Isabella arrived at Kimmy's manor house as night time closed in. It had been a long train journey having left her car with her driver in Monaco. Isabella looked across the view. It was a view she hadn't seen in more than three years. A warm breeze fluttered amongst distant scrub that littered the hill side around the manor house. It was coming up late at night and she heard distant laughter knowing instantly that her daughter was at home. She knocked on the door.
Jasmine was wiping some green paint off her nose as Paul looked towards the direction of the door "Are we expecting anyone?"
Jasmine was concerned as she looked towards Paul and she said "No just stay there."
She walked to the door and adjusted her white T-shirt and straightened her green, emerald skirt and she opened the door.
Jasmine was surprised "Mum what are you doing here?"
Isabella stood stern faced "Let me in and I'll tell you."
Jasmine obliged as she opened the door. Isabella walked to see Paul sitting on the sofa sneaking the couple of wine bottles that he was clearing away.
"Good to see you again Paul. We have away of bumping into each other."
Paul responded "We do."
Isabella looked back to Jasmine "You and I need to talk, alone!"
Jasmine looked towards Paul's direction and she said "Paul knows. He was the first to figure it out."
Isabella was annoyed as she looked towards Paul "I suppose that is to be expected. Your a journalist after all. I was involved with one for nearly a decade."
Paul said nothing and he was unsure of whether he was being insulted or not. This was one of those times he wish that he could understand sarcasm from other people. Jasmine looked to her mum and back to Paul and saw that he was being made uncomfortable and defended him.
"We talk together or not at all."
Isabella responded "Fine, that's alright with me. "
Isabella walked with them to a covered walkway that looked to onto a light pinkish red cobbled surface lit by a row of wall lights.
"What you have discovered is a secret that I had hoped would never come out. Your uncle had been wanting to leave the Brethren and he had worked silently for nearly ten years undermining them and worked secretly until about three years go when the Brethren was getting to powerful. They had placed feelers on the black market for nuclear suitcases. The Libyan government contacted us through a third party saying that they could get hold of what we asked."
Jasmine sat intrigued "What happened?"
Isabella sighed "Giovanni was sent to look at it. The Brethren didn't know we were beginning to work against them. I was told about it. I went with Giovanni to Libya. The suitcase was genuine. We bought one with a view to purchasing more."
Jasmine looked shocked "More?"
Isabella sat as Paul brought her a cup of tea "We bought an additional four."
Jasmine sounded surprised "Four."
Paul sat still and he said "If you and Giovanni went to see this suitcase. How come you didn't sail back?"
Isabella continued "We had a member of the Brethren on board pose as a new crew member."
Jasmines face was one of disbelief "You blew up the ship!"
Isabella nodded "Giovanni did it himself and afterwards he came to me two days later when I was in Paris. The inquiry was a cover up, we bribed a judge who was investigating the sinking. The captain was a good man."
Jasmine shook her head in disbelief "Still it wasn't right to sink a ship."
Isabella was defiant "Would you rather have seen those suitcases in enemy hands. Its easy to cling to your ideals when your not in the front line."
Paul said nothing and he continued to stare at Isabella.
Jasmine continued to be in a state of disbelief "That's why my Uncle was killed. It wasn't just because he wanted out."
Isabella continued to be defiant as they sat in the kitchen "Your uncle knew that once the Brethren had found out they would come after him. They found out only two months ago and an order was made to take care of him."
Paul spoke for the first time "Why not you?"
Isabella looked to him "Because I have files and things against the Brethren set aside. Its my insurance policy if they come against me. They also know that because of my connections that my removal would be inadvisable."
Paul was confused "I thought all the documents where destroyed at Dukes Hall."
Isabella smiled and she said "Some were. But one thing you learn is to have back ups and copies. I am not going to say where and you are both in way beyond were you should be."
"They will come after you. Files or no files. Your recovery of this suitcase has caused a problem I hope would have gone away."
Paul sat and looked to Jasmine and Isabella "What do we do now?"
Isabella looked to her daughter "As I said there are more suitcases on the Athena."
Jasmine continued "Kimmy said that she had received the order. We will be ready tomorrow."
Isabella yawned "Fine until then I am heading to bed. It has been a long journey from Monaco."
Jasmines eyes looked upwards "There's a spare bed upstairs."
After an hour Isabella and Jasmine walked together leaving Paul alone in the lounge. As they walked upstairs Isabella turned to her daughter.
"I am sorry I didn't say anything earlier."
Jasmine nodded in agreement "Its a lot for me to swallow. But whilst I don't agree with what you did. I can understand it.”
The two stopped halfway across the upstairs hallway and they hugged each other.
"Your father would be proud of you. Your just like him."
Jasmine spoke with a saddened voice "Did he know what you were doing?"
Isabella replied "He discovered my relationship when I went to see your Uncle in London. He was furious but he never knew about your uncles work or what I did."
Jasmine nodded "You loved him?"
Isabella "Your uncle?"
Isabella continued walking "Yes."
They walked into the spare room.
"You and Paul seem to be close."
Jasmine felt embarrassed "We have gotten to know each other."
Isabella was curious "Are you in love with him?"
Jasmine knew her mum was prodding and put her guard up "I trust him Mum."
Isabella said nothing as she headed into her spare room "See you in the morning."
Jasmine responded repeating her mothers words and walked back to the main part of the house. The night had closed in and the warm breeze had turned chilly. Paul was closing the doors and shutters as Jasmine came down the stairs.
"Mums gone to sleep."
Paul turned round as he closed the last of the windows "What now?"
Jasmine sighed as they both sat on the sofa in the main lounge "Tomorrow we recover those suitcases. We hand them to the authorities and we put this whole business behind us."
Paul walked to where Jasmine was "What will you do then?"
Jasmine shook her head "I hadn't thought about it really."
Paul eagerly said "I will have a lot to write about. Provided you or your mum don't object."
Jasmine bit her lip "You may not be able to write this."
Paul thought about it for a moment "To sensitive?"
Jasmine nodded "That and my mum would deny any involvement."
Paul "My boss is expecting something."
Jasmine tried to reassure him "He will get something."
She paused for a moment and looked around.
Paul noticed that Jasmine looked like she was lost as she had been in the hotel a few nights ago "What's wrong?"
Jasmine turned to face Paul "I look at the people who have let me down. The difficulties of the past few years and then you."
Paul shrugged his shoulders trying to deflect the affection "What did I do?"
Jasmine sat closer and grabbed his left hand "Nothing. You have just been there. When I saw you on the Dorset coast I didn't know what to make of you."
Paul sat next to Jasmine on the sofa "What do you think of me now?"
Jasmine moved closer to him "I know you have difficulties. I see that. But you have a good heart. You have been honest and it is something I rarely get or have ever had. Not to mention your a good kisser."
Paul looked surprised at the change in conversation "Kissing. We have never kissed."
Jasmines eyes gave little away of what she was intending to do "Not yet."
Jasmine grabbed Paul's head and they kissed passionately for what seemed like an eternity. It was the first time they had kissed and they didn't feel embarrassed. For Paul the room spun, his head was in a whir. For Jasmine it was a release, emotions welled up, ecstasy flowed through every second they kissed. After they had kissed both of them said nothing as they catched their breath.
Paul was stunned "I wasn't expecting that."
Jasmine smiled "I needed that. Release the tension and all that."
Paul was taken aback "It certainly released the tension."
They both smiled and laughed.