The man parked his vehicle in the usual spot, on the roof of his building, right next to the lamp post on the far side of the car park. He was notoriously paranoid about being robbed in one of these places at night. With good reason, the information he kept in his briefcase, was so vital, so important, he felt must not part with it. He had it handcuffed to this wrist at all times and when it wasn’t, it was never out of his sight for more than a few minutes at a time.
The secrets that it held, could get people killed, or worse yet start a war. No, he believed it needed to be kept on his person until he could get it to his liaison at MI-6. The meeting was tonight, in this very car park.
He shuddered at the sudden gust of wind that blew past him. He looked down at his watch, it was half past 3 and his liaison was not yet here. He started to get nervous. He reached for his handkerchief inside his jacket pocket, when he felt the cold steel pressed up against his spine.
He gasped loudly and dared not turn around. “Gerald Shaw?” the gravelly voice asked. He didn’t answer, fear had glued his lips together and taken his voice. The man repeated his name, “Gerald Shaw?” He nodded as the sweat poured down his plump cheeks. “I say”, the man paused, “I’d rather like to have that briefcase you’re holding. Would you mind if I took it off of your hands?”
The man’s voice seemed very familiar to him. But with all the adrenaline coursing through his veins, his mind was betraying him. “I know that voice,” he thought to himself, partially ignoring the gun in his back. “I’m meeting someone, they’ll be here soon. I don’t think he would appreciate you accosting me,” Gerald managed to croak out. The man simply laughed, “Oh I don’t think so Gerry, he won’t be showing up tonight, or any night hereafter.”
At the mention of his nickname, he immediately knew who his assailant was. There were only 3 people in the whole world who called him “Gerry”. His mother, his wife and his…
He turned around; his eyes fixed on the man in front of him. He expected the man to register surprise, but he did nothing. He kept the gun aimed at him. “I don’t have the key. It’s locked away for safe keeping and I’ll not give it to you.” The man laughed again. “Do you think that’s the only way to get that off of you?” The man put the gun away and quick as a flash, produced what looked to be the sharpest knife Gerald had ever seen. “You wouldn’t?” he asked. The man tilted his head, “You know me. You know what I’m capable of. So, ask me that question again.”
Gerald clutched the briefcase to his chest, “You can’t do this. You don’t know what it will cause.” The man seemed to consider this for a moment before he declared, “I know what can happen. But,” he paused again, “I have no choice in the matter.” With that, he grabbed Gerald’s arm and cleaved it from its socket. Gerald crumpled to the ground, calling after the man, to no avail.
Gerald Shaw, 42 years old, with a wife and no children, bled out in the empty car park of his apartment building, alone. The name of his killer on his lips and no one was around to see it.
The smell of coffee fills the air, it hits my nose with a delicate punch. I can already imagine the taste of it on my tongue. Bold and dark. I wondered if she remembered how I had taken it. Black with two sugars and if I was in a particularly good mood, a touch of cream. As it so happens, I woke up in a good mood this morning. She had, after all, stayed the night.
I checked my cellular to see if my employer had contacted me. Last night after my mission was completed, I called him to keep him abreast of the situation. The end result was, shall we say, as expected. After our conversation ended, I saw her, rather, I heard her. Knowing that her being there was not a coincidence, I still chatted her up. I still took her home. After 5 years, her showing up in that tiny dive bar in the corner of the West End was not by chance. She was here for a reason. But whilst my mind told me one thing, my heart and something else, told me another. I had truly missed her.
Yes, I had missed her. The sweet smell of her hair. The softness of her lips. The curve of her…I lie back on the bed, remembering last night. I sat there alone at the bar, with a glass of bourbon on the rocks, satisfied with my completion of the task, and then I heard her voice. “Christopher? Christopher is that you?” At the first mention of my name, my hand reached inside my pocket, readying my weapon, but when I turned and saw her, I relaxed, if only for a moment, enough to reach for my glass to take a long sip.
What a vision she was. After the evening I had just had, she was a sight for sore eyes. Her Auburn hair shined under the off-white lights off the bar and her lips were as red as rubies. No, this was no mere coincidence, us meeting like this. I knew her better. Though I may frequent places like this, she had a very particular taste in venue. She enjoyed the ambience of the upper class, aristocratic haunts, where people could show off the latest fashions and talk down to one another, in a “friendly” sort of way. Though I myself was born a blue-blood, I did not share such… proclivities.
She had to speak loudly over the sounds of the rowdy bar patrons, shouting for the football game proudly displayed on the new television Sam had just bought for the bar. The old one was battered down and months ago, had lost its remote. Try telling a bunch of drunk men to go up and change the station and see where that takes you.
Sitting down next to me on the empty stool, she placed her hands over mine. I noted the soft scent of her favorite perfume, dashed over her wrists and neck. It had been the one I had given her ages ago, the BVLGARI Rose eau de Parfum; I would recognize it anywhere. I’m assuming, that’s why she wore it.
“Christopher, whatever are you doing here?” she asked. I smiled politely and replied, “I could ask you the same thing. Are you slumming it for the evening?” That earned me a rather loud “harrumph” from Sam. “No offense Sam”, I put my hands up in protest. He nodded and went back to polishing the same glass he had been, since she came up. It seems I was not the only one suspicious of her.
“Oh no, I love funny little places like this. Where one comes after a hard day at work.” I just happen to glance over at Sam and he proceeded to roll his eyes, we both knew she had never worked a day in her life. Though I knew that a bit more intimately than he.
I finished my drink and started to get up, “What are you doing?” she asked. “Well, I’ve had a very hard day at work and now I’m going home. It was good to see you, Charlotte.” There I said her name, I thought, now I can get her out of my system. “Don’t leave yet, darling, we have so much catching up to do.” Just then a bourbon on the rocks slid over in my direction, I looked up and it was Sam. He knew I’d need another drink, if I was going to last ten more minutes with the love of my life, or should I say “former” love of my life.
She began the conversation, most like she always had, recounting her day and the bits of gossip that happened in her circle of friends. It seemed sorely out of place, with the television blaring behind her and about three “gentlemen” seriously about to come to blows over the final score. Manchester United 4, Arsenal 3.
After another drink slid in my direction, I grabbed her hand and kissed it. Somehow, I knew she wouldn’t protest, in fact, she took that very hand and grazed my cheek with it. How good she felt, I thought as I closed my eyes at her touch. How wonderful she smelt. 30 minutes later we were in my flat across town. We barely made it up the stairs as we were ravenous for each other. “Oh, how I’ve missed you, Christopher,” she moaned in my ear. I then showed her just how much I reciprocated the feeling.
But today was a different day. Today warranted answers to questions that I may not want to hear. But I had just killed a man in his own bathtub several hours before seeing her, so I think I could take whatever it is she wanted just fine. Or so I thought.