Fabien turned away from Raoul and his words, staring off into space, barely aware of the people passing by the park bench where they sat. Finally, he shifted to look at Raoul, asking, "Why do I always end up with controlling men?"
If Raoul was surprised by the question he didn't show it. "Perhaps for the same reason that I seem to gravitate towards men I can control. Something in how we grew up, what we experienced as kids, I suppose."
Fabien nodded slowly. "Perhaps."
"Is Mr. Paquet controlling?"
"How do you know about him?" Fabien asked in surprise.
"You're mother gave me your phone number. When you didn't answer after several tries, I got smart and decided to find out if it really belonged to you."
"My mother gave it to you? You went to see her? Well I guess that was a foolish question."
"A bit," Raoul replied with a chuckle. "But that didn't answer my question."
Fabien sighed. "Yes, he's a bit like you in that way. Just not quite as terrifying. That's why I'm in the position I'm in with Janvier."
"That's the man who was threatening you?"
"No. That was one of his goons. Janvier runs a club here in the city. It caters to a variety of tastes; gambling, unconventional sexual practices, and what have you. All under the cover of being a first class dance bar."
Raoul cocked an eyebrow. "That doesn't seem to be the sort of place you'd frequent."
"Normally it wouldn't be but—" Fabien sighed. "I wanted to get free of Étienne, Mr. Paquet to you. That required money I don't have. My shop does well enough, but not to the point that I can support myself yet on what I make from it, unfortunately."
"I see. So you went to Janvier's club planning on making what you needed by gambling. That was more than stupid."
"Yes it was, but desperate times call for desperate measures as they say. The problem was, I'm a lousy gambler so I kept going, trying to recoup my losses and get on a winning streak. Instead I got in way over my head, and I now owe him more than I'll ever be able to repay him unless…" Fabien's mouth tightened.
"Unless?" Raoul prodded when Fabien went silent.
"Unless I borrow the money from my father or Étienne, and with either choice I loose everything I've worked for and become…theirs, I suppose you could say."