Papadimitriou let himself into the bedroom and found his boss looking weak and shockingly emaciated. "You should take Christina's advice and go to the American Hospital in Paris," the attorney suggested.

"You want me to go die in Paris?" Onassis asked. "I'm either going to die here or in Paris. It doesn't make any difference."

Papadimitriou protested that he was being foolish and would soon be well again. Onassis, ever the negotiator, spied the prospect of a deal and brightened. "What are you going to give me if I go to Paris?" he asked his aide. "Do you hear my daughter crying outside? I want your word on my death bed that, if I go to Paris, you will promise me that you'll stay with Christina until the bitter end, whatever she does to make it difficult for you. Is it a deal?"

Papadimitriou nodded his assent and Onassis told him to call his daughter inside. She came in weeping. Onassis took her hand and that of his employee and said, "Chryso mou (my treasure), Stelios will look after you no matter what you do to him, so try not to be too hard on him." All the suicide attempts, rash love affairs and impetuous decisions that had marked Christina's tumultuous young life couldn't have been far from his thoughts.

The only one who still believed her father could be cured, Christina nodded, relieved that he was giving in to her pleadings.

Onassis looked at Stelios and said, "From now on, Christina is your sister. Now bend to kiss me."

The press had gathered like carrion birds outside the villa. Papadimitriou and Christina helped the invalid down the stairs to the side door where his car had pulled up. His sister Artemis draped a coat over his shoulders against the damp winter chill. Waiting in the back seat of the car was his wife, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

 

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