فصل 18

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فصل 18

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CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

Away From It All

By 11 p.m. only four lawyers remained in the offices of White and Blazevich. They were Velmano, Sims Wakefield, Jarreld Schwabe and a retired partner named Frank Cortz.

Cortz finished a phone conversation with one of Victor Mattiece’s staff. ‘That was Strider,’ he said. ‘They’re in Cairo, in some hotel. Mattiece won’t talk to us and, of course, he isn’t coming back over here. Strider says he’s behaving very strangely. They’ve told the boys with the guns to leave town immediately. The chase is over.’

‘So what are we supposed to do?’ asked Wakefield.

‘We’re on our own,’ said Cortz. ‘Mattiece isn’t going to help us.’

There was silence around the table as they all looked into the future. Then Velmano said, ‘Grantham only mentioned me and Sims. You two may be OK. And I’ve got enough money saved to spend the rest of my life hiding in Europe.’

‘It’s all right for you,’ Wakefield said. ‘I can’t hide. I’ve got a wife and six children.’

‘I think you should go home and tell your wife what to expect,’ Velmano said.

‘I can’t do that,’ Wakefield said. He got up and left the room.

A minute later they heard the sound of a single gunshot from his office.


After eight days in the sun of the Virgin Islands her skin was brown enough and her hair was returning to its natural colour. She walked miles up and down the beaches and ate nothing except fish and fruit. She slept a lot the first few days.

She looked at her wrist and then remembered that her watch was in a bag somewhere. She didn’t need it here. She woke with the sun and went to bed after dark. But now she was waiting, so she had looked at her wrist.

It was almost dark when the taxi stopped at the end of the small road. He got out, paid the driver and looked at the lights as the car disappeared back up the road. He had one bag. He could see a light from the house between the trees at the edge of the beach, and he walked towards it. He didn’t know what to expect. He knew how he felt about her, but did she feel the same?

She was waiting at the back of the house, looking out to sea, with a drink in her hand. She smiled at him, put down her drink and let him come to her.

They kissed for a long minute. ‘You’re late,’ she said.

‘This is not the easiest place to find,’ Gray said. ‘Even when you have directions.’

‘I know,’ she said. ‘That’s the idea. It’s beautiful, though, isn’t it?’

‘It is. You are too.’

‘Let’s go for a walk,’ she said.

He changed into a pair of shorts and they walked together on the beach, hand in hand.

‘You left early,’ she said.

‘I got tired of it. I’ve written a story a day since the big one, and they kept wanting more. I was working eighteen hours a day. Yesterday I said goodbye.’

‘I haven’t seen a paper for days,’ she said.

‘Coal’s finished. The President will be OK. I don’t think he did anything really bad; he’s just stupid. He won’t get reelected, though. You read about Wakefield?’

‘Yes, that was in the last paper I saw.’

‘They’ve got Schwabe. They want Velmano too, but he’s disappeared. Of course Mattiece is in deep trouble, and they’re after four of his men too.’

They walked in silence along the beach. She put her arm round his waist and he pulled her closer. ‘I’ve missed you,’ she said softly. He breathed deeply, but said nothing. ‘How long will you stay?’ she asked.

‘I don’t know. A couple of weeks. Maybe a year. It depends on you.’

‘Let’s take it a month at a time. OK, Gray?’

‘Perfect.’

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