The small group made their way down a dark and narrow staircase inside the secret passage. Gaspard looked back once or twice but Nick and Ines both urged him forward.
“Will Ryan be okay?” Gaspard said.
“He’s a man who knows how to take care of himself,” Ines said. “We’d only be in his way if we stayed behind.”
Once they reached the bottom, Nick slowly opened the door a crack. They’d come out at the rear of the chateau but off to one side.
“The woods is our best bet,” Ines said. “We can go in there and try to stay out of sight while heading straight for my car.”
They were ready to head out when Nick heard something and pushed the others back inside the passage. He opened the door a crack and peered through the narrow opening. One of Ryan’s guests in a dog mask was running across the patio followed by another man on horseback with a large knife in his hands. Without saying a word Nick moved Ines in front of him and positioned her so she could see what was happening outside.
“Gypsy assassins,” Ines said. “We need to be careful, Nick. Ryan’s leaving the business and his intentions were to clean house and make sure no one left here alive. The gypsies work for him but they’re also blood relations. His trustworthy cleaning crew.”
“What’s going on?” Gaspard said.
“If you want to get out of here alive keep your mouth shut and do as I say,” Nick said as he watched the gypsy slice the guest’s neck and leave him dead on the ground. Once the gypsy was gone Nick saw their chance to head toward the wooded area. “Now. Let’s go, and everyone stay close. Ines you know this area—you lead.”
Ines ran toward the wooded area followed by Nick and Gaspard. She moved quickly and kept them hidden by trees or bushes. No one knew about the three of them, except for Ryan, so they weren’t being looked for which made things easier for them.
Back at the house Ryan had cleaned the fake blood off his leg and was waiting by the bodies of Leonard and Brian. A tall gypsy man with wavy black hair walked into the room.
“Okay, cousin, I’m here to help with the body,” the gypsy said.
“Remember the plan,” Ryan said. “The setup has to go exactly like I said. No mistakes.”
Nick saw movement ahead of them in the wood and pulled both Ines and Gaspard down to the ground in a quick move. They crawled toward a dense grouping of bushes and made their way under and between them.
Gaspard felt a strong hand over his mouth. It was Nick who’d also pinned him down so he couldn’t move. Ines was beside them. Gaspard soon understood why Nick’s hand was over his mouth. He might have involuntarily gasped at the scene in front of them.
Several feet away, within their sight, one of the pig masked waiters was being stripped naked by two men in dog masks. One of the dog masked men shoved the waiter down on all fours and forced his erect cock into the waiter’s mouth. The other assailant spread the man’s ass cheeks with his hands and brutally raped him.
As the waiter screamed, Gaspard struggled under Nick. He wanted to help the poor waiter. Nick thought highly of the man underneath him wanting to help but knew it was impossible. They needed to stay hidden to remain safe from… the sound of gunfire shook Nick for a moment.
The scene in front of them had changed. Now the two men in dog masks were victims, lying bloody on the ground. The waiter stood up shaking as two gypsy men came into view.
“Thank you,” the waiter said. “Thank you so m… ” He didn’t get the last word out before one of the men shot him in the head.
The gypsies left the area and Nick turned to Ines. “I don’t know how but that dog masked guy had a gun on him. Grab it Ines while I watch our boy here.”
Ines did as she was told and went back to Nick and Gaspard who were both standing and ready to move. With Ines leading the way, the three of them moved between thick brush following a little stream until they came to a small bridge. It was the same one Nick and Ines had crossed earlier. They could hear the noise of gunfire and screaming and moved to hide under the bridge.
Once they were under the bridge Gaspard tried to block out the noise with his hands, he was living a nightmare. “We should’ve done something to help those men,” he said.
“Which ones?” Nick said.
“I don’t understand,” Gaspard said.
“There are clearly three different groups of men fighting here,” Nick said. “Which ones if any are the good guys? Who would you help?”
“Clearly the waiters are innocents in all of this,” Gaspard said.
“Maybe, maybe not,” Nick said. “It doesn’t matter. There are too many bad guys here for us to fight.”
“That’s true, friends,” a gypsy said walking in from the side of the bridge to where they stood. He had a large knife in his hand.
