Prompt: „Call me Xavier, you will join me in the end, and you will be the last“
“Despite that… it doesn’t sound like you want me to stop.”
Penelope was torn. Her first instinct was to slap Xavier. How dare he? This… this answer was so entirely ungentlemanly that she had no response, because she had never had to deal with such behavior before. But she was intrigued… Why did he want information from the wife of the Minister of Defense? At least this was far more interesting than any of the penny dreadfuls that she had normally taken to reading.
“Setting that comment aside.” She coughed lightly into her hand, missing his amused smile. “I’d like to know what kind of information you want, otherwise I won’t know what I’m looking for.” He nodded his assent, moving to open the desk drawer to his right. He pulled out an envelope full of receipts and money transactions.
“This is all of the money that the Defense Minister has spent socially in the past month, notice anything?” When Penelope cocked her head sideways, he elaborated. “It should be many times larger, given his propensity to be out with the ladies. I believe that he’s embezzling money from the Crown.” Embezzlement? Surely this was an issue for the police.
“And you think his wife would know this because they’re often out together?” She asked, wondering where he was going with this. He chuckled. “On the contrary, I think exactly the opposite. She’ll have noticed an increase in her own allowance while he continues to make his outings alone, giving her no reason as to why she has more money to spend.”
“Wouldn’t it be in her interest not to tell me, then?” Penelope mused. “She would have to account for all that money otherwise. And you still haven’t told me your role in all of this. You could have asked any other woman in society, and you came to me – why?”
He regarded her closely, as though examining her under a microscope. “My role in all of this? That’s not part of the deal, Penelope. You do what I ask, and I’ll make life more, shall we say, interesting for you. And I’m sure you can figure out why I chose you.” She stared hard at him, looking at each angle of his face – but there wasn’t anything to give away.
“Your confidence in my abilities is well-placed to say the least, Xavier.” She finally responded. What else was there to say? She still had no idea how she was going to get to know the wife of the Minister of Defense. She still didn’t know who Xavier was, or why he had chosen her, or what his connection was to the affair. He had been right about one thing, though. This would make her life significantly more interesting.
“So we have a deal?” He leaned forward, like he was making sure this moment was sealed in his brain. She raised her hand to shake his, realizing belatedly that she didn’t know what she was getting out of it – other than more innuendos.
“We have a deal.”