All falls apart
Having taken the circuitous route from the solicitors, they were in a random pizza house or rather it was more like a cafe which happened to do pizzas. They were famished.
While they waited, Leyton addressed the girls. ‘Miles had many business interests which ceased when he died and it was assumed they passed to Laura. She has records of these and so, who did she stipulate they passed to? I’d guess she didn’t. As there is now a bequest from her for any ongoing businesses, with we four signatories, we owe it to Laura to keep her name and memory front and square.
So let’s give her a good send-off – I’d say £10,000 might about do it, make sure we invite everyone we can find who knew her, let’s give her a family identity. Also Miles. Would you agree?’
They nodded vigorously.
‘If we run these businesses properly, the way Miles was doing, we are going to be very well off and will have the luxury to do our side projects.’
‘Side projects?’ asked Sarah.
‘The type of work you two like to get your teeth into.’
‘It sounds a bit too good to be true.’
‘It’s nothing like you were getting, Sarah.’
‘Are you kidding? At that price? Sis would agree – we’re your girls.’
Jenny was more circumspect. ‘I know what riches do to people. These aren’t riches, we have to build this business but I still fear greed creeping in.’
‘Four signatories. We’ll draw up articles to cover all that. At least, we’ll have Mr. Pendlebury do it.’
‘Sorry to put a dampener,’ said Jenny, ‘but our defence is a major issue now, our self-defence. ‘It’s not going to come cheap. I’m not sure our bequest will cover it.’
‘It won’t but the business, added to that, will do. Your job, the two of you, is to tackle all the fine detail, find out about Miles’s businesses, don’t place yourself in danger, see the two patrons, thrash out a deal. Don’t be too easy but be more like Miles was – seem to be easy. That’s not your thing, Jenny. Maybe Sarah can do that bit. I want those patrons to know that it will be business as usual. In fact, business back to normal, as it’s gone down a bit recently.’
‘I think you’re best at that side of things,’ said Sarah. ‘I’ll do the first bit but then it’s up to you. Do you want to make love to us?’
‘I want to know.’
‘Laura asked me that. Of course I do but I’m not going to, not with my partners.’
‘That’s all I wanted to hear.’
‘Please tell me honestly – do you feel you’ve come home?’
‘Oh yes. Let’s make this work now.’
The pizzas arrived.
It had been a month, the funeral did Laura proud, the memorial stone had been placed at the dock [for a consideration], the meetings with the skippers had taken place.
‘Do you want to do your own maintenance or pay a bit higher percentage and I take care of it once a year?’
‘You?’ said one of them.
‘Yes, contract it back to anyone good at it. With the expanded fields and better catches now, the core rate drops to 4%, provided you’ll clear the boat of known naughty lads, if you won’t do that, it’s 6% and we’ll do it for you – you know my patrons – for annual maintenance, including all materials, add 2% to either of those two rates.’
‘How are you going to keep the ex-EUs off our backs?’
‘We do have a cunning plan, part of that plan is in operation now. It really depends on your catches which would mean we’d have the cash to pay for good muscle, the type which asks no beg pardons.’
‘And the girls?’
‘They’re mine. I know of Miles’s talk with you.’
‘Sounds all right to me.’
And so it went.
There was a different meeting in Amsterdam. Translated, it ran:
Man 1 in suit: Make him an offer or sink his boats?
Woman: There are two little bitches in the background looking out for that.
Man 2: But it can be done?
Woman: Oh yes, it can be done.
Man 2: He still has tabs through the department, it’s made it more difficult, he’s getting help, our own people are trying to close access to him but can’t show themselves too much. Let’s make him an offer.
Man 1: So be it.
There was a meeting of the four principals plus one patron on a boat of the latter’s choosing.
‘Leyton,’ spoke the patron, ‘I sometimes gave Miles advice and it was that we had to be ruthless with any challenge. Are you on board with that or are you an appeaser?’
‘The former. Look at the girls.’
‘Then I judged right. You can use our sources over there, the girls won’t get close enough for that information. Once we know the names, it will need to be meticulously planned.’
‘You’ll stipulate what you need from it?’
‘Oh yes but it will be well within reason. We’re doing our own demarcation negotiations, saves the government the job.’
There was the noise of a helicopter hovering above and a minute later, someone came down to the deck. Another minute and she was inside the wheelhouse, being offered her regular schnapps.
