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Chapter Three

"Claude", I asked, "whatever possessed you to do such a thing?" I was, of course, referring to the discharge of his lieutenant and the resultant cruel prank. "I told you what could possibly happen and sure enough...."
I was more than a little annoyed. Having to interrupt a pleasant evening just to soothe his bruised ego, I must have lost my head. "Had is ever occurred to you that this soldier would have it in for you? That there are folks out there who would be bold enough to pull such a prank, and NOT get caught?"
Claude Frollo, now fully dressed, adjusted the familiar triangular hat with its long, red silk veil. Then he wheeled around and glared at me.
"Honestly, Danisha! Spare me the lecture!", as he raised his hands in exasperation. "I indulge in a little recreation -- `Do something to relieve the stress', as you are always telling me. How was I to know what was about to transpire? Oh really, darling, this 'sister-in-a-snit' routine. While at times I find it somewhat amusing, right now it is not very becoming! How I perform my duties and indulge my free time is none of your concern!"
I felt tears well-up in my eyes. He had never before spoken to me so harshly. Claude sensed my reaction, softened his tone and took me in his arms. "Forgive me, Nisha", he whispered sweetly in my ear, "I shouldn't have berated you like that. It's just that I was so angry, so... oh my sweet love..." He kissed me deeply and tenderly. "You always come through for me. And what do I do? Rail away at you when I should be showing my gratitude."
I gave him my 'what-are-you-gonna-do-about-it' look and asked, with hands on hips, "And just HOW grateful are you, Claude Frollo?"
A broad, seductive smile spread across his handsome face. In a playful voice and with a cute little wiggle of the hips he replied, "Oh...I can think of...a few things."
Oh why, I thought, does he have to be so damned fine? He cut quite a figure in his black, purple-trimmed velvet tunic, and pants that fitted oh-so-tight. The sweeping cape. That hat! Those boots! I swear I wanted to...well...right then and there. Hold on, hot stuff, I thought as I surveyed the dark little alley with trash piled here and there, this is hardly the place.
"Back to the Palace?"
Claude pondered a bit. "No, my dear. They are most likely swarming all over the place by now." He eyed the Camry then gave me a sly glance.
"Great minds think alike, don't they, baby?", I said as I opened the door on the passenger side. Claude settled himself in soft velour seats as I walked around to the other side. Boy, I thought, this evening's not a total washout after all. Claude buckled his safety belt as I began to switch on the ignition. He looked at me with questioning eyes, "Well? Have we forgotten something?"
I strapped on my safety belt; I forget how much Claude cares about my well-being.
"Are you sure this will work a second time?", he asked.
"It got me here, didn't it?", came the reply. Claude Frollo smiled. "Drive on then."
Guiding the little Camry down the narrow streets, we came to the immense square near the Palace of Justice. Just as Claude predicted, a horde of young women crowded around the Palace's main entrance. "Turn off the lights", Claude whispered.
I doused the lights. "Now what?", I asked. "Drive toward Notre Dame," he directed, "they wouldn't dream of going there. At least I hope not!"
I complied and drove toward the cathedral. It was amazing how quickly we reached the Place de Notre-Dame, and without being detected. "Do you have enough room to do this?", Claude asked.
"We'll find out." The Camry was in position. "Brace yourself", as my foot pressed down hard on the accelerator. Claude's eyes were wide with alarm, and, just before I reached under the dash and depressed the violet button, he saw Quasimodo at the front entrance of Notre Dame.
"Don't worry, Master!", Quasi called out, "I won't tell a soul!"
"What a sweet little guy", I remarked just before a bright, white light engulfed us. Claude, shielding his eyes, replied, "I can always count on him." He closed his eyes tightly as we sped through time and space. Then darkness again.

* * * * *

"You can open your eyes now, honey", I said as I guided the car through downtown streets. Claude Frollo slowly opened his eyes. With a sigh of relief, he turned to me and said, "I never thought a 20th century American city would be such a welcomed sight. Besides, I needed to get out from under all that.....isn't that the American Legion Mall? Lovely grounds...very green and well-laid out." I knew he was trying to make small talk, but I didn't mind. He had just come through a highly embarassing and nerve-wracking ordeal and he really needed a little release.
"Yes, that's it", I replied, watching the way he toyed with the radio. "Here, Claude", as I fumbled around in the console between the seats. "Pop this in the CD player."
Claude Frollo burst into smiles and laughter. "Ray Charles'--'Night Time is the Right Time'! I remember when you sang this to me the first night we...." Still chuckling, Claude loaded the silvery disc into the player, hit the play button, and soon we were singing along with Ray as we cruised up Meridian Street towards the northside neighborhood where I lived.

On to Part Four...

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