I was hoping for a damp, dreary overcast day, but it turned out to be blue skies and floor to ceiling sunshine.
I’d kept one mile an hour below the speed limit all the way, cringing every time I saw a police car or heard a siren in the distance.
I checked my watch twenty five times in the fifteen minutes since I’d pulled the rented car into a space a hundred metres from the house – the seconds sliding slowly by, the way they had the night before as I lay in the dark racking my brains for some other way to get myself out of the mess I was in. If it hadn’t been for Christian’s involvement, I could have just demanded that he hand them over. But if I did that he’d want to know how I knew he still had them, and I didn’t think he’d believe a claim of ‘female intuition’.
What am I doing? Why am I doing it? What happens if he catches me? Was embarking on a criminal career the only way to pull my life back together? Yes it was. There’s no other way. It has to be done.
Female instinct warned me that in spite of the loving and sometimes gentle way he made love to me, there was another, less gentle side to the Italian; one that wouldn’t balk from sending the photos to my husband if I didn’t give him the information he asked for.
A shudder ripped through me at the thought of him coming face to face with those pictures that would destroy him and our marriage.
My gaze was fixed on the glossy blue door, self preservation pulling me in two directions, telling me to go, to run and hide, and at the same time telling me to stay and see it through, and break into his house, and commit a crime.
“I know a man who would be willing to do it for you,” Christian had told me the day before when we met to go over the details one last time. “He’d make it look like a proper burglary. Of course he’d have to take a few other things to make it seem as though the photos weren’t the main reason for the break in.”
“The pictures you mean?” I’d said.
“Among other things.”
“And what happens when he sees the photos and decides to hold me to ransom, or just make some copies and put them up on the internet? I’d be right back where I started.”
“I know him, he isn’t like that. He’d never break a promise to a friend. Especially not one who’s bent over to accommodate his rather sizeable cock.”
“I don’t think I want any more help from your friends, thanks. The fewer people who know the safer I’ll feel. At the moment it’s just you and me.”
I glanced at my watch again. He was a creature of exacting habits, almost autistic in the way he ordered his life.
Right on time the door opened and John stepped out, pulling it shut. He turned the handle a few times to check that it was locked, then walked down the half dozen steps to the pavement, turned again and climbed back up the steps, and tried the door once more.
He stood on the pavement looking left and right, then as if making his mind up started walking in my direction. I ducked down and counted slowly to fifty before looking up. He was out of sight and as usual would be gone for at least a couple of hours. The Italian had said that he suspected his man had a lover somewhere in the neighbourhood.
My stomach was in a tight knot, I wanted to throw up and pee at the same time. Opening the car door I got out, taking the keys from the ignition and pushing them under the floor mat. Then, pulling down my hat, I walked across the road and ran up the steps to the door.