The next day they flew to Rome with Francesco, replenished their wardrobes and the following afternoon, while a tattered military band played the Isle of Capri, they were married at Francesco’s village by the Communist Mayor. For years Radouan would wonder whether they were actually married. 

         Back in Paris, a few days later while Delphine was at the hairdresser and Radouan went out to buy his morning paper at the local newsstand, he came upon three film magazines – one Italian, two French – with covers devoted to half naked shots of Delphine.  A mindless rage seized him and when Delphine returned he pinned her against the wall, told her how stupid she was, how furious Vogue would be, flailed his arms angrily, cracked his knuckles, threatened to punch her and finally threw a valuable Louis XVI clock to the floor, where he pounded it with his fists and finally stomped the fragile porcelain to dust. 

          Delphine slumped stoically on the floor her head in her hands, trying to understand what was going on, quietly repeating over and over to him in a steady drone, ‘Chill out... Chill out... Chill out.’ At some point he had become very unhappy about the direction his life had taken and wanted to revenge him self against the world, but why?

           After destroying the clock, Radouan gathered up the film magazines, retreated to the bathroom and began burning them in the tub, page by page -his hands still bleeding from his encounter with the clock.  Finally he sat down on the tile floor, buried his head in his lap and began to cry.

          About an hour later, Delphine went in and began carefully dressing his wounds. ‘Don’t take this thing so seriously,’ she said picking bits of porcelain from his skin with a tweezers. ‘Everyone poses like that when they begin.  You have to capture the attention of the public.’

          ‘I’m sorry but I had to take it out on something... how can I punch you when I worship you? Any other woman I would have... but jus' think what those pictures make ME!  Your maquereau, your Moroccan pimp!  Now when we go out together everyone is gonna know what you look like underneath your clothes... It’s a Sin!  Look how nervous it’s makin’ me... underneath your clothes yes... when I get nervous I can lose it,’ he breathed deeply, ‘... I don't like to see your beautiful zouk -MY ZOUK - stickin' out like that in public places.  When I first saw those magazines I thought; what a zouk ... I’d like to fuck that.  Then I saw it was you. Your zouk...!’

          She stared at him and smiled. ‘So you admit you desired the girl on the cover before you knew it was me?’

          ‘Of course, that’s what I jus' said.’

          ‘Don’t you see?  It means you would fuck any fantastic piece of ass that comes your way!’

          ‘I said it excited me. What was it supposed to do?  Every man in France will be wantin’ to fuck you.’

          ‘That’s what Francesco hopes.’

          ‘He’s pimpin’ you to the world!  Fuck Francesco!’ he pounded the floor with his fist, ‘Fuck him, he’s kharia. I’ll kill him. I swear it. Go get the phone.’

          ‘Who are you going to call?’

          ‘I’m gonna call him, Francesco and Martin Segal too... it’s in the contract you have publicity approval... Vogue will probably cancel your spread... which is just what Francesco wants... those film magazines... they must organize a team of guys to go out and buy up every copy in Paris.’

          ‘I think Vogue will love it... and Francesco is in Sicily, remember?’

          ‘I have his world phone number... I can reach him anywhere. Go get the phone!  Believe me you’ll never pose for another fashion shoot if they see these pictures.’

          ‘I won’t have to...’

          ‘You might have to.  What if the film is bad?  What if the critics pan it?’

          ‘It won’t be.’ She brought the phone and handed it to him ‘... he’s going to make me a star... I know it... you should trust him... he’s going to make us a lot of money. You seem to be forgetting...’

          ‘I can’t believe that you would want your ass exhibited like that all over the world. Either they buy up those magazines or we cancel the contract with Francesco.’

          ‘Those magazines have been out for a week. You just haven’t noticed them before... and selling out everywhere. It won’t do any good to call Francesco. I signed a release when I posed for them.’

          ‘Believe me I don't forget... that’s me... I don't forget, OK?   Really I think as soon as I get you moved into that apartment I’ll go back to Marrakech for awhile ... here, I’m going to get in trouble... for the moment its better if I go back... I’ve been away ten days already; my family will be needing me.  You’re right, I won’t call Francesco.  Now that we’re married I feel a lot better... still I don't want to cause any trouble for you so while you’re getting started I think I’ll jus'...’

