Café Chocolaté

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Chapter IX

Chapter IX – Adrian Terrence

Adrian watched as the others began settling down, taking seats.

“I’m glad that worked,” Xavier said. “Though I’ve never seen you try to take charge of a room before like you just did.”

Adrian nodded. “I’m glad it worked too. Who knew people could get volatile so quickly?”

“I’ve heard of worse.” Xavier spoke low and almost weary. He held up his watch. “I’ll probably miss my meeting this afternoon.”

Adrian started. “I hadn’t thought of that. That would be more than a little unfortunate, after all the work you had to go through to set it up.”

“Agreed.” Xavier sighed. “We have another, more immediate problem on our hands at the moment though.”

Adrian would have asked about it, but the tall man in business suit walked up to the booth, his hands pushed into his pockets. Adrian noted the dark hair combed flat, the short goatee, and pinched face. He had certainly seen the man many times, but didn’t even know his name.”

“What do you think, gentlemen?” His deep voice didn’t sound like it belonged to his face. “I’m assuming that you don’t have working cell phones either?”

The cousins shook their head and Monique crept closer to Xavier.

“What do you think that our best course of action is? You seem like sensible men. Unlike some people present.” He lowered his voice and cocked his head slightly in Mary Dill’s direction. “The name’s Fabian, by the way. Fabian Smith.”

“Adrian Terrence. And my cousin, Xavier Nowak. I think our best course of action, as you put it, is to simply keep everyone as calm as possible, while we wait for the authorities or a rescue. I don’t see any other options, do you?”

“There ought to be some way for us to work ourselves out of here.” Fabian pushed his hands deeper into his pockets.

“I don’t see how, unless we try breaking the windows – which I wouldn’t advise. At least, not at this point. We don’t know what is outside. We may simply succeed in bringing in the cold and rain.” Adrian glanced at Xavier and realized that he just sat in silence.

“It seems ridiculous that there is no other exit from the building.” Fabian’s dark eyebrows drew close together as he looked about the room. “There ought to be a law against such things!”

He didn’t wait for an answer. He turned back toward the two men and nodded. “I suppose you’re probably right. Stay calm and wait. What else can we do?”

He ambled away before Adrian could decide on a reply.

Xavier still sat in silence.

“He’s a tad impatient, but I suppose that we all are.” Adrian looked up in time for Ginger to ask if they wanted anything.

Adrian asked for coffee, but Xavier shook his head. He looked down at the tiny figure crouched beside him.

“Do you want anything, sweetheart?”

Monique hesitated, her dark eyes darting between Xavier and Ginger. At last, she nodded a tiny nod.

Adrian couldn’t hear the girl’s request. Apparently, neither could anyone else, as Xavier had to bend his ear down to her level and ask her to repeat herself.

“Milk, if you have any?” Xavier turned back toward Ginger. “I know it wasn’t in your list earlier.”

Ginger nodded sharply, tightening her ponytail. “I’m pretty sure Eddie can find some. I’ll be back in just a second.”

Adrian waited until Ginger had returned with the drinks, before he spoke to his cousin again. “Something is bothering you. Is it the problem you mentioned before?”

Xavier glanced down at Monique, who still held Mr. Pickles tightly in one arm, while she sipped her milk with her other hand. He nodded.

“What manner of problem is it?”

Xavier waited, sent a quick glance around the café, and lowered his voice, so that Adrian could only just hear him. “It wasn’t a heart attack or anything like it, Adrian. The explosion had nothing to do with it.”

It took Adrian nearly a full minute to process what his cousin meant. What… He started.

The man in the corner. He’s talking about the dead man in the corner.

Xavier looked grim. His dark eyes narrowed, as he glanced around the café again and his jaw clenched.

Adrian swallowed. “How do you know?”

Monique didn’t seem to hear them or, if she did, understand what they spoke of.

“Blood on the back collar of his shirt.” Xavier spoke almost imperceptibly low. “Puncture wound at the back of the neck.”

Adrian met Xavier’s gaze and he stiffened.

Murder. The man in the corner booth has been murdered.

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Table of Contents
Previous: Chapter VIII
Next: Chapter X

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