Franklyn is enjoying the opera. Really. He is. That is, after all, the entire reason why he had come. Because Franklyn is a cultured man who appreciates the finer things in life. Like opera. And cheese, of course. So if, during the performance, his eyes kept wandering over to Dr. Lecter, that was just to see if his psychiatrist was enjoying the show as much as he was. And now, during intermission... well, it’s only natural for Franklyn to catch the attention of the good doctor and his high society friends.
“Hello,” Dr. Lecter smiles warmly, clearly happy to see him.
“Hi! Nice to see you.” Remembering his manners, Franklyn turns to look at his companion. “This is my friend, Tobias.”
“Good evening.” As Dr. Lecter addresses Tobias, Franklyn notices a scruffy-looking man standing uncomfortably close to him.
“I’m sorry, but who are you?” he asks, hoping to alert Dr. Lecter to the intruder.
“My apologies, Franklyn. This is my partner, Will Graham.”
Franklyn has a hard time concealing his shock and disgust. This partner of the psychiatrist couldn’t look more out of place in the distinguished opera house. His hair curled in messy locks around his face and he looked beyond uncomfortable in his suit, even if it was perfectly tailored. Franklyn was prepared to comment on Will Graham’s drink choice (because honestly, who drinks whiskey at the opera?), but he’s interrupted by one of Dr. Lecter’s other companions, a keen, birdlike woman wearing a fashionable red dress.
“How do you two know each other?”
“There should remain some mystery to my life outside the opera.” Dr. Lecter answers.
“Honestly, Hannibal!” The woman scolds him, hitting the doctor playfully with her black-gloved hand. “You cannot keep every element of your life a secret and pretend it is all in the name of mystery. Why, I still have not forgiven you for keeping this simply delightful young man here all to yourself—” she continues to talk about Will, singing the scruffy young man’s praises as if he was a rare reblochon. Franklyn decides that he needs to take control of the situation, to remind everyone that he is still there.
“I’m one of Dr. Lecter’s patients,” he blurts out, hoping to turn the conversation back towards himself. There’s a slight awkward pause, and Will Graham appears to be stifling a laugh. Franklyn ignores him, as the man obviously lacks the social grace to know what to do in this type of situation.
“Did you enjoy the performance?” Dr. Lecter asks, tactfully changing the subject to distract from his partner’s clear immaturity and incompetence.
“Loved it. Every minute,” Franklyn responds quickly, eager to show off how well he fits in to the psychiatrist’s social sphere.
“His eyes kept wandering.” Tobias chooses that moment to rejoin the conversation. “More interested in you than what was happening on stage.”
Franklyn scowls at him. Of course he had glanced at the doctor throughout the show, but there was no need for Tobias to bring it up like this. As he so often does, Franklyn feels pity for his friend, who, while undeniably intelligent, is somewhat lacking in tact. Perhaps Tobias is merely jealous of Dr. Lecter for holding such a high status in Franklyn’s esteem? Franklyn resolves to invest more in his relationship with Tobias, just in case.
“Tobias likes to joke. I mean, I noticed you in the audience, but I was so enthralled by the performers that I, um…” Franklyn fumbles, trying to rescue the conversation from Tobias’ misstep. “Mr. Graham, was it?” he asks, turning to Dr. Lecter’s companion, who is currently looking at his phone. The nerve of this man! He obviously isn’t cut out for high society, and Franklyn is determined to call attention to this fact. “What did you think of the opera? Or perhaps you were too busy scrolling through your messages to pay attention?”
“Will has, unfortunately, been very busy with his work for the FBI recently,” Dr. Lecter interjects, in a sharper tone of voice than Franklyn is used to hearing from his psychiatrist. “Although I lament his habit of taking his work home with him, I know that it would be selfish to take him away from his work and the lives he is saving.”
The woman in the red dress then begins to talk with Will again, asking him questions about dogs, for some reason. Franklyn smiles, thinking that he might be able to get the psychiatrist alone, without Will there to ruin everything. Franklyn opens his mouth, but Dr. Lecter speaks first.
“Now, Franklyn, I must get back to my conversation. Besides, you must leave something for us to discuss next week.”
“But—” Franklyn can’t hide his disappointment. Here he is, finally given a chance to talk with Dr. Lecter in a setting outside therapy, and he’s being upstaged by this dog-loving, whisky-drinking social inferior.
“It was good to see you, Franklyn.” Dr. Lecter smiles at Franklyn before turning back to the other socialites.
As Franklyn walks away, he reflects on his conversation with the good doctor, and considers it a success. After all, Dr. Lecter had been glad to see him. Maybe after a few more “chance” encounters, they will even start to become friends.