A weekend had passed since Paul's article appeared in the Southampton Tribune.
It had gone eight o'clock in the morning when there was a knock on Paul's door. Paul got up putting on his dressing gown and he headed to the door.
As he opened the door he saw a man dressed in a dark blue uniform and a hat. He looked official whoever he was Paul thought to himself.
"How can I help you?" Paul said unsure of who this man was.
The driver looked to Paul coolly "Madam Rosinni at the French Embassy would like you to join her in London."
Paul shook his head in disbelief "This is a practical joke right, someone sent you here to wind me up?"
Francois looked at Paul and he said seriously "This is no joke."
Paul realised that this was for real and that this was no joke and he said to Francois "Give me fifteen minutes to get changed."
Fifteen minutes later Paul was changed and showered. He drank quickly luke warm coffee and cold burnt toast as he left his apartment. As he left he forgot the tools he needed and he ran back into his flat to get his notepad and blue pen. He knew that it wasn't everyday that you where going to the French embassy to meet the sister of a dead French diplomat.
Paul got into a stretched Mercedes W123 and was furnished with cream leather seats and wooden panelling. He sank into the deep leather chairs as the car left Southampton.
It was after eleven that the car pulled into the French embassy. Paul stared out of the window as the gates of the embassy where opened and the car drove across a cobbled surface till it stopped outside the main doors of the embassy.
The car door was opened gracefully by the driver. Out of a pair of double doors came a lady wearing a green suit, black shoes and long flowing brown hair. She shook Paul's hand.
"Good to see you Paul Spencer. I am Juliette Gamon, Madam Rosinnis secretary. Madam Rosinni will meet you in ten minutes. Please will you follow me?"
Paul said nothing but he was dying to ask questions but bit his lip. He knew he was being offered an exclusive and he followed the secretary down the hall.
Paul sat for thirty minutes watching people coming and going. Across from him was a painting of a waterfall. He got up and saw a caption and studied the painting and he stood admiring the contrasting whites and greys of the waterfall set with a mixture of dark greens of the hills in the background.
Then a group of people parted as Isabella Rosinni came into view she saw Paul and smiled at him and she said "Waterfall at Terni by Camille Corot. Its one of my favourite pictures. Its a painting done near Rome and the waterfall is called Cascate delle Marmore.”
Paul turned and he noticed a woman standing by him was short at five feet wearing a long flowing ivory skirt with a cream shirt with a set of pearl earrings and deep green shoes. Her eyes where set close together with a short nose.
"Its a nice picture." Paul said.
She stood by Paul and looked to him and introduced herself "Isabella Rosinni."
Paul turned around and responded "Paul Spencer."
"Would you follow me please?" Isabella said inviting Paul to her office off the main corridor of the embassy.
She closed the door and studied Paul for a moment looking at his green and blue eyes "Your the want who wrote the article on my brother?"
Paul nodded warily and he sat down on a dark wooden chair "Yes I did."
Paul looked around the room noticing the views towards Hyde Park seeing trees and the Serpentine Lake in the distance. In the room he looked around and he noticed an eighteenth century desk and a black pen resting on a thick pile of papers.
Isabella looked to Paul with curiosity as she lit a cigarette and offered one to Paul but he refused "I read your article and it was concise and to the point. I also realise that there are lots of people demanding an interview. I thought I would seize the initiative."
Paul stared silently at Isabella and he tried to make sense of where he was and what this was all about "I was just doing my job" he said.
Isabella sat down and continued "Of course, the reason I invited you hear was for you to get an interview with me. The deal is that you get an interview and you get my side of the story. In return I want you to find out why he was killed. None of my people can do it and I need someone from the outside to uncover the reason for his murder."
Paul nodded "Thank you for having me here but I am no detective. Why me?"
Isabella nodded "I need someone on the outside. Mr Spencer my brother was killed and I do not trust the French or the British police their are to many people who would be looking to protect their own backs.”
Paul sat still and said "Why not use one of your staff if you do not trust the authorities?"
Isabella sat and she responded by saying "Mr Spencer my own staff are loyal but I need an outsider. I tell you what I have a room at the Ritz that I rent for guests when they come to meet me. Sleep on it and come back to me tomorrow morning at eleven."
Isabella got up and she looked squarely at Paul "I want an answer Mr Spencer by ten o'clock tomorrow morning after that the deal is off."
Isabella walked towards the door and motioned over her driver who was sitting in the corridor. "Francois can you take Paul to the Ritz. You know what needs to be done."
Francois nodded and escorted Paul to a waiting Mercedes and drove him to the Ritz. A concierge escorted Paul to the Arlington suite of the hotel. Paul walked in and saw the floral carpeting, gold rimmed mirrors and a large double bed. The concierge left him and reminded him that they were on service if he needed anything.
Paul's mind was on the offer that had been given to him. Yet he walked to the window and saw the streets of London beneath him and noticed the toing and froing of taxis and people and wondered where they where going. The rain had come with him from Southampton and it began to rain outside. Paul was restless and it was the first time he was alone in days. Yet apart of him missed Kathleen and wished that she was here with him at the Ritz and would have loved all the opulence of the place.
