How comforting to be in familiar surroundings -- the loving home of
one of his favorite people. Yes, Jehan Frollo considered Danisha Wood a
dear friend; they shared a particularly close relationship, So close was
that bond that Nisha often kidded Jehan with, "I bet you wished it had
been you instead of Claude who'd seen me first."
They shared many good times; they told each other outrageous stories and jokes; they indulged in strong drink and games of chance -- These things she seldom shared with Claude. Jehan was a good sport and fun to be with but the problem was Jehan's love of excess; Nisha often admonished him about this on a daily basis. Danisha let it be known that she enjoyed a periodic indulgence in whiskey, five card stud, craps, and blue humor. "But only the occasional spree, Jehan. There is such thing as going overboard and I'm afraid you're already drowning," she told him repeatedly over the decade or so since she'd known him.
And now, thought Jehan Frollo, I could use her wise counsel. Claude and I are on the outs, "Dorothy Ducharme" is only a few doors down, and Phillipe has met this woman. He's had to put it all together, yet John Elmore is still at large...
What if he returns here? What if he discovers we're on to him? Nadine is here...Surely he will not harm Nisha's little child!
"Jehan, I'm sorry I fell asleep on you like that but I've been going
all day, and Nadine was exhausted..."
Jacki Terrell, lovely in her dark burgundy velvet dress and lacy beige headscarf, served Jehan another cup of strong hot coffee. It was pre-dawn hours and Nadine was still upstairs sleeping. Jacki could've kicked Jehan for startling her and Nadine, but she knew he had his reasons for being at the house. Her only hope was that Quasimodo and Iggy located Julian McNaney in time. Only Julian could shed light on this mysterious Plan B, and possibly clear Clopin.
Now Jacki never told Claude Frollo that Clopin was an innocent party in all this; she was aware of Frollo's total dislike for the Roma, and for their king in particular. But she was also aware that Clopin was Guillaume Sarrisin's acquaintance, which was why the Gypsy king joined forces with Julian. It was not for Frollo's sake, far from it; rather, it was for Nisha and Nadine, who Clopin surmised were the transplanted African's distant relatives.
Julian's last report on the Rougelot affair attested to that fact -- Clopin had met Guillaume's daughter Isabelle LaCroix back in Nantes. He told Julian how much Isabelle and Danisha favored each other. Jacki Terrell's mind reeled as she thought of something else. But he doesn't know about Danisha -- and the rest of us -- actually being from the future. As far as Clopin's concerned, we're all from an advanced nation known as the New World. But how are we to explain our "New World" in light of Columbus' discovery? As years progress these people will know the country to be known as 'America' is nothing more than wilderness and natives...
"Jacqueline, please don't apologize; I understand. You were exhausted
and Nadine's needs came before mine. But, my good friend," said Jehan as
he beckoned Jacki to sit, "please sit. Since Nadine is still sleeping I
feel I can openly tell you this."
Jacki sat down beside Jehan; before she spoke she quickly surveyed this man, a man in whom Nisha always sought the good. Just like in Claude, in Malus, even BC...Danisha knew there's good in everyone which was why she bent over backwards for Jehan.
"Tell me what, Jehan?" At once, Jehan Frollo began to tell her about
Johnny Elmore's presence, but stopped short on revealing information concerning
Dorothy Ducharme and her true identity. Jehan felt it best for one shock
at a time. Upon hearing this, Jacki fell back in her chair and nearly tipped
"Johnny!", she said in a raised voice, then quieting down because she suddenly remembered Nadine, repeated, "Johnny Elmore's been in this house? Where is he now?"
Jehan sighed and took Jacki's hand, saying, "He hasn't been here for several days. But he did leave his device and notebook behind. I was on my way to Notre Dame to have Quasimodo look at the man's notes -- My English is rather rusty at best. As for the man's present whereabouts, I understand he may be hiding out with Clopin..."
Jacki squeezed Jehan's hand and said, "That's where Judge Ouimet was going last night. Claude's with him; I know because Claude sent me a message early yesterday afternoon. Damn, Jehan, your brother must be wiped out! Traveling from his chateau to Paris, then accompanying Ouimet on this manhunt -- The poor man hasn't stopped..."
"Jacqueline," said Jehan upon arising from his chair, "Claude and I are -- as you say -- on the outs. He said vicious things to me when I tried to tell him..."
