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.Six months, six years, if I just knew there was a time when…”I let the thought trail off.On the sidewalk outside the restaurant, a swarthy young man of what looked like Arabic, maybe Algerian, descent was scrutinizing the menu in the window.He had a narrow, ferret-like face, and his eyes darted around in a way that suggested he felt jumpy.Nothing alarming in itself, necessarily, but this was the second time I’d seen him in the last ten minutes.Both times he had examined the menu, but had also spent a fair amount of time scoping the inside of the restaurant.Again, in itself nothing out of the ordinary.People read menus and look inside restaurants, sometimes repeatedly, while they try to decide where to eat.But the behavior is more common in a pair or a group than it is in a singleton.Also, there was something purposeful, rather than inquiring, in the way he was looking around inside.“What?” Delilah said.“There’s a guy outside.Second time I’ve seen him and I don’t like his vibe.”“Shall I look?”“No.If it’s anything, I don’t want him to know he’s made.Wait, he’s coming inside.”I slid my chair back so if necessary I could clear the table instantly, then picked up the glass of house Bordeaux I was drinking.Most people have trouble recovering from a glass of wine in the eyes, especially if it’s followed by an immediate barrage of much worse.Delilah’s hand dipped discreetly below the table, no doubt accessing the FS Hideaway knife—basically a steel talon on a double finger ring—she typically wore on her inner thigh.“Hands are empty,” I said quietly, looking at Delilah and keeping the guy in my peripheral vision.He strode to the end of the restaurant, just past where I could see him.My scalp prickled with the discomfort of letting him get behind me, but Delilah was watching him now and I knew her expression would tell me instantly whether action was required.I heard him ask the waitress what time they closed, and then he was heading back out.I watched him go, and again something in my gut told me he was trouble.“What do you make of that?” I asked.She shrugged.“Could be just what it looked like.He’s trying to decide where to eat, maybe because he’s meeting friends later.”“Come on.Did that guy feel like Île Saint-Louis to you? He didn’t even feel like the Quartier Latin.More like la Goutte.” La Goutte d’Or was a rough part of the city in the 18th arrondissement, populated largely by Arabs and Africans, and known for its drugs, crime, and presence of illegals from the Maghreb.“Are you trying to make a point?”The question irritated me.What kind of point would I be trying to make?Stubble Boy and his girlfriend stood to go.“Have a great night,” he said, his tone sarcastic and his voice overly loud.Delilah rolled her eyes but other than that didn’t engage him.When they were gone, I said, “Did he look at you when he turned to leave the restaurant?”She shrugged.“Men always look at me.” She said it without self-pleasure, just as a simple statement of fact.“But how did he look at you? Did it feel sexual? Appreciative? Or like something else?”“Why are you pushing this?”“Why are you resisting?”“Because I think you’re trying to make a point.Trying to show me how my being in the life is putting you on edge, keeping you off-balance, something like that.”I tamped down my irritation.“Delilah.You know me.Have I ever played games with this shit? Tried to make a point by pretending there was a problem when I didn’t really think there was one?”There was a pause.She said, “No.”“That’s right, no.So let me tell you what I think just happened.Ferret Boy scoped the restaurant from the outside ten minutes ago and saw the back of your blonde head.He reported back to whoever that you were in here.Whoever, who’s more senior and seasoned than Ferret Boy, asked him how he’d determined that.When Ferret Boy admitted he’d only seen you from behind, Whoever told him to get his ass inside the restaurant on some pretext and get a positive ID of your face.Which he just did.”“How do you know he wasn’t scoping for you?”“You know the answer to that.With where I’m sitting, he could see my face from outside the restaurant.Besides, my enemies aren’t from that part of the world.Yours are.”“Isn’t that profiling?”“It is if you’re doing it right.”“Or it could be about someone else in the restaurant.Or it could be just a coincidence.”She was smarter than that and her resistance was really beginning to agitate me.“Look, maybe I’m wrong, I’ve been wrong plenty of times before.But only on the side of caution.You really want to bet your life on ‘maybe it’s a coincidence’? You want to bet your life to prove a point in a stupid argument with me?”She looked at me for a long moment, then nodded, her expression suddenly sober.“What are you thinking? A hit?”I was glad to see she was finally taking this seriously.“Maybe, but I’d guess no.If it were a hit, they could have waited to make the positive ID outside.If it wasn’t you, they just walk away.Hell, they wouldn’t even need to wait outside [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]