maandag 4 april 2016

Chateau Rouge: Chapter 4

4. At the airport

The French airport Charles-de-Gaulle was buzzing with activity. ‘Charles-de-Gaulle’ was especially used for international flights while the intra-French air traffic went through Orly. Jean-Pierre knew the flight number of the letter he had received from his sister and so he stood waiting well in advance at the gate where Marie-Anne had to appear.
            He tried to remember how his sister looked. When she left for America, she had long wavy brown hair with a red glow in it. Her blue eyes, mostly accentuated with some mascara, had always underlined her natural beauty. Nonetheless, there were a lot of boys of her age who were crazy about her but she had never laid eyes on them. That’s why Jean-Pierre was even more surprised she had fallen for a foreigner.
            Lost in his thoughts, he paid no attention to the person who was just ten paces away from him. Dressed in a pair of black jeans pants and a dark blue sweater, of which she had pulled up the hood, she occasionally glanced at Jean-Pierre. The woman had a simple task. To transfer a message without being seen. Easier said than done. Suddenly she knew how she would solve this the moment she saw a youngster standing on the side who obviously was very bored and played with his cell phone.
            Unaware of what was happening a few meters from him, Jean-Pierre stood there with a notice board in front of his chest and was waiting for the passenger of his sister’s flight to come through the gate. He was looking for her, but couldn’t find her in the big crowd of passengers who walked alongside him. Jean-Pierre was startled when a short-haired young lady came straight at him. He almost didn’t recognize her.
'Hello, Jean-Pierre,' it sounded rather shy. Her hair almost military style and colored black, she wore no eyeshadow or mascara so that her eyes were less emphasized. She looked tired, not that kind of tired from a trans-Atlantic flight but tired as in exhausted. Her eyes laying deep inside their sockets and her skin color had an unhealthy yellowish tint.
For a moment he doubted but when he saw a tear glimmering in Marie-Anne’s eyes, he pulled her close and hugged her. ‘Sorry, sis,’ and his voice already broke of emotion. ‘For everything I’ve said,’ he added when he was again in control of himself.
            Marie-Anne pushed her face hard against his shoulder and cried uncontrollably. It took a while, before both of them recovered from the first touchy moments. ‘You were right, Jean-Pierre,’ Marie-Anne spoke with a hoarse voice. ‘I should have listened to you, but as always I knew better than my little brother. I’ll tell you, later on, give me some time to adapt, Jean-Pierre.’
            ‘That goes without saying,’ he answered. Jean-Pierre was already very glad the hostilities were history from the first minutes. On the one hand, he was happy he had his sister back, then again he felt a bit sad because of their stubbornness and their lack of will to reconcile, had made them lose five valuable years. A time in which a human life could change so much. He had much to tell to Marie-Anne. He hoped she would get along with his new girlfriend, Katarina.
            A question surfaced his mind again, the one he had thought about the whole morning already. ‘How did you know I now live in a castle, Marie-Anne, that’s only very recently? You had sent your letter to my new address.’
            Marie-Anne smiled through her tears. ‘You may have a friend with the FBI, but since I’ve been in America, I’ve met some clever friends too. I’ll tell you everything about it later on. Don’t worry, Jean-Pierre, maybe it was a very exciting adventure, but it is one I don’t want to relive anymore.
   Her brother furrowed his brow but couldn't elaborate further on the matter because a young guy with a baseball cap and drooping trousers professionally torn at the knees, tapped on his shoulder.
            ‘Sir, are you Jean-Pierre from Chateau Rouge?’
            ‘Ah, yes, that’s me, but who are you, do we know each other?’ Jean-Pierre found it strange that someone called him by name without him having an idea who that person was.
            ‘No, sir, I just had to deliver a note from somebody. A message from a friend, she said.    I don't know more about it, but the woman gave me a fifty Euro note. I thought it was easy earned.'  He put a paper folded in four in Jean-Pierre’s hands and disappeared among the crowd before Jean-Pierre had the opportunity to ask for more explanation. He looked around him searching for the sender of the note, but he couldn’t see anybody who kept an eye on him.
            Marie-Anne watched him with a smile. ‘You’re famous, little brother. If they already know you at Charles-de-Gaulle? Wow, I hadn’t… She swallowed her words when she saw Jean-Pierre turned pale when he unfolded the little letter and read quickly through the note.
            ‘What’s up, Jean-Pierre? Bad news?’
            For a moment, he looked at her with an anxious glance in his eyes and hesitated, then he showed her what the note was telling.

Katarina and Jean-Pierre,

Watch out! There’s a traitor at Chateau Rouge. The organization to which she belongs to is very dangerous. They kill to get what they want. Somebody is not who she is pretending to be. Try to discover her identity, but be extremely cautious, so that they don’t suspect anything. Your lives can depend on it.

A woman who aims to do good.

PS. Sorry for everything.

© Rudi J.P. Lejaeghere

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