They were introduced to Gabby by the patron. ‘Gabby runs a fleet up and down the Dutch coast in a similar way to Miles but the scene is a bit more cut throat over there. Let’s thrash out the details now so that they’re satisfactory to all of us. Gabby, tell us who’s making a play for Leyton’s fishing operation?’
‘Top of my head – van der Haar, Schmelling, Dotty, some others perhaps.’
‘Listen to this.’ He put a disk into the player and she listened attentively, then indicated he pause.
‘That’s van der Haar’s man. He only plays one way. It’s going to need some persuasion from us.’
‘Now or later?’
‘Oh now. Pre-emptive.’
‘You can do that?’
She laid them out, they were steep but not undoable. Leyton and the Jennys just listened, amazed. That’s how someone’s business was wiped out, just like that.
‘Anything you want to say to Leyton?’
Gabby smiled. ‘Pleased to meet you. We have no dispute with you, as you’re on the other side. But we’d like the right to use your Yanmar modifications.
The patron looked over at him. He replied, ‘Not an issue but how? What exactly do you want?’
‘Your Roger Wayne for a month. And your Peter Doyle.’
The patron was grinning. ‘Leyton, never ask someone like Gabby ‘is that all’. Because even if it was, she’ll now dream up something else. You’re going to have to learn this game.’
Lunch was served.
What had been planned for the fishing boats belonging to Schmelling and van der Haar now changed due to one of those two upping the ante.
In short, Laura’s boat was sunk, a great sadness to Leyton and the girls for obvious reasons but the patron – and presumably Gabby – saw this requiring response, escalated response. The patron obviously saw the slightly naive Leyton in these matters possibly taking it easier but as he explained when he dropped in for his pick of the catch for that week – with people like van der Haar, you don’t go easy.
Thus things were set up for the coming Sunday evening. One thing which had added stick was that a prized mechanic working for Leyton, as he had for Miles, an irreplaceable person truth be known, in fact the very one they were sending to Gabby, was killed in the sinking.
Leyton asked about escalation – how it ever stopped.
‘It stops with someone wiped out or close to it. It can’t go on forever because upping the ante can only go on so long. But the point does have to be made all the same. We have that one in hand – you take care of the funeral.’
What Leyton knew he meant in this case was to make a loud affair of it, full honours, that sort of thing, along with assurances this was now in hand. That in itself, through the spies, was a message. Also, his demeanour would be scrutinized. Leyton was still setting out his stall, it was vital it was done strongly.
He nodded and offered another vino.
Sunday evening, about 23:35 Amsterdam time, fifteen crews were told to jump off their boats and swim right out of the way, they had fifteen seconds to get off, the charges were put in the bilges, there was a two minute delay and then, more or less at the same time up and down the coast, the boats were blown up, debris a fair way around the location of each former boat.
At the same time, a well dressed escort brought a tray of drinks to the meeting of van der Haar and certain people from his organization, the escort retired graciously and various noises were made about meeting her after the meeting.
One minute later, the walls of the room were blown out.
At the same time, Schmelling received a phone call to check the news. He was lucky it had not been him – best to get out of the fishing business while the going was good.
As Schmelling was locked into various ex-EU moves on the industry of the former vassal called Britain, this couldn’t be allowed to stand and so some of the higher ups called a meeting for the following Wednesday. Leyton was not invited, his patron was and that was a statement in itself.
The meeting was chaired by a public representative acting for figures in the government of the UK and there were ex-EU representatives also present. So was Gabby, although she protested she didn’t know why she was there.
The complication in reparation was that it had not been any of Schmelling’s operations hit, nor his personnel, not personally. It was van der Haar’s and van der Haar was no longer around to put his case. The only solution was an agreement to stop this destructive escalation now as it threatened to derail the agenda of elements in Europe for British industry.
As the patron had surmised, it really did put a lid on it. One of the things threatened in any escalation was not just that names would be named by careless people … but that the central crossborder moneyspinner was being threatened, and that would not be put up with under any circumstances.
The patron felt that that might buy Leyton about a year.
‘Your boatyard,’ started the patron two months later and Leyton had a sinking feeling.
‘You use it for winter maintenance – well all the year round because it’s a small yard but there is unused brown land beyond your fence, twice as much as your yard. I know who owns it and can buy or lease for you.’
