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Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7

This Exquisite Dance - REVIEW THIS STORY

Written by CrystalWren
Last updated: 01/02/2007 02:01:11 AM

Chapter 1

Excerpt from the files of Private Investigator Rowan Bassenger, a major partner in the investigation agency of Bassenger, Killdeer, and Forbs.

Client: Remi Thibourdreux

Period of Investigation: June the 5th, 1999 to October 23rd, 1999

Subject of Investigation: Bernard and Angele Londe, their surrounding family and friends

Reason for Investigation: Possible fraud lawsuit

Standard Fee: $800(US) per week, plus expenses

(Note inserted at the beginning of the file, addressed to client Remi Thibourdreux from P.I Rowan Bassenger)

Dear Mr. Thibourdreux,

Over the past two months I have had the pleasure of being in your employ and I wished to thank you for your kind generous patronage of our agency. My partners and I greatly appreciate the extra expense you have gone to, to ensure of our loyalty and discretion, although we hasten to assure you that it was in no way necessary. We at Bassenger, Killdeer and Forbs take a great deal of care and delicacy to make sure that nobody is unduly troubled, offended or upset by our investigation, and most importantly, that they don't know that they are under surveillance in the first place. I am sure that none of the people under surveillance never realised I was there, and I must emphasise that this was a difficult task because of the basic nature of small towns everywhere. It was incredibly difficult to 'blend in', so to speak. Your very kind cash bonuses aided me in this. There is one thing I must ask you, though. Why do you never take off your sunglasses? Forgive me for being nosy, blame it on me being a P.I, it goes with the job! Thankyou again for your kindness-

Yours truly,

Rowan Bassenger

(licensed Private Investigator at Bassenger, Killdeer and Forbs investigation agency.)

Bernard and Angele Londe are residents of the small town of ******** in the state of ********* in the United States of America. This town is a small, quiet place, utterly nondescript in every meaning of the word. It is not a country town, nor a small city, but rather lies on the border in between. It is, generally speaking, a town of strong religious values. Mainly Anglican churches dominate the region, although there are some Roman Catholic ones. By and by, they try to ignore each other. Angele Londe, the woman who is under investigation along with her husband Bernard Londe, is a regular pious visitor to the rather small Anglican Church that caters to the spiritual needs of that particular stretch of town. Aside from the strong religious commitment of the woman and her husband, there appears to be very little of anything that is not small, uninteresting, and utterly ordinary.

Bernard Londe is retired. His wife Angele is (technically) not, as she receives a small wage for cleaning the small Anglican Church that they both frequent, along with most of their small, conservative neighbourhood. From the impressions that I have received, wage or no wage she would clean it anyway. It seems to be some personal kind of penance, the reason for which I am unable to ascertain. It is clear, however, that they appear to be suffering under some perceived sin or wrongdoing on their part, because I get the feeling that they are perpetually guilty over great and terrible secret.

They are both people close to the age of sixty, very soft spoken with a hint of an accent that could be Southern or Cajun. It is very faint, so it is difficult to be sure. There is only a faint softening of the Ts and the Is that indicate it is there. It is possible that they have undergone lessons to soften or even abolish this accent, where or why I am not sure.

The man, Bernard Londe, is very tall, and in a coarse featured sort of way, handsome, with very thick grey hair that shows signs of one being auburn, and golden-toned skin. (See attached picture in appendix.) His wife Angele is a small, neat looking woman with very black hair that I suspect she dyes in the sole evidence of vanity I have seen her exhibit. Her skin is also a faint gold colour, and she has, apart from the signs of aging, one of the finest featured faces I have ever seen. Even growing old, she is incredibly beautiful. (See attached photograph in appendix.) Their twenty-nine-year-old son, Cat, has inherited the best of both his parents' physical characteristics. He is extremely tall and slender, although he has an impressively muscled torso; he avoids being bulky in appearance as many muscular men are. He has thick auburn hair and soft brown eyes and a face that you would expect to see on television or billboards by the roadside modeling men's underwear. He has a daughter of his own; an eight-year-old named Angelique- in honour of her grandmother, I presume. He was married to the mother of this child but is now divorced with custody of the sole offspring. (See attached group photograph in appendix.)

