“Are you a murderer?” Anna asked. She stood in front of him, the café table between them.
“No mademoiselle,” Jacques said as he looked up at her from his seat.
“I see,” Anna said as she placed her hands on the back of the chair. “Then you take advantage of American tourists?” Her tone was firm and her expression showed no hint of delicacy.
“That is not my intention,” he said. “I only want to get to know you. Please, have a seat.” He gestured towards the chair in front of him, palms up.
Anna’s eyes shifted and suddenly she regretted taking that piece of paper out of her coat pocket and dialing his number. She recalled smoothing it out on her bed, then tracing the curves of his writing with her finger: Jacques Fournier. Silently, she mouthed the digits: 331.453.54255
Then she looked out of her apartment window, to deliberate some more. That’s when she saw him sitting at the Café Elanette, just across the street.
She called – thinking, if anything, she would satisfy her curiosity. Now, she wanted to go back to her apartment and forget this whole thing. She had come to Paris to get away from men. Now she was meeting up with a complete stranger.
“Please, will you have a seat?” Jacques asked again. His voice sounded comforting and honest.
Anna’s feet wanted to run, but her hands pulled the chair back. She sat and Jacques motioned for the waiter to approach.
Anna placed her order. “Un café et un éclair au chocolat s’il vous plait,” she said.