Jean-Luc lifts the razor to his cheek, glancing at his reflection in the bathroom mirror. For a split second, he doesn’t recognise himself. Pausing, razor held in mid-air, he stares into his eyes, wondering what it is. There’s something American about him now. It’s there in his healthy tan, his white teeth, and something else he can’t quite identify. Is it the confident way he holds his chin? Or his smile? Anyway, it pleases him. American is good.
With a towel wrapped around his waist, he wanders back into the bedroom. A black shape outside catches his eye. Through the window, he sees a Chrysler crawling up the street, coming to a halt behind the oak tree out front. Strange. Who would be calling at seven o’clock in the morning? He stares at the car, distracted, then the buttery smell of warm crêpes wafting up the stairs calls him to breakfast. Entering the kitchen, he kisses Charlotte on the cheek,
then ruffles his son’s hair in way of greeting. Glancing through the window, he sees the car is still there. He watches as a lanky man extracts himself from the driving seat, craning his neck, peering around – like a pelican, he thinks to himself. A stocky man emerges on the other side. They walk towards the house.
The doorbell cuts through the morning like a knife. Charlotte looks up.
‘I’ll go.’ Jean-Luc’s already on his way out. He slips the chain from the lock and opens the door…