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After much thought and consideration, Evan and Ruben decided to plan a trip to Paris, so they could try and figure out the case on themselves. In one of the emails from Lubchenko, it requested Belachek to meet him at the Café Saint-Beauvais, so that was the destination of the boys, hoping to include Erika in their plans.

After the go-ahead, Evan had a few issues to consider for his trip:

  1. CASH- not really a problem because they had a lot of cash from their illegal business and decided to use Evan’s dad’s credit cards as well. This was ill-conceived because Evan knew that his head would get blown off if his dad found out about him using his credit card, but they went with it anyway.
  2. TIMING- Erika and Ruben had spring break for a couple of weeks but Evan just decided to cut school.
  3. PERMISSION- Ruben and Erika parents allowed them to go with the reasoning that they needed to spend time with Evan during this difficult period of his life. Mrs. Andropolis allowed Evan to go and decided to tell his dad he went to the cabin, even though he would be furious.
  4. PASSPORTS- Each of them already had passports from various other trips.
  5. TICKETS AND HOTELS- The three, mainly Evan, decided to act like the son of a millionaire for a change, buying 3 first class tickets and 3 high-end rooms at the Ritz.
  6. ACCESSORIES- Evan bought a suitcase ($750), leather driving gloves ($250), cashmere scarf ($440), and a large leather footstool shaped like an elephant that would be delivered when he returned, along with the practical tour book and other books about Paris.

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The three relaxed in their first class plane seats on their way to Paris, allowing the case to escape from their minds completely. Immediately following their arrival, the trio headed to the beautiful, expensive Ritz hotel where they would be staying. The Ritz ended up being worth the extreme expense filled with marble floors, crystal chandeliers, and brass railings. After a quick nap, Ruben was surprisingly the one to initiate a fun night in the city, so they decided to go to the Argost, listed in Evan’s guide as, “the great place to see and be seen.” Somewhere around 3 a.m. they headed back to the hotel to crash. The next day they went to the Café Saint-Beauvais where Emil Belachek was supposed to meet Lubchenko before he died. Because Erika was fluent in French she did the talking and asked the manager if he knew a Lubchenko, the quick flash in his eyes showed that he knew who it was but the man simply replied with a no and said he would contact them if he did. In an effort to stake out the restaurant where he was, they ate loads of Chinese food on top of a nearby restaurant, a great looking post. They continued their “searching” by varying their times at the Chinese, stakeout, restaurant and even attempting to find a garage named after him but little happened. About ready to give in, Evan spotted Rick Colburn while staking out the café. The kids were horrified after seeing Rick Colburn walk out of the restaurant and at this point were afraid for their lives, scrambling to get out of the Ritz and find another hotel where they wouldn’t be found. When they returned to get their belongings, there was a message at the front desk for them.

Dear Mr. Macalister,

We have much to discuss. Please come to Café Saint Beauvais tonight at 9 p.m. I assure you that you will be quite safe. –Lubchenko

Their first response to the seemingly unreal occurrence was disbelief. Was it a trick, and why would he want to meet with them? After overcoming their state of shock, the trio headed to the Crillon, another expensive hotel, where they checked into a suite in order to hopefully steer clear of Colburn. Meanwhile they stayed pensive on the situation at hand and for once thought everything through. They decided to meet with Lubchenko, but leave Ruben behind in case something went wrong. He was instructed to call the police if Ruben and Erika didn’t return within 30 minutes. Also, they set up a code so that if Lubchenko had a gun to their heads or something equally terrifying and forced them to call him, the response for a bad situation would be “Everything is A-ok.” Though feeling somewhat positive with their newly concocted plan, Evan and the others still felt panicked and just wanted it all to be over.

Evan and Erika started walking to the Café at 8:30 with trembling hands and sick feelings in their stomachs. Evan being his usual self could not keep his thoughts away from him kissing Erika last night and brought that up only for Erika to tell him it was probably the worst time in the world to talk about something like that. They regained seriousness as they approached the door to the Café at exactly 9:00 p.m. and entered into the so familiar door. Being escorted by the manager whom they had met earlier, they reached the kitchen where Lubchenko was seated and laid eyes on the man for the first time. Lubchenko was well over 6 feet tall with calloused hands, a handlebar mustache, big chest, large, but manly stomach, and dark brown hair. He looked as if he were a heroic, freedom fighter straight from a movie.