|“Call Lynne Hightower, she’s perfect for the job, she has an upbeat personality, she’s charming, cunning, and focused, but most of all she’s a perfectionist.” Clark Stephen said. “She rehearses her parts impeccably and she also possesses spontaneous timing.”
“How are you this morning Mrs. Anderson?” Mike asked, setting a tray of assorted fruit on the small round table near the foot of the bed.
“I am wonderful, Mr. Anderson, the wedding went without a hitch and I am on my honeymoon in the beautiful Bahamas with the man I love, I could ask for nothing else right now.”
“Nothing?” Mike asked, walking up the bed on his knees, straddling me with a slice of pineapple dangling between his teeth.
“Nothing,” Watching his advance.
“Nothing?” He lowers the pineapple to my mouth.
“Nothing.” I slowly open my mouth to take a bite of the pineapple.
Briiing-Briing! Briiing-Briing! We glance at each other and then at the phone. “Don’t answer it.” he said.
“Oh Mike, don’t’ be ridiculous.”
He shoots a look to the ceiling and rolls out of his straddle behind me, as I roll in the opposite direction, reaching for the phone.
“Hello?” I answer.
A low stern, robotic voice speaks on the other end. “Lynne Hightower, I have a package for you.”
“I understand, thank you.”
I hang up the phone and pull out my briefcase. Mike, looking surprised, knowing that the call is from my employer. Frantically shaking his head for me to refuse the job and then flop on the bed disappointment.
I pull the secured line headset over my ears, turn it on, and position the mouthpiece.
“We have an assignment that requires your expertise.”
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I whispered. “Can’t you get Katrina?”
“The boss asked for you, Hightower.”
“I’m on my honeymoon, Drake!”
“I’m just the messenger, Lynne; there’s a flight returning to the states at 1:45 this afternoon,” he continued. Your ticket is at the airport. You will arrive at LAX approximately 5:50 our time. There will be a car there to pick you up.”
“I’ll be there and it’s Lynne ANDERSON!”
Clicking off the headset, I let out a disgusted sigh, as I pack my headset away.
“Why can’t you have a normal job?”
“And sit behind a desk waiting to be yelled at by unsatisfied clients, no thanks.”
I turn and gaze into his big brown eyes and softly nibble on his earlobe. “Besides, I’ll only be a couple of days, then I’m all yours.”
He smiles and turns to kiss me on the lips. “What’s so important that you have to leave now?”
“I won’t know until I get there.”
The car pulls up to the agency at 7:30 pm. I pick up the black suitcase and purse with my fake ID and key to room 734 at the Luxe Hotel on Sunset Blvd. I lift the video broach from my pocket and pin it to my blazer, then insert the invisible earpiece in my right ear and rake my hair over it. Before exiting the car in front of the hotel, I activate the broach. “Are you there?” I ask barely above a whisper.”
“We are with you Lynne. A snapshot of your target has been sent via your cell phone. There’s an art exhibit tomorrow night at the Beverly Hills Hotel, where you will meet him. Your mission is to get him to take you to the Key Club. That’s where you work your magic and get him back to your hotel room; our guys are in the adjacent room 732. This has to be handled quietly, meaning you have to get up close and personal. Everything you need is in the luggage as usual and you’ll be back on your honeymoon by 6:00 a.m.”
I locate room 734, four doors to the left of the elevator and directly next to the stairwell. Upon entering the room I lay the suitcase on the bed to examine the contents. I turn on my cell phone and upload the photo of Alexander Smith. He is a good-looking man with black hair and blue eyes. I scroll down to his stats, to find he is five foot eleven and one hundred and seventy pounds. “Not bad.” I go over various plans of action in my head until I decide which ones will work best in this situation. All I have to do is get him here and stick this knife into him.
I open the adjoining door to room 732. “Hi guys.”
Brandon and Gilbert, the cleaners in the case, return my greeting.
“Brandon, do you want to make a run?”
“Sure Lynne, what do you need?”
“I made a list, we can veg-out in here for awhile.”
"I've set the DVD player up already,” Gilbert said.
“Great, what did you bring?”
“The long Kiss Goodnight, Something’s Wrong With Mary, and your favorite, Point of No Return.”
Brandon returns with the crackers and spinach dip, veggie tray and strawberry kiwi drink that I had on the list. “They only had canned fruit.”
Brandon and Gilbert glance at each other and chuckle.
”So what are we watching tonight, Lynne?” Gilbert asked.
“Let’s see what Geena Davis and Samuel L. Jackson are up to.”
Gilbert took the DVD out of the case and pop it into the player. “They are up to 'The Long Kiss Goodnight',” he said, pushing the play button on the remote control.