‘Because I’m such an angel. No, seriously, have you thought of diversifying?’
‘Think about it. How often do you get big waves, say 10 feet?’
‘Wind opposed to tide – not often and not for the whole day as a rule, not with our land buffers.’
‘How about building something different, like hovercraft?’
‘I have better – it’s an idea I’ve thought about since reading about these ecranoplans, ground effect.’
‘They fly just above the surface. As long as the distance between surface and wing is in proportion to the overall size of the craft, they work. In practical terms they can handle a seven foot sea.’
‘You’d get that more often. So not commercially viable eh?’
‘I was thinking – you could run one of these as your main craft, as a ferry perhaps and then on those bad days, use a hydrofoil – both are easy to build. There’d be a point – across the river, up river, down. Your website would announce days when only the hydrofoil is available. Problem is concessions in this country, council trying to muscle in.’
‘Which is where we come in. From scratch, you’d have no hope. We though have some people friendly enough to us on the council. It would be another string to your bow and I think you might need a few of those. You could combine it with a sort of tearoom onboard, a bit like Betty’s, get in some good cooks and it would be a winner. Leyton, we have to use our assets to our advantage.’
‘My issue right now is the Jennys – I don’t want to lose them but they’re chafing at the bit and I don’t have anything to suit them at this moment.’
‘I do but you put limits on what I could use them for.’
‘As long as it’s righting an injustice, they’re fine. It’s just going out and torpedoing someone that’s an issue.’
‘Was I born yesterday?’
‘Of course not.’
‘You had some weird hours as a copper but overall your load was what – 50 hours a week, more?’
‘No, that’s about right.’
‘Despite what you’ve heard about a boss sitting back enjoying the fruits, I’d work maybe 65 hours – every hour I put in is productive and helps the business interests. Seems to me you dropped off a bit after you left and I know why. But now it’s time to diversify your holdings – do things people want, like that ferry with the tearooms. It takes work but what else is there to do?’
‘I’ll get onto the boat and yard idea, I can freelance the girls but they mustn’t be paid over the odds for obvious reasons – you planning to take them from me?’
‘You’re more use onside. I’ll ask about the land next to the yard. You get talking to your people.’
‘Can you put it to him that I’m more use on computers and online, as we did before? I don’t mind the occasional job of the other kind but as a freelance, not as an employee. Sarah will surprise you – she’s the computer whiz. I’m not bad on hacking but she can build. Would he be interested in that? Would you? Maybe we can start that as another of these strings to the bow he talks about. If it got about that we were pretty hot online, then that might throw up some possibilities.’
‘I’ll put it to him, we meet fairly regularly now as you know. I know you want back into the action but I also don’t want to lose you.’
‘You won’t lose me, I tell you that now. As for sis, I can’t say.’
‘I might get ideas but if sis won’t join me, that would mean I wouldn’t. I like what we have now.’
‘Could you create an online business for him – fashion, anything?’
‘Fashion’s not my bag,’ said Jenny, ‘but the tech side is. Let’s think about that one.’
‘Jane?’ asked Leyton.
‘I like the bean counting, that’s my thing, being the anchor. Give me the accounts, visiting the skippers, doing the invoices. As for the girls, as long as they can stay freelance, that’s the big thing for them. They must not be blackmailed into being on a payroll.’
‘That’s my concern,’ said Jenny.
‘Seems to me,’ said Jane, ‘That we should only go into repeated-use things, things people will always use. The teashop idea is always good and on the boat is ideal, it would never end. Computer services is always good, selling whole grains is one I was thinking about – by the bagful. Meanwhile, keep the fishing going and the Jennys do their jobs for people, with that proviso. There is a cloud though.’
‘Oh?’ asked Leyton.
‘It’s the girls, their age, their future. The two of us have got to where we want but the girls have the idea of marriage, family ahead. That requires a man or two. That’s going to always be an issue in the next few years. They might not think that now but it will come.’
‘You prefer we weren’t with Leyton?’ asked the always direct Sarah.
‘No, because he told me about your question to him,’ Sarah went red, ‘and I’m fine with you both now, don’t get me wrong. At this time, I’m fine with it all. I do like you girls, you’re refreshing.’
‘Thank you,’ said Jenny. ‘We’ll just have to take it as it comes. There’s nothing now, who knows?’
Six months is an eternity when the situation is fluid, when things are being bought, set up, when people are sorting out their futures. Into this came Robert Landers.