Bernard and Angele are well liked among the town's population, although they have a strong reputation for being very private people with very little to say, and extremely fragile emotionally as well. In fact, half the population seems to be convinced that if they say the wrong thing Angele would burst into tears there and then. The way they tiptoe around the pair is extraordinary. I was unable to discover whether the pair had any other children besides Cat through any channels, official or otherwise (which is strange.) In the end I resulted to asking the town gossip whether she had heard of any other offspring, and after the prerequisite "uhm"ing and "ah"ing and "I don't think I should really tell you this" she got down to the point.

"One of my friends once asked them if they did have any other children. She told me 'Denise, I have never seen such a reaction in All My Life. Angele, that strange, mopey woman, looked as though she would either faint on the spot or go straight into hysterical tears. Bernard did that strong and silent act that he's so good at, but at last Angele answered, and she said: "We did have another son, but we lost him after he was born." And then her eyes teared up and they left in such a hurry!' Well, now, isn't that just the strangest thing you've ever heard?"

(Note inserted between the pages of the report, addressed to P.I Rowan Bassenger from client Remi Thibourdreux.)

Dear Ms. Bassenger,

Thank you for your correspondence. Your service has been impeccable- I will certainly recommend your firm to my friends! What you have found so far has been of great use to me- my lawyer says that the lawsuit is progressing in leaps and bounds. However, I would like you to change the focus of your investigation. I want you to find some more information on Mr and Mrs Londe's offspring; Cat, and by extension, his daughter, and I would appreciate it if you especially concentrate on finding some documentation on this mysterious son that they 'lost'.

As to why I wear sunglasses all the time- leave a man some secrets chere! But if you really must know I have an eye condition that makes me extremely sensitive to light. It's painful, very painful- to the extent that I rarely go out in the daylight. I'm a regular vampire, I'm afraid!

Yours sincerely,

Remi Thibourdreux

Cat's eight-year-old daughter Angelique is an extremely attractive child. She is in grade four at the local primary school, where she consistently tops the class in almost every subject except arts and music, both of which she seems to hate. Which is interesting because she loves drama, and most often a child who is good in one of these fields will be good in the others. But that's not what is unusual about this child. What is unusual is that every person that has the least bit of contact with her, no matter how little absolutely loves her. It's positively unnatural. She's a pretty child, very intelligent, but she is by no means remarkable. If I didn't know better, I'd say that she had some sort of mutant power to make people dote on her!

Cat himself is also remarkable. He is physically attractive and intelligent, but he has rarely used these assets during the course of his life. He is described as being very quiet. When he progressed from primary to high school he went to the small institution located near his home. During his time there he had a quiet, unremarkable period of scholarship, which drove the teachers absolutely crazy. Without exception the people who were his teachers say that he was the most intelligent person they had ever met. He was also the most successful gymnast the sports teacher had ever seen, sports being the only subject he seemed inclined to put himself ahead in. He could have easily been dux (top of all of the academic subjects) of the entire year. He could have easily been an Olympic grade gymnast. He simply didn't seem to want any of those things. After he completed school he got the first of many quiet, plain little jobs, and acquired a quiet, plain little girlfriend. With his looks he could have had just about any girl he wanted, from the classic American cheerleader, to the next Elle McFeast, but this silent girl seemed to suit him better than any of them. She spoke even less than he did, and I wonder if that didn't have anything to do with that decision. When Cat was twenty, he showed the most emotion that just about anyone had ever seen him exhibit: his girlfriend told him she was pregnant. Then his reaction was not so much as the expected anger, as- fear. As if he was afraid of the child that she carried.

"It was weird," said one of his workmates, somebody who called him 'friend' by having Cat acknowledge his existence every morning when he arrived at work. "He wasn't angry because his girl had gotten preggers. It was like he though that the kid was the son of Satan or somethin' like." Nevertheless Cat did the expected thing and married his plain, ordinary girlfriend in a plain, ordinary wedding. He continued with his series of quiet, unremarkable jobs.

(Note inserted between the pages of the report, addressed to P.I Rowan Bassenger from client Remi Thibourdreux.)

Dear Mr Thibourdreux,

Thankyou for you kind bonus at the end of this month. It was greatly appreciated. In response to your phone call I have continued my research into Cat and his daughter. I regret to inform you that I have had no further progress on the alleged second son of Angele and Bernard Londe.

