Chapter 30


Oliver sipped strong coffee from a small cup and watched the early spring pedestrian traffic pass by the café on Rue Daguerre. The cold weather appeared to have had effect on the throng of businesspeople out on the streets to catch a quick, or in some cases more leisurely, lunch.

The bell above the door rang and Oliver looked away from the window and saw Diana Jordan unbuttoning  her long coat to reveal a black knit sweater and dark slacks. He waved her over.

Diana Jordan and Oliver Lucas had been an item in college, but that had all fallen apart when Oliver disappeared for months to track down a shard in the heart of the Amazon jungle. After the incident in Egypt a couple years back, during which Oliver and Diana had worked together to recover Moses’s staff from a remote temple in the heart of the desert, they had toyed with the idea of reigniting their affair, but Diana had been committed to seeing out her research grant at the Louvre while Oliver was keen to track down suspicions he had about a long lost Maori temple in the South Pacific.

“Good to see you again,” Diana said as she slid into the chair opposite Oliver and waved the waiter over. “You’re looking well, if a bit haggard.”

“Is it that obvious?” Oliver asked.

“You look like you haven’t had a solid night’s sleep in weeks.”

Oliver tilted his head to one side in mute acknowledgement of her observation. Diana, on the other hand, looked radiant. Her black hair now sported several narrow streaks of green and her face was flushed a healthy pink from walking the two blocks from the metro station in the crisp early April wind.

“Thank you for meeting me here. I know it’s far from the Louvre, but I need to keep an eye on that hotel over there,” Oliver said. He nodded towards the bright green awning over the entrance of a hotel almost directly across the street from the café.

“Always business,” Diana said. Her voice struck Oliver as sad, but when he glanced back to her she was smiling. “Don’t be so serious, Oliver. I figured as much when you called me. If it’s any consolation, I would have called you if I had wanted to get back together. We are better this way.”

Oliver nodded and returned his gaze to the street.

Jeanne was in her hotel room. A few euros slipped to the desk clerk, a quick phone call to her room, supposedly to check on a room service order that she hadn’t made, and Oliver knew that she was there. Now came the waiting. According to the same clerk, she hadn’t left her room in two days.

Diana adjusted her chair so she was seated beside him, both of them watching the street with their backs to the other patrons of the café.

“That name you sent me is… special.” She hesitated, seemingly trying to decide how much to say in public.