Five years older than the twins, it was natural that Sarah would be the one smitten, Jenny more circumspect as usual – Jenny was always the organizational girl, placing the firm over the person. There’d been two jobs for the patron, they’d done their bit but he’d seen they couldn’t be coaxed away and frankly, Leyton was more use onside – those boats were critical without scrutiny.
Holland seemed to have responded to the call for a ceasefire so all in all, it wasn’t too bad just now. The yard had been extended – for a consideration to the council – the first ferry had been launched and a happy compromise had been reached – they’d not do the straight ferry run, it would be as part of the round trip, therefore longer than a straight ferry trip.
Robert was the mate on the Nellie May, one of Leyton’s fleet and the captain had seen his potential, both for the girls and for Leyton. To have the ability but none of the cavalier of a Jan van Vriet, to actually find an honest person, was really something and it was at a meeting on Leyton’s first ferry that he’d met Sarah, though he’d met Jenny many times and had liked what he’d seen.
Everyone with an organization sees a line of succession, Leyton had neither sons or daughters, nor nieces and nephews he’d trust – he needed an heir but was in no hurry, as he explained to Robert. His idea was, just as with the fishing fleet – to have autonomous bosses running each part, paying a percentage – Miles’s old model. It might be that Robert would go the ferry route, it might be that there’d be another diversification – how about just learning the ropes now and there’d be time enough to be a boss later?
‘That’s exactly what I had in mind, sir,’ said Robert. ‘It’s to my advantage – ours if I can persuade Sarah – to do it just this way, learn on the job.’
‘How much do you know about Sarah?’ asked Jane.
‘Only what she’s told me. We all know that as twins, they do some heavy jobs, we know Sarah’s had previous issues.’
‘Not our place,’ said Jane, ‘but you need her to talk that out with her before you contemplate anything more permanent. You really do need to. Leyton and I will answer any question but we won’t volunteer information on Sarah.’
Robert had left after a short lunch and Jenny, who’d heard most of it, asked to be allowed to speak.
‘Why did you create this mystery over Sarah? May I talk to him?’
‘By all means,’ said Leyton, ‘we didn’t think it was our place to. Sarah is taken in by men more than you are – I’d say you’re a more stable proposition than sis -’
‘Perhaps … but that’s always been the problem … she’s never had anyone stay with her and she so desperately wants a good man -’
‘As all hetero women do,’ said Jane, ‘and vice-versa for the boys. We’re neutral in this, Jenny, we want what is going to turn out stable and longterm. Call that my influence but I think that’s one thing Leyton puts up with me for.’
Jenny considered. ‘Yes, she’s a caution, sis. I have some influence, not a lot. Leyton, you need to talk to her one-on-one, she responds to men one-on-one as you know. You need to tell her what a man needs in her, how he’d stay loyal, how he’d get up and leave just like that. She can take that these days. Would you do that? If it’s OK with Jane of course.’
‘He should,’ said Jane.
‘What do you think of him?’ asked Leyton Young.
Sarah sipped on her champagne and looked steadily at him. The ferry bobbed up and down slowly, midday had seen the sun come out from behind a cloud and bathe the boat in light – she looked radiant in that eternal jumpsuit – Sarah, not the boat.
‘Must we speak of him now?’
‘Yes. I’d like.’
She sighed. ‘You don’t think a lot of me, do you … Leyton?’
‘I know your history, Sarah, don’t I? We’ve been together some time now, I think you’re gorgeous, especially with that light shining on you,’ she blushed, ‘and I’d be chasing you if there wasn’t your sister -’
‘You see, the problem I have is I like you so much -’
‘You know I mean love. But that comment could almost be taken as a threat, given your past ways. Look at how we are now, Jane and I, also Jenny – we want things to work.’
‘Don’t have any fear on that score … Leyton … not on my score, I know the lie of the land, I’m thinking my thoughts and they’ll stay mine for now … about Robert I mean.’
‘I have to ask it – have you laid the hit on Miles to rest, have you laid the rest of it … to rest?’
She looked at him and smiled. ‘You take risks, don’t you? I really like that in a man.’
‘It’s the reference to ‘a man’, ‘any man’ which worries me – if I were your man, I’d not like you always bringing other men into the conversation. Call it naive but I’d like to think you were mine.’
