Jean didn't come for his lesson the next appointment. Daphne waited, getting out his cello, tuning it, and setting it up against the wall just so. She gave it an hour, and he still didn't show. So she grabbed a hat, a battered old cloche that was starting to fray at the edge. She locked the door, slipped the key into a pocket, and set out. The Beaumonts didn't live too far, a fifteen minute walk towards the edge of the city.
Annoyed, she walked up to their tenement. It was an older building, awkwardly situated between a secondhand clothing store and a dance hall. They lived on the third floor, shoved back in a corner. She knocked, stepping back. The door only opened a crack, enough for an eye to peer out. Mrs. Beaumont's voice was harsh, "Well?"
"Jean hasn't come, I just wanted to make sure he wasn't ill." She offered, "If he is, I could look after him while you go to the shop."
Marie Beaumont's short, blunt nose snorted. "Jean is fine. You are not."
Daphne furrowed her brows. "What?"
"My Jean will not associate with Nazi whores." She hissed, "Now, get off my step." The door slammed shut, banging against the frame. Daphne wanted to do something. She wanted to scream, yell at Marie through the door, slap that woman across her face, just something! In the end she did nothing. She walked down the stairs, nodded to the boy delivering fresh German beer to the dance hall, and set towards home.
She quickly found herself waylaid by a nearby cafe, settling down in a chair. Coffee was a luxury she hadn't allowed herself to have in a long time, but she figured she was due. So she ordered a cup, snagged a newspaper from an abandoned table, and leaned back. The news was all in favor of the Germans, as usual. German war efforts, German propaganda, hell even German society pages. It didn't help that most of the French high society had either fled before the Whermahct or welcomed them as friends. She felt positively Parisian, all that was missing was a slow burning cigarette.
Food was better than cigarettes though, if she had to choose what to spend her money on. Coffee wasn't cheap, that was luxury enough. So she read her paper, waited for an hour, then left the cafe. A couple bills remained behind for the poor sap who had to clean the tables. With her system pleasantly buzzing she made her way back to her house, finding Herrman outside. He smiled at her, the bag in his hands smaller than the ones in the past.
"Sorry Hermann." Daphne said, "I went out for a bit."
"Not a problem, not at all mademoiselle." He replied, offering the bag. "Standartenführer Landa seems quite taken with you, he was very specific with the cook on what she was to include. He might even want to court you." Hermann smiled at that. "The ladies of Berlin consider him quite the catch, you know."
Daphne forcibly told herself not to blush, but she could still feel her cheeks burn. "Well, isn't that something." She quickly unlocked her door, moving inside so that Hermann would go on his way. She set the bag down, feeling around. Everything felt too smooth, not like the food he had sent before. Instead of any groceries she drew out two long candles, two wine glasses, a large bottle of red wine, a loaf of bread, and a tin of caviar.
She quickly gathered what candlesticks she had, heavy iron monstrosities that had been silver plated at one point. Most of it had been scraped off, but some remained, a shiny scar down the dark metal. Impaling the tapers was easy, as was setting out the wine. All she did was place everything on the table and try to get it to look nice.
It wasn't much.
The table was an ancient monstrosity of some dark wood that had weighed to much to move outside for the last tenants to chop up. It was scarred, pitted, scratches, and burnt. She didn't have a tablecloth to hide any of that, any spare fabric being quickly remade into some form of clothing. It had probably stood in this house since it had gone up, for Daphne could see no way to fit it through any of the doors. The chairs with it weren't any better, but the cushioning in them was still good enough that you couldn't feel the wood.
So she settled down in her sofa, curled up with her book, and resigned herself to waiting.
Hans quickly rapped on the door, brushing a speck of dust off of his sleeve as he stood by. The door opened, he was ushered in, and he quickly had a look around. It was quiet, something he hadn't expected. He looked at Daphne, "Has Jean gone home?"
She snorted, her voice hard. "Jean isn't receiving lessons anymore."
"The oh-so lovely Madame Beaumont does not want her son being taught by a German sympathizer." She replied, gesturing for him to follow her upstairs. He complied, his mind still churning. He was still no closer to figuring out exactly who Daphne was, and with Goebbels coming in a month to finalize plans for the premiere of Stoltz der Nation he was quickly running out of time. He needed for her to get closer to him, to tell him what he wanted.
So when she explained eighth notes, he let his eyes roam down her shirt and made sure she noticed. If he had to reach around her, he made sure to brush his fingers lightly against her. He could see her, wound as tight as a spring, ready to burst.
And that was where the wine came in.
It was a particularly strong vintage, and would help loosen her tongue. The first glass went down fairly fast, he was still sipping his as she poured herself another. The second went more slowly, she let herself savor it. He quirked an eyebrow. "Enjoying it?"
She brought a finger up to dab self-consciously at her lips. "It's been a long time since I've had a red this good."
"Really? I figured you French must have some way to get your wine during," He gestured a hand, with a wave that could have included the house or the world. "This."
She was quiet, staring down at her wine. She took a large gulp, then stared at the bottle. "You know what I was called today, Hans?"
This was odd. "A German sympathizer, you told me earlier."
"I cleaned it up a little. I believe the phrase she used was 'Nazi whore'." She looked up, her eyes shining. "Is that what I am?"
He thought for a moment. Considering he was paying her for lessons, not sex, she was not technically a whore. Hans shrugged, "You are a companion for me. Someone outside of the Reich I can sit and talk to."
"And last time?"
"Well, it was pleasant enough for me." He quickly glanced at her, a small smile on his face. "It certainly sounded like you enjoyed it."
Her face flushed, and she quickly finished her glass. He gestured for her to fill his as well. Her wine shook in her hand. "It was fine. But I don't want to be like that."
"What do you want to be like?"
Her words were slightly slurred. "I want to go home, I want to play in the symphony for some opera. I don't want to be here."
So close. "Where is home?"
Her voice was so low, the word so whispered he thought it might have been a breeze. "Chicago."