around her shoulders and draws her nearer, an arm somehow too short to hold her, an arm easy to cast off when the right moment comes. She gives him an absurdly alluring smile and her hand with rosy fingernails alights on his lap testing the urgency of his hunger for her. She looks up at him, her mascara enhanced lashes leading him on with a Marylyn Monroe’s naughty wink then, blinking her eyes, she peeps down at his arousal. He is hers, not even for the asking. She can’t believe her job could be that simple!

“I love you, Magda! Be my wife!” He stammers out.

She shoots him the all-promising smile of an ace enchantress. What will he do if she accepts? Will he put a ring on her finger and make promises that he cannot keep? Will he become a bigamist with an intricate double life or get rid of his family in some gruesome way?

“Let me think about it.” She promises her voice vibrant with the satisfaction of an actress after a successful first night.

The taxi stops in front of the hotel. He pays the fare, offers Magda his arm and while the doorman takes care of their luggage he leads her in, brimful with great expectations.

“My name is Mr. Polland. My secretary booked a suite for me and my spouse. We’d like to see it before we check in.” He says matter-of-factly.

“I have a room reservation under the name of Magda Horvath.” Her voice is firm; she looks daggers at the brazen intruder meddling with her private life.

“See you later, Mr. Polland”, she says driving the nail in.

“Let me accompany you at least to your room, Magda!” He begs his eyes clouding with the despondence of her rejection.

“If you insist,” she accepts magnanimously and precedes him into the elevator avoiding any bodily contact.

“Thank you. Have a nice evening.” She stops him in front of her room.

“Shall we dine together?” He pleads.

“I’ll think about it.”

She enters the room and stops by the door feeling the excitement of the victory over her past. She made it, if not to the stars- and honestly what are the stars compared to the luxury of a first class hotel and to a sponsor ready for the impossible to please her: to which she will give him ample opportunity.

She falls on the bed, testing its springy firmness, her first luxuriant bed to enjoy and to plot her future lolling on. Let Polland wait and beg!

After a while she feels ready for a relaxing bath but first she has to put Elijah in the picture and, why not, ask him for a considerate raise of her allowances as she has been doing pretty well until now.

After a discrete tap on the door the bell boy comes in with her luggage. Decided to behave in style she asks him to wait and digs in her purse for an appropriate tip.

“This has been taken care of by the gentleman.” He refuses and Magda is filled with wonder: not accepting a double tip could never happen in Hungary!

”Does Madam wish the room service to take care of her luggage?”

“Thanks yes, though not until I’ve been out for dinner.”

Magda opens her luggage to see whether the black silk sheet she intends to wear for dinner needs to be ironed,-of course not, Nathalie’s wardrobe is first class- and retires to the bathroom for a prolonged soak.

She is in awe of the cosmetics disposed on the shelf and decides to put all she won’t use immediately into her luggage hoping they will be replenished daily. She will share them with Nathalie as a fair compensation for the loan of her clothes. The ringing of the phone cuts into the sound of the water cascading into the tub set upon the gilded tigers’ claws. To hell with it! She has neither time nor intent to hear Polland’s cooing. Of course it might also be Elijah demanding her report on the progress of her mission. She puts on a deliciously perfumed fluffy bathrobe and answers the call with a cautious “Yes?”

“Everything is in peach order,” she reassures Elijah.

“This Polland man is melting in my hands, what else have you expect?”

“No, I do not overestimate myself, Eli; though I have a feeling YOU are underestimating me!”

“What about a raise of my allowances?”

“You have to bring the subject to Alex first? Then do it! You are not the only one interested!”

Magda puts the telephone down with a bang, proud of the masterly handling of her future.

Returning to her scented bath she considers her next moves. ‘Why not make the best of Polland when in London, bleed him dry and return to Paris her purse and luggage full to bursting? Of course taking money would be highly indelicate! Jewels must do and can be easily converted into cash. How rich can he be? Though considering how much Alex is investing in this venture Polland must be a VIP. Why racking her brains over this problem? So far luck has been with her and she is doing her utmost to keep it this way.’

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