Mes chères – it is so good to be back with you. I have missed you so and I do hope the feeling is somewhat returned. If you have a moment I will share with you the reason for my absence. Take a moment to fetch something cold to drink and find a comfortable spot in which to sit because this is going to be a whopper.

Where have I been, you ask (because if you didn’t, that would make this a very short story.) Well, I am glad you probably asked; however I can only offer a partial answer. Certainly I know where I have been but why I was there is still something of a mystery to me (yes, I understand that in my particular case “a mystery” is rather relative.)

It all started with that Entitled Alley Cat of mine – doesn’t it always? – when the little bitch went out for her neighborhood rounds one day several months ago. Clarice, upon returning from fetching a few necessities (who says castelvetrano olives are not a necessity?) practically battered down the Chateau’s door getting in and slammed it shut with such force, it knocked the sugar off my beignet. She claimed she had heard spirits wailing from Opie’s Playhouse across the way. Since Clarice has been known to jump out of her skin when that Entitled Alley Cat gets to hollering, I knew the ratty minx had found its way in – but not out – of the manor. Opie was away filming for months and for once, none of his reprobate friends were around to look after the place. Since my beignet had been rendered inedible, I took it upon myself to free the complaining fur ball; Mouffette accompanied me solely so he could bark authoritatively. I made my way to the west side of the house, the epicenter of the caterwauling, and looked in through the windows. I wasn’t too concerned about someone calling the authorities, people trying to get into Opie’s house is a fairly common occurrence. We once found an up-and-coming rock star’s back half stuck in an upstairs bathroom’s window, dangling like a pair of deflated leather wind socks. Opie told her she could stay there but forgotten to give her a key; she had been there for a day and a half and sustained herself on soap, the resourceful little pigeon. On another occasion, singing could be heard coming from the water heater closet; when Mr. Grayson from the neighboring estate opened it up, a famous artist who had thought he was in the guesthouse greeted him. Due to Opie often locking himself out, he has made a handful of extra keys and passed them out to the neighborhood but it is such a chore trying to locate who has which key; so you learn a few trick about breaking an entering to let out the occasional cat or bewildered one-night-stand after Opie has forgotten she was there.

Peering inside the parlor’s windows for the Entitled Alley Cat, I saw something that very much captured my attention – Romeo’s scarf. I recognized it immediately because Romeo is rarely without it and the patterning is quite distinct. Romeo claims the scarf was a gift from a dignitary with whom he shared a special alliance; a dignitary I assume was female and married. But why was it there on Opie’s ridiculous coffee table made from old motorcycle parts (honestly, what that boy calls art) entirely visible from my vantage point? I realize I met Romeo at one of Opie’s bacchanals but he hardly belonged there. He admits that although he knows Opie “from school days,” they rarely see each other. I sincerely doubted Romeo would be anywhere within a 300 mile radius of me and not make it a point to get to me so why – and when – had he been to Opie’s without my knowledge?

I allowed myself in and left with the Entitled Alley Cat and the scarf.

Three days later a note arrived in Romeo’s hand reading, “Can you bring it with you to Liège?” That was it – this from a man who took 3 paragraphs to describe a cup of tea. Adonis summoned me to Liège some time ago; this insertion of Romeo into the Liège caper intrigued me. Romeo introduced me to Adonis but they acted as mere acquaintances, casual friends, friendly competitors for my affections; Romeo who has always been so attainable, unlike the mighty Adonis who keeps himself a mystery for reasons that can’t all do with necessity. My question was – was Romeo involving himself or being put into play and if the latter, by whom?

I realized I could not ignore this any longer so after a pat to Mouffette’s perturbed, little head and the brooch Adonis had sent December last securely on my lapel, I started my journey to Liège, relatively certain I would return.

Stay tuned…

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