Chapter 3- The Flight
The Queen smelt the whiff of Neroli and promised to remember for love is most recalled from the scent of shared secret more than anything else. He gave her a bottle of neroli which she brought with her back to her room. Each night she would place a dash of it on her delicate white wrists and visit Philtre in his chambers where they would make love and make plans to escape. He would bribe another soldier to take them out of the palace and from there they were to travel on foot towards the nearest town where they were to buy camels for their journey far, far away from the King. Philtre kissed his beloved on the forehead and told her to meet him tonight again for the flight from the palace.
The Queen dressed simply and brought nothing but the bottle of neroli in her pocket. She was about to leave when the odalisque came to ask her where she was going. In haste, she made the mistake of telling her consort that she was to leave the palace with Philtre.
The odalisque, who knew she was next in succession as the Queen, smiled in pretense of making the other feel as though everything would be alright. After the Queen left, she summoned presence with the King and whispered to him the Queen’s decision to leave.
All sorts of emotions surged through the King who had no idea but for an instant realized who he had just lost. The loss of the Queen made him jealous and embarrassed if it were to be known she had left him for an upstart, an alchemist no less.
Immediately, he summoned his soldiers and best, fastest horses to catch up on the lovers who were now, he surmised, in the desert, on foot.
They found the tracks of the Queena and the alchemist for they had brought dogs to follow the scent of the Queen’s dress. There were two pairs of footprints. They seemed labored and in haste. In truth, she told Philtre that she told the odalisque that she left with him and this made Philtre acutely aware of the tenuous situation they were possibly in because he, of all people, knew the succession of the women of the harem. These women talked when with him for they flirted with him and talked beyond their drunkenness and the opium they inhaled which loosened their tongues and made them feel sensuous. He listened but never fell for any of them. He never realized that this would finally be important to know in the final moments of their life.
They hastened their walk. He tried to lift her on his back and he had to tell her that the King is tailing them by now. The Queen agreed to saddle on his back. Finally, weary of awareness of their fateful end, he brought her down and looked deep into her eyes which held the stars and moon above. He kissed her forehead and pulled out the bottle of Neroli. They were about to drink the Neroli scent for its toxicity which would end them and save them the fate of being killed tortuously by the King when a strong gust of wind blew and turned them to dust.
The King followed their trail and as soon as the soldiers found out that the footprints had disappeared, he was informed and he slapped the soldier for how could the footprints disappear unless there was a powerful sandstorm and there was not.
The lovers simply disappeared.
The King had the nearby towns ransacked and searched but the lovers were simply gone.
Chapter 4- In Another Lifetime Lucien scraped his palm over the rough wall of the University dark corridor lit by sconces of electric light. He was walking through a dark passage and at the end was light. And a rowdy classroom of high school students who quieted as soon as he stood before them with a pile of books he dropped on the table before them. He adjusted the glasses on top of his nose and gazed at the students suddenly not knowing what to do. He was about to write some equations on the whiteboard when his gaze wandered towards the window where an orange tree stood with its white flowers and stark orange fruits were in full bloom. The scent of the orange tree wafted inwards to the classroom and he felt weak all of a sudden. He wrote the equation on the whiteboard and told his students to research and solve the problem. They were welcome to stay in the classroom with their laptops or go home and do it there. He sat down and played with his pen wh
Chapter 5- Meeting Each Other Again Lucien decided to attend after all. The atelier was situated in downtown and looked like a rundown church with old beams running up the ceiling made of old planks of wood. The whole atelier smelled of ageing wood and fresh paint. There were good pieces of modern art upon the walls. It was a bit dim and yet the lights were placed to bring good angles of view for the art. In the middle of it all was the perfume basked in warm, limpid light and he could see that it was expensively encased in shapely flasks like those used by alchemists. He was attracted to the design of the bottle because it reminded him of something he could not put a finger to. He knew of the alchemists. They were the original chemists of old. They had been thrown out in Roman times and were salvaged by Arabs for they must have still given something important to the Arab kingdoms. There was a time he
Magdalo was given to rages. He would accuse Stella of looking at other men and being jealous. But he himself was a womanizer who wounded Stella by having courting other women despite promising her a wedding band wound about her finger, soon. It was always soon and she believed him.They met when she was applying to have her perfume branded by their company. He did not like the perfume so much, and not as much as he liked Stella so badly he hired her immediately. Stella, out of sheer gratitude and a skewered notion that he was kind, became attracted to him, blindly like a fool. She wanted to please him all the time. It wasn’t because Magdalo owned the company or that he was rich and owned other fashion merchandise and businesses. It was, just gratitude that he took a notice to her perfume and ofcourse, to her.Magdalo belonged to an old Spanish family who were bootleggers when they arrived in America. They were a fiery, tempestuous family who stuck together and fo
Magdalo began to sleep with eyes closed though he was awake within.He pushed the arm of a new model about his waist. She willingly went with him to his penthouse above the building beside the Hudson River.Finally, he decided he couldn’t sleep and stood up naked to watch the stars among the dark skies over the river and placed his hand on the glass as though he were entrapped by it.He was told by someone from the perfumery that someone had been visiting Stella in the warehouse where she worked. Ofcourse she was free to date again. But she never did, until now which made this man, special, he decided.He wondered who he was and stepped back to drink the remaining rum in his glass, filling it some more, dunking it with a gulp that filled his throat with a sullen heat.“Hey babe, come back to bed.” The girl’s voice resounded from the bed.He ignored her and took a drive down the city streets at full speed.
Stella wakes up beside Lucien. He is still asleep and so she goes to his kitchen and scrounges for some breakfast. She finds a box of ready-to-cook pancakes and some maple syrup in the fridge. She flips the pancakes, pours the maple syrup on top of it, and adds a few leaves of basil. She adds some instant coffee to go with it and serves it to him on a tray she found near the sink.Lucien was awake when she came over with her lovely dish of pancake. Lucien put on a shirt suddenly feeling shy before her. She herself is wearing the previous day’s blouse open on top and the bottom. She becomes self-conscious herself after realizing that he was shy. As it is, she was younger than he was. But it didn’t seem to matter yesterday, now she was irritated that he was.Lucien sensing this, wore his glasses and watches her. Stella laid the tray on the bed, hastily buttoned her blouse and put on her jeans, and grappled her handbag.Lucien rushed to her and she turn