          ‘You’re not going anywhere,’ she said steadily, ‘you’re going to stay here in Paris with me. I won't let you go... you just HAVE TO LEARN HOW TO CONTROL YOURSELF...and you’re doing it.  I see improvement everyday. You have the phone in your hand, call your family right now and see how they’re getting along.’

          He smiled at her helplessly. ‘Habibti Delphine... By God I wish I had the money jus’ to take you out of all this and make you a real queen somewhere.  Yes, I would do it... for you I would buy a small country.’

          ‘You mean lock me up somewhere!’

           Recalling his recent conversation with Toni, Radouan grinned, ‘Yahzz... I would like that.  I would visit you from time to time.  Not every day but every few days...’ he caressed her ‘... give you time to miss me until you want it so bad your tina would be FAZQ...yes… then I would come and satisfy you...’

          ‘Why lock me up?’

          ‘So no one else could get at you, of course - so you would be hotter for me when I come to you and because a beautiful woman is FITNA chaos and QAID N’SSA the power to deceive and defeat...  not by force but by deception and intrigue. You, you have it... that QAID N’SSA - Tha’s why you’re gonna be a huge star.’

        ‘And a beautiful man is he not this Fitna?  You are. You know you are! Wherever you go you cause chaos!’

          Still on the bathroom floor, Radouan kissed her knee slowly up her leg, lifting her skirt until he was kissing her inner thigh; then suddenly bit her.

          Delphine screamed and pounded him with her fists, ‘Cannibal... CANNIBAL... Help... Some one help please...’ But he only locked his jaws, hung on and inserted his forefinger in her vagina.

           After some time, he let go and gazed up at her. ‘Now you have a secret wound,’ he whispered hoarsely, ‘now I’ve marked you... you won’t go showin’ yourself so willingly again... you’ll have to explain it if you take off your clothes for anyone... you’ll have to ex...’

          ‘I can’t believe you just did this,’ she breathed, examining her self.

           He spat out some skin.  Blood trickled down his chin. ‘Yes I did,’ he panted, ‘I jus’ did it!’

          ‘But this is not going to go away... you...’ she stared at her thigh in disbelief, ‘you’ve bitten a piece out of it... look, you just spat it out!  My God you’re bad...  Have you ever thought about that... about your temper, your recklessness, yes, and even joy when you’re inflicting pain?  You’re not human... ’

          ‘You’re right! Yazz! Radouan is not human, not a domestic individual like the rest of you, he is SAUVAGE... une sauvage moderne, carries a sharp dagger in his pant leg, lives for the moment - no future, no past... YOU LIKE PAIN… ADMIT IT!’

          ‘You’re wrong I hate it... and you!  One moment you’re submissive, the next PHOOM you’re a treacherous beast... I need a whip... ’ She examined her self again, ‘look at this mess...what will Francesco say?’

           Radouan shrugged ‘I hope he never sees it. But if he does jus' tell him the truth! He’s Italian, he’ll understand...’

          ‘Where’s the antiseptic?  Get up and find it, the human bite is very dangerous.’

          ‘But I’m not human,’ he roared... ‘I come from a crazy tribe of camel racin’ qat chewin’ warriors, and marabouts... the Banu Hilal, I come from... For at least two thousand years now by zahp and SWORD we have conquered and survived… Because we were not afraid to be cruel the world it backed off from us and left us alone. Only in the last hundred years have some of us consorted with the likes of you, yes, and not by choice! So don' worry, by the time you wake up in the morning I’ll be gone back to Hamra... My Hamra not like here where everything is exhibited out on the streets like a boucherie and people have no shame...’

          ‘It’s called LIBERTE!’ Delphine screamed.  ‘We killed our king and Queen to get it!’

          ‘Yazz!  Tha's the whole problem... all of you; you’re sufferin’ from the curse of those murders. Your Liberte is not freedom... jus' fake like the people here and the food... all presentation and inside... less than ZERO.’

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©Elwyn Chamberlain 2006