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Home > Sands of Time(32)

Sands of Time(32)
Author: Sidney Sheldon

"I'm waiting," he said.

He leaned back in his chair and lit a Gitane. Four more hours to go. Yvette would be waiting for him. He would have time to stop off at her apartment before he went home to his wife. Maybe there would even be time to -

He heard it then, and he could not believe it. It was a voice so pure and so sweet that it sent chills down his spine. It was a voice filled with longing and desire, a voice that sang of loneliness and despair, of lost loves and dead dreams, and it brought tears to his eyes. It stirred emotions in him that he had thought were long since dead. All he could say to himself was, Jesus Christ! Where has she been?

An engineer had wandered into the control booth, and he stood there listening, mesmerized. The door was open and others began to come in, drawn by the voice. They stood there silently listening to the poignant sound of a heart desperately crying out for love, and there was not another sound in the room.

When the song ended, there was a long silence, and one of the women said, "Whoever she is, don't let her get away."

Louis Bonnet hurried out of the room into the broadcast studio. Teresa was getting ready to leave.

"I'm sorry I took too long. You see, I've never - "

"Sit down, Maria."

"Teresa."

"Sorry." He took a deep breath. "We do a musical radio broadcast every Saturday night."

"I know. I listen to it."

"How would you like to be on it?"

She stared at him, unable to believe what she was hearing. "You mean - you want to hire me?"

"Beginning this week. We'll start you at the minimum. It will be a great showcase for you."

It was almost too good to be true. They're going to pay me to sing.

"Pay you? How much?" Monique asked.

"I don't know. I don't care." The important thing is that somebody wants me, she almost said, but she stopped herself.

"That's wonderful news. So you're going to be on the radio!" her father said.

Her mother was already making plans. "We'll see that all our friends listen, and we'll have them send in letters saying how good you are."

Teresa looked at Monique, waiting for her to say, "You don't have to do that. Teresa is good."

But Monique said nothing. It will blow over quickly, was what she was thinking.

She was wrong.

Saturday night at the broadcast station, Teresa was in a panic.

"Believe me," Louis Bonnet assured her. "It's perfectly natural. All artists go through this."

They were seated in the small green room used by performers.

"You're going to be a sensation."

"I'm going to be sick."

"There's no time. You're on in two minutes."

Teresa had rehearsed that afternoon with the small orchestra that was going to accompany her. The rehearsal had been extraordinary. The stage from which they broadcast was crowded with station personnel who had heard about the young girl with the incredible voice. They listened in awed silence as Teresa rehearsed the songs she was going to sing on the air. There was no question in any of their minds but that they were witnessing the birth of an important star.

"It's too bad she's not better-looking," a stage manager commented, "but in radio who can tell the difference?"

Teresa's performance that evening was superb. She was aware that she had never sung better. And who knew where this could lead? She might become famous and have men at her feet, begging her to marry them. As they begged Monique.

As though reading her thoughts, Monique said, "I'm really happy for you, Sis, but don't let yourself get carried away by all this. These things never last."

This will, Teresa thought happily. I'm finally a person. I'm somebody.

Monday morning, there was a long-distance telephone call for Teresa.

"It's probably somebody's idea of a joke," her father warned her. "He says he's Jacques Raimu."

The most important stage director in France. Teresa picked up the telephone, wary. "Hello?"

"Miss De Fosse?"

"Yes."

"Teresa De Fosse?"

"Yes."

"This is Jacques Raimu. I heard your radio program Saturday night. You're exactly what I'm looking for."

"I - I don't understand."

"I'm staging a play at the Comedie Française, a musical. I start rehearsals next week. I've been searching for someone with a voice like yours. To tell you the truth, there is no one with a voice like yours. Who is your agent?"

"Agent? I - I have no agent."

"Then I'll drive down there and we'll work out a deal between us."

"Monsieur Raimu - I - I'm not very pretty." It was painful for her to say the words, but she knew that it was necessary. He mustn't have any false expectations.

He laughed. "You will be when I get through with you. Theater is make-believe. Stage makeup can do all kinds of incredible magic."

"But - "

"I'll see you tomorrow."

It was a dream on top of a fantasy. To be starring in a play by Raimu!

"I'll work out the contract with him," Teresa's father said. "You must be careful when you deal with theater people."

"We must get you a new dress," her mother said. "And I'll invite him to dinner."

Monique said nothing. What was happening was unbearable. It was unthinkable that her sister was going to become a star. Perhaps there was a way...

Monique saw to it that she was the first one downstairs when Jacques Raimu arrived at the De Fosse villa that afternoon. He was greeted by a young girl so beautiful that his heart jumped. She was dressed in a simple white afternoon frock that set off her figure to perfection.

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