My heart stopped. I thought Davis’ body had been connected to me. But it was something else.
“That woman Fletcher. She isn’t Senator Cabral’s secretary.”
“You know. How?”
“Later, Will. It’s a long story.” Self preservation is the first instinct. I wasn’t about to tell Will about a death in Venice.
“The senator called here a few hours after I talked to you in Paris. I called the embassy, but no one had seen Fletcher. And they said you never came in.”
“By then I had come and gone.”
“Then why don’t they have a record of you?”
That was easy. I had been checked by the French guard at the entrance, but he had not written down my name. Susyn was waiting for me when I walked in and had hustled me out immediately. I had never talked to any actual embassy personnel.
“Where is she now?” Will asked.
“I don’t know. We parted unfriendly.”
“Where is Raven?”
“I don’t know that, either. Fletcher and I searched for her until I found out Fletcher was a fake, but we had no luck.”
I could hear Will muttering under his breath. He went on, “Senator Cabral flew in four days ago. He stopped at the consulate here first, and then went on to Paris. He’s still there.”
Sometimes, something gets you by the throat, and the only way to get loose is straight ahead. I said, “There’s no point in telling you my story. Call the Senator and tell him I’m coming to Paris to report directly to him.”
The Alps lay between Milan and Paris. An end around proved faster, since the TVG was available for a part of the trip. Nineteen hours later, I was there.
The senator was staying in an old style hotel three blocks from the embassy. There was a fruit market on one side and a pharmacy on the other, but once past the plain facade, the waiting room was elegant. I took a creaking, open cage elevator to the second floor.
The door was opened by a short, athletic looking man with a blonde brush cut. He looked to be about forty and he appraised me swiftly with the eyes of a bodyguard. He said, “Gunn?” and I nodded. He stepped aside and said, “Sit down.” Not exactly a threat, not exactly an invitation, but his tone left no doubt that he expected to be obeyed.
I stepped inside and slipped out of my pack while he closed the door. The room was narrow and long, with a couch and a couple of heavy chairs. There was a mini-bar at the far end, end tables with heavy, ugly lamps. A door led to inner rooms and the single narrow window was hidden by drawn curtains. The blonde went to the inner door and said something softly into the room beyond. more tomorrow