Alex gets out of bed and starts to dress as if she has stopped to exist.
“Wait, Alex, not so fast! There’s something we must discuss first; those 10 000 euros I got from Polland belong to me and won’t be included in my allowances, right?”
He watches her reflection in the mirror while doing the last touch to his tie.
’Lovely kid that Magda - even if losing some pounds would do her good - and a professional in all respects! ’
“OK, Magda, it’s only fair. Everything you squeeze out from Polland is yours within the limits of the reasonable. He seems to be an excellent buy and you’ll get an appropriate share of the profit. Now give me your hand. I owe you a little extra.”
“It’s a diamond of the best water. Even if it was meant for someone else like the moonstone ring I gave you the other day, you are worth it, Magda.” He slings a ring on Magda’s plump finger grimacing with pain recalling Nathalie’s elegant hands.
“If Polland pries where it comes from tell him it’s a family heirloom. Later, when we see how things turn out with Polland, we’ll do some more adjustments.”
“Thanks, Alex, you are the best! A propos how is Vince? I tried to contact him but his number is dead.”
“He isn’t in town and anyway he doesn’t live at his old address any more. Why do you want to see him, Magda? Am I not satisfying you?”
“Of course you are, Alex! What an absurd idea! I’d like to see him for old times’ sake and then, just like a boy, a girl needs a change not to get stale.”
“I see your point, honey bee. You’ll get his address as a reward for a special effort. Do hurry. Polland is about to finish his work and he mustn’t have any suspicion about your frequent absences. Now I must really go. Thanks, but no! You have thanked me enough.” He backs away from her ready arms and rushes out from the room to look after his many engagements.
Lolling in the scented bath Magda considers her future. Now, whenever Polland is absorbed in his research, she should make good use of her private time. Why not call Norton and see what he is ready to offer? Does she still know his number? Of course she does, a smart girl never forgets her emergency calls!
She steps out from the swiftly cooling water, wraps herself up in Alex’s silky carmine robe and freezes dead: what does this heady scent remind her of? Certainly not of Katia who prefers girlish flowery fragrances. Has Elijah unearthed a new recruit? Of course he must have. One swallow doesn’t make a summer and Alex is a notorious ladies’ man. She strides purposefully back to the bedroom, picks up her pocketbook from under her clothes, takes out her cellular and dials Norton’s direct office number. His “yes” sounds irritated.
“So sorry to disturb, Frank! I am back in town and the first thing on my heart is calling you.” She informs him in her lilting innocent girlish singsong.
“Magda, my darling, I was about to despair of ever seeing you again! All the information I got from you led to a dead end. I thought about engaging a private eye as the last resort even if this would be extremely indelicate. Oh Magda, you cruel girl how could you have left without a word of warning? Do I mean so little to you?”
“I am infinitely sorry, Frank! Allow me to explain. I left Paris on an emergency. My mother was hospitalized in Budapest for a heart attack and according to the surgeon her condition was precarious and likely to worsen. Of course I tried to inform you about my imminent departure? I called you at your office first and when you direct number didn’t answer I was transferred on to your secretary who was momentarily unreachable. Then I tried your home number. It was your daughter who took my call. She was not only unwilling to take my message but hung up on me in a rather brutal way so I didn’t dare to insist on talking to you. Leaving in a hurry I didn’t take my address book with me. I couldn’t think of anything else by my mother’s failing health and…” Her imagination suddenly failing her, Magda starts sobbing her heart out.
“My poor little darling, don’t cry. Tell me where I can find you to dry your tears with my kisses.”
Magda suppresses a chuckle. ’Wouldn’t it be hilarious if he finds her in Alex’s bathrobe sitting on his bed still warm with sex?’
“I can’t see you at the moment as much as I am longing for it. There are many things I have to do first like finding the money to pay for my mother’s private clinic as I don’t want her to be treated at some questionable national health care establishment. I am sorry, Frank I have to hang up now. I’ll call you later when things clear up.”
She hangs up not minding his desperate objections and starts to dress. Consulting her platinum wrist watch, Polland’s gift from London, she realizes she is running late. Polland is about to come up from his study and claim her for his personal time. All has been planned for: the days being reserved for his research, the night for recreational sex so he’d get up in the morning his mind brimful with bright ideas.
She jumps out from the cab and takes the stairs by four, landing in Polland’s arms the very moment he enters the dining room for a light, purposefully set dinner with a limited quantity of wine, drugs strictly off limits.
“How is your mother doing, sweetheart?” He asks after having his breath back after Magda’s welcome kiss.
“Much better; thanks to you, Jean. I can provide her with excellent care at the American Hospital in Neuilly. It is a bit far from here but while you are absorbed in your research, sitting at my mother’s bedside is the best way how to fill up the time without you.”
He embraces her with a look of unending devotion. He can hardly believe that this magnificent woman loves him.
“I do feel bad not being able to accompany you to the hospital and meet the woman to whom I owe you, my sweet Magda! Once we are out of France you must invite your mother to live with us.”
“How kind of you, Jean. Unfortunately this can’t happen before I’ll have become your wedded wife. My mother would be shocked to know I am sharing the bed with a man to whom I am not legally married. As you are a widower simplifies all. Hopefully she will never know the bride you are walking down the aisle lost her virginity to you long before. By the way have you discussed with Mr. Severn your plans to move to Switzerland?”
“I haven’t as yet because all our discussions turn around my research and are strictly professional. A propos this Bordeaux is excellent! It becomes even better by sharing the same glass with you, my lips tracing the shadow of your gorgeous mouth in expectation of the fusion of our bodies!” Cooing, he proffers the glass to her lips.
“I can’t wait leading you down the aisle on my arm so beautiful in a white satin gown, the organ playing the “Wedding March” making our love lawful and your mother proud of us!”
“Oh yes, Jean, it will be a dream come true! Now I must let you rest, sacrificing my earning for you to your to your professional achievement.”
“Must I really go to sleep now, Magda? Won’t I merit a wee cuddle?”
“Really and truly, Jean, I have no right to be disrespectful of your scientific calling!” Backing away from his pathetic whimper she decides to start treating him to a right dose of sleeping pills.