Sir, I also must raise an important issue with you, one unconnected to the case I am currently investigating for you. The New York Roads and Traffic authority reports that they do not have a 'Remi Thibourdreux' on file as holding a current driver's license. Which is interesting, considering that your driver's license was one of the main items of identification you presented when you first contacted me at my firm. Can you please respond to this? I will submit to you the research I have already completed, but I am not legally permitted to continue investigating this case without proper identification of the client in question.

Yours truly,

Rowan Bassenger

(Licensed Private Investigator at Bassenger, Killdeer and Forbs investigation agency.)

In the usual course of time Cat's wife gave birth to a healthy baby girl, and the reaction of the not-so-proud father was- unusual. He regarded the infant with something very close to terror for the first few days until her eyes opened. He would handle her gingery as if she was a bomb waiting to go off, or, as one of the attending nurses put it:

"Like a snake that was just waiting for a chance to turn around and bite him."

When the baby's eyes did open, and turned out to be a quite ordinary shade of milky blue that latter darkened to soft, deep brown, Cat suddenly became a doting, worshipful father who loved the child from the top of her fuzzy head to the ends of her tiny toes. He has remained that way for every subsequent day of Angelique's life.

It may or not be interesting to note that Cat's parents had almost identical reactions to the baby, from the time of conception, to birth, to the opening of the child's eyes.

When the child turned four, Cat's plain, ordinary wife walked out on him and their daughter with no warning whatsoever. She had found a man who made her feel not so plain and ordinary, and she felt that she owed it to herself to at least try to be a somebody, not a nobody. Cat and his wife parted amicably enough; there was little love in their relationship, but a great deal of respect and affection. They divided the house and its contents, and had a neat, simple little divorce. About the only thing they came close to arguing about was the custody of little Angelique, but that was easily resolved. Cat was obviously intensely devoted to his daughter, and it was also obvious that he would feel no strain whatsoever bringing her up by himself. Added to the fact that her new stepfather wasn't particularly interested in little Angelique, it was decided that she would remain with her father.

(Notes inserted between the pages of the report, addressed to P.I Rowan Bassenger from client Remi Thibourdreux.)

Dear Ms Bassenger,

I deeply regret this sudden suspicion you hold for me. I cannot think why that is so, because I am very much a legal citizen of New York. I have legal citizenship, a legal residence, and above all, a legal driver's license. I even have a lawyer. (Although I have to confess, that point by itself is really no indication of good characters or morals.) Perhaps it may benefit you to contact the New York Roads and Traffic Authority again, because I really think that there must be some kind of mistake. I deeply wish to continue working with you, however, and I eagerly await your next correspondence. If you do decide to continue your investigation, I ask that you concentrate on trying to find some documentation of the mysterious second son of Angele and Bernard Londe.

Yours sincerely,

Remi Thibourdreux,

Dear Mr Thibourdreux,

I have indeed contacted the New York Roads and Traffic Authority, and amazingly, this time they did have a 'Remi Thibourdreux' on file. Your records were all there. You must be an amazing driver. Not so much as a parking ticket in the years you have lived in New York. Out of curiosity, I also checked your records at the tax office, and according to them they double check your tax return every year convinced you are getting away with murder somewhere. Everything you submit to them is absolutely perfect, and you have no idea how paranoid that makes them. I have decided to continue my association with you, pending some reports I have requested from the New York and the New Orleans Police Departments. There is one last point I wish to raise with you. Are you aware that you have an amazing physical resemblance to 'Cat' Londe, one of the subjects I am investigating for you? Even with the perpetual sunglasses that you wear, you look like family to the Londes- like a brother, or a son. I don't suppose this is merely coincidence? Is this investigation really about a fraud lawsuit, or something else?

Yours truly,

Rowan Bassenger

(Licensed Private Investigator at Bassenger, Killdeer and Forbs investigation agency.)

I have been able to find some scanty documentation on the second son of Bernard and Angele Londe. So scanty that what I have found can be summed up in just a few lines. Apparently, a Bernard and Angelique LaLonde are wanted for questioning by the New Orleans Police Department over the abandonment and subsequent disappearance over an infant boy at a New Orleans hospital twenty-four years ago. There are two things that are interesting about this: none of the police seemed to be overly concerned about this abandonment; in fact they appeared to ignore it, opting instead to try to bury it under a large amount of paper files. The reason for this may be the second interesting point I mentioned: apparently this baby boy was born with weird eyes. Glowing red-on-black sort of weird. Obviously this child was what we these days would call a genetic mutation, although back then the existence of mutants was known only by a select (and rather nervous) few. I managed to arrange an interview with one of the nurses on duty in the hospital at the time. She told me that one-day a half crate appeared on the hospital doorstep with a newborn baby boy inside of it.

