Die for Her
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I stay alongside Kate and Georgia until they park at the base of Montmartre and follow Arthur up the stairs. I’ve lost track of Violette by now, but decide to alert Vincent to the fact that his girlfriend’s skipping school and playing secret agent with her sister.
Thought you might want to know that you’re girlfriend’s gone AWOL and is following Arthur and Violette up to Montmartre, I say when I find him in the courtyard of La Maison.
Vincent claps a hand to his forehead and moans, “Do. Not. Tell. Me. That.”
What’s up? I ask.
“Kate’s got it in her mind that Arthur’s the information leak, and knowing her, she’s set out to prove her theory. I can’t believe this.” He roars off angrily on one of the motorcycles.
As soon as he’s gone, Ambrose pulls up in the 4x4. When I inform him of the situation he bursts out laughing. “Man, Vin must be angry! You think I ought to go lend a hand? Help him cart the truants back to school?”
Only if you want to get involved in a domestic dispute, I respond. We’ll probably be able to hear them yelling it out from here.
I accompany him to the kitchen, where he begins digging into a monster-sized breakfast and updates me on the bardia he questioned in the Paris suburbs. He isn’t even halfway done with his meal when his phone rings. “Katie-Lou? You still at Montmartre?” he says before she has time to speak. “Has Vin gotten there yet?”
I move to the space next to Ambrose’s head so I can listen, and hear Kate speaking frantically. “Ambrose, Vincent’s gone. Violette and a numa killed him and took his body. They’ve got him, Ambrose!”
For a second I don’t understand what she’s talking about. And then suddenly I do, and I feel sick with horror. Violette betrayed us. She is the leak. The one working with the numa. And I think of how much she knows and how much power she actually holds; I am awash with panic.
Ambrose orders Kate to get back to La Maison with Arthur and her sister. He hangs up and says, “Jules. You can get there fastest—you’ve gotta go. Violette’s in a white delivery van with Vincent’s body. Left the base of Sacré-Coeur two minutes ago. If you can find them, tail them until you see where they’re heading. I’ll mobilize everyone, and we’ll be ready to go as soon as you return to us.
I fly faster than I ever have before, spurred on by my panic. I arrive at Montmartre in barely three minutes, but I’m already too late. The delivery van is nowhere to be seen. I frantically search the neighborhood for any sign of them, but find nothing. Not even a lead. And finally, I have to give up and head home to give them the news.
I am in a state of disbelief and shock. How could this have happened? Why would Violette have killed Vincent? And her acting with the help of numa? It’s all too hard to believe.
At La Maison, JB splits the Paris kindred into search parties, dispatching us to comb the streets for signs of Violette—or any numa, for that matter.
Gaspard and I head south, and return hours later with devastating news. A numa we found in Denfert confessed he had been told that Violette took Vincent’s body out of the city, and was headed south. She could be anywhere by now.
After giving our report to JB, I go to find Kate. I must make sure she’s with someone who can care for her. I have to encourage her. To tell her there’s still hope, while knowing that that hope is very slight. I feel devastated. I can’t imagine how she is handling it.
I find her in the courtyard, sitting on the angel fountain talking to Ambrose. She’s been crying, but hasn’t given up hope. I want to take her in my arms. To console her and to be consoled by her.
“What do you think she’ll do?” she asks Ambrose.
“Katie-Lou, regarding Violette, I don’t know what to think anymore.”
“If she burns his body today . . .” Kate prods.
“He’ll be gone,” Ambrose responds truthfully.
The mournful look on her face touches me to the core. She loves Vincent body and soul. He is her true love. She will never feel for me what she does for him. But I will never stop loving her. And I have to learn to live with that.
Kiss Kates for me, I ask Ambrose. Tell her to have courage; we’ll find Vince.
He puts his massive arm around her, pulls her toward him, and plants a firm kiss on her cheek. “That’s from Jules. He says to tell you, ‘Courage, Kates. We’ll find your man.’”
I leave. I can’t bear seeing the pain in her eyes and not being able to touch her. To console her. I join JB, Gaspard, and Arthur in the library, where they are strategizing—coming up with a plan to fit every eventuality.
We wait all evening, but there is no word. Violette hasn’t attempted to contact us. Spirits are beginning to fall when, just after midnight, it happens.
I’m coming down the stairs with Gaspard and Arthur when Kate bursts through the front door. Her eyes are wild, and she’s panting like she’s been running miles.
She tells us that Vincent just came to her volant to say good-bye. He told her his body was in Violette’s Loire Valley castle being prepared for the fire. Then he was cut off midsentence as his body was immolated.
Kate’s face is a study of shock. Her true love’s body has been destroyed, and we don’t know what’s happened to his spirit. And yet, she is still strong. Most would have crumbled in the face of such news, but she ran all the way back to us. To Vincent’s kindred. I am in awe of her bravery.
As Gaspard leads Kate to the meeting room, I know what my old friend would want. The years of finishing each other’s sentences—the decades of speechless communication—allow his voice to come through as loudly as if he were here speaking it into my ear.
Kate is my responsibility now. I must guard her with my life.