* * *
Kathy was glad to have the champagne to settle her nerves while she waited for the right moment to do the set-up.
She and Spyro drank their champagne in the living room, while Spyro watched the news on the big TV screen. As he opened his mail, they made small talk. She was amazed at how he could just fall right back into his normal pattern after threatening to kill her—he acted like nothing had happened, that the conversation hadn’t even taken place. She supposed he had just expected her to go to Paris and blow off steam and come back with her tail between her legs, like she always did. Thank God he hadn’t discovered those financial statements missing from his safe.
As she sat there beside him, it irked her to know that he was probably having sex with the Romanian whore a little while ago, while Gwen and Alex and one of the security guards went mountain biking.
Not long after Réka had gotten pregnant with Spyro’s child, Spyro moved her out, of course, and bought her the villa which was down the road. At that time, Kathy got the impression that Spyro was toying with the idea of divorcing her and marrying Réka, but wasn’t sure how the little nineteen year old harlot would fit in with his sophisticated friends. Spyro liked to hold lavish dinner parties, Kathy learned that he had invited Réka to the next one, as a kind of test, she thought. She also learned, through the grapevine of expat friends on the island, that Spyro had given Réka a few thousand dollars to buy a spectacular evening gown to wow his guests, to be custom-designed for her by a famous Romanian fashion designer who spent winters on the island.
There was no way Kathy would let the bastard get away with any of it. She schemed for almost a week, then used her connections to find out the fabric the designer had chosen for the dress—an expensive velvet in mauve, with a leaf pattern, made in Italy. Kathy located the manufacturer and ordered a dozen square meters of it and had it sent to a friend’s house. Then, she went to Spyro and told him that she thought the dining room chairs were worn and needed to be reupholstered before the dinner party. “Handle it,” he told her.
Handle it, she did.
She had all twelve of the chairs covered in the pricey velvet fabric.
The effect on Réka at the dinner party could only be described as a total meltdown. Since none of the guests had seen the inside of the dining room since the chairs had been redone, of course none of them noticed anything amiss with Réka showing up in the elegant gown, looking graceful and radiant, barely looking at Kathy except to give one, short triumphant glance. Of course when Spyro saw the dress, he realized what Kathy had done and was furious, but he did not know how to rectify it without causing a scene. He was never any good at handling delicate social situations.
When everyone had arrived, they all went into the dining room. A shocked hush fell over the group. When Réka saw the chairs, her face turned ashen. Spyro had seated her to his right, and he had to help the poor girl sit down. She was utterly devastated, and being so young and inexperienced, she had no idea how to behave. If Kathy hadn’t despised her so much she could have felt sorry for her. Insult was added to injury when the wife of one of Spyro’s friends, an obese Greek woman sat down on the fabric, smothering it with her massive behind.
Réka pretended to be sick. Spyro had Vasilis drive her home in the limo.
When everyone finally left the awkward dinner, Kathy had never seen her husband so angry—he was so mad he was shaking from head to toe.
“That was the cruelest, lowest, most detestable thing I have ever seen done to another human being in my life!” he roared.
“Don’t ever bring that piece of Euro-trash into our house again!” Kathy spat back, unfettered.
He slapped her across the face. “That young woman will be the mother of my child, something you refuse to do for me!”
Kathy had never wanted another child, not after she had been such a bad mother to Elaine.
Tears ran down Kathy’s face. “You know I won’t bring your child into this world, it’s just not right, for the sake of humanity.”
Spyro looked surprised, and almost touched—she had never said anything like this to him before. “Why? You mean because of all the pain and suffering?”
“No.” Kathy wiped away the forced tear. “Because your miserable gene pool needs to be stopped in its tracks.”
The scandalous evening was a humiliating one for Spyro, but apparently he learned his lesson—he never invited Réka back to the villa, nor did he ever seem to entertain the idea of trying to replace Kathy with her. It was a joke to think that the young Romanian girl, who had grown up in a mountain village that didn’t even have running water, who had come to Santorini Island to work as a hotel maid, with the Filipinos and Malaysians, and could barely speak English, could ever be an appropriate social companion for a man like Spyro Leandrou. A concubine, perhaps, but not a companion, social or otherwise.
Kathy eventually realized that Spyro would never divorce her. His family and friends would not approve, and that could make life difficult for Alexander. Spyro Leandrou simply would not do anything that might endanger his son’s future.
* * *
Kathy finished off her champagne and glanced at her watch—it was now 6:45, and Gwen still had not arrived. Spyro was distracted, answering a message that had come on his phone. It was the perfect time to set the trap.
“I think I’ll go have a smoke,” Kathy said.
“Mm-hmm,” Spyro said absently, still tapping away on his phone.
Spyro didn’t like anyone smoking in the house, and Kathy always went outside. Sometimes she went out back by the swimming pool to smoke, but this evening she stepped outside the front door. She stopped at the edge of the driveway, next to a small, decorative urn, just where the taxi had let her out. She lit up her cigarette, shivering in the cold early evening air, pretending to admire the starry sky.
