I sit at the table in absolute misery. Uncle is staring at me, but
I can't look at him.
"You haven't touched your breakfast, Kirika." He gently urges me.
"Is it true?" I ask dully, not interested in food.
"Is what true? Kirika, please, eat some toast or something." Uncle sounds worried.
I push my toast with my knife. "Is it true about Mireille and Droger?"
A silence fills the room. Henry holds his fork in mid-air. I look at Uncle. He wads up his napkin as if he's suddenly angry and throws it on the floor.
"Damn him. Damn him to hell." He shakes his head in disgust. "Playing that card like this."
I lay the knife down. I feel numb.
"Roland Bouquet was a smart businessman, but he made two poor decisions in his life."
Uncle grunts as he reaches down and retrieves his napkin.
"Granting Droger a privilege he did not deserve; and denying Noir to Soldats." He looks at me and I see something in his eyes that makes me nervous.
"He paid with his life for his second mistake; I hope his daughter does not pay with hers for his first."
A door slams and we all fall quiet as Mireille enters the room. She
says nothing to acknowledge Uncle, instead marching to the end of
the table and seating herself.
"And a good morning to you, Lady Bouquet." Uncle is displeased, I can tell by his tone.
"Good morning, everyone." Mireille studiously helps herself to some tea.
"Would you care to discuss what you and Kirika were yelling about this morning? She's so upset she can't even eat." Uncle looks pointedly at Mireille. She glances over at my plate and frowns.
"Would you care to discuss why you lied to us about Droger?" she arches her eyebrows as she looks back at Uncle. "Maybe it's you that's sickened her to her stomach."
"Mirielle!" I gasp out, shocked.
"Droger manipulated your father. I would advise you not to let him do the same to you." Uncle's voice is tense. I can tell Mireille is getting to him.
"Mirelle, please- please stop. I'll eat." I pick up the toast and bite into it. It's tasteless and I feel like gagging.
"The past needs to stay in the past. We must focus on the problem here and now. All of us." Uncle nods his head at me. He wads up his napkin again. I watch him, feeling nervous.
"He's right, you know." Henry interjects. "Everyone should just calm down and focus."
"We need to plan our next course of action." Uncle reaches down and rubs his knee.
"Better plan well. Droger's outsmarted you at every turn so far." Mireille snorts in disdain.
"Mireille! How can you say such a thing?" my mouth falls open.
"It's true. He's blocked their every move." she snaps out. "No wonder Soldats hates him!"
"That wouldn't be because someone has told him what our plans are, is it?" Uncle retorts, standing up so quickly that his chair falls over. The fury in his face frightens me; Mireille has pushed him too far this time, I can tell.
She stands up, her face darkened with anger. I see her reach for her purse.
"Mireille, no!" I cry out. She slams her purse down on the table and points at Uncle.
"No, Mireille! No!" I jump over to her and grab her arm.
"Droger is using you! Come to your senses now!" Uncle takes his cane and points over the table at Mireille.
"Soldats is using me- using us- just to get back the book! Get out of both our lives! Now!" she twists away from me, throwing me back onto the floor.
Uncle slams his cane down on the table, sending the dishes crashing to the floor.
"That's enough!" he thunders. "I will not tolerate this insolence another moment!" he whirls and stabs his cane down to the floor, heading towards the door. Henry, eyes wide, follows him silently.
"What you can't tolerate is the truth!" Mireille shouts after him.
Uncle takes a few more steps and stops. He turns slowly and looks at Mireille. The look in his eyes frightens me.
"The truth… is that you've chosen the same path as your father. Goodbye, Mireille Bouquet."
A sense of dread washes over me as he speaks. This must not happen- I cannot let it happen.
"Uncle, please come back!" I call out to him, scrambling to get to my feet. He ignores me, continuing his path to the door.
"Kirika- let him go." Mireille orders.
"No!" I brush past her, running after him. "We cannot let him go!"
Uncle doesn't look back at me. Henry clicks the door quickly behind them.
"Wait, please!" I stumble around the corner of the sofa. I run panting to the door, and reach for the handle.
"Kirika!" Mireille's voice stops me. I turn and face her. She's got her gun with the silencer on it, pointed at my head.
"Let go of the doorknob. Now." She growls out.
"But Mireille, you don't understand! You-" I jump as a bullet breaks the molding next to my head.
"I said now." She takes another step forward, aiming between my eyes. My breathing is shallow, unsure. We stare at each other, her eyes glistening in that frightful way that I cannot bear to see. I have to save her from herself, from this madness.
"You must trust them! Mireille- we have to- " I start to stutter out, but she interrupts me.
"How dare you betray me now!" her voice is shaking with anger. Her chest is heaving with emotion; I see her face twist as she tries to bring herself under control. She takes a few more steps towards me. Her face hardens and her eyes…I am afraid. I've never been afraid of Mireille before. She clears her throat to speak.
"If you choose to go out that door- you will not come back in alive."