فصل 10

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فصل 10

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Chapter ten

I telephoned Selena next. I said I wanted to see her. She told me to go to the house when I wanted to that day, as she was working at home. I arrived a couple of hours later, about four o’clock. We sat in the living room and had tea. I told her all I knew after talking to Snout. She seemed a little sad.

‘What’s wrong?’ I asked.

‘Well,’ she began, ‘I’m a bit sorry for my brothers. I know we don’t get on well, but…’

I told her that there was nothing I could do about that. But I cheered her up a little by saying that her brothers might learn a lesson by having to spend a little time in prison. And, anyway, their sentences were sure to be much smaller than those of the three Asiar ringleaders. Her brothers didn’t have police records, and I told her that it was clear to the police that they were used and manipulated by the other gang members.

‘I suppose I should pay you, Richard,’ she then said.

‘That’s a good idea,’ I replied.

She went to a chest of drawers, opened a drawer, and took out a cheque book.

‘Is a cheque alright?’ she asked.

‘Fine,’ I said.

But I didn’t go to Selena’s house just to tell her what Snout told me. Nor to be paid. I had something else on my mind.

‘Selena… I was wondering… well, I mean… the fact is, when I finish a case, I like to go out and celebrate. There’s a little French restaurant in Soho… very good food, excellent fish… and, well, I was wondering if you would like to have dinner there with me tonight?’ Finally, I said it.

Her eyes brightened and she gave me a beautiful smile. ‘I’d love to, Richard.’

So we made the arrangements and I left the house. I wanted to dance down the driveway. The case was solved. I had some money in my pocket. And I had a beautiful girl to take out to dinner that night. Life was treating me well. The last line of one of everyone’s favourite old films came to my mind. As I tried to sound like Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca, I repeated it to myself. ‘Yes,’ I said, ‘this could be the start of a beautiful friendship.’

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