"Yes, as a matter fact you have," Olivier said as Nicholas strolled into the dark room.
Lucie elbowed Olivier. "We were just talking."
"Even if you were fucking each other, I could not care less," Nicholas stated as he walked around the couch and sat, Lucie noted with a grimace, where Chretienne's body had been. "Only that I am meeting someone here, and I'd prefer if you weren't present when he arrives, if you catch my meaning."
So Nicholas had received Lucie's note. She smirked behind her hand.
"I don't believe you have a reservation for this room," Olivier challenged. "We were here first."
"And I," Nicholas said, leaning forward, "don't give a rat's ass."
"You would speak this way before a lady?"
"She is no lady."
The two boys glared at each other in the dimly lit room. It did not seem as if either one would give up his position, and that was just fine with Lucie. She needed Nicholas here. But she also needed to ask Olivier about what he had just said, before they had been so rudely interrupted. What did he mean, that he was of a similar mind? Did he also seek revenge?
And if so, could Lucie somehow communicate to Olivier what she meant to do to Nicholas?
"If I didn't know any better, I'd believe you were following me, Nicholas," Lucie said. Casually, but with great show, she stroked the blade of her stiletto.
"Who are you?" Nicholas demanded, squinting. He made out her face, and made a sound of disgust in his throat. "You flatter yourself."
"Do I? It seems you have always been concerned with my family's business where you had no business being."
"Whatever you're insinuating is far beneath my concern."
"What are you insinuating, Lucie?" Olivier asked. "I'd love to know."
Lucie gave a little smile. She began to walk around the back of the couch, slowly. "Nicholas Lamoignon was responsible for my father being thrown into prison," Lucie said.
A harsh laugh came from Nicholas. "That's preposterous. Your father was a traitor and he deserved what he got."
"Don't you speak of my father!" Lucie screamed, close enough to Nicholas that he flinched. "Why don't you tell my friend here about the letter you forged and had delivered to the Committee? The one that purported to be my father's plan to assassinate the leaders of the rebellion? Annette heard you bragging about it at the salon. You are a vile, lying murderer."
"Who is Annette?" Nicholas asked.
"Her sister, you fool," Olivier said, moving closer.
"You're insane, both of you. I did no such thing."
"But you were there, at my father's execution." Lucie moved quickly around the arm of the couch, then jabbed her stiletto at Nicholas. "I heard what you said."
"And what was that, little Lucienne?" Nicholas stood now, eyeing the blade and trying to turn so that neither Lucie nor Olivier was at his back. "That your father was a traitor? That he is from a long line of liars, and was never a noble to begin with? We all know how your family left Versailles suddenly when the old Sun King required papers. Your grandfather could not produce the papers, and your father could not produce papers. You are no noble."
The old accusation ripped open a poorly healed wound and stabbed her through it. Her blade hand shook.
"You know it's true," Nicholas said, confidence growing as he believed he had the upper hand. "That is why you are so shamed by it. Why you and your mother went into hiding."
YOU ARE READING
The Victim's BallHistorical Fiction
HER REIGN OF TERROR HAS JUST BEGUN... When Lucienne Reneault receives an invitation to a Victim's Ball in honor of those aristocrats who have been guillotined, she believes it must have been a mistake. Of two things she is certain, however: she wil...