* * *
Kathy did not go to meet Molly, but instead, angrily drove around the mountainous island in her BMW to blow off steam. It was a cold night but she had the top down, a long scarf around her neck, flapping in the wind as she screeched around the sharp curves. The bracing night air helped to ease her frustration.
She finally pulled over at one of the taverns along the cliffs and ordered a scotch.
She’d been so sure that her plan would work!
There were no security cameras inside the property’s walls, Gwen knew that, and she had not seen Kathy at the window. The governess could have just kept the money and no one would have been the wiser.
As Kathy sipped the drink, she racked her brain for some other kind of rope that she could give Gwen with which to hang herself.
Nobody could be that honest all the time!
The following morning, Spyro announced that he was going on a one-day business trip with Costa, his right hand man, but that he would be back before dinner tonight. He also informed Kathy that next week he, Alex, Gwen and Costa were going on a short excursion to Mozambique, where he would be “doing a little business.” Apparently he was also taking Alex rappelling on some famous mountain there.
Kathy would love to know what kind of “business” he could be doing in Mozambique, but she was relying on Elaine to get to the bottom of that, if she could just get Gwen fired.
A few minutes later, Kathy overheard Spyro on the phone with someone, apparently upset that the great and powerful Spyro Leandrou, along with his son and governess, needed visas to go to Mozambique, just like ordinary mortals. He called a travel agency and then put them on hold while he went upstairs and asked Gwen to give him her passport. When he returned to the library, Kathy heard him opening his bottom desk drawer and reading off the numbers from his and Alexander’s passports.
This gave Kathy another idea.
* * *
That afternoon, Kathy drove over to Fira, to an area frequented by riff-raff who were known for trying to pawn off items of questionable value to gullible tourists. It was five-o’clock, and the sun had just set, the sky burning bright orange.
There was a group of strapping African boys and young men who hung around there, too, gigolos who offered their services to aging and obese female travelers who came to visit the island. It didn’t take Kathy long to spot them—they were standing along the street, smoking, chatting casually to each other. There were at least eight or nine of them.
When Kathy pulled up in the posh sports car, none of them seemed to notice her. She stuck her thumb and forefinger into her mouth and gave a shrill whistle that cut through the air, Texas-style.
They all turned to her. One of the youngest came over to her car window—he looked surprised when he saw that it was a woman who had whistled and not a man. The boy couldn’t have been more than fifteen but was built like a football player. He smiled, revealing a perfect set of teeth. “You need some company?”
“I’d prefer someone older,” she said. She pointed to a man in skin tight jeans and a T-shirt who looked about twenty-five and had a cultured, intelligent-looking face. “I like him.”
The boy turned and yelled, “Hakim!”
The young man stood up straighter and sauntered over, smiling just like the first one had when he saw that it was a blonde at the wheel.
He leaned in the window, glancing around at the plush leather interior, looking impressed. He sported a gold earlobe stud and a thick gold chain around his neck.
Kathy said, “Do you speak English?”
“Can you read English?”
He looked insulted. “Of course I can read English,” he said, with a pleasant accent that sounded South African, “but what does that have to do with it?” He snickered. “You want me to recite poetry while I do you?”
“Fifty dollars,” he said, raising a long black finger.
“Fine.” She patted the seat. “Just get in.”
* * *
Kathy drove past the harbor and away from the tourist area.
“Where is your hotel?” Hakim asked uneasily, when he saw the Old Port disappearing behind them.
She didn’t answer.
He looked at her pretty face and glanced down at her well-toned body. She could tell he had doubts about a woman as attractive as her needing to pay for sex.
He checked out the BMW’s interior again. “Is this a rental car? It doesn’t look like one.” Then he noticed the big wedding ring on her left hand and said, “Look, I don’t do threesomes except with two ladies...”
Kathy suddenly pulled the car over to the side of the road. She pulled a piece of paper from the door compartment and handed it to him, then flipped on the interior light so he could see it. “I want you to make a phone call for me and read this script.”
