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Paul came back half an hour later. He wore the slightly sheepish expression of a man who expects to be scolded, and he smelled of beer.

I had to buy a drink, he said apologetically. It would have looked odd if Id just stayed staring at them.

By then I was half soaked and irritable. Well? I demanded. Whats your big discovery?

Paul shrugged. Maybe nothing, he said reflectively. Id ratherahwait till Ive checked a few things before getting your hopes up.

I looked him in the eye. Paul D'esir'e Hourias, I declared. Ive waited for you in the rain for ages. Ive stood in the stink of this caf'e watching for Dessanges, because you thought we might learn something. I havent complained once- He gave me a satirical look at this point, which I ignored. That makes me practically a saint, I said sternly. But if you dare to try to keep me in the dark-if you so much as think about it-

Paul made a lazy gesture of defeat. How did you know my middle name was D'esir'e? he asked.

I know everything, I said, without smiling.

| Five Quarters of the Orange | c