“Wife - if you want me then Yes! Yes - of course yes.” She burbled as fireworks exploded, avalanches crashed down mountains, space rockets lifted off. She was on an Interpol mission. Mafia mobsters were gathering on the sidelines. She had already made love to a suspect and now she was going to marry him! If ever there was a moment to come clean it was now.
He was beaming, and then burying his face in his hands, repeating the words “I can’t believe it - I have found you from the whole world.”
He pulled a Cartier ring box from his pocket, his powerful hand folded around it.
“Maybe it is a little you know - big. I’m sorry - but I am half American you know.”
For a moment the box sat in the palm of his open hand. She watched his long dark lashes as his eyes studied it. Then he opened the box and at once the sparkle of the largest and most beautiful diamond reflected the light of the chandeliers in perfect rays as if he had opened a door from which the sound of a symphony filled the room. He slipped it on her finger.
“You are mine and I am yours.” He said simply, as his eyes embraced hers in a ballet that swept her up and possessed her in its grip.
She blinked at the platinum band set with a 5 carat princess cut solitaire diamond.
“It fits... ” She mumbled stupidly, ashamed that she could not rise above banal confusion.
“I stole - borrowed a ring from your flat to get the size... I was very bad.”
“It is so so beautiful, beautiful, beautiful... ”
“Not beautiful enough.” He said.
“I can’t find the words...” She began.
“The magic word was Yes - and you found it.” He smiled.
She looked away. How could she go on? How could she deceive him? She was his woman. She was a detective, a fraud and a liar. He was her man and she loved him more than her own life. A battle raged in her mind and heart. She retreated onto safe ground.
“You decided to marry me at my flat after one taxi ride and one night?”
“Oh no - I am a boxer Anna, I cannot wait that long to react. It was raining and I was standing in the street…I saw the most beautiful girl I had ever seen and I knew... that if I did not act... then it would be too late.”
She shook her head in wonder and disbelief. Could real life be like that? She looked at him - and knew that it was like that. Just like that!
“I must tell someone.” She said, bursting with joy, despair and the loneliness of her false life.
“Maybe your mother. You never seem to be in touch - but I guess you talk to them all the time about the business.”
It would have been the natural thing to do, but she had hardly spoken to her since she had rejected the family firm and had moved to London as a cop. Her mother had planned a life for her and it did not involve crime and violence. As she thought she realized that her time with Beaumont had reduced her own circle of friends down to zero. Judy was her closest confidante and it was by no means certain that she would approve.
“I’ll let it wait - I’ll just wrap myself up in you.” She said, focusing on the beautiful ring.
That night they made love tenderly, without urgency or complication, reaching out to each other like the roots of two seeds blown by chance and woven together as one. At around midnight they lay together in the moonlight. The window was a little open and admitted sounds from the street. In the distance voices and traffic spoke the muffled language of other lives. Somewhere close by in another apartment a sad saxophone played reflective moody late night jazz. If there had ever been a moment when she would have stopped time it would have been then - in the mellow moments of their after-love and their before-life. The great River Seine rippled and pushed on to the sea as the sun tip-toed the back stairs of the world climbing towards dawn across Paris. Maybe the morning light would never uncover two lovers hiding within the protection of each other’s arms…
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