Read Falloir (Passion Noire Book 2) Online

Authors: J.D. Chase


Falloir (Passion Noire Book 2) (2 page)

I buy two double JDs and four Britvic oranges. After putting the latter into my shoulder bag, I carry the former out into the garden. Emerging from the far side of the building, I look around to get my bearings. And there, right in front of me, sitting in the shade of a small ornamental cherry tree is Jones. I know he saw me before I noticed him because, as our eyes meet, one of his eyebrows is already raised in silent enquiry.

I don’t want to go over—I want to give myself a moment of calm as I sip my drinks. I know it is not even about the alcohol content—a placebo would work just as well—it is the psychological aspect of reaching for a drink, like needing the first coffee of the day. I want to sit quietly and absorb the news. I’m sure Jones does too. It’s not as if we can relax together—we each put the other on edge—any fool can see that.

I nod to acknowledge him but the eyebrow is still hovering. I realise that he’s The Kid’s uncle and he knows I’ve left his nephew alone, in a strange flat, to slope off for a drink. He’s judging me.

Is that how it’s going to be from now on? Even if The Kid decides to stay with me? Will I be judged or overruled at every turn? Will Jones work against me?

I hope we don’t end up there because that won’t work for me. I can exercise control—the walking on eggshells, toeing the line and keeping my mouth shut to a certain extent in my professional life. But I can’t be doing with it in my personal life. Jones are I are too similar, we both like to have control. I’m sure we both have The Kid’s best interests at heart, but he’d be caught in the middle and I don’t want that.

‘Are you checking up on me?’ Jones says. He doesn’t sound pissed off but I can’t tell whether he’s joking either.

I shake my head but don’t move from where I’m standing, just outside the door around twenty feet away.
Why didn’t I just walk to the shop like I’d intended to? He thinks I’m keeping tabs on him now.
Things were hardly relaxed between us before The Kid’s revelation but I’d had the upper hand over everything where Jones was concerned—at home, at Vouloir ... everything. But now, he’s going to take control of what matters most in my life: The Kid.

I’d fight him but for the fact that it’s The Kid who should choose. Not me. Not Jones. I sidestep to clear the path to the door when a couple attempt to squeeze past me.

‘Are you going to stand there or are you going to join me?’ he asks, both eyebrows now raised.

‘I ... I didn’t know you were here. I know you need time to yourself to get your head around everything. It’s your home, Jones, so I think The Kid and I should check in to a hotel and—’

‘No!’ Jones exclaims forcefully, making several heads turn and stare. Jones glowers around him with such ferocity that the rubberneckers suddenly lose interest. ‘Come and sit down, for fuck’s sake, woman.’

I bristle at his tone and I’m tempted to find a seat elsewhere—a challenge in a busy beer garden on a sunny evening—but since he’s opened up his home to me and The Kid, only to be on the receiving end of a curveball of headfuck, I don’t want to be rude and cause further tension between us.

He sighs in exasperation. ‘I was joking about you checking up on me. I assume you saw this place on the drive to my flat and, like me, you succumbed to the temptation of a cold drink in a pub garden. It’s not a crime. Neither is sitting with me. But if you’d rather stand in the doorway, getting in everybody’s way, that’s your prerogative.’

Damn him. Damn him for being so reasonable. I feel chastised for assuming the worst of him and by the realisation that he doesn’t have a problem with me being there, despite the emotional bombshell that exploded less than an hour ago. In his shoes, I’d want to be alone. No, that’s not right. In his shoes, I’d want an experienced, talented sub at my feet to concentrate my mind and calm me so that I could plot a course of action.

Out of nowhere, I picture Jones at my feet—head bowed in deference, his naked body primed to pleasure and obey. My feet start moving before I can stop them—I’m too distracted by the image in my head. By the time I snap myself out of it, I’m standing next to him. I quickly take a seat opposite him, feeling the need to justify leaving The Kid alone.

‘I wasn’t going to sit down because I can’t be long. I was on my way to the corner shop to get a bottle of wine but I noticed this place and figured a couple of JDs wouldn’t go amiss. The Kid’s so busy playing volleyball on your Xbox that I doubt he’ll miss me.’

At the mention of The Kid, I see something flicker in his eyes. I decide to let him take the lead—if he wants to talk about The Kid, then he can. If he wants to skirt around it, then he can take the lead on the topics of conversation. Unless, of course, he wants to sit here in silence. I’m game for that too. I take a sip from one of my drinks. Sitting and chilling in the cool shade is fine by me.

We sit here in silence. There’s not really an atmosphere, it feels like we’ve got a lot on our minds and are both quite content to mull things over in peace. I’m on to my second JD and Coke when he speaks.

‘What do you know about her?’ he says suddenly, his voice tight with emotion.

I’m not sure whether he means The Kid’s sister or his mother. I guess he has a closer connection with the latter so I go with her, although I know nothing about either of them. ‘Nothing really. The Kid doesn’t talk about her.’

I see Jones’ eyebrows rise and I can almost hear the questions that are tumbling into his mind.

‘Don’t read too much into that,’ I say quickly. ‘I didn’t even know he had a sister. So you may well know more than I do.’

I’ve obviously surprised him but he takes time to consider my words fully before responding.

‘Do you know how she came to be there?’ he asks, his voice barely above a whisper.

I know from dealing with clients struggling to come to terms with a traumatic experience that they will often whisper. I think it’s a sign of them not being able to confront the issue head on, as if whispering somehow lessens the severity. I think they’re running scared. I have a tough guy in front of me—a former Commando—who has witnessed goodness knows what. Something tells me he can come to terms with anything that happened in the Corps but he’s struggling to get his head around what happened to his sister.

