There is an open invitation to join Geroux at dinner that I am yet to formally RSVP to. It was left with one of the many trays of food I had found outside my room.
I have somewhat regained my wits and I might be rather hasty in drinking one of Geroux's concoctions. There are some questions to which Geroux still owes me an answer. What happened between him and his wife? Who was that man screaming all those nights ago? What does Geroux plan on doing with me?
He was reticent to engage with me when I asked these questions before and I was concerned he may turn angry or even violent. But I do not fear that anymore. I fear nothing at present. When one has lost everything - there is nothing to fear.
* * *
Geroux was very pleased to have my company at dinner. A pleasure that may have been dampened by my preferred topic of conversation.
"How have you been?" he asked, gently.
"I'm still processing everything and I would like to not talk about it," I said, politely, but firmly.
"What would you like to talk about, then?" asked Geroux.
"I would like to talk about your wife. Or am I to refer to her as your estranged wife? What happened?" I just came out with it.
"Belle..." he began, hesitant to open up.
"Please take my mind off things," I said. "Please know that you can trust me."
I really meant it.
Geroux let out a heavy sigh, looking down at his lap.
"Deceased wife," he began. "I thought I knew everything, thought I had life worked out. I did not realise just how naive I was until I met her. She was intoxicating in every way. It felt as though every aspect of my life was enriched by her presence. I was a better man for it, initially, everyone could see the difference."
He suddenly went so quiet I could hear my own breathing. I felt as though I should not move and waited for him to continue.
"Then she really changed me. Not in a good way. Until then, I could never work out why she picked me. Out of any man, she chose to be with me. She told me her deepest, darkest secrets and suddenly it all became clear. She wanted to be bound to me in a way I did not understand. She wanted me to love her in a way I did not know. I gave her all of me, but it was not enough. I tried everything I could to help her, but she said there was no way to help her and that I did not understand."
"When she realised I could not give her what she wanted she... allowed herself to perish."
I was in complete shock.
"Oh Geroux, I'm so sorry," I said, filled with empathy. "She... she took her own life?"
"In a manner of speaking," Geroux replied, quietly.
"What was her name?" I asked, realising Geroux had omitted that detail during his story.
"Josette," he said, looking into the fire.
"Lovely name," I commented, idly.
"You know what the strangest thing is?" asked Geroux. "I think I'm beginning to understand what she was talking about."
Part of me felt as though it was inappropriate to ask what there was to understand, but I was curious about his revelation.
"How did you discover this new found understanding?" I queried.
"Because of you, Belle."
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The Secret Diary of Belle (Grimmoire Series)Mystery / Thriller
This book was found in an old, abandoned mansion in France. It appears to be a diary kept by one Miss Belle Desrosiers, a girl reported missing some time ago. ------ Think you know Beauty and the Beast? Think again... "The Secret Diary of Belle" is...