The Assassin

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Authors: Evelyn Anthony
would never have used his niece … But if he were the target … It didn’t make sense.
    â€˜Can I ask you something?’ Elizabeth said. He drank his coffee and waited. ‘What have you come for? You said you didn’t know, but that can’t be true. What have you really come for?’
    She had a directness which surprised him. She asked a question and expected an answer, without guile. Perhaps American women were like this; perhaps they behaved with equality towards their men. ‘I don’t know,’ he said. ‘You shouldn’t keep asking questions; I told you before. The less you are mixed up with me the better, just in case I find myself in trouble.’
    â€˜Oh, you won’t,’ Elizabeth said. She had a pretty laugh and it was the first time he had heard it. ‘You don’t know my uncle. If you’re under his wing, nobody can lay a finger on you.’
    â€˜I’m glad to hear that,’ Keller said. ‘I feel much easier.’
    â€˜Forgetting about the passport—what are you really, then?’ she said. ‘French?’
    He nodded. ‘I’m French. Half-French anyway. I think my father was a German, but I don’t know. I was brought up in an orphanage and they didn’t have much information for me. I know I’m a bastard and that’s about all.
    â€˜That makes us both orphans,’ Elizabeth said. ‘My parents were killed two years ago. All I have is my uncle, and though I’m fond of him he isn’t exactly a second father.’
    â€˜You loved your parents,’ he said. ‘You must have had a happy life as a child. That’s what gives you that look.’
    â€˜What look?’
    â€˜The look that says, “The world belongs to me!”. I thought it was money. I think it was your happy childhood. You’re entitled to that look.’
    â€˜I’m not,’ she said. ‘Even if I had it. My childhood was extremely happy because of one person. My mother. She was what made my life from as far back as I can remember. She was the most gentle, interesting, artistic person—how she ever married my father I can’t think! He was such a Cameron, just like my uncle. Nothing existed except business and money; he adored my mother but he couldn’t have been further from her than we are now to Beirut. They had nothing in common at all, except me.’
    â€˜Maybe your mother loved him,’ Keller said. Suddenly he thought of Souha. ‘Women can love without any reason in it. Which is nice, for some men. Like your father.’
    â€˜I don’t think she loved him,’ Elizabeth said. ‘But she was too kind to let him know it. She was that sort of person. Camerons don’t think about themselves like ordinary people; they don’t think about whether they’re loved or not. They take it for granted they are.’
    â€˜Are you like that too?’
    â€˜No,’ she said. ‘No, I’ve no illusions about myself. In spite of the “look”, or whatever you call it. I thought I was in love once, a long time ago, and I thought he was in love with me. I found out very quickly that it wasn’t so. He came. He saw. He conquered. And he went. I believe I mentioned marriage or some silly joke like that. He used to stay in your room,’ she admitted. ‘I had it done up for him. But it was a long time ago; four years. Nobody’s been there since.’
    â€˜You don’t have to explain to me,’ Keller said. ‘It’s none of my business. By the way, you cook well. I didn’t know rich women knew how to cook.’
    â€˜Maybe in Europe they don’t. In America we’re brought up to be useful, independent. There’s none of this servant fetish I find abroad. I can cook, I can sew, I can drive any make of car on the market, and I’m pretty good with children. I don’t do a job because—well, I don’t need

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