Paul got off the train four and a half hours later and his body ached from sitting down to long and looked at his watch and realised that it had gone seven thirty and he was not expected till nine thirty. He decided to grab a meal and walked into Penrith. He was glad of the time he had and he knew that it would possibly be his last moment of solitude for a couple of days.
He continued walking as he enjoyed the cold winters air and he walked the short distance to the station hotel and he sat at a window overlooking the station. He was unsure of what he would find in the next few hours and what Timothy had got ready for him.
Jasmine saw him from a distance as she sat at a late opening café close to the station. She was surprised to see him and she walked close behind him.
Paul sat as a hand rested on his shoulder and looked around and was startled when he saw that it was Jasmine.
"Surprise" she said.
Paul's face was one of surprise "What are you doing here?"
Jasmine sat opposite at a quiet table near a fire place "I assume the same reason that you are here."
Jasmine showed her invitation and Paul knew that this was no coincidence and that Timothy had staged them coming together.
Jasmine continued "You seemed a little jumpy."
Paul changed subjects "How was the funeral?"
Jasmine looked at him with saddened eyes "Sombre and short. As my uncle would want it."
She looked to the menu but wasn't sure what to get. Jasmine wasn't used to British cuisine and had heard many stories of English food being bland but she was here and intrigued to try out new things as she would always encourage herself to do. "What do you recommend?"
Paul knew what he wanted "Steak pie and chips."
Jasmine smiled and nodded "Make mine the same."
An hour later after they had eaten they were both stuffed. They had barely spoken to each other. Paul felt a little drained wondering if he should have had time alone. Jasmine was quiet and she would normally be at the centre of any conversation. She found Paul's lack of conversation difficult but wasn't sure if it was 'good different' but understood that not everyone was as talkative as she was.
They walked back to the train station the light had faded and the station was bathed in a yellow tungsten glow. Paul looked up as they walked back to the taxi rank and they both saw moths fluttering around the street lamps. Jasmine was further back and had been silent since leaving the hotel. Paul got out a ten pound note and they both got a taxi to Dukes Hall unsure of what they would expect.
As they arrived Paul knocked on the thick wooden door and he heard the knock echo faintly behind the door and reckoned there must have been a hallway on the other side. The door opened and Paul let Jasmine in first.
They where met by the housekeeper "Hello and welcome to Dukes Hall let me take your bags and things. I'm Harvey Stone the housekeeper make your way through to the hallway where everyone is waiting for you."
Paul and Jasmine entered through the main entrance and Paul smelt the whiff of cigars as the housekeeper took their bags. In the distance laughter could be heard. The heavy wooden door shut behind them booming down the hallway. Paul looked around and admired the wide open hall way, with white and green tiles. Paul looked up the long winding oak staircase that never seemed to stop.
Timothy walked down the stairs and walked into the dining room and he saw Paul in the corner and shook his hand "Hello welcome, it is good to see you again."
Paul responded and he looked around saying "Thanks, lovely building you have here. "
Timothy responded "It is and it has recently been renovated. Its a bit of an indulgence for me at the weekends."
He sat on one of three sofas that where arranged around a large mahogany table. On the sofa opposite was Peter Lancaster and his girlfriend Linda Jensen.
Paul felt slightly uneasy unsure of why they where here. Jasmine sat down next to Paul and she also was unsure of the meeting. Both were tired and exhausted.
Timothy sat on a sofa opposite to Paul and he said "Jasmine, Paul it is good that you are here. We heard about the incident on the train."
Paul was unsure how they knew "How did you know?"
Timothy looked towards Peter "Peter and his girlfriend were on board and where watching to make sure you got to this meeting safely."
Peter looked straight at Jasmine "As you may or may not know Giovanni was a member of the Brethren throughout his adult life. He had been wanting to leave for some time."
Jasmine looked to him and the revelation did not surprise her "I had suspected with our investigation that he had a role in the Brethren."
