Love and Other Murders

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Chapter 73

Everything is ready for them and as flawless as expected. Alex’s partners are well trained professionals. Their new home is an anonymous house squeezed into the row of similar ones. It has a tiny front garden and a more spacious patch of green in the rear. Elijah opens the entrance door and steps aside to let them enter. Magda lingers at the threshold intimidated by the stifling smallness of the cottage menacing to shut her in.

“Isn’t it bliss to have this cozy little place just for the two of us, my sweet Magda?” Polland grabs her hand and draws her inside.

-I am not living with you; we occupy the same space- Magda would say if she were Nathalie and knew Tennessee Williams by heart. Yet Magda is much more alike of Maggie Pollitt, the “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof“.

“Come in, I’ll show you the house!” Elijah leads them up the winding staircase to the first floor bedroom with an in-suite bathroom as tiny as the living room on the first level.

“And last but not least I’ll have the honor to introduce you to your study, Polland!” They go up to a perfectly equipped study on the second floor.

“Isn’t it just great, Jean? I am certain you can’t wait to settle at your desk and start working on your fantastic inventions! Don’t mind me, please. I’ll change in the meantime and wait for you in the living room. No need to rush. I’ve noticed a thick pile of “Vogues” on the coffee table.“

“Come with me, Eli! We mustn’t disturb Jean.” She pulls him out of the study and leads him down.

“Now show me your room, Eli.” She urges him horrified by the prospects of staying alone with Polland in this prison cell.

“I’m afraid that won’t be possible, Magda. I am driving back to Paris on Alex’s explicit order.” He mutters avoiding her eyes.

“You can’t do that to me, Eli! I refuse to stay alone with a suspected murderer who might have wiped out his family in a fit of rage.” She throws herself on him in a strangulating embrace,

“Have mercy on me, Eli! Take me to Paris with you! You won’t regret it. I’ll make it up thousand fold to you!” She crushes him in her arms mad with despair, ready to tear off her clothes and make love to him in the staircase yielding to any of his fantasies, even the weirdest ones, if only he takes her away with him.

“Careful, Magda, he is coming!” Eli shakes her off hearing Polland’s steps in the staircase.

“My sincere congratulations, Bronstein; this is some exploit! Everything is perfect. There is not a single item I’d miss, my respect!”

”And have you seen the bedroom, Magda dear, that bouncy bed with its exquisite damask linen? I can’t wait to test it!”

“So glad you approve of your study, Polland, there are just a couple of last things to discuss. You have a flat screen television set with a large choice of DVDs, a hi-fi set and CDs from classics to modern jazz. You’ll get anything else dialing this number connected with Mr. Severn’s Swiss office whose entire staff is at your disposal. The food will be delivered three times daily by the best Basel catering company and a cleaning woman will come in daily. If you have no more questions I bid you farewell.

She hears the squeal of tires of Eli’s departing car, then nothing but the deadly silence of an abandoned house. She sinks into the armchair sick with loneliness. In her whole life she has never been as desperate, even after the death of her father when her mother, jealous of the covetous eyes of her lover salivating over Magda’s teenage body, kicked her out.

“Leave me alone, Jean!” She shrieks backing away from his grabby hands. How could she have ever accepted this unacceptable sexual bondage? And yet this is what she did! Now she must persevere in her part of a girl in love and hope for a fast and happy ending.

“I’m desperate to have been so brusque, Jean! It has nothing to do with you. I have my period which makes me all edgy and ill at ease.”

“My poor darling, no need to make amends for it! Let your Jeannot ease you up!”

She pushes away his hand creeping down her belly and starts to sob. He shrinks back like a mongrel expecting a blow.

“You misinterpreted my intention, Magda! It had nothing to do with sex. It was a healing gesture. I am going to my study now. You know where to find me in case you change your attitude.” He walks heavily the stairs chewing on her transformation into just another wench.

’Women, they are all the same! How easy it is for them to put their hysterics on menstruation! He vividly remembers Chantal’s “days” when she thought anything would go; her crazy fits of hate, her high-pitched screams, and the frightened boys fleeing from the carnage. She used to pounce on him like a fury, throwing him down on the carpet, scratching and kicking, tearing his trousers down, and getting wild on his penis not minding the boys. It wouldn’t be surprising if they’d turned up gay. And now even Magda, his sweet bride, is showing her claws joining the belligerent army of spouses even before they have been officially wedded! It makes him think twice; who knows if she is as innocent as she pretends to be! Her appearance on the train, in a compartment evidently booked for just the two of them, then staying at the same hotel, her infatuation with him, a man nothing much to look at, their breathtaking sex, and those incriminating photos of their naked coupling! How did they land in Chantal’s hands? He still can’t understand his family’s violent death, more suited for a Hollywood movie than for a bourgeois family without a previous history. Who is guilty of this bloodshed? He can’t believe Chantal did it; in spite of her insane fits of rage when nothing but humiliating him mattered, she was a good mother to the boys. There were other ways how to get at him, taking a good lawyer and deprive him of all his possessions, the boys included, dragging him in mud and making him lose his good name, maybe even his job, though this isn’t probable as the firm needed him too much and it was in Chantal’s interest he’d keep his high wages. He didn’t want Chantal dead; just not allow her swallowing him whole. It won’t do any good to weep over spilled blood. He’d better stop digging into his past and Magda’s part in his calamities. In fact he can hardly afford it. He has learned a lesson in a painful way: to be on his guard against all, Magda included, and under no circumstances allow her to put her hands on his riches. There is no such thing as an ideal woman even if she happens to be great in bed. His past is a closed chapter. And he mustn’t feel guilty: has he ever wished for anything but what was right and fair?’

“Guess who?” Magda’s soft hands alight upon his eyes, her lips tease his neck, and a rush of desire floods his body. He draws her upon his knees.

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