Susyn had had the film developed, and the lab had reworked the photo of the three of us. Now I had a pocketful of grainy blowups of Raven and another batch of Eric. I took them around town. No one at the hostel had seen either of them. Likewise at the campgrounds at the edge of the city. I stopped at a bookstore and bought the three most popular English language European guidebooks, and set out to canvass all the hotels they recommended. At noon, I met Susyn to report no progress, then continued through the afternoon, finally ending up by circling the six block area around the train station looking into all the hotels there. By evening, I had found nothing.
Susyn had booked a suite of rooms. I met her in the hotel lobby and she took me out to dinner. I told her the story of my wasted day, and she told me about all the progress she hadn’t made.
“It doesn’t look good,” I said. “This was our best bet. We knew which city they were going to. From here, they could go east or west, to Montreaux or to Geneva. Or they could have gone in those directions and not stopped at either, which means they could be anywhere in Europe by now. They could take the train, or the lake steamers, or they could have rented a car, or hitchhiked.”
Susyn looked disgusted. “I thought you said you could find her.”
“I said I knew how and where to look. But even in that, I was wrong. I was thinking of the way we were traveling when we were together, to stretch out my money until the Senator called her back home. I hadn’t thought about her credit card. Money opens up her options completely; she could even have flown back to California by now.”
We were on a terrace overlooking Lac Léman. The service was good and the food was excellent, but it was all wasted on me.
Susyn finally said, “It isn’t your fault. Without you, I wouldn’t have known where to start. And we have to keep looking.”
“Of course we do. I never considered giving up.”
“I had your pack taken up to the suite.” She was trying to be civil, so I smiled and nodded. “The porter looked a bit askance.”
“I’ll bet he did. Did a tip soothe his sensibilities?”
“Good for him.”
“Come up and rest. We’ll try again in the morning.”
I shook my head. “You go rest. There is nothing else for you to do tonight, but I have to make the rounds where the tourists are taking their evening strolls. If Eric is in Luisanne, that’s where he should be, making a living.”
“I’ll go with you.”
Susyn looked good. The appreciation of feminine beauty is not dulled by a blighted romance; it is only made bittersweet. Despite my feelings for Raven, I wanted to take Susyn’s hand and bring a smile back to her face. And I felt guilty about it, but that guilt was sweetened by the faint taste of revenge. Tonight, I was vulnerable in ways I didn’t want to be vulnerable.
We argued, but I didn’t put up much of a fight. In the end, Susyn went with me. more tomorrow