Jasmine looked towards Paul with curiosity and a question had been lingering in her mind "Why do you need Paul then if its only my Uncle your interested in?"
Timothy looked towards Paul's direction before returning his hazel eyes towards Jasmine "By association really. His investigation into the Brethren and his encounters with you means he has experience of the Brethren and you Jasmine will need friends to fight them."
Timothy continued "I was a journalist for the London Gazette and their was rumours circulating around Fleet Street in 1976 of a French diplomat coming to the UK for a few hours before flying out. Then I began to uncover Giovanni's life from a distance and the occasional trips he made to the UK but no one knew what he did."
Peters girlfriend Linda Jensen explained the story of how they all came together "When Timothy was working as a journalist, he got Peter to get close to Giovanni to get information for a story he was writing. Eventually he became Giovanni's driver for two years."
Linda Jensen continued "Then four years ago the story went cold and Giovanni disappeared before being stationed in the UK two years ago and he got in contact with Peter. Giovanni had suspected about Peter using him to get information and he had dropped hints about the Brethren during discussions they had when Peter was his chauffeur."
Timothy looked to Paul and Jasmine who were intrigued but he was willing to go only so far with what he knew "Then Giovanni disappeared four years ago for no reason and the story went cold until he was stationed in the UK two years ago."
Peter looked at all the guests "When Giovanni reappeared he tracked me and Timothy down and disclosed about the Brethren."
Timothy continued as he looked to Jasmine "We and a few of Giovannis friends soon got together after and we began to plan a way to expose the Brethren. However Giovanni was already planning his exit from the Brethren. He was worried about being exposed to soon. He made contact with Byron who posed as a man who could help him out. However."
Jasmine finished the sentence "It was a trap."
Timothy looked to Jasmine as a tear formed in her left eye "He was worried about you and your mothers safety. We were beginning to make progress until he was killed. This is the first meeting we have had together in months. Now you and Paul are both involved."
Timothy looked to the clock and he saw that it was getting late "You will be here for twenty four hours. Tomorrow you will be met by a guest who is arriving at ten and will brief us about Giovanni's work."
Jasmine nodded "I understand the need for secrecy. Who is this guest?"
Timothy smiled knowing that she was digging "All in good time."
Guests started to head to bed after one o'clock in the morning having travelled from far and wide. Paul put his paper down as his body began to cry for sleep and bowed to his biological clock and set about heading to his room on the second floor and walked in to his bedroom. He had been given a double room with an en suite bathroom and toilet and thought the décor was terrible with flowery bed linen but the stone fire place and wooden fire surround made up for it.
Paul was about to sleep when he realised that he had forgotten his glasses and he headed downstairs snaking quietly down winding stairs and headed into the lounge. He spotted his glasses on the Times newspaper. As he walked towards his glasses he spotted the moonlight coming through the conservatory window. He stood there for a while absorbing the details of the moon looking at various craters and shapes and could make out the face on the moon. He was so drawn to the glowing intensity of the moon that he opened the French doors and walked onto the cold winters grass that glistened in the moonlight and he sat on a long wooden bench.
As he sat down he could make out more of the night sky. He saw the Big Dipper. Paul marvelled at the night sky and he was grateful for the lack of street light that so hampered his star gazing at home.
He returned to the conservatory when he heard a creak behind him. He turned and saw Jasmine behind him smiling. Paul was surprised to see her and thought that she would be fast asleep. Jasmine sat next to Paul on a three seater cane sofa.
Jasmine said as she looked to Paul "Cold night for stargazing."
Paul responded and he smiled "Just a little. I'm surprised your up. I thought you would be in bed."
Jasmine looked to him "I tried, I tossed and turned but I couldn't sleep. I dozed for about half an hour. Then I heard the creaking of the doors and I could see you out here looking up at the moon."
Paul smiled "I came down for my glasses but I was drawn by the clear night sky."
He could see that Jasmine was shivering and he went back into the lounge and found a blanket on one of the chairs and he wrapped it over Jasmine "Thanks" she said.