CURVE BALL

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Chapter Forty-Two

Pytor picked his way through the crowd to where he had left the woman in silver. It seemed that all of the Nazi elite had come to this event. The air filled with perfume mixed with the scent of cigars.

“There you are,” he said, “so many people. Here is your champaigne.”

“Danke, I was beginning to worry. Did you know those ladies?”

“Ladies? Not in the least.”

“… but you had a conversation.”

“I...eh, yes I had to ask them to move so that I could get your drink.”

She gripped her champaigne.

“You were able to see?” he asked.

She took a sip. “I was concerned you wouldn’t return.”

“Why?”

She laughed. “You don’t know?”

“I’m at a loss. Please…”

A change came over the room. He noticed despite the din of conversation the several violinists stopped playing. He looked toward the back. The musicians were in line. There were more than a dozen. They had their bows high in the air like rifles on parade. Upon a signal the music of Beethoven’s last movement of his third symphony exploded as they trooped toward the entrance of the Grand Ballroom.

“You were saying?” He asked.

She nimbly put her hand on the elbow of his sleeve. “Let’s not rush.”

She held onto him as the crowd moved toward the ballroom. She smiled at the men and nodded at the women.

“What are you doing?” Pytor asked. “Who are you? Everyone is taking their places at the tables.”

“I know,” she said. “Did you forget you don’t have a seat?”

He could feel a drop of sweat start at his hairline and begin to descend down his face. He reached for a handkerchief to wipe the moisture. “How did you…?”

“I need to go to the ladies room. I’m sure nature is sending you the same signal. We’ll meet at the hall’s entrance where we first came in. Let’s say in five minutes. It takes women a little longer.

He watched her walk away. What to think? Most of the people had filed into the ballroom. The uniformed guards closed the doors. Beethoven’s symphony could no longer be heard. He checked his watch. A minute had gone by. The men’s bathroom was off the middle of the hall area where the hors d’orves had been served. Most likely out of the sight lines of the guards. There wasn’t much choice. If he stayed he would be found out. This woman offered a chance he had to take. He followed her instructions.

Several people were cleaning the area as Pytor left the bathroom and went toward the entrance of the hotel. Where the hell was she? He looked at the time. Thirty seconds left. He reprimanded himself for his need to be precise. She did say five minutes. She still had a bit of time. It must be his musical training. Precision and accuracy was the hallmarks of a trained musician. He pulled his sleeve back to check his watch.

“I said five minutes,” she said, “and I am on time.”

He turned towards her and didn’t know what to say. She no longer wore a silver gown, but had changed into a skirt with a brown overcoat.

“Let’s go,” she said. She placed her hand on his arm.

“Of course,” and looked at her. “Where?”

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