His voice choked with emotion as he made a few turns of the room; soon his concern returned to his niece's safety. Jehan Frollo knelt before Mrs. Terrell and said, "My dear Jacqueline, I truly hope, for everyone's sake Johnny Elmore is apprehended. Who knows the damage he may inflict if he ever evades capture." Then, "Jacqueline, as a favor to me, I want you to bring Nadine to Evrard Ouimet's place, today -- that's where you'll find..."
Jehan Frollo's words were suddenly interrupted by an insistent pounding
on the front door. Whoever could be calling at this hour, thought the younger
Frollo as Jacki got up to answer. "Please be careful, Jacqueline," cautioned
Jehan as he made his way for that corner where lay the baseball bat.
Checking the little watch which suspended from her neck, Jacki frowned as she peered through the front window's thick draperies. "It's almost six -- not even dawn -- so whoever it is, I'll give 'em the boot." Adjusting her gaze against the outside lantern light, Jacki could finally make out the man's form and figure. He was tall and slender, clad in black. His horse, hitched out front, was a massive black brute. Jacki Terrell gasped upon finally recognizing the man. "This is no burglar; it's Claude!"
Immediately she opened the front door and greeted the man who for so many years had been one of her best friends. "Claude!", she said as she ushered him inside then embraced him. "What happened? Did you all catch Johnny?" Claude Frollo returned the embrace then inquired about his daughter. Not to worry, reassured Jacqueline, Nadine went right to bed without trouble. "She's still asleep but if you want to go on up.."
Jacki's words were hushed by Claude's anxious gaze. He surveyed the room, and at once blazed when he spotted his brother. Jehan, replacing the bat in its corner, said nothing to his brother, and Claude had nothing to say to Jehan. Instead, Claude Frollo, in a calm voice, informed Jacki that, "Elmore has escaped -- along with the Gypsy Clopin. It is why I came here first, out of fear that Elmore may harm my child. Jacqueline, may I suggest that you and Nadine stay at the Palais; it is far safer there."
He shot Jehan a withering look and tersely asked, "And why, Jehan, are you here?"
The younger Frollo simply and blandly replied, "Danisha's home was always open to me. She let me have a key in the event...Claude, I'm staying here whether you like it or not. And furthermore, I still insist that you meet..."
Claude Frollo raised his hand and glared hard at his brother; Jehan
suddenly stopped in mid sentence. Jehan knew he could never share with
Claude the news of Dottie Ducharme, but at least Jacqueline knows about
Elmore using Danisha's home as temporary lodgings. It was then that Jacki,
sensing a violent sibling clash, spoke up. "Claude, here...Let me get you
some coffee. You must be exhausted from that all-nighter..."
She beckoned Claude to sit then motioned for Jehan to leave. The younger Frollo, not wanting to cause further friction between Claude and himself, gathered a few belongings and left the house. He would return some time later and armed with the most amazingly shocking information about Dottie Ducharme. What kind of information? The answers were in that notebook Jehan so wisely spirited away, a notebook kept by Johnny Elmore. All Jehan needed was a timely visit with Danisha's mother to help confirm his findings.
"Claude, Jehan had good reason to come here, and it all paid off for
us. Elmore crashed here ever since his arrival. The man was right here!
Then there's Fern's report but she wouldn't reveal too much to me about
what the toxicologist said."
Jacki Terrell poured Claude Frollo another cup of strong coffee while the former judge filled in the holes. "My dear Jacqueline, my problems with Jehan run far too deeply, but perhaps his staying here is a blessing. I learned that Phillipe Ouimet has men stationed throughout the area; Elmore would be a fool to return here. As for Fern's report, she could only tell Phillipe so much but I trust her judgment. Perhaps in due time, we will finally solve this mystery."
He raised his eyes towards the staircase and said, "Nadine has been on my mind ever since Phillipe and I found that abandoned mill -- and no Elmore or Clopin to be found." He sighed with frustration and weariness, then proceeded to pace the room furiously. "Jacqueline, I will not rest until Elmore is apprehended. Then there's Julian -- of all my futuristic spies, he's been one of the most useful, most meticulous....He informed me earlier of Elmore but surely he was aware the man nursed this unholy, obsessive love for Danisha..."
Jacki interrupted, "Claude, the last thing Julian wanted was for this 'Plan B' to backfire. He only mentioned it the last time I spoke to him, and that was last month."
Her hand went to her throat; her voice quavered. "Oh Claude, when we got Timescape working again, Julian was still in 1889 Johnstown. He still hasn't answered our messages. What if Quasimodo and Iggy don't reach him in time...?"
