Romance Fiction posted September 23, 2020 Chapters:  ...6 7 -8- 9 


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Pierre earns his wings

A chapter in the book An Evening in Paris

An Evening in Paris chapter 8

by Cass Carlton

The woman vanished just as Pierre was about to remark on her to Inge.
He looked about to find her and was stunned to see she was inching closer to Jim Wilson's back.
"Jim!" he called, "Look out," Pierre half rose from his seat, too far away to do anything except watch as the woman moved closer to her prey.

Horrified, he and Inge watched as the woman pushed her way through the small group of people surrounding Jim. Her expression had intensified as she raised an arm holding a large vase to bring it crashing down on Jim's unsuspecting head.

He fell like a tree in the forest and lay as still as a statue.
There was pandemonium as the woman began shrieking profanity at Jim and someone else called Dorian.
She accused them of lying to her, of betraying and misleading her and tricking her into telling them about a shipment of "sensitive goods" that was used to trap a known gun runner.

Thanks to the information, that individual was now out of business and on the run from his irate partners in crime. A small victory, but an important one.

Jim groaned and sat up amongst the shards of broken pottery.
His face was a mask of pain and he winced as his fingers found the wound on the side of his head. He glanced up at the sobbing, struggling woman.

"Falina," he muttered, "how the hell did she get in here?"

Then, Pierre had a flash of memory as he placed her outside the building where Alphonse had met his end.

Over near the flower sellers. Yes! He could see her clearly in his mind's eye.
It was certainly the same woman. Taller than average, she had been attractive once, but time had laid lines across her face and changed a pleasant expression to one of suspicion and fear.
She was hunched in her green wraparound coat, her face almost hidden in the fringed collar as she gave the organ grinder a wide berth and went the other way from where Pierre stood.

Jim stood up and gave an order to a man standing nearby. He nodded and took the woman by the arms and led her away..
As she passed Inge and Pierre, she turned and looked him right in the face. Her mouth curved into a parody of a smile as she leaned towards him and hissed,
"Your noisy friend didn't like me, but I sorted him out once and for all."
Pierre stared at her for a moment, the import of her words bearing in like a wall collapsing in front of him.
Quite unconsciously, he reached out, grabbed the front of her coat and yanked her off her feet.
She shrieked in terror at the expression on Pierre's face.
HIs jaw was set like granite and his grey eyes were blazing with a fury he had never experienced before.
He lifted the woman as if she was a rag doll and her feet slipped out of her shoes as she wavered between the floor and somewhere above it.

JIm's jaw dropped in astonishment at the sight of Pierre's furious response to the woman's mocking remark.
Very quickly other men stepped in and released her from Pierre's iron grasp, and she was led away sobbing in terror.
Pierre was quite stunned at his own actions. This was so unlike the self- effacing man he had always believed himself to be.
Inge gazed at him in admiration, causing his heart to skip a beat.
He smiled back at her not knowing how the softening of his features made her pulse beat faster just as his had done.

He distinctly recalled an encouraging squeeze of his shoulder as people had swarmed around them and someone murmured "Bravo mon fils" in his ear.
Inge looked at him with something other than the friendly courtesy she had hitherto displayed, and Pierre felt his spirits rise.

Jim had been ushered away to have his wound seen to, while amid a coldly silent group of onlookers, Falina Dupont was taken away in a large car with darkened windows.
Pierre watched as the car glided away into the night, his heart sick at the thought that such a person as she had ended his friend's life.

There was a slight movement on his collar as Pierre felt the little monkey return to his shoulder. It chittered into his ear as its master Jean Luc Despard, the organ grinder fixed him with a laughing look and shook his head.
"Mon Ami, you speak for us all. That one," he said as he nodded towards the receding tail lights of the large, dark windowed car," Was trouble from the start. Never quiet, always the great drama. Nes cest pas, ma cher mam'selle?" He turned to Inge for confirmation of his words .
"Yes, indeed," she agreed." One minute she was condemning the man we sought and then, in the next breath she was sobbing about how she'd put herself in danger by speaking to us."
Her face hardened from its youthful expression to one of cold anger as she went on." She came to us in the first place. There was no coercion or persuasion involved."

Jean Luc grunted in agreement.
" She wanted to be paid," he said, " A large sum in American dollars."
Inge took up the tale, her quiet voice clearly sounding in Pierre's ears.

"Once it was paid, she began asking for more and then, when finally they refused, she threatened to expose the Network. Alphonse was furious.
He met her at the 'apartment' to see if he could convince her to reconsider.
We had no idea she was as disturbed as this, but we think to get close to Alphonse she must have had an accomplice."
Pierre remembered the man who had strolled away in the same direction as the woman and said
, " Possibly. It could have been a man. One who could get close to Alphonse without it being remarked upon."
Inge and Jean-Luc looked at each other and spoke in unison.
"Theodore Montpelier."The owner of the building where Alphonse had died .
He was a hazy, indistinct character who professed to champion the Network and its ideals, but who had been found to be closely linked to those whose ethics had never been compliant with the Network's.

Pierre had no idea who they were talking about, but gave a full description of the man he had seen. Even down to the claw-like left hand and the slight limp assisted by a built up heel on his left shoe.

Jean-Luc and Inge were grim faced when Pierre had finished speaking. He had described Theodore Montpelier exactly and they knew a decision must be made.

However, that decision wasn't theirs to make. A report was written and sent immediately to a desk"somewhere in MI6."

There were other matters which were held against Theodore Montpelier and it was decided that retribution needed to be swift and definite.
A skilled assassin was sent to dispatch this person who had encompassed the death of their beloved leader, and his report was short and to the point.
Sometime before dawn on the next morning, an Email landed on an out of the way web site. It said,"The house is empty.Vaya con Dios."

Alphonse Lombard had been avenged.

Falina Dupont was known to be mentally unstable, so she was sent to an asylum for the criminally insane.
It was a well run, elegant establishment with electronic devices all over the grounds and buildings. The place was known for its discretion although the darker side of the institution was not known to the general public.
The residents in that part of the complex were all treated with humanity and respect, but their medication was zealously supervised.
No-one was ever let off taking their nightly pills and people like Falina , guilty, but insane, would live brief lives of comfort and ease, before succumbing to pneumonia or some other well documented malaise.

Pierre felt as if his face was graven in stone as he learned what was in store for Falina, but as Inge continued to relate the story, he heard that she was all alone in the world and had been mentally fragile for as long as they had known her.

The degree of fragility hadn't been known to them until just lately when she had picked up a large knife and threatened to slit the throat of Dorian le Marque, Jim's partner in Falina's imagined crime.

As they sat back and relaxed, Jim returned from having his wound dressed. He dropped into a chair and gazed at them owlishly from beneath a faintly piratical bandage covering half of his scalp and face.
He fixed Inge with a tender expression and said softly,"Hiya gorgeous, will you marry me?"

to be continued




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