Days follow one after the other and Paris has become just another routine. Lectures, films, art exhibitions and her visits at Alex’s sick bed take all her time. And it’s good so. She needs a credible alibi to forget about an unfinished novel in the bottom drawer of her writing desk. She also avoids thinking about the time when Alex will leave the hospital for home-care. To which of his two “homes” will it be: cité Vaneau or the apartment legally belonging to her, morally to him? It’s a subject they bypass.
Alex gets better with every day. He receives her now sitting in a wheel-chair, the lower part of his body tactfully shrouded in a blanket. Judging by the flow of visitors and the paper work upon his knees, not meant to be seen by Nathalie, it seems that Alex is on the way to recovery. They are extremely polite with each other and Alex follows the progress of Nathalie’s thesis with great interest. ‘Yes, she has no more problems with Professor Sorrel.’ ‘No, he hasn’t got used to her style. He is now replaced by another supervisor.’
Was it by a sheer stroke of luck or by Alex’s intervention? Why should she care? It has never been her ambition to become a scholar, but since she has started, she wants to finish it.
“You seem pensive, Nathalie. What’s wrong?”
“Everything is just perfect, Alex. What about you?”
“Thanks for asking. It couldn’t be better. Starting tomorrow I’ll be in home care, so you can see me whenever you feel like it and have time. Elijah will come to pack me up tomorrow morning and I am inviting you for a home coming dinner celebration. It will be just an informal gathering with my crew that will also be an occasion to reconsider my role in our business. For some time, hopefully not too long, I’ll be confined to a wheel chair.”
“This is wonderful news, Alex!” She cries out unable to hide her huge relief. She escaped the danger of a shared home.
“I do understand that you wish to return to your normal life as fast as you can, of course you are very welcome to come and see me as often as you wish.”
“How very considerate of you, Nathalie, you are all a man can ask for and more! There is something I’d like to discuss with you in case you have a second. Don’t feel any obligations to deprive yourself of anything I won’t be able to give you momentarily. Being a realist I don’t intend to reach the sun on the wings of wax.” He says avoiding her eyes.
She feels a blush shooting to her face.
“You worry too much, Alex! I have all I need. Be sure I’ll do my best not to hurt you in any way. I love you, don’t you know?”
“I do know, Nathalie, and that is why I am able to pass over the unimportant. The only way how to hurt me would be to deprive me of your love. Which you won’t do, will you?”
“Of course not, Alex, never ever, I swear!”
She seals her pledge with a kiss; that famous Judas kiss?