Promising to return for a late supper, with no intention of doing so, Radouan and Delphine retired to her suite where he downed a half bottle of Jack Daniel’s in one go.  And was only distracted from finishing off the rest by Delphine slowly unbuttoning his shirt and trousers and leading him to bed where she stroked his forehead and massaged his shoulders as the whisky went from his stomach to his loins and they made love and passed out.

          After some time, he stumbled off to the shower and returning a few moments later, lay stretched out on the bed at her feet.    

         ‘You, you’re a rich woman now.’ he whispered worshipfully and kissed her knees.

          ‘The money isn’t in my account yet,’ her dark eyes bored into him.

           Radouan chuckled ‘Now you’re learnin, mahboubati, or maybe you already know. But don't worry, it will happen... remember what I told you, Francesco can’t tolerate waitin’ and he hates Ouazazarte. Oridouka.... I need your...’

          ‘That money; it’s not just mine, it’s yours too, you know.’

          ‘No no.  It’s yours, all yours.  You will see, by the time you finish this first film it will seem like nothin’... I wonder… will you still need me then?’ 

          ‘Can’t you tell?’

          ‘I hope you will but I have to have constant reinsurance.’

          ‘Reassurance... Reconfort...’ Delphine corrected him.

          ‘I need it all the time.’


          ‘I don't know... Why do I need it?  Because inside when I look into myself I see a huge zero - Nothing!  The constant possibility of failure is always lurking there - which makes me, you know... very nervous.’

           Delphine smiled reassuringly. ‘You’re not a failure but you drink too much.’

          ‘My nervousness goes away when I’m drunk.  Shall I come to Paris with you?’

          ‘I’d be very unhappy if you did not... tres desole. We’ll get a bigger place...’

          ‘No, not yet.  We must wait and see what happens.  Probably we’ll have to spend most of our time in Rome... there or wherever the great artiste decides to shoot his film... You mus' know, Francesco, he’s very crazy.’

          Delphine gazed at him thoughtfully: ‘In Rome or Paris, wherever... I know I’ll have to watch you... when you see all those European women with their... the way they... I know you’re going to make me very jealous.’   

          ‘No, 'bibti, let me tell you something’.  Me, I’ve been to Paris several times, but you’re right... the first time I did go crazy... all those women exposin’ themselves... their elegant thighs, those tight skirts clingin’ to their zouks. I was shocked and aroused and I became crazy. So did they.’

          Remembering it all, he laughed, ‘Now I’m older and I have you... believe me, I won’t make you jealous and I will be very good... you will see.’

          ‘Ahtajouka,’ she whispered.

          ‘Ouridouka,’ he replied.

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©Elwyn Chamberlain 2006