“Well?” Fleur looked up into the eyes of the man that sat across from her, and her brow crinkled. “I am not sure what it is you mean…. ‘Well’… What is it you are welling at?”
The man placed his forearms on the desk, the sleeves of his suit jacket rising to reveal the pristine white cuffs of his shirt. His hands clasped together and he leaned forward, bringing his large, incredibly bushy moustache within touching distance. Fleur fought off the temptation to reach out and tug on it, but the thought was firmly fixed in her mind now.
“Well. Why are you here?” His voice was low, both in pitch and in volume. His fluffy eyebrows rose as he spoke, making Fleur wonder how so much hair could possibly have found its way onto one mans face.
“The lady tell me to come.” She turned slightly in her chair and pointed toward the door. “The lady is sit at the desk outside.”
“My secretary. Yes. But why are you here? Why were you waiting to see me?”
“The lady say me!” She shrugged her shoulders, spreading her arms wide in front of her. “She ask me, ‘what is your name?’ And I tell her and she say ‘take a seat and I will let you know when you can go in’. So I take a seat and I wait. And then she say ‘you can go in now’. So I come.”
The man raised his hand to his mouth and cleared his throat. Making a sound not to dissimilar to a large knot of instantaneously vocal frogs. “What I am trying to understand. What I am hoping to get at. Is why you are here at all. Why did you come into this building? Why did you come into this particular office suite? What is it that brought you here.”
“What is it that brought you here?” Fleur’s brow furrowed once more and her mouth scrunched up, pulling to one side. “This aeroplane brought me here.” She pointed out of the large window behind the man where a jumbo jet sat waiting on a run way not too far away.
“Yes… And after the plane… You came here to this building. Why?”
“Why? Why I come here to this building?” Fleur pointed to her feet.
Yes… Why?” The man seemed to smile. That is, his moustache moved in an upward direction and Fleur assumed that this meant he was smiling.
“I get off the aeroplane and I follow the man.”
“Yes” Fleur smiled at the man behind the desk and nodded.
“The man was on the plane and he get off in front of me and he come here and I follow him, because he is English man and he know England. And he is a tall man with a hat.” She put her hand on top of her head, in case the man wasn’t certain what a hat was.
“And where is this man now?” The man behind the desk was leaning back in his chair now. His suit jacket open to reveal that his shirt buttons were straining to remain fastened around his rather round stomach.
Fleur shrugged. “I do not know, where is he now. He come here and I follow and the lady outside say ‘what is your name’. And then I sit and now I am here. Maybe he sits? Maybe he go? I do not know because I come in here when the lady says me.”
“I see.” The man let out a loud breath with a ‘harrrum’. “So he was waiting outside?”
“And you were told to come in here and see me.” He reached to his right and picked up the receiver of his phone. “Yes. Is there a man there waiting to see me? A tall man, perhaps carrying a hat?” He listened for a moment and shook his head. “Yes. Yes… And did he say what he wanted? I see. Yes. Yes, it is somewhat of a problem.”
The man gently replaced the receiver and put his hands together in a triangle in front of his face. Burying his finger tips into the wilderness of hair that grew between his nose and lip.
“Well… Fleur… It is Fleur? Yes?”
“Yes. Fleur.” She smiled.
“Well, Fleur. The man you were following Is still waiting outside and it appears that he needs to speak with me rather urgently. So, if you wouldn’t mind… I will have someone show you the way out of the airport.”
“Yes. No. I do not mind.” Fleur stood and turned toward the door, pausing only to pick up the leather briefcase she had been carrying. “The man with the hat will show me?”
“No, Fleur. Not the man with the hat. I will have my secretary take you to the lobby and she will have someone help you find your way from there.”
“Thank you.” Fleur smiled once more and gave the man a wave. Then made her way through the door where the man in the hat was now stood waiting to enter.
“Sir Kingsley. Please take a seat. I believe you have lost something?”
“Indeed.” The man with the hat sat in the still warm chair that Fleur had just vacated. “I was carrying some rather sensitive documentation. The kind of documents that the British government really do not want people to see. In order to avoid unwanted attention I kept them in my carry on. But, I fell asleep during the flight and when I awoke my carry on had disappeared. Perhaps carried off by some overzealous member of the crew? As you can imagine this is a very difficult situation and a very urgent one. You must have your staff rounded up and the plane checked from top to bottom. I don’t care of you have to rip out every fixture and fitting. We need those documents. Do you understand?”
The large man, with his bushy eyebrows raised so high they filled in the gap left by his extremely receded hairline, nodded. “Yes, sir. Of course sir. We’ll tear the plane apart if we need to, sir. We’ll find them. Don’t you worry. What… What, may I ask, where you carrying the documents in?”
“A briefcase. Leather. Black. Marked in gold with my initials. FDK.”
The Uber, a rather luxurious Mercedes, pulled up in front of the airport where Fleur stood. The driver got out and opened a door to the back seats. Pointing to her luggage he spoke. “Fleur Du Korrigan?”
Fleur smiled. “Oui!”
© Copyright Madelaine Taylor 2023
Photo by Alan Hardman via Unsplash.