Just then, they heard the faint thump of feet on the stairs. Down she
came, clad in a pink nightgown, slippers, and a deep purple robe. Filled
with boundless energy, she hastened descent as soon as she saw her father.
"Papa!", Nadine happily proclaimed as she flew into his outstretched arms.
Claude Frollo scooped up his child, saying, "My darling girl! How much
I've missed you!" He held to her fast, not wanting to let go too soon.
This child is, after all, part of Danisha...
"Papa, I dreamed about Mommy. She said you are mad at Uncle Jehan." Trying not to look so embarrassed, for he remembered a similar visitation from his postmodern lady, Claude Frollo only said to Nadine, "Dear child, I was upset with my brother but I think we'll work things out. So, you dreamed of her..."
Nadine rattled nonstop, "Oh yes, Papa! Mommy said I had to make you
feel better, and that you can't stay mad at Uncle Jehan anymore. Then she
said you will take me to meet your friend....His name is -- Umm..."
Nadine, looking like a serious scholar searching for an answer, tapped her chin then said, "Mommy said your friend has a little boy named Orry. That's what I remember."
Both Claude and Jacki couldn't believe this as Nadine had never met Evrard or Orry Ouimet. Then it all came to him; he said to Jacki, "Ah, she must have heard about the Ouimets from either Phillipe or Nisha, and that was some time ago, when Nadine was only three."
He set his daughter down then said to her, "Nadine, I want you and Madame Terrell to stay at the Palais de Justice. I have to help the new judge today and I want you as close by as possible."
He looked at Jacki and repeated his request in silence; Jacki understood this and said the child, "Come on, Nadine, let's get you dressed and fed." She looked back at Claude Frollo who by now had his personal Timescape out and was frantically coding two messages.
"Claude, to whom?"
"To Quasimodo, then a message to Joseph Wood..."
Please take extraordinary care in 1889 Pennsylvania. You haven't taken too many of these trips so please be advised to people's reactions. Find Julian with all deliberate speed. Elmore has escaped and may be en route to Paris. You and Daniel (Iggy) take care and return as soon as Julian is found.
My dear JosephJacki Terrell didn't quite understand. "Claude, are you sure you want Professor Wood here? I mean, he hasn't taken that many time trips himself..."
I imagine you have read the report concerning that tainted treat. I also understand that you have finally given your consent to have Danisha's body exhumed. Let it be known that I would never do such a thing in my time, but I am aware that we must have proof that Nisha was indeed murdered. I do have one favor: Do you mind tearing yourself away for a few days? Something tells me your presence is needed here...I don't have a specific reason other than this nagging feeling. I shall keep in touch.
Claude grinned slightly recalling his beloved, but he grew serious again
when he expressed hope that Danisha's killer is brought to justice. Claude
Frollo made a few timely observations: "The only thing I worry about, Jacqueline,
is that this case actually straddles more than five centuries. Judge Ouimet
is adamant about trying and executing Elmore here, in 1495 Paris. However,
one cannot possibly fathom the questions your 21st Century prosecutors
will pose. My dear, I'm afraid we're caught in the middle -- Your invention
cannot be revealed, and I'm afraid such information could fall into the
He sighed as he watched Nadine come downstairs all dressed and ready for the day. He continued, "Phillipe Ouimet must never know of the time travel; those here -- Quasimodo, Phoebus, Solange, even Jehan -- have kept their word. Thank goodness Marcel Rougelot went to his grave with the secret..."
Jacki Terrell took out her Timescape then said to Claude as she coded
a message to her husband. "Claude, Tony and I thought about that, which
was why Fern didn't tell Phillipe too much..."
Then she remembered something! "Hey, what's this about Evrard Ouimet's fiancée?"
And that''s when it hit Claude Frollo! "Jacqueline, I recently received a note from Evrard; he wanted to introduce his fiancée, this Mlle Ducharme, who is from the New World. I can tell you in all honesty, dear, that Mlle Dorothy Ducharme can be none other than our mystery time traveler. My God! Jehan tried to tell me about Dorothy Ducharme but I was so blinded with grief; I never listened to him..."
Jacki Terrell's eyes widened in shock as Claude informed her that, "Once
you and Nadine are settled at the Palais, I'm finally calling on Evrard.
I want to meet Mlle Ducharme and once and for all force the truth from
her. If she's in any way involved with Elmore's murderous
deeds, she shall
pay with her life!"
TO CHAPTER 15!
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