The brooch was very pretty to look at and big and because of the many diamonds there were used in she sparkled. Katarina had showed Jean-Pierre that the backside could be opened and that there was a little opening where she hide the transmitter. He got the earpiece that served as a receiver.
They had left not too early in the evening after Katarina had to promise her sister she wouldn’t take big risks. Katarina had promised, knowing it was a little white lie. From now on everything was dangerous. Monsieur Charles was a mysterious and powerful person. He could dig up the deepest secrets with his hypnosis. She would have to be cunning and apply all her womanly charm and seducing techniques.
Jean-Pierre reluctantly had agreed with the plan. He knew that if they would like to save the Baroness, they had to go to any extreme. Those gangsters weren’t easily intimidated, and they wouldn’t hesitate to liquidate her.
When they arrived at a deserted factory site, Jean-Pierre looked very surprised at his female partner. ‘Is there really a party going on here? It doesn’t look that way.’
‘Just wait here, I’ll push the code for the fence to open, and then we can enter the site. Monsieur Charles has reconstructed here one of the hangars as one of his residences, with everything that it implies. At the door will have to re-enter a code and don’t be startled if you are frisked. He doesn’t take risks. I only hope he will be present, the faster we come into action, the sooner we can solve this.’
She was right. After she had pushed a code on a panel near the entrance, the door clicked open, and they were intercepted in a small space by a guy who looked like a wardrobe who frisked them professionally. The man took all his time to frisk Katarina, more than was necessary and he especially paid attention if she hadn’t hidden something between her breasts. Jean-Pierre almost attacked the man, despite all the risks entailed, but a look from Katarina made him change his mind.
After they were approved, they could enter the living space. Actually, it looked more like a big hall, where here and there living spaces were placed. Seats, tables and other furniture. Central was a big bar where three people constantly had their work for serving the guests. The hall was well filled with smiling, talking people. Some couples were sitting in a corner playing a bit with each other, without someone was looking at them.
Katarina was searching the space when a voice made them startle for a moment. ‘Well, well, well, who do we have here? Miss Katarina and her apprentice. I honestly hadn’t expected you. Have you still spoken to your mother?’
Monsieur Charles’ question came very quickly, but Katarina obviously had expected it. ‘Mother’s well, but she’s gone into hiding for a while after the raid. I had to inform you that she would contact you before the end of the month, but she hasn’t said why.’
Monsieur Charles laughed. ‘No problem, I know what she means. I’m glad to see some familiar faces. The most of them are parasites who enjoy my wealth, but real friends I don’t have many of them. Can I offer you something to drink?’
‘Thank you, Charles, but I think Jean-Pierre must get us something. In the meantime, we can catch up maybe and enjoy the evening. Jean-Pierre, be nice and get us a glass of champagne and take something too. Afterward, you can enjoy the present company, there certainly a girl amongst them you will like.’
Jean-Pierre had to set his teeth, hearing Katarina’s arrogant tone. But he knew she played it. He had to come across as humble and obedient apprentice. ‘Of course, Katarina, I’ll just do that.’ He disappeared and left the two in each other’s company.
‘Your performance last at the castle was magnificent, Charles. You always know to surprise the people with your gift. Actually, when I think about that night, I get warm again. Or maybe it’s so hot because there are so many people here.’ She waved with her hand in front of her décolletage.
Monsieur Charles did take the tip. ‘Maybe we can remove ourselves and get into my private chambers. It’s much cooler there. Come with me, my beautiful Katarina.’ He took her arm in his, and they went, watched by Jean-Pierre with his two glasses of champagne, to the end of the hall. A door there gave entrance to the private apartment of the artist.
After she had entered, Katarina sat down on a long couch, seeing to it that her red dress fell open by the split and showed her long legs and left almost nothing to the imagination.
Charles poured out a whiskey for her and himself. Katarina saw it was an Auchentoshan. The only whiskey out of Scotland, that is distilled three times. Very good, but expensive stuff. He sat beside her and pretentious laid a big hand on her uncovered thigh. ‘Are you still so warm, darling?’ he asked as sweet as honey while his hand softly caressed her thigh.
‘But Charles, I just get warmer because…,’ and she put her hand on his. ‘Maybe I’ve got too many clothes on. Or maybe you have been naughty, and you have whispered a suggestion to me to get me so hot. I know you can do that.’
Katarina had started her offensive. Would Charles fall for it or would he sense danger. She had to go through with it. ‘I’m sure if you would tell me a secret I wouldn’t be able to pass it on, you would remove it out of my head with your hypnosis.’
Charles caressed her other thigh now, obviously he would like to play it slowly. Maybe that aroused him? ‘Indeed, sweetie, I can tell you everything, I have the power to let persons do something, but also to let them forget what I want them to forget. Would you like to see an example of my powers?’
‘It has to be really important, let see… Hmm, do you have a vault or a locker where you put your secrets in?’ Katarina’s heart was hammering inside her chest. If he didn’t go along, all their efforts were for nothing.
‘Of course I have. It’s in the little room alongside by the way. A man of my class and quality has too many valuable objects he can’t let linger about. Explain a bit more, what do you want me to do?’
‘If you give me at this moment the code of your locker and I repeat it until I know it by heart, can you wipe it out of my memory. I don’t think so, but…’
‘But Katarina, that’s a child’s play. But if you don’t believe me on my word, well… the code is 45279. Repeat it as much as you want and I’ll hypnotize it out of your head afterward.’ He laughed at full. Obviously he found it very amusing.