Paul sighed and he headed out of the room and walked out of the hotel. He had some money with him and he ordered a taxi to take him to the riverbank close to Parliament. As he got out of the taxi he noticed that in front of him was Westminster Bridge and Big Ben to his right. The clock registered after five and the night was cold and pitch black with the surroundings lit by orange tungsten lighting.
However Paul's mind was elsewhere looking ahead and he walked to the river bank. He saw a familiar sight in the distance. He shook his head in disbelief. A figure, a figure he didn't think would be in London. To be sure Paul carried on walking till he was closer.
As he walked closer he saw a woman tall slim and athletic staring at across the Thames with a vacant stare "Kathleen is that you?"
The figure turned around. Her eyes lit up with surprise "Paul, what are you doing here?"
Paul smiled in amusement "Business, its been of those days."
Kathleen smiled at Paul "You got my note then?"
Paul shrugged his shoulders "Note?"
Paul shook his head "No I never got anything."
Kathleen sighed " I wanted to speak to you."
Paul responded and moved closer to Kathleen "What about?"
Kathleen turned to face him "Listen I am staying at the Dolphin Hotel up the road. I was on my way back you can join me if you like.”
Paul nodded "Sure."
Kathleen continued to look back to him as she walked back to her hotel in Charing Cross "I have been here for a few days and I have been interviewed by Norwich University for a medical research programme. I have been applying for years and now I have got somewhere. They offered me a research job starting in two days."
Kathleen saw Paul's face and the sadness that he expressed "Listen. I am sorry we split up. You have nothing to blame for. I love you with all my heart and I always will."
Paul acknowledged and responded by saying "Can we at least be friends?"
Kathleen "Sounds good. I would like that. We can keep in contact from time to time and you can come up to Norwich once I am settled.”
They continued walking. Night time had arrived and the Thames was lit by green, blue and yellow lights which illuminated the blackness of the Thames.
Byron walked into the Dolphin Hotel walking into a red carpeted reception area and he posed as a health and safety inspector.
"Hello their" the receptionist said.
"Hello I am looking for the room for a Kathleen Phillips."
Byron showed her a false ID. The receptionist bought it "I will need to speak to the manager to let him know that you are here."
Byron nodded and the receptionist left. As she did so Byron glanced down at the guest book and he saw Kathleens room number. The manager returned.
"How can I help you?"
Byron responded with a reassuring smile "Nothing to worry about but we need to check out reports of damp that have been reported to us."
The manager, a small bald headed man nodded and showed him the room number and gave Byron a spare key "Call us if you need anything."
Byron nodded "I will."
He ascended the stairs and walked to Kathleens room located on the second floor he found his way to Kathleens room by using the key given to him. In the distance he heard laughter and made his way inside hiding in a tall cupboard located near to Kathleens bed.
Paul walked Kathleen to her room. They were both full of laughter.
Kathleen smiled as they got closer to her room "Do you want to come in?"
Paul nodded "Sure."
Kathleen said as she opened the door "Wait in the hallway. Give me five minutes and I will call you in. My room isn't exactly clean."
Byron had been waiting for her to return to her room. He saw Kathleen entering the room through slats in the cupboard door. He breathed quietly and suddenly kicked open the door frightening Kathleen and she looked at him in terror.
Kathleen tried to run towards the door. Byron ran and grabbed her and he smiled "Don't scream, don't run."
Kathleen was frightened and she said trying to remain calm "What, what do you want?"
Byron dragged her to by the window "Your boyfriend is trouble. Tell him to stop digging around in places he shouldn't."
Kathleen managed to wriggle free and looked at him confused "What are you on about his work on the diplomat. What's that got to do with anything, that's his job."
Byron walked closer "Listen tell your boyfriend to back off. This is a friendly warning."
Kathleen ran to the corner of the room trying to flee from Byron. Byron walked closer to Kathleen, their was a menacing smile on his face.
She looked around and saw a large green lamp next to where she was standing. She grabbed it and threw it at Byron sending him crashing to the ground. He got up full of anger as blood poured down his right cheek.
Outside Paul heard something smashing and opened the door to see Byron standing in Kathleens room. He could see that Byron was going to go for Kathleen and Paul stood between the two of them. Byron, knowing his cover was blown ran out of the room. Paul chased after him but Byron quickly disappeared down a long winding maze of corridors.
Paul ran back to see Kathleen crying and on the bed and in distress. He walked closer and held Kathleen.
"What did he want?"
Kathleen responded "He wants you to back off from your story."
Paul looked into Kathleens green eyes "I can't. He already has killed one person. You were lucky. This guy has to be stopped. Whatever he is apart of someone is desperate to keep things quiet."
Kathleen responded "He was serious. You go up against him again and you will be dead. I don't want you killed over some story."
Paul sat at a nearby chair full of disbelief.
By now security had arrived. A large square jawed security guard scanned the room "Their were reports of a commotion."
Paul and Kathleen gave their statements to a policeman who came within minutes of the disturbance.
Later Paul walked Kathleen back to her room. Their was a sense of finality and that this was the end of their four year relationship.
Paul leaned against the door beaming with a smile in spite of the nights events "Its been a lot of fun."
Kathleen nodded and opened her door "Yes it has and thank you for showing me things I never considered before. I will call you."
Kathleen entered her room and Paul left saddened returning to the Ritz.