• Vol. 04
  • Chapter 07


With her perfect figure, elegant clothes and careful maquillage, Celeste was beautiful. She graced the salon of Madame Douvier’s maison de passe by her mere presence, seated beside the window gazing at the world outside, but seldom uttering a word.

Henri loved her but could not afford her – she was reserved for the wealthier clientele – but he refused to settle for another girl. He would sit, wine-glass in hand, talking to her, and over time he began to see beyond her painted face to the soul that was fading in this place. Each week he visited, talked and left, until he had sold, saved and borrowed enough to buy Celeste’s freedom.

When she joined him for dinner that first night she found an envelope on her plate.
“What is this?” she asked.
“The key to your bedroom,” Henri said. “There is only one.”
Celeste gazed at Henri, at the candlelight flickering over his homely but earnest face, and decided.
“I will not be needing it,” she said, and placed her hand gently on his.