The Bourne Identity / Page 44

Page 44



'Oh, my word!' exclaimed the confused client of the Valois Bank. 'I just noticed. It's for tomorrow, not today! I'm so sorry.'

She turned and walked rapidly back to the gate. She had seen what she wanted to see, the last fragment of evidence. A single button was lighted on d'Amacourt's telephone; he had bypassed his secretary and was making an outside call. The account belonging to Jason Bourne had specific, confidential instructions attached to it which were not to be revealed to the account holder.

Bourne looked at his watch in the shade of the canopy; it was eleven minutes to three. Marie would be back by the telephone at the front of the bank, a pair of eyes inside. The next few minutes would give them the answer; perhaps she already knew it.

He edged his way to the left side of the shop window, keeping the bank's entrance in view. A clerk inside smiled at him, reminding him that all attention should be avoided. He pulled out a packet of cigarettes, lit one and looked at his watch again. Eight minutes to three.

And then he saw them. Him. Three well-dressed men walking rapidly up rue Madeleine, talking to one another, their eyes, however, directed straight ahead. They passed the slower pedestrians in front of them, excusing themselves with a courtesy that was not entirely Parisian. Jason concentrated on the man in the middle. It was him. A man named Johann!

Signal Johann to go inside. We'll come back for them. A tall gaunt man wearing gold-rimmed spectacles had said the words in the Steppdeckstrasse. Johann. They had sent him here from Zurich; he had seen Jason Bourne. And that told him something: There were no photographs.

The three men reached the entrance. Johann and the man on his right went inside; the third man stayed by the door. Bourne started back to the telephone box; he would wait four minutes and place his last call to Antoine d'Amacourt.

He dropped his cigarette outside the box, crushed it under his foot, and opened the door.

'Regarded' A voice came from behind.

Jason spun around, holding his breath. A nondescript man with a stubble of a beard pointed at the box. 'Pardon?'

'Le telephone. II n'opere pas. La corde est en noeud.'

'Oh? Merci. Maintenant, fessayerais. Merci bien.'

The man shrugged and left Bourne stepped inside; the four minutes were up. He took the coins from his pocket - enough for two calls - and dialled the first.

'La Banque de Valois. Bonjaur.'

Ten seconds later d'Amacourt was on the phone, his voice strained. 'It is you, Monsieur Bourne? I thought you to say you were on your way to my office.'

'A change of plans, I'm afraid. I'll have to call you tomorrow.' Suddenly, through the glass panel of the booth, Jason saw a car swing into a space across the street in front of the bank. The third man who was standing by the entrance nodded to the driver.

'... I can do?' d'Amacourt had asked a question.

'I beg your pardon?'

'I asked if there was anything I can do. I have your account; everything is in readiness for you here."

I'm sure it is, Bourne thought; the ploy was worth a try. 'Look, I have to get over to London this afternoon. I'm taking one of the shuttle flights, but I'll be back tomorrow. Keep everything with you, all right?"

To London, Monsieur?'

'I'll call you tomorrow. I have to find a cab to Orly.' He hung up and watched the entrance of the bank. In less than half a minute, Johann and his companion came running out; they spoke to the third man, then all three climbed into the waiting car.

The killers' escape car was still in the hunt, on its way now to Orly Airport. Jason memorized the number on the licence plate, then dialled his second call. If the pay phone in the bank was not in use, Marie would pick it up before the ring had barely started. She did.

'Yes?'

'See anything?'

'A great deal. D'Amacourt's your man.'

12

They moved about the shop, going from counter to counter. Marie, however, remained near the wide front window keeping a perpetual eye on the entrance of the bank across rue Madeleine.

'I picked out two scarves for you,' said Bourne.

'You shouldn't have,' answered Marie. "The prices are far too high.'

'It's almost four o'clock. If he hasn't come out by now, he won't until the end of office hours.'

'Probably not. If he were going to meet someone, he would have done so by now. But we had to know.'

Take my word for it, his friends are at Orly, running from shuttle to shuttle. There's no way they can tell whether I'm on one or not, because they don't know what name I'm using.'

They'll depend on the man from Zurich to recognize you.'

'He's looking for a dark-haired man with a limp, not me. Come on, let's go into the bank. You can point out d'Amacourt.'

'We can't do that," said Marie, shaking her head. 'The cameras on the ceilings have wide-angle lenses. If they ran the tapes they could spot you.'

'A blond-haired man with glasses?'

'Or me. I was there; the receptionist or his secretary could identify me."

'You're saying it's a regular cabal in there. I doubt it'

They could think up any number of reasons to run the tapes.' Marie stopped; she clutched Jason's arm, her eyes on the bank beyond the window. 'There he is! The one in the overcoat with the black velvet collar, d'Amacourt.'

'Pulling at his sleeves?'

'Yes.'

'I've got him. I'll see you back at the hotel.'

'Be careful. Be very careful.'

'Pay for the scarves; they're at the counter at the back.'

Jason left the store, wincing in the sunlight beyond the canopy, looking for a break in the traffic so he could cross the street; there was none. D'Amacourt had turned right and was strolling casually; he was not a man in a rush to meet anyone. Instead, there was the air of a slightly squashed peacock about him.-

Bourne reached the corner and crossed with the light, falling behind the banker. D'Amacourt stopped at a news-stand to buy an evening paper. Jason held his place in front of a sporting goods shop, then followed as the banker continued down the block.

Ahead was a cafe, windows dark, entrance heavy wood, thick hardware on the door. It took no imagination to picture the inside; it was a drinking place for men, and for women brought with men other men would not discuss. It was as good a spot as any for a quiet discussion with Antoine d'Amacourt. Jason walked faster, falling in stride beside the banker. He spoke in the awkward, anglicized French he had used on the phone.

'Bonjour, monsieur. Je ... pense que vous ... etes Monsieur d'Amacourt. I'd say I was right, wouldn't you?'

The banker stopped. His cold eyes were frightened, remembering. The peacock shrivelled further into his tailored overcoat. 'Bourne?' he whispered.

'Your friends must be very confused by now. I expect they're racing all over Orly Airport, wondering, perhaps, if you gave them the wrong information. Perhaps on purpose.!

'What?' The frightened eyes bulged.

'Let's go inside here,' said Jason, taking d'Amacourt's arm, his grip firm. 'I think we should have a talk.'

'I know absolutely nothing! I merely followed the demands of the account. I am not involved!'


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