N ightingale stared at Frimost as he spoke, choosing his words carefully. ‘A man called Ainsley Gosling sold you a soul thirty-one years ago. The soul of his then-unborn daughter. In exchange for her soul, you gave him power over women.’
Frimost nodded thoughtfully. ‘That may be so.’
‘You don’t remember?’
‘Many souls are promised to me. Many men want what I have to offer.’ He banged his stick on the ground. ‘I grow impatient, Nightingale. Get to the point.’
‘Her name is Robyn Reynolds now. In two years’ time, on her thirty-third birthday, you will claim her soul. I want to get it back for her.’
Frimost laughed and his whole body juddered and shook, from his double chins to the rolls of fat around his ankles. Even after he stopped laughing his flesh continued to slop around his body. ‘A deal is a deal, and once done it cannot be undone,’ he said.
‘Well, that’s not strictly speaking true, is it?’ said Nightingale. ‘Deals can be renegotiated.’
‘Only if both parties are willing. And in this case I’m not. I have been promised the soul of Robyn Reynolds and in two years’ time her soul will be mine. The deal was done and there is no going back on it.’
‘But the deal wasn’t with my sister. It was with our father.’
‘It makes no difference. A parent can sell an unborn soul up until the moment of birth. You are wasting your time, Nightingale. And more to the point, you are wasting mine.’
‘What if there was something else that you wanted? Something that I could offer you in exchange?’
Frimost looked at Nightingale, his eyes narrowing. ‘What did you have in mind?’
‘That would be up to you,’ said Nightingale.
‘Would you be prepared to put your soul on the table?’ asked Frimost quietly. ‘Your soul for hers?’