woensdag 11 maart 2015

The Woman in Red: Chapter 18

18. Le Tapis Rouge

         Katarina had turned pale. Her red lipstick was even more than usual in contrast to her white skin. ‘Maman said you had drowned during a vacation on Ibiza. I don’t understand.’
            The man whom Katarina was speaking to looked at Jean-Pierre before he answered.
            ‘Still alive and kicking, Kathy. I hope you aren’t disappointed. But later on more about that. Now we have to hurry. The General has booked some chambers at ‘Le Tapis Rouge’, The Red Carpet. Do you remember, Katarina? Our first trip together.’
            Jean-Pierre didn’t know what was happening. Obviously Katarina knew this man, and it was reciprocal. Was Jacques employed at the Chateau Dauphin? And why did Katarina think he had died? Was the Baroness aware that this blond and slender fellow was still alive? Apparently there used to be a lot of mysteries around ‘Kathy’ and the Baroness.
            They got in the car, and Jacques went off for ‘Le Tapis Rouge’. They didn’t much talk. Katarina was preoccupied and now and then looked secretly at Jacques from the passenger side. Nevertheless, Jean-Pierre noticed it. He tried to look where they were driving, but they were all back roads and bad or even not illuminated.
            After an hour’s drive, Jacques turned right on a hard surfaced road. It led to a little cottage that was only enlightened by a lantern above the only door at the front side. It was a rustic house that probably before had been a farmhouse they had renovated.
            In stylish letters, there was a board beside the door that mentioned ‘Le Tapis Rouge.' Jacques knocked at the door, and a little window at a man’s height in the door went open. Jean-Pierre didn’t hear what the man said, but if there was a code, Jacques had given the right one.
            The door carefully went open and an older woman, dressed in an excessive manner, let them enter. The door closed behind Katarina and Jean-Pierre. A sound that startled them both in the dim light of the corridor which obviously led to a lounge. It was a whole other world than in the castle.
            A big U-shaped sofa, on which there were all kinds of pillows in a disorderly way, took most of the space. In front of it was a bar with some high chairs. Behind the furniture, a young woman was busy polishing some glasses while a bald man was uncorking a bottle of champagne.
            ‘Welcome, Lady Katarina. May I offer you a glass of champagne or do you want something stronger.' She pointed at the many bottles standing on a rack behind the bar. There were a lot of choices. Six different kinds of whiskey’s, a few of the better Cognac’s and the best Vodka you could find in the region. For the sweet teeth, there was a great selection of liqueurs, one more colorful than the other.
            ‘Pour me a Chivas Regal,’ Jacques said after he had put off his coat and taken place on the sofa. A gracious naked woman cut out in wood served as a support for the glass table top on which there was a fruit basket.
            ‘For me the same,’ Katarina asked and looked questioningly at Jean-Pierre.
            ‘Okay, also a whiskey for me.’ Jean-Pierre looked around while he also put off his coat. The windows were blinded with shutters on the outside, but on the inside there were heavy red curtains. At that moment, Jean-Pierre noticed that a red carpet meandered, from the door they had entered, to somewhere beyond the lounge. Hence the name, of course. While he followed the carpet, he saw two young women enter through a door in the farthest corner of the space, along which the old woman disappeared.
            They were scarcely dressed, but the clothes they were wearing, were of black leather. Around their neck and wrists, they had a collar with sharp points which glimmered dangerously in the artificial light. Their luscious bosoms fitted badly in their leather suit, and their long legs seemed even longer in those artistic pantyhoses and sharp stiletto heels. Jean-Pierre never had seen an SM-Mistress, but now he surely knew he had two of them before him.
            ‘Lady,’ the two of them greeted Katarina. Katarina hugged the women she obviously knew very well. She wasn’t shocked by their clothes and coolly took a glass from the barman.
            ‘Jean-Pierre,’ she pointed with her glass in her hands, ‘these are Helga and Irene. Ladies, this is Jean-Pierre.’ Jean-Pierre almost choked on his drink, when both of the ladies smiled at him and took him by the arm to the lounge seats, where they sit next to him in a way he hardly could move.
            ‘Can we play with him tonight, Katarina?’ Helga asked. Now Jean-Pierre really did choke on his drink.

© Rudi J.P. Lejaeghere

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