A €500 euro note was palmed in her hand.
She turned her plan over in her mind one last time, and couldn’t find anything wrong with it.
When she finished her cigarette, with her body blocking the line of sight from the villa just in case anyone happened to be looking outside, she discreetly dropped the €500 on the tile.
She returned to the front door, stopping to grind the cigarette butt out in an ashtray hidden behind a bush, and she kept her eyes focused straight ahead until she was back inside the house.
* * *
Moments later, after making sure no one was upstairs, Kathy stepped to the end of the second floor hallway window, which afforded a good view of the sidewalk and the urn.
The €500 bill was lying just feet from the urn, in plain sight.
And there didn’t seem to be a breath of wind now, so she didn’t have to worry about it being blown out of position.
It just lay there on the tile, waiting to be noticed and picked up.
* * *
After ten minutes had passed, Spyro called up the stairs. “Honey, dinner’s ready.”
Still at the window, Kathy quietly moved back to her bedroom door and called out, “Be down in a minute!”
As soon as she thought Spyro had time to walk back to the dining room, she returned to the hallway window, glancing at her watch. It was five till seven! Where the hell was Gwen? In addition to the young woman’s almost sickening level of honesty and trustworthiness, she was also a stickler for punctuality, always on time...
Kathy finally heard the rattling of a bicycle somewhere outside.
Seconds later she spotted Gwen coming down the driveway.
The lanky governess coasted towards the front door on the mountain bike, came to a stop, and rested the bike up against the urn where Kathy had dropped the money.
Gwen only took two steps towards the front door before she slowed, turned her head, and looked down again.
She picked up the €500 bill, glanced around, then slipped it into her back pocket and casually continued to the front door.
She’ll be fired before Fenia even serves dessert, Kathy thought.
* * *
For Kathy, sitting through the long, slow-paced dinner was a little nerve-wracking, like waiting for a bomb to go off.
The bomb was in Gwen’s back pocket, but it was Kathy who held the trigger mechanism in her hand, so to speak. She could set it off at will, and then sit back and enjoy the fireworks display.
Although it made her feel a little guilty, she was relishing the sweet anticipation as the minutes ticked by, imagining what Spyro would do when he found out that his wonderful Gwen was little more than one more greedy, dishonest employee. Spyro had fired more than Kathy could count for similar offenses, and the scenes were never pretty.
This reminded her a lot of the bomb she’d planted for Réka so many years ago. It was hard to top that, but this one was almost as good.
At 7:45, finally, everyone seemed to have finished eating.
“How about a game of Monopoly?” Spyro asked, as Fenia began to collect the glasses and dishes from the table.
“Yay!” Alexander cried. The boy jumped out of his chair and rushed towards the library to get the box. Alexander loved playing the game, because he usually won. Spyro approved because playing it supposedly taught his budding young son “business principles.” They usually played right after dinner, often starting while the Greek coffee and dessert were being served.
“What about you two?” Spyro said, glancing at Gwen and Kathy.
“Count me in,” Gwen said cheerfully.
Spyro was watching Kathy, waiting for her answer. “Darling?” He always encouraged her to participate as much as possible in activities involving Alexander, wanting her to be a good stepmother.
Kathy glanced at her watch. Enough delicious anticipation—time to set off the explosion. “Well, I already told Molly I would meet her and her mother for a drink at Happy Jack’s. Today’s her birthday.”
Molly was a Scottish friend of Kathy’s who owned a little restaurant called Happy Jack’s Pub, in the village of Fira, the most tourist-oriented part of the island. It wasn’t Molly’s birthday, but Spyro would never know that.
“Fine,” Spyro said, but he looked a little disappointed. He was completely unaware of the powder keg that was about to go off in his dining room.
Kathy rose from the table. She went to the living room to get her purse and sweater, then came back to the foyer and took the keys to her BMW off the hook on the wall.
She passed by the dining room door just as Alexander had opened up the Monopoly box and was setting up the game.
She stopped at the door, frowning, rifling through her purse.
“Damn,” she said.
“What’s wrong?” Spyro said, looking up at her.
“I lost five hundred euros! At least I think I did.” She frowned, as if thinking hard. “I wonder if I could have given it to that taxi driver by accident...those stupid five hundreds look so much like the tens...” She kept looking through her wallet, pretending to be upset. “I know I had that bill in my purse when I paid him this afternoon, I know I did...”
She then looked at Gwen, preparing to deliver her carefully planned line: namely that, through the window, on the way downstairs for dinner, she just happened to see the governess pick something up outside the front door when arriving on the mountain bike a little while ago.
At that second, Spyro rose from his chair.
“Don’t’ worry, dear,” he said, pulling out his wallet. He opened it, withdrew a €500 note, and offered it to Kathy.
Merely replacing it just won’t do, Kathy thought, but then she saw that her husband was smiling.
“Gwen found it out on the front walk and turned it over to me immediately.”
Spyro beamed approvingly at the governess. “We’re blessed with having such an honest employee, aren’t we, darling?”
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