Driven to the Edge: Chapter Ten
By Coral Bale, known on the Forum as Reefgirl
Daniel came running over when he heard me gasp.
“What’s going on?” he demanded.
“I’ve just seen Johnny Markham and Pietro Fellini have a heated argument,” I replied and described what I had seen.
“When we get to Nice, I’m going to have to check into Pietro,” Daniel insisted. “I know you believe he’s innocent, and I don’t think he’s involved either, but I need to be sure he’s got no ties to the Mafia or anything else. He could be a pawn, being pressured into something. You did say The Devil card was being chained to something you can easily break away from.”
I nodded, I was very uneasy about what I had seen.
The ferry journey and the train ride to Gard du Nord passed without any more incidents; we took a taxi from Gard du Nord to Gard du Lyon to catch the Blue Train to Nice. After Nell and I had unpacked, our overnight bags in our cabin and were now on our way to the dining car for dinner. Daniel was eating in third class as he’d decided to start his persona as my chauffeur, seeing as there was a good chance that Pietro and Johnny were on this train. It was lucky he did, as in the dining car Pietro, Jasmine and her mother were sitting at a table, the beckoned us to sit at the next table. Pietro beamed at me.“You came!” he exclaimed.
“Yes, I’m looking forward to seeing how a motor racing team works and I’m very much looking forward to meeting your friend,” I replied.
“I have told Enzo about you too, he is looking forward to telling you all about his plans – he wants to dominate the world of motor racing!”
“I hope he does, we could be a very powerful team indeed,” I replied.
Lady Butler-Monkton sniffed disapprovingly. “It’s not appropriate for a young, single woman to be involved in business AND be travelling alone to speculate on business. Your father should be dealing with these things, not you,” she said.
“It’s my money Lady Butler-Monkton, I’ve had control over it since I turned twenty one. And I’m not alone, Nell is with me and Father has secured the services of a chauffeur so I will have protection while I’m here.”
Lady Butler-Monkton looked more relieved on hearing this news. She looked fondly at Jasmine and Pietro. “While I don’t approve of this motor racing sport, Pietro is a good catch, from one of the best Italian families with close ties to the di Montezemolo of Piedmont, the winemakers.” Jasmine and Pietro both squirmed in their seats at this point. Their dinner arrived and the waiter arrived to take our order at the same time. I had consomme to start with, followed by fillet steak with dauphinoise potatoes and green beans and profiteroles to finish, followed by a cheese board.
During the meal, Nell said, “I think we can safely assume Pietro has no connection with anything nefarious. Lady Butler-Monkton has a spy network bigger than yours and Daniel’s – she’d never let anyone with even just a police warning anywhere near Jasmine, or Violet.”
I nodded. “True, she has kept her daughters tied by the apron strings. I get the impression that Pietro could be head of this Mafia organization and Jasmine wouldn’t care, she’d still go after him, whether her mother liked it or not. She’s always gotten what she wanted, whatever the cost.”
“Remember at school, Nell said, “how she wanted to be House Captain, so she organized a midnight feast for the other candidates, then snitched on them to Matron so they got caught and excluded from the vote?” I nodded. Yes, there was a long list of Jasmine taking matters into her own hands to get what she wanted. We carried on with our dinner, swapping general gossip about our set, just in case anyone might be listening.
We left the dining car to meet with Daniel in the corridor and told him of our thoughts on Pietro.
“The di Montezemolo’s, I don’t know about them, I’ll check when we get to Nice, but if you think Lady Monkton has done the work for us …” Daniel said.
“Oh she’ll have done all the checking alright,” Nell replied. “She wouldn’t let anyone nefarious within one hundred miles of her precious girls, unless of course, he were royalty.” I giggled. Daniel glanced at me sideways.
“A couple of years ago, she tried to get Jasmine to catch Prince George’s eye – she had this insane idea of Jasmine being a Princess!” I said.
Daniel frowned.“I’d heard rumours that he preferred men, anyway. Aren’t royalty supposed to marry other royalty?” he asked.
“Not exclusively,” Nell said. “He likes both men and women, the more scandalous the better and yes, there is a poor European Princess that will have to put up with George one day, but he’s the youngest son so he’s not a priority, getting his brother David married off is.”
“I’ll still get in touch with my contacts in Italy, but it sounds like there’s nothing to worry about” Daniel said.
We jumped as we suddenly heard the sound of a gunshot and screaming.