A Sideways Glare at Contemporary Society
Dreyfus was half awake, sitting on the side of the bed, when Emily came into the room.
“Who won?” he said, rubbing one finger in his eye.
“What?” Emily shot back, more than a little irritated.
“You look like you were in a fight. What happened?”
“Out of a building?”
“For God sake, Sinclair! I’m tired: leave me alone.”
Emily was tired and still stomach sick from the adrenaline rush. And what the hell was Sinclair doing awake at this time of the morning, anyway?
“Okay, okay,” Dreyfus stood up and went into the bathroom. He turned the cold water on in the sink and threw in a towel. When it was soaking wet, he grabbed another dry one and went back to Emily.
“Sit down, and let me see.”
Emily was pulling her dress over her head, so Dreyfus didn’t hear the “I’m fine.”
“Come here. Sit down.” Dreyfus offered his hand.
Emily took it, sat down on the bed and Dreyfus knelt in front of her. He reached his hand to her calf and brought her leg forward. Then he put the cold, wet towel on Emily’s knee and squeezed. It was an icy shock and it stung. Emily instinctively flinched.
“This might hurt.’
“Thanks for the warning.”
“Seriously, what happened?”
“Oh-h-h, that’s cold!” Emily shivered. “I just fell. My heel broke and I fell.”
Dreyfus lifted the towel to look. The water had washed most of the dirt away. He carefully used the towel to sponge away the last bits. Emily’s knee was numb by then, so she didn’t really feel it; and after a few touches, Dreyfus was satisfied.
“Okay, let me see your hands,” he said, folding the towel.
“Let me see your hands. People fall; they land on their hands. Let me see your hands. Clean them up.”
Emily took her hands off the edge of the bed and turned them, palms up.
Dreyfus tilted his head and shifted his eyes to look at Emily.
“What was it? A suicide attempt?” he said sarcastically.
Emily crinkled her nose.
“No defensive wounds?”
“My God, Sinclair, I’m not a murder victim. I fell. No big investigation. I fell.” Emily stood up.
“Okay, okay. You want the shower first?” Dreyfus said, standing.
“No, I’m tired. I just want to go to bed.” Emily leaned up and kissed Dreyfus on the cheek, “Sorry I’m grouchy; I had a wretched night. Thanks for the Florence Nightingale. It feels a lot better.”
Emily stepped back and reached behind her to undo her bra. Dreyfus collected both towels and went into the bathroom to shower.
When Dreyfus got out of the shower, he could hear Emily’s deep sleep breathing. He dressed as quietly as possible, turned the Do Not Disturb sign on the door handle and put his boots on in the hall. Then he went off to find an early morning coffee somewhere and meet the first team on Boulevard Raspail.
Emily slept for eight hours and woke up worried that she’d forgotten something – and she had. On the other hand, Dreyfus’s day was going better than expected. The manager at the gallery hadn’t questioned anything: he’d signed the work orders, notified the staff and even offered the lunch room. The three-man team knew exactly what to do. They’d set up the barriers, opened the grates, and by noon, the vertical shaft was connected to the sewer. Two hours later, they’d found the junction box, identified the various wires and installed the splices. Now, there was nothing left to do but hang around and look conspicuous.
Emily spent the afternoon shopping. She bought a sports bra that was uncomfortably tight and a package of black hair nets. She found a public telephone and called the caterers she’d talked to the day before.
“I have a delivery tonight. Yes, that’s correct. Could you add a note, please? Yes. ‘Merci beaucoup! Sandy.’ Could you make that big enough so they don’t miss it, please? Thank you.”
Then she went back to the hotel, put the things she needed in the black backpack, left a note for Sinclair at the reception desk and went off to have a very early meal and see a movie.
At the end of the day, Dreyfus came back to the hotel.
“Excusez, monsieur. You have a package, and Lady Weldon has left you a note.”
Dreyfus took the package and put it under his arm.
“Thank you, Sydney,” he thought and opened the note.
“Gone night shooting with Antony and Beth. See you in the morning.”
Dreyfus was used to Emily’s erratic comings and goings, but he decided he was going to look into this Antony and Beth at the first opportunity.