Love and Other Murders

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Chapter 62

“I’d like to ask you a favor, Magda. Let it be our secret that I am a man in his full. Can you keep your mouth shut?”

“Of course I can, Alex! Would you like we carry on practicing? This too will be our secret. Don’t worry. I won’t tell anybody and least of all Nathalie.”

“Thanks for your offer, sweetie! A propos, do you have by any chance an inkling why she stood me up tonight?” He asks with a note of urgency in his voice.

“Well, if you really must know then I’ll reveal you the case of your missing girlfriend. The famous “cherchez la femme” is, in Nathalie’s case, “search for the man.” It’s nothing serious, no need to bother. Nathalie’s latest whim, as it’s nothing but a whim, is a nondescript American guy in whose company your girlfriend combs the Latin Quarter’s cinemas looking for diversions that in my opinion, don’t go further than holding hands in the dark of the film theatres absorbed more in the films than in one another. The idea of taking a whole box just for themselves for a stimulating grope and even more as people do in Budapest, doesn’t enter their minds. A propos, if your curiosity is quenched I’d like you to cue me in on Elijah. I wouldn’t like to fall blindfolded into a trap. Now tell me honestly, Alex: can a girl trust him? He told me quite unexpectedly that he’d like us two to become a couple. Because things between Norton and me turn out to be rather complicated recently, as his darling little daughter, to whom he is bowing in all, evidently tries her best to prevent him from marrying me and spending on me the family money she considers as her own. I wouldn’t like to be alone and penniless one of these days. Would you put all your eggs in one basket? For one reason or another Eli doesn’t wish to be wed properly in a church but to live with me as a common law couple, which I find shocking! I can’t understand his reluctance to lead me down the aisles which for me, a catholic girl means a lot. Do you know the reason why? Is he afraid to hurt the feelings of his Jewish family?”

“Don’t be ridiculous, Magda! Eli is all but constrained by religion.”

“Then I really don’t know why. He owes me. When we met he was impossible in bed. I taught him sex from A to Z and, without boasting, he couldn’t have found a better teacher.”

“You are absolutely right, Magda, you are the best! It’s for another reason. Eli is a fanatic of independence and considers any interference with his privacy unacceptable. Now I have things to do, sorry, Magda!”

“What about some more practicing? I can make myself available any time you wish,” she proposes tentatively, her hand brushing against his thigh.

“I’ll think about it.” He folds a thick wad of banknotes and puts them into her pocketbook.

“Thanks, Magda, you were great!”

“It was a pleasure, Alex! See you soon!”

When she is in the street she stops to count her compensation and decides to use some of it to promote her future: to go to the beauty parlor to get fit for her next move.

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