"I was one of the ones who found him," said Sister Mary-Clarence. "He was barely two days old! I saw his eyes and thought 'Mother of God! This child is the Devil's son, those eyes are from Satan himself'! I didn't know what to think. To my shame I- I wanted to leave him there, to let him die of exposure. But then my Mother Superior said 'Sister Mary Clarence! It doesn't matter who this child's father is he's still baby! Now you bring that child inside and wrap him up proper-like and feed him!' So I did. I cared for that baby for three days non-stop, because none of the other nursing sisters would come near him. I hated having to take care of that child at first. I was scared of him. Imagine that, a grown woman scared of a baby! But after that first day, he began to smile at me, and I fell in love with that smile. It's the same smile I always imagined the Archangel Gabrielle having when He told the Virgin Mary that she was about to become the mother of Jesus Christ. I began to wonder what would become of him- who would take a baby with glowing red eyes? But after the second day, I received an answer to that question. That baby was stolen out from my very nose, literally. I was holding him in my arms, both of us asleep, and I didn't even wake up when he was taken!" Here the good Sister burst into tears, and I offered to terminate the interview, an offer that she accepted. But as she rose to leave, she added: "I still wonder what became of him. I hope he's happy now. I do so hope that he is happy." With that, she left.

I have to say that this is the extent of my investigation into the Londe family. I regret to inform you that I feel that there is nothing further I can bring to this investigation, and that I resign as your employee.

(File ends.)

"Here is de las' of your pay checks, Ms Bassenger," said Remi Thibourdreux, sliding a pristine white envelope across the chipped café table. He smiled in a perfect flash of equally white teeth.

Rowan Bassenger did not smile back. She looked at her reflection in the mirrored sunglasses of her companion, and wished that he would take the bloody things off. It was difficult to hold a conversation glaring at oneself. She opened the envelope and glanced at the check within, twitched, swallowed, and took a closer look at the amount that the check was actually for. Trying to stop her hands shaking, she very carefully folded the envelope and placed it in a pocket inside her coat, and looked nervously around.

"I trust de amount is satisfactory?" Thibourdreux purred.

"Y-yes," said Rowan, who had turned a pale white. "Satisfactory. Yes. Definitely. Very satisfactory." She nodded her head vigorously and immediately felt like an idiot. She coughed, and took a hasty swallow of her tea. And almost spat it back out again. Cold tea, she thought. Aarrgh! She put the cup down in its saucer with a rattle, and leaned back in her seat and crossed her arms across her chest, gazing at her companion. She said nothing. After a while, Remi Thibourdreux tilted his head to one side with a smile.

"De scowling and intimidation thing don't work on me, Ms Bassenger. I tried it on other people too many times for it t' worry me."

"Yes, I'll bet you have," snapped Rowan.

There was another long silence.

Thibourdreux smiled some more. Rowan swore silently. This wanker's enjoying himself? He thinks it's funny?! Rowans' scowl became a full-fledged snarl, and she all but leapt across the table and grabbed the man's collar. He did nothing to stop her, indeed, he went on smiling that same calm, irritating smile as she grabbed the sunglasses off his face.

His eyes were a brilliant, glowing red.

She sat back on the faded green vinyl of her seat with a plop.

"Who are you really?" she asked softly.

"I am Remi Thibourdreux- your ex-employer." He smirked.

Rowan shook her head. "No you're not." She leaned over the table and looked straight into that eerie red glow.

"I phoned the police department. They told me that they had never heard of you. The officer I talked to seemed almost desperate to convince me that they hadn't. He spent nearly an hour telling me that they had never had so much as a whisper connecting you to anything. Anything. And you know what? The next day I got a call from Interpol. They wanted to know All. About. You."

Remi Thibourdreux didn't seem particularly worried. If anything, his smile got broader.

Rowan continued. "And you know what? I told them. Everything. Every single thing. I gave them copies of the checks. I even gave them a copy of the report I wrote for you."