Hakim frowned, squinted at the yellow paper, and started reading aloud. “‘This is Robert from the Colibri Travel Agency, I’m calling about Alexander Ionescu’s passport...’” He looked over at her. “What is this stuff?”
“Doesn’t matter what it is, I just want you to make the call to a number I give you and read it, then wait for a response, say thank you, and hang up. That’s all you have to do. Two hundred euros for two minute’s work. Easy money.”
He gazed back at the paper, shaking his head. “I don’t need any trouble, lady.”
She reached into her purse and pulled out a phone. “This is a burner phone, brand new. Do you know what a burner phone is?”
“Yes of course I know.” He looked insulted again, as if she thought he was an amateur.
“Then you know it’s completely untraceable. I bought it just for you to make this one phone call. All you have to do is read off the text, wait for a response, and then hang up. Easy-peasy. I’ll destroy the phone afterwards. There’s no way you can get into trouble.”
While he thought about it, Kathy turned the car around, and headed back to the Old Port.
He didn’t say anything, and Kathy continued to drive and talk. “I’ll pay you one hundred euros in advance. I’ll give you a hundred more when I come back and pick up the phone when you’re done.”
“When am I supposed to make this call?”
Kathy glanced at her watch. “In the next hour or so. I’ll call you on the burner phone, and then you immediately make the call, and then, after an hour or two, I’ll come back and pick up the phone and pay you the rest of the money.”
Hakim looked wary, but also tempted.
“And you have to keep this arrangement we have completely private. For your own safety.”
He gave a nod, but still didn’t commit.
Kathy continued to drive back towards the Old Port—it was just coming into view.
“Well?” she said, as they approached the place where she picked him up.
The other boys looked surprised that he was back so soon. “Do you want this job, or should I offer it to one of your friends?”
“I will do it,” he said, and he took the phone and the script, put them both in his pocket, out of sight, and got out.
* * *
Forty-five minutes later, Kathy was sitting in the Santorini Airport parking lot, her car strategically positioned near the area where the private planes were hangared. Spyro’s limo was parked in the distance on the closest curb to the lobby of one of the fixed-base operators. Vasilis was sitting behind the wheel, waiting. There were several taxis parked behind it.
Kathy knew Spyro would emerge from the building any second, because she had seen his private jet land less than five minutes ago. Spyro would be arriving with Costa. Vasilis would drive them both to the villa.
Kathy kept glancing at her watch—she was nervous. Since it was completely dark outside now, she wasn’t worried about Spyro noticing her car when he came outside. But what she was doing was risky, the timing especially crucial. She prayed that Hakim would do what he was supposed to do and that everything would go smoothly.
After another couple of long minutes passed, Spyro walked outside the terminal, talking on his phone. Costa was right beside him, pulling two small suitcases along.
Vasilis climbed out of the limo and rushed down the sidewalk to take the bag.
Kathy started her car engine.
* * *
Knowing that Spyro was headed home, Kathy let the limo pull far ahead of her on the highway. It disappeared completely from view as they went around the sharper curves.
After following the limo for twenty minutes, Kathy suddenly swerved off the highway and down a dirt road, the headlights bouncing wildly as the BMW slammed across a couple of gullies. The shortcut she was taking would get her to the villa a good three or four minutes before the limo.
She skidded the car around a curve, kicking up dirt and rocks, wincing as the chassis banged against the ground. She climbed a steep hill, the road improving a bit, passing several small farmhouses and crumbling, abandoned buildings. When she reached the top of the next hill, she rolled to a stop and turned off the headlights, but left the engine idling.
The villa was about two or three hundred yards away—the beginning of the southernmost part of the whitewashed wall was barely visible.
Kathy saw the car lights appear on the horizon and slowly turn towards her—it had to be the limo turning down the long, paved driveway.
Her own cell phone already in her hand, she quickly called the burner phone.
Hakim answered on the first ring.
“Make the call now,” Kathy told him, and cut the connection.
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