Beth held onto my hand, her fingers tracing nervously over mine while the taxi moved into the right lane avoiding the traffic toward town. The taxi driver was a little Asian man with a French moustache, which I thought looked too heavy against his small face. He remained quiet and didn’t ask questions, but that was only because he could catch a glimpse of Beth and me holding hands in his rear view mirror. I had been on this rout many times before and I noticed him taking the long way round. For money or entertainment, I couldn’t be sure but I would bet the later.
The wheels screeched and Beth’s fingers fell out of mine as the driver slammed on his breaks throwing us forward. The driver honked his horn at the youths who crossed the road without looking, one of which stick his finger up as he passed. Beth’s eyes widened as the driver started cursing and grunting something unrecognisable.
Beth’s hand came to rest in mine again as the car began to move. She didn’t need to look at me as her fingers flexed in mine, words came silently as her hand slipped out of mine onto my thigh. I looked up to see the driver’s eyes paying more attention to us than on the road and still I dared her to go further.
“That’s twenty five dollars!” the driver said turning to face us.
Beth’s voice forced me to look back at her to see her thank the driver as he slammed down the boot. She smiled at me reassuringly and lifted the bag over her shoulder. I hadn’t noticed them pulling the luggage from the boot. I’d lost minutes in what felt like a few seconds of remembering my last visit here.
“Yeah” I sighed. “Here, let me take that” I said reaching for the bag on her shoulder.
“Look who it is. Our timing couldn’t be more perfect!” she cackled and made a nod toward the lifts.
I looked over to see a thin figure of a man rolling a luggage cart backwards out of the lift. Then the cart got stuck, the lift doors tinged and attempted to close repeatedly against him and the cart.
“Come on!” Beth hit my arm playfully and moved ahead starting for the lift.
I hadn’t had a chance to see her face yet to distinguish her feelings about Charlie and we’d only spoken briefly about his part in the deal with Michael but I had a feeling by the way she swivelled her hips toward him that it wasn’t good. I followed her – of course, and got there just in time to see Charlie’s face as he caught sight of us.
Beth stopped, folded her arms and cranked an eyebrow.“Hi Charlie!” she cooed.
“You have a kid?” I asked, somewhat concerned with the idea.
“No, Beth wouldn’t hurt a fly it’s me you need to watch!” I corrected him.
Charlie looked up “then yes, I have children, two in fact…no four, and a wife! I’d be missed!” he said speedily.
Charlie watched in surprise and coked me in close enough to whisper “I see why you like her!”
“Huh? Oh, nothing” I shook it off with a smile.
Beth let it go, instead she directed her attention back to Charlie, “So, Charlie, Chaz, you little hunk you, you owe us a favour!” she teased punching him gently on the shoulder and with stern face dared him to ague it.
Beth looked at me and I looked at Charlie, “Yeah, you do actually” I nodded softly.
Charlie hesitated, thinking back to how he had lied to us in the past. “Ah, I do, you’re right” he agreed, solemnly searching both of us for forgiveness. But for true forgiveness he had to repay his debt and that would set us free!
“Charlie?” Beth’s voice echoed over the heat wave hitting the Caribbean cost.
I lifted my head up from the sun-lounger and looked over my sunglasses at her. She was fighting her way through the white sand with two ice-cream cones in her hand. I pushed my shades up to rest on the top of my head and sat up to take my ice-cream as she joined me.
“Poor Charlie, you think he’ll have found out by now?” I asked.
Beth laughed softly and sat down on the sun-lounger opposite me. Her skin was already a stunning bronze glowed in the sun. I couldn’t help but watch her licking and nibbling on her cone, knowing how good it feels to be at the mercy of her tongue like that.
Beth looked away at the ocean, the breeze blowing the loose strands of her hair in her face. Sweeping them away with her free hand she looked back at me, sorry for what she was about to say. “Yes, I know.”
Meanwhile while driving across the Golden Gate Bridge toward San Francisco, Charlie revelled in the girls screams coming from the back seat of his red Porsche. That's until a set of blue lights pulled him over. Charlie watched in the rear view mirror as the cops stepped out of their car and made their way toward him with their hands already on their firearms at their waists.
“Sir, please turn the ignition off!” a cop ordered.
“Your name, please sir?” came the officer.
“Is this car registered to you sir?”
Charlie coughed, held his chest and apologised before answering “Yes officer!”
“Michael Staines?” Charlie looked ahead, confused. “No?” he said, hoping that was the correct answer.
“Sir, Michael Staines was found dead at his home last week under suspicious circumstances and we have reason to believe you are driving his car, please step out of the vehicle with your hands above your head!”
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