When I arrived back at the inn, I found Annette in a state of shock.
'Marie!' she gasped when she saw it was me.
Rather, bemused, I said: 'Of course it's me. Who did you think it was?'
She shuddered. 'I thought it might have been him.'
I frowned. 'Annette, what on earth has been going on? Are you alright?' Gently, I pushed her down so she was sitting on a bed, and sat down beside her. For a moment I could almost imagine she was Capuchine. The thought made me bite my lip.
'I had just gone out, to see if I could do anything...' And so Annette explained what had happened.
'Well,' I said quietly once Annette had finished. She seemed calmer now. 'I'm just very glad you got away unhurt. It's disgusting what some people...' I shook my head, unable to finish my sentence.
Glancing around, I noticed we were alone in the room. 'Alors, where are the others?' My voice was artificially bright, but if Annette noticed, she didn't comment.
'Je ne sais pas,' she shrugged. 'I don't know. They weren't here when I left.'
I turned quickly to see Emmanuel in the doorway. Almost involuntarily, I said: 'Rendre grâce à Dieu. Thank God!' He looked at me in a strange way, and I felt the heat rising in my face as I blushed. Stupid girl, I told myself. You know he doesn't see you in that way. You don't see him in that way either, for that matter, so you can stop being stupid.
I didn't listen to myself, but, thankfully, Emmanuel's attention was now elsewhere.
'I'm sorry I wasn't there, Annette,' he was saying - he had obviously heard the whole of Annette's story. 'I should never have left you alone. It's not safe for anyone anymore, let alone unaccompanied women. It's very lucky you got away... We need to be more careful from now on.'
Emmanuel then explained about the meeting the night before, and Rachelle. At this point, I leaped in too and told them about my exploits.
Then Clara arrived back, and we had to explain everything all over again, the order of events getting slightly muddled in out retelling.
Finalement, when we all knew roughly what the others had been up to, we lay back on the beds or lounged against the wall, comfortable in our silent companionship.
And it was then that we heard the gunshot.