Katarina had what she needed. As a matter of form, she acted as if she repeated the code a number of times. ‘Alright, do your thing, but I’ll prove you that I’ll still remember it afterward. Then you’ll still have to change your code. For what are we betting?’
Monsieur Charles smirked very pleased with himself and answered: ‘For you, Katarina, for you!’
© Rudi J.P. Lejaeghere
Jean-Pierre had heard what had happened in there. He also had seen where Charles and Katarina had gone inside. He had to find a way to get there too. The only way to get inside the adjoining room was through the place where Katarina was performing her little acting. That’s why he walked as less suspiciously as possible to that particular door, meanwhile sipping from his glass of champagne. With his back to the door, he tried to open the door the door with is hand very carefully. It was less easy that he had thought, and he wasn’t even inside.
Eventually, he succeeded to put silently the door open on a crack. Now it was all or nothing. He turned around very quickly and sneaked in trying to make as little noise as possible. Luck was on his side. He was standing in a small vestibule that wasn’t illuminated. Jean-Pierre heard Katarina laughing because of a joke from Charles. He bit his lip because he was so nervous. Fortunately, Charles hadn’t noticed him. But did Katarina knew he was standing there, had she heard him or expected something. He peeped fast around the corner of the little space he was in.
Katarina needed all her charms to keep Charles away, but obviously, she was succeeding in it… for the moment. It was a shame she hadn’t an earpiece otherwise he could give her a sign. Without realizing he bumped softly with his feet against the doorjamb while he took a step back.
‘Have you heard that too, Katarina?’ Monsieur Charles was saying. Was he discovered? If this half-baked artist walked up to him, he had to be out in less than no time and go back the same way.
‘Come here, Charles, maybe you have doubts about the bet, finding a good excuse for wriggling out of it, isn’t that so?’ With a passionate gesture, she took his head in her hands and pushed it against her breasts while she was turning in that way, that Charles turned his back to Jean-Pierre. She pulled her eyes wide open while she looked in the direction of the vestibule.
Jean-Pierre didn’t need more encouraging. That brave Katarina had indeed seen or heard him. Her diversionary tactic worked excellently. He sneaked in and on the tip of his toes, he walked to the right side where there was another door. He had success because it wasn’t locked. In no time, he was in the other room where the locker was situated.
With a little tubular light bulb, he shone around while he heard Katarina and Charles in his earpiece. ‘No, Charles, I mustn’t do that… yet. I have also to stick to the bet. A word is a word. First, I’ll try to memorize the code. What was it already… 45279 if I remember it well. Just give me some time and I will let you know when you can make me forget it with one of your tricks. Agreed?’ Jean-Pierre could hear Charles panting in Katarina’s brooch, so sensitive the transmitter was.
‘Well, yes… agreed, you’re a very special lady, Katarina. You just want to make me crazy, admit it. But I can still wait for a moment. After all, I’m not an impatient adolescent, am I? Put your best foot forward. We’ll see who has the most power upon the mind.’ And then it became silent.
In the meanwhile, Jean-Pierre had discovered the small locker behind one of the paintings. He turned the code and with bated breath he opened it, hoping the tape was actually in it. Relieved when he saw the tape from the same brand Katarina had bought three new ones lying on a bunch of paper, he breathed again. Quickly he switched the tapes and put the original one in the inside pocket of his suit. Now getting outside again! Would Katarina be so smart to give a signal when he had to take his chance? He carefully opened the door.
It was as if she expected him. She looked straight at him when he was peeping if the coast was clear. ‘Okay, Charles, I’m ready, I give my memory into your skilled hands. Do your thing now.’
Monsieur Charles obviously was elated. ‘Alright my dear, you know the deal we have. That, I won’t erase from your memory. Just the code… and I’ll be fair, you can even guess three times after the code. How about that?’
‘Thank you, Charles, very chivalrous of you.’ Katarina shook her shoulders and moved her head from left to right. She wanted to give him the impression she would strain herself to the utmost not to get under his hypnotic trance.
In the meantime, Jean-Pierre pussyfooted walked to the vestibule and sneaked out the door. His mission had succeeded; he wasn’t discovered. But now he had to save Katarina out of the hand of Monsieur Charles. Who knows what this old man would do to her. He heard the hypnotist talking to Katarina.
‘You’re feeling tired and your eyes are closing…’ Katarina stayed silent in his earpiece and gave no sign anymore. This was the signal that he had to appear urgently.
He took a full glass of champagne and returned to the room were Katarina and Monsieur Charles were keeping their bet. Now he wasn’t light-footed anymore or even unperceived. He entered with a lot of noise and Charles was scared out of his wits.
‘Kat… Katarina, my… I’ve had a little bit… too much champagne, I think…,’ he spoke thickly.’ Maybe you could…, I mean, maybe I have… need for some fresh air.’ His shirt half out of his pants and his tie incredible skew, it all helped to convince his public he was drunk as a skunk.
‘Sorry, Charles… just change your code. We’ll finish this another time, I promise. First of all, I have to ventilate this alcohol monster. Have a nice evening still.’ Katarina walked away with a tottering Jean-Pierre to the exit door and was leaving a dazzled looking Monsieur Charles behind.
© Rudi J.P. Lejaeghere