Jealousy By D. I. Jolly

Based on the lost film jealousy 1929 directed by Jean de Limur.

“Oh, don’t be so dramatic, we can say it’s for something else, services rendered maybe?”

Rigaud smiled as he spoke, and Yvonne blushed.

“Well, when you say it like that… it actually sounds worse.”

They laughed softly but genuinely and she lay a hand on top of his.

“But seriously, thank you.’ She held up the cheque he’d just given her and said, ‘I can’t tell you how much I needed this.”

Rigaud bowed his head graciously.

“It was my absolute pleasure.”

On the other side of the door Pierre stood listening to the conversation of the man he’d come to see, the one he’d decided he would sell his pride to, in order to save his family. And the voice of his wife, Yvonne, who had promised him that she and Rigaud hadn’t spoken in years. Her former lover, the son of one of the wealthiest men in Paris. And yet here they were, laughing and sharing some dark exchange, some pleasures behind a locked door.

Pierre felt like he was hearing all of his fears coming true, everything he’d spent every night for months telling himself wasn’t real, now murmured through a door.

For a moment he stood still, trying to hold back the flood gates in his mind, trying to breathe and find the rational thoughts, the justifications, anything that would mean that his wife wasn’t having an affair. But he was so tired and so angry. He’d already been told twice that day that his auditions hadn’t gone well, and that meant that, again, for another month, he wouldn’t be able to provide for his wife. He wouldn’t be able to pursue his dream. He felt a wash of fear and guilt hit him as he thought the words. ‘I’m nothing but a useless failure, no wonder she’s having an affair, no one wants me.’

They filled his mind along with the sound of his wife and her boyfriend laughing happily and Pierre’s heart didn’t break, it exploded with the sound of him kicking open the door.

Yvonne and Rigaud both jumped from the sudden sound of the door slamming open and from Pierre’s voice that likewise burst into the room.

“What the fuck is going on here!”

It was clear by his frantic breathing, the shaking of his hands and the wild look in his eyes that Pierre had crossed well over the line of control, and into madness. Rigaud looked at Yvonne who had turned white with panic, and despite knowing that he should stay quiet, he also knew that saying nothing would be worse.

“Pierre, there is nothing going on here, Yvonne and I…”

“Shut up!”

Pierre screamed, then turned his attention towards his wife.

“A few hard months and you go running back? Is that it? As soon as it’s not fun to be with me anymore you just kick me aside?”

Yvonne wanted to look over at Rigaud for support but thought better of it and said.

“No, no that’s not what is happening. Rigaud invited me here to talk about my shop and some business we can do together. That is all.”

Pierre only vaguely heard the words over the throbbing in his head and as he looked at the two of them, he became aware of a creeping darkness coming into the sides of his vision. But still a voice in his head screamed that they were lying, that they were sleeping together, and that he had just caught them after the act.

“Is that the best you can do, that stupid little thin lie? Am I so stupid that you think you just have to tell me it’s fine and I’ll believe it, when I’ve just walked in on you two cooing at each other!”

Yvonne now did turn to look at Rigaud now, hoping for some support or some glance that would tell her what she could do. He in turn looked back equally stunned and unsure. They both felt it when the moment of silence stretched on too long and Pierre felt another explosion in his chest as he screamed.

“I knew it!”

He charged forward, grabbed Rigard by the collar and hauled him to his feet, thinking that he would dragging him outside and show all of Paris the man who was sleeping with his wife.

Scared for her friend and for the sanity of her husband, Yvonne reached out and grabbed Pierre’s arm.

“Stop this, let him go! Nothing happened.”

Without thinking Pierre flicked out his elbow knocking her back and causing her to stumble and fall against the wall. As she cried out in pain, Rigaud to saw red and throw a fist up at Pierre, clipping his chin and making his grip loosen as he staggered. Rigaud pulled free and moved to check on Yvonne, but Pierre recovered fast and between the pain, his guilt, his confusion and the rage that had built to boiling point, he once again attacked Rigaud. But now there was no thoughts of dragging him into the street. He went forward with his fists flying and landed a few heavy blows against his head and arms, then he grabbed Rigaud again, shook him with all his might and pushed him as hard as he could towards a wall. Rigaud flew backwards and after hitting the wall, his feet slipped out from under him and he fell, his head slamming against the corner of a table on his way down.

The sound of the impact echoed around the room and seemed to suck out all the air and energy.

The apartment that only a moment before had been exploding with sound and angry voices was now still and quiet, then Yvonne saw the small pool of red coming from under Rigaud’s head and she screamed and rushed towards him.

“No, no no! Oh my God you’ve killed him, you’ve killed him!”

She shook Rigaud, desperately hoping she could simply wake him up, then buried her face into his chest weeping.

Pierre stared on in silence feeling sanity start to come back into his mind, first as a drip, then a small stream, and then a flood of realisation.

“No, I… I didn’t mean to, I just wanted to throw him out, I wanted him to, I wanted…”

“And now you’ve killed him.’ Wept Yvonne, ‘he just wanted to invest in my shop, to, to show his support, and to grow my business.”

A new fear and panic began to spread through Pierre and he rushed to put an arm around his wife, who tried to shake him off.

“We must get out of here, we cannot be found in this house with his body. We have to get out of here.”

Pierre put a stronger hand on Yvonne’s shoulders and pulled her back to her feet and the two ran from the apartment into the heavy rain of the night.

They ran under the cover of darkness and rain back to their small apartment behind Yvonne’s hat shop, and there they waited. Neither sure of what would happen next, or what to do about whatever it was. Yvonne sat on the bathroom floor, needing to have a door between her and the madman that resembled her husband. And Pierre sat at the small kitchen table. Wishing that the wine wouldn’t run out, that if he could just drink enough, he could wash away everything that had happened.

Eventually they both fell asleep were they sat, and in the morning, they stepped into the day with fear in their hearts and ice in their veins. Sure that the police would be waiting for them. And there it was, on the front page of La Presse De Paris.

Son of local businessman found murdered in his apartment. Suspect already in custody.

Neither Pierre nor Yvonne made a sound when they saw the headline, nor could they look at each other. Both sure the other was thinking dark thoughts, but being unable to form anything clear themselves. So, they simply drifted back in side. Yvonne fell into the routine of opening the shop, numb from the shock but silently weeping. And Pierre went into the bathroom to clean himself up, and prepare for another day of talking to directors and begging for auditions.

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