“Well, that’s it for me guys. I’ll see you at our next gig,” standing to return to my room.
I dose off thinking about the assignment. Beep-beep, beep-beep, the alarm sounds; 6:00 a.m. I pull on my bathing suit and go down for an early morning swim. Back at the room, I throw on the stretch clothes and practice my Tai Kwon Doe.
The car arrives at 5:00 p.m. sharp. I step into it wearing a navy dress and blazer, with the video broach and earpiece in place. Arriving at the art exhibit I spot Alexander Smith admiring a gorgeous abstract painting with a bold narrow line starting at the top right corner and extending to the bottom left corner. The left side of the painting is bright cheery colors, gentle strokes of reds, yellows, and light to sky blues while the right side; angry peaks and blobs of black, grays and midnight blue. I stroll over “what an intriguing piece, I said”
“Yes it is.”
“It’s like a split personality.”
“Yes it is.”
“I’ve never seen a single painting with such contradiction, is it yours?”
“No, I’m a little more stable than that.”
“My name is Maggie Willinger,” I offer my hand.
Turning to me, he gently shakes it, “I am Alexander Smith.”
Starting the conversation I rehearsed since last night, “Are you from around here?”
“No, actually it was this painting that drew me here. I am a collector of unique art.”
“Oh, I was hoping you could tell me where a lady could go to have a nice evening. I’ll be leaving in a couple of days and I was dreading spending my time in a hotel room.” Your turn, I thought to myself.
“Well, I’m not busy tonight, I would be honored to spend the evening with you.”
“That would be great; I accept Mr. Smith,”
“Where are you staying?”
"I’m at the Luxe, over on Sunset.”
“Very good, I’ll pick you up at 9:00, I’ll be in a red Mercedes with a black top.”
“It’s a date, I’ll see you then,” shaking hands in agreement.
I watch as he pulls up to the door at 8:55. Smiling I stroll to the Mercedes as he opens the passenger door.
“Where are we going?”
"I thought we might stop by the Key Club, it’s not far from here.”
"Terrific, I have heard that is a nice place.”
We engage in rudimentary chitchat. I learned that he is from Arkansas and he chases interesting art around the globe to add to his collection.
“Ah, here we are,” he said.
Once inside he asks, “Can I buy you a drink?”
"I’m not much of a drinker. But I’ll have a glass of red wine.”
”Very good, do you mind if I have a drink or two?”
“No, not at all, please do.”
Alexander puts away his preferred drink, (double shots of Remi Martin), like water. Two hours and nine Remi Martins later, I ask, “Do you want to get out of here and go back to my room?”
He looks at me smiling, “I’d love to.”
“I’ll drive,” I said relieving him of his keys.
“Good Idea,” he said, as he follows me out of the bar.
I pull the car into the circle drive in front of the hotel, and hand the keys to the valet. Looping my arm through his, at the entrance, I escort him inside.
He glances around the room, nodding his approval. “Nice”
"It’s ok, it’s not home; Will you have a glass of wine with me?”
“Yes, I think I will.”
“Make yourself comfortable. I’ll be back with those drinks.”
I push open the swinging door, leading to the kitchenette, and return with the two glasses. I set one in front of him and take a sip of mine, making sure to leave the lipstick print to distinguish between the two. “You get started on this while I get a little more comfy. This is the remote control to the TV, should you care to watch.” I go to the bedroom through the door on the other side of the kitchenette. I take my time putting on the dark nightie from the suitcase; giving the sleeping pills I mixed in his drink a chance to take affect. I pack everything away, and have it prepared for the cleaners to pick up the case after cleaning the room and leave.
I pick up the large blade knife in my right hand and tip through the kitchenette. From the bayed, white paneled corner of the kitchenette I slowly crack open the swinging door, concealing the knife behind my back. Peaking to see if the pills have done their job, I see Alexander still sitting on the couch, his torso slumping over his lap and both arms hanging to the floor. I quietly walk to the couch burying the blade deep into his back, piercing his heart. Twisting the knife is harder than I thought, but I manage it. I walk over to the door, slide into my pumps and trench coat, and exit the room. I whisper, “done”, and head down the stairwell into the waiting car, which takes me straight to the airport.
Back at the Bahamas hotel, I stop by the kitchen and pick up a tray of fresh fruit before returning to the honeymoon suite. Mike is still asleep when I place the fruit on the small round table and slide into the bathroom to freshen up and put on the pink lace teddy that Mike bought me for the trip. Picking up a slice of pineapple, holding it between my teeth, I gently tap his toes between my thumb and forefinger. He smiles and slowly opens his eyes to me--straddling him, crawling up the length of his body.
“Good morning Mr. Anderson."