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.“What’s your daughter’s name?”She stared at him, found her tongue.“Stella.Her name’s Stella.”“Aaah, you always had a thing for the stars.”And you, she almost said.“Remember this?” She felt around in her bag, found the lucky Egyptian coin, the one he’d given her on a street corner in Cairo when they’d said good-bye.A beeping came from her phone, indicating a message.Yves stared at the coin, then at her phone.“Don’t you think you should check that?”She hit the voice-mail button and listened.One message.Jean Caplan’s voice.“Hélène wants to talk to you about the girl.She knows you somehow.The side door code is 78C65, Come to the back of the store.She’ll be waiting.” And then the loud buzz of a hang up.“Have to get home, eh? Your man’s waiting,” Yves suggested, watching her.Claude.But she wasn’t sure he was her man.She’d put Stella first last night and he’d given his freedom priority over her.“Non, it’s.it’s business,” she said.She wanted to explain, tell him everything, even on this busy street.“Of course, you’d never stop working,” he said.“But I always thought if I gave you enough babies, well, you’d slow down.”“You did?”He pressed something into her hand.Another shining bronze coin covered in Arabic writing.“One can never have too much luck, Aimée.”His cell phone rang but he ignored it.His warm hands held hers, not loosening their grasp.“Got to go,” he said.“Another meeting.I fly back tonight.”“Look, Yves, I—”He put his finger over her lips.“Don’t tell me how happy you are, or that you’ve found the right one at last.It’s wonderful; I’m happy for you.And quit batting those big eyes at me, Aimée.I understand.”But he didn’t.“If your daughter’s anything like you.whoa.” He stroked Stella’s head, kissed Aimée long and lingeringly on the mouth.“You know, we’ve got to stop saying good-bye on street corners.”Then he was gone.People hurried past her, their shoulders hitting hers as the shadows deepened.And she felt more alone than ever.As she got out of the taxi at Jean Caplan’s brocante, she was astounded by the driver’s opening the door for her even before she produced her usual big tip.She stood in front of the shop for a moment with the baby bag over her shoulder, Stella strapped in the carrier and holding a bouquet of yellow daffodils for Hélène.“Hélène knows you somehow,” Caplan had said.Like Nelie knew her “somehow?” Caplan had realized, seen the truth in Aimée words and convinced Hélène to talk to her.For the first time Aimée sensed she’d get answers.She figured Hélène witnessed Orla’s killing.Then either Hélène acted in self-defense or she’d gone after the attacker.Perhaps Hélène had helped Nelie, and it was she who had written that note to Aimee.If Hélène knew where Nelie was hiding, she’d lead Aimée there.On the pavement, a man in a blue work coat grunted as he carried a tall sheet of glass in a frame on his back.He winked at Aimée, paused, and wiped his brow with his free hand.A vitrier—a glass man—who hawked his services on the streets.One of the few who still made the rounds with their distinctive high-pitched cry “Vi-tr-ier.” A fragment of the disappearing old Paris.Dark green metal shutters covered the front of Caplan’s shop.A dim light shone through the crack between the door shade and the glass.He’d said to use the side door; she tapped in the digicode number.Inside, she followed the narrow brown scuffed hall to the courtyard onto which Jean Caplan’s kitchen faced.Standing by the sealed-up well she saw lights in the galley kitchen, heard what sounded like the télé blaring news.“Time we meet Hélène,” she said.Stella answered with a wail.She knocked, opened the unlocked door, and entered.“Monsieur Caplan? Hélène?”She patted Stella’s back as she edged past the hanging beaded curtains that separated the kitchen from the shop.The once exquisite chandelier, with missing crystal drops, provided the only light [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]