My heart aches as I shake my head. In his shoes, my first question would be, ‘Where is she now?’ It’s almost like he’s too afraid to ask outright, in case he doesn’t like the answer. I honestly don’t know whether she’s alive or dead. The Kid had asked for her the night he came into my care but he was so traumatised that I couldn’t presume anything. At first, he’d had regular night terrors and would call out for her but, as soon as he awoke, he never mentioned her. Under normal circumstances, I would have tried to locate her but, because I don’t even know The Kid’s name and because of his reluctance to talk about his past, I viewed it as an impossible task. There’s also the slight problem that I shouldn’t have taken The Kid.

Once I managed to get him to start opening up a little, I’d passed on any information I’d thought relevant to Thierri. With his contacts, not least because of his previous dealings with London’s criminal fraternity, I was sure he’d be able to track down those responsible for The Kid’s miserable existence. But Thierri’s stroke, followed swiftly by his cancer diagnosis put paid to that.

Is Jones planning to take on the mission instead?
Oh come on, how could he not? He has the skills and contacts to bring those responsible to justice. But to do that, he needs to know everything ... and the only one who knows everything is The Kid. My protective mamma bear rears on to its hind legs. Jones has been pushing The Kid to increase his social reach—a gamble that has paid off. I don’t know how The Kid will react to being asked to disclose everything from his past. He may not be ready. I have a feeling that Jones will push him, but what if he pushes him past his limits?

I’ll just have to make sure that doesn’t happen.

THIS PIZZA IS GORGEOUS, not least because it’s my favourite: a hot and spicy vegetarian. I love all the flavours, especially the jalapeños. I have extra toppings on too—pineapple and bacon—and more jalapeños. Bacon should be served with everything. It makes any meal better.

Well, I think so anyway. Jones and Veuve don’t—they’re sharing a large Sloppy Giuseppe. They were gone ages but it was okay when they came back with pizza. And orange juice and alcohol. They’d already been drinking alcohol—I could smell it, especially on Jones. He’s drinking beer again now but Veuve has a glass of white wine. Urgh ... evil smelling stuff. She offered me some a few months ago. I spat it out everywhere. It was like drinking vinegar. Vinegar is okay on chips, not for drinking.

I can almost taste it so I ram another slice of pizza into my mouth. That’s better. Ooh there’s lots of jalapeños on this one. It makes me pull a face when it burns the side of my tongue. I reach for my orange juice and catch Veuve’s eye. She smiles at me, wrinkling up her nose. She can’t stand jalapeños. She can’t eat anything hot. I made chilli con carne from a recipe we found. She went shopping and then helped me to measure everything out. I tasted it when it was cooking. It was boring so I put more sliced chilli peppers and chilli flakes in as well as a big splat of hot chilli sauce.

It was gorgeous. Really gorgeous. But Veuve coughed and choked and her eyes ran all down her face. She wasn’t crying. Her eyes were just running ... like your nose when you sneeze or get a cold. She drank four glasses of water. I counted. Then she asked me how I was eating it. A stupid question, I thought—she was watching me use the fork. She said it was too hot for her to eat but even after I’d eaten all mine she still said it was too hot. She ate the rice though.

I didn’t know about spicy hot but, when she explained, we agreed to make two separate pans of chilli next time. One for girls and one for real men—that’s what she said. She says I’ve got no taste buds but I have. I looked it up. Everything would taste like water if I didn’t and I can definitely taste these jalapeños ... and the bacon ... everything!

She’s looking at me funny. I wonder if she’s remembering the chilli con carne too. I smile. She smiles back but she looks sad. I think it’s because she can’t eat real man’s chilli ... she doesn’t like men to be better than her at anything. She’s probably sad because she couldn’t eat my pizza. I wonder if Jones likes jalapeños. I bet he does. He’s a man, isn’t he?

Why’s he looking at me funny as well? I look from him to her and they both suddenly look at each other and start chatting about the Xbox and how good I am at tennis. I really am. I think they’re jealous about that as well.

I’m getting really good at everything. I beat Jones at all the games lately and I can go outside. Well, outside Veuve’s flat, if someone’s with me. I’m not sure about going outside here. I wonder how long we’ll be here. She says her flat needs painting to get rid of the damage after the fire but it was only a small fire on the floor. The walls aren’t that bad. I’m used to much worse. The smelly black circle on the carpet needs to be cleaned. That’s the worst bit. Oh and the door needs putting back on.

I bet Jones is pissed off. He spent ages making that door harder to open and then the firemen spent ages getting it off again. It was smoky in the kitchen, even with the door closed, when they got in. I thought I was going to be burned to death. I hoped that Veuve would come and get me but it was a strange man wearing a suit and funny helmet. He looked like the astronaut I’d seen in a book Veuve has. I didn’t want to go with him but he said if I went he’d find my mum.

He didn’t.

I can’t stop looking at the picture that Jones has got. It looks just like my sister. It looks a bit like my mum too but my mum is older than that. But Jones says it’s his sister. Isn’t that weird? His sister looks like my sister and they are both missing. Jones said everyone thinks his sister was taken by a bad man a long time ago but they don’t know who he is. So both of our sisters are with bad men. I hope his sister isn’t being hurt by the bad man who took her.

I hear my sister start screaming. It’s inside my head. I used to put my hands over my ears but it only made it louder. I know that talking loudly helps to block it out so I pick up a new slice of pizza and hold it out to Jones.

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