“Well hello Mr Pook, why don’t you come in?” said Pook. “That’s what you’re supposed to say, Marie.”
He walked into the room while Marie stood by the door, dumbfounded.
“It’s been such a long time and so much has happened, Mr Pook,” Pook continued. “Do tell me all your news.”
Pook looked at Marie and smiled.
“That would be the civilized thing to say Marie,” he said. “But you wouldn’t say that, would you? And now, indeed, nor can can you. That must come as a little bit of a surprise, I imagine. To learn that I have acquired a more… persuasive ability since last we met. You may close the door now.”
Marie absently pushed the door shut and stared aghast at the creature in front of her.
“Oh Marie, if only you’d seen things my way from the start. We could have ditched Clackprattle and that buffoon you’re married to. We could have fleeced Anglestone of that marvellous little stone. We could have danced around the world with the power of life and death in our hands. What a most wonderful adventure we could have had,” he said, then looked down.
“Instead, you mocked and insulted me, rejected me. But Marie, you see, I don’t mind all that. See where I am now, don’t you want to come with me? That’s better than being stuck in here reading all day,” he said, glancing at the book she had.
“Oh my,” Pook continued, “a diary. How utterly fascinating. What wonders are in there, I can barely imagine.”
He moved towards her and there was a knock at the door.
“Room service,” said a lady’s voice.
Pook look annoyed then saw the dishes on the table.
“Wrong room,” he said, ”you brought food already.”
“It’s, er, dessert,” said the voice. “It’s prophet-a-holes.”
Pook walked to the door and opened it a little.
“Now look…” he started but the door crashed in on him. A large woman barged into the room and punched Pook in the face. Behind her came a large dog that growled at Pook as he lay on the floor.
“Mon Dieu,” gasped Marie, “Miss Henderson and… Morag!”
“Silence!” said Pook sitting up and clutching his nose, blood seeping between his fingers. Everyone else in the room stood stock still.
“You see now, the importance of good manners,” he said. “My dear ladies, I’m afraid I have the upper hand now.
“Ahm afraid that I’m no lady,” said the dog with a deep Scottish brogue, “and if you don’t get your upper hand out of here now, you’ll be picking it out from between ma teeth.”
Pook smiled graciously.
“Touche,” he said. He looked at the frozen women.
“Let’s not say goodbye,” he said, “Let’s say au revoir.”
Pook left the room and both Miss Henderson and Marie unfroze.
“What a bleeding cheek,” said Miss Henderson. Marie collapsed and was caught by the maid, just as she burst into tears.
Miss Henderson looked at the untidy room, the dishevelled look of Marie and finally caught sight of the French cuisine on the table. She sighed heavily.
“We shall have to find you some proper food, Mrs Jennings,” she said.