Remi raised a single perfect red-brown eyebrow. He looked like a cute version of Spock- except Spock doesn't smile. His smile became a full-fledged grin, and showed Rowan every tooth except the back ones.

Rowan leaned back on her seat, and folded her arms across her breasts, telling herself it was because she was cold, not that she was scared. "So what happens now, Mr Thibourdreux? Do I get raped and murdered in my bed?"

Remi shook his head, and his grin faded. "No, Ms Bassenger," he said with a sigh. "You have nothing to fear from me."

"Really?" Rowan hissed.

"Really," said Remi firmly. "Nothing whatsoever. I am not in de habit of killing helpless women, Ms Bassenger."

"So what exactly are you planning to do to the Londe family, Mr Bourdreux?"

He said nothing.

She glared at him triumphantly. "See?" she said. "Can't answer that one, can you?"

He sighed. "Non, Ms Bassenger, I cannot. I have no idea what I am going to do. I don't know whether I am going to actually do anything."

"So you do admit that you're the prodigal son of Bernard and Angele Londe?"

He looked at her. He didn't bother saying anything.

"So, y'reckon that the reports of your relations can neither be confirmed nor denied?" she cracked.

He delicately bared his teeth at her, like a dog. "I am not related to de Londe fam'ly in anyway. My interest in dem stems from de fact dat I am in de process of issuing a lawsuit of fraud against dem."


They glared at each other some more.

Remi Thibourdreux was the first to lose patience.

"Ms Bassenger, I am in no mood t' fight with you. I paid you t' do a job, which you have fulfilled, to a more dan satisfactory extent. The job is now complete. Ms Bassenger" here he leaned across the table, "bugger off."

Rowan blinked and stood up. For once, she didn't feel like fighting. Those red eyes had been kind of fascinating at first, but now all she wanted to do was get away from them. As if her body was no longer under her control, she marched towards the café door, and had her hand on the doorknob before a piercing whistle broke the strange haze that was suddenly surrounding her.

"Ms Bassenger," called Remi Thibourdreux from the table they had recently shared, "may I have my sunglasses back, please?"

"Oh. Right." Rowan moved walked back towards the table, trying not to stumble, and handed the fashionable shades back to the auburn haired man. Then she stood there like an idiot, head full of nothing, until Thibourdreux's voice broke into her daze. "Ms Bassenger- shoo. Go away."

She did that. On some deep level she was proud that she didn't actually run nose first into the door before she got it open.

Remy LeBeau watched the Private Investigator stumble out of the café with a touch of guilt. He hated having to do that to her- he didn't really like hypnotising people. It reeked of manipulation, and while that was an acknowledged skill that a professional thief should have, he had always felt that using his eyes to do it was cheating. He could do it just as well with voice and words, but in using those instead of his eyes he felt that it at least gave them a fighting chance. He believed in giving his marks (not victims, never victims) an opportunity to at least attempt to defend themselves; not doing that reminded him of all the people who had done it to him, and that didn't make him feel well at all. He usually tried not to think about it. He rubbed his eyes with thumb and forefinger, and waved off the overly eager waitress who kept on trying to fill his coffee cup with more bad coffee. Probably after more than just a tip judging by the way she kept licking her lips, wiggling her hips and leering at him whenever she thought he was looking at her direction. She was pretty- normally he would have responded, and it was a measure of just how depressed he was that he couldn't even dredge up a bit of simple, pure lust.

Pathetic, he thought disgustedly. He poked the folder that Ms Bassenger had given him with a forefinger. He knew what was in there. He didn't want to think about it, but he was anyway.

He could have found out all this and quite a bit extra by himself, that was for certain. But he couldn't, and this was embarrassing, concentrate on whatever it was he was doing when he so much as thought about the Londes. Let alone carry out a full surveillance operation on them, especially in a small town where the neighbours were worse than trained security guards any day. He stretched, oblivious to the three women including the waitress who had just spilled the coffee that they were drinking or carrying. Three women and one gay man who suddenly wished it was the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardis Gras, and that Remy was wearing- less.

Abruptly, Remy came to a decision. He was sick of having sleepless nights (sleepless mornings and afternoons more like) and he was sick of not being able to stomach his own spicy (but very good) cooking. He would go to the Londes. He would watch them. And them he would decide what he was going to do.


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