Ines looked at Nick and nodded her head. Nick took the gypsy man out with one shot from the dog masked man’s gun.
“You killed him,” Gaspard said, panicked.
Ines walked to him and put her hand over his mouth. She spoke something to him in French which Nick didn’t understand. When she removed her hand, Gaspard was calm.
“No one must ever mention this man’s death,” Ines said. “If it’s ever traced back to us there will be a blood vendetta against not just we three, but our entire families. Wipe your fingerprints off the gun and leave it next to him Nick. Let them think the Asians are behind it.”
Nick shook his head in agreement, the three left the bridge and made it uneventfully to Ines’s car. Ines got in the backseat with Gaspard and Nick drove. It wasn’t long before the car was surrounded by three gypsies on horseback.
“Do what you need to, so that we can get out of here, Nick,” Ines said. “Make sure to spill none of their blood.
Nick reversed the car then pulled it forward then swerved to one side stepping hard on the gas pedal. The horses raced after him but he drove in a zig-zag pattern to elude them. He also spooked some of the horses by blowing the car horn. With Ines’s help Nick was soon back on the main road heading toward Paris.
They ended up at Ines’s Paris apartment where there was a serious looking man waiting for them in her living room. The side wall of the living room was all windows, which let the illumination from street lamps shine in. Nick looked around impressed with the classic decor of the room and the large iron chandelier. He turned his attention to the elegantly attired older gentleman sitting in a high back brown leather chair. Intense brown eyes looked toward him coming from the man who was wearing a dark suit and blue tie. Standing up, the man held his hand out for Nick and Gaspard to shake.
“Thank you, gentlemen,” the man said. “I’m assuming I have the two of you to thank for Ines making it safely back home. Please rest and clean up. I’m sure Ines can find you some clean clothes, the ones you’re wearing look too much of a mess to save. Ines and I will catch up.”
Ines smiled as she walked up to the man and gave him a hug and kiss. “I must look a mess, my love. But let me see to these two gentlemen first, then we can talk.” She took Nick and Gaspard’s arms and led them to a door at the far end of the room which opened onto a wide hall. They walked to the second door on the left which Ines opened and led the two men into a medium sized bedroom with a large window. She opened a door inside and to the right. “There’s a shower and toilet inside as well as two robes you can use. Clean up, rest and we’ll speak later.” She winked at them and left the room, closing the door behind her.
Gaspard looked at Nick then burst into tears. His nerves were at their extreme limit. Nick walked to him and held him.
“It’s okay now, Gaspard. C’mon we ‘d better take a shower. A nice warm shower will help, trust me.” He stepped away from Gaspard and began stripping his clothes, leaving them on the floor. When he was naked he looked over to the bed where Gaspard was sitting. “You’re going to get the comforter dirty.”
Gaspard looked up at him sheepishly. “You’re worried about a bed comforter?”
Nick gave Gaspard his hand and helped him up then he slipped the Greek god costume off him leaving him only in a jockstrap which he also removed before leading him to the bathroom. Gaspard was like a zombie, only a handsome one. It had been a rough day, but Nick wasn’t blind. The Frenchman had a nicely built body, it was toned and sculpted. The guy worked out and it showed. He pushed the shower curtain aside and helped Gaspard in then shut the curtains behind the two of them and put the water on.
The warm water felt good on their tense bodies. Nick soaped up the wash cloth and began washing not only himself but Gaspard as well. Another time he would really be enjoying all of this especially with such a handsome companion. After relaxing under the soothing water a bit longer they got out, toweled themselves dry, and put on the two plush white terry cloth robes which were hanging on hooks behind the bathroom door.
Once they were back in the bedroom Gaspard faced Nick. “What now?”
“Now, we rest,” Nick said. “Rest while we can.” He pushed back the comforter and sheets that were on the small bed, removed his robe and got into bed nude while waving for Gaspard to join him. “No worries, we need to rest.”
Gaspard removed his robe and got into bed naked beside Nick pulling up the comforter over both of them. He turned to his side shivering and jumped a bit when he felt Nick’s strong arm around him. They were naked and spooning but it was more comforting than sexual.
“You did well, Gaspard, rest,” Nick said. “Everything will be fine. Trust me.”
* * * *
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