‘I’d like to be yours.’
‘You know what I mean.’
‘You’d really like to know me in every sense, wouldn’t you?’
He sighed. ‘You’re intriguing, delectable, that’s it. I could fall for you and must not. All right, if you won’t open up about him, there’s nothing more I can do.’
‘I have feelings, yes, he seems a good man, on the way up, he seems to have ways about him which Miles did. You’re here to tell me what men need, I know what they need and if I loved one, he would have no cause to complain. But Leyton, I like more established men, men who’ve got to where they’re going and I don’t mean money. I think Robert will do very well but I have to be his one and only, his focus.’
‘Thanks, Sarah, when you’re open, I like it so much better.’
‘I know that.’
‘You’re the one I fear most, you know that too?’
‘Yes. Because you don’t know, because there is the unknown in me. And I don’t mind that sort of mystery for reasons you would know. But I tell you this – when I decide on one man, no one need concern themselves about anything the way you have – I’m not regressing to Holland, not anything.’
‘How can you be so certain?’
‘Because I’ve been through it, they gave me their worst, Jan betrayed me, I’m stronger. I’m telling you this so you can stop worrying.’
‘Yes but it’s your calculating way which does worry me.’
‘I am what I am, I’m loyal, I was loyal to Jan, I’m loyal to you now. I’m always loyal to sis.’
He’d stood to refill the glasses, she now stood up, stood in the way in fact, and she was looking straight through his eyes. The distance closed to nothing, he placed the kiss on her lips which had always been coming.
She didn’t respond, nor did she recoil. And she did not get out of the way.
Now she placed her lips on his and as he went to move his head, she moved her whole body to follow him. He stepped back and she stepped forward, lips still joined, he went to take her arms to move her aside and she looked down at where he was holding her, as if it were a violation, which at least broke the kiss.
He was frightened and she knew it.
Then he took her in his arms and poured a torrent into her through the kiss, the usual surrendering began, then she upped the anti by letting the fingers of her right hand rest around the outline of his rigid member … but no more.
He stepped back and she did not follow.
They just stood there, the atmosphere could have been cut with a knife.
‘You poor dear,’ she ventured. ‘I cause you so much trouble.’
‘May we just sit, may we have a champagne each?’
‘Of course. You’ve taken your time.’
He just gazed at her and then uttered something which might be written, ‘Phew,’ or similar. He brought the champagne over from the bucket. She played no coy games, nor did she penetrate him with her gaze, she ceased all gamesmanship and just held out her glass – he looked at that shapely wrist while he was pouring.
They clinked glasses, no pointed toast, no heavy innuendo, nothing. Just her there and a feeling he was sinking.
‘You’re going to bring Jane into it now, aren’t you?’
‘I don’t know what to say to you, I truly don’t.’
‘I’m asking whether what you’ve just experienced would be something Robert could handle. Jenny seems more his type.’
He had to own she’d given quite a demonstration – she’d made it clear it would require someone of his calibre or more adept to handle her, keep her in line. And as if having followed these thoughts, she observed: ‘You do see what I’m getting at … don’t you, Leyton.’ She nodded at his tadger which was still at attention.
‘What do you want, knowing I’m married?’
‘I can’t want anything, can I? I know who might not be right for me, I know who would. But life is life.’
‘I’m not sure I should have allowed this today.’
‘You had to, you had no choice. This day has been coming for a long time and you know that. Jenny would call me compressed fury.’
‘I would never leave her, I love her.’
‘I know you wouldn’t and if you did, my interest in you would cease at that moment. Nor is she in any danger, things go on as they always have – well since you got me back I mean.’
‘Goodness. I’m really at a loss.’
‘I had to set out the stall, I had to get you to see how things were.’
‘I know you did and that makes it worse – I like you even more now.’
‘In this case … like. The love part you know.’
‘My glass is empty.’
Five hours later, heads on pillows, Jane asked him, ‘You want a child by her?’
‘No, not really. I’m not sure about her stability, about what would happen. We discussed adoption once, you and me, we decided no – that’s surprised me through the years.’
‘You’re speaking as if we’re no longer young. I’m a long way from menopausal.’
He looked over quickly. ‘You want, yes?’
‘Would you start looking elsewhere?’
‘That’s flattering but I think I know what works and what’s speculation.’
‘Listen, if your heart is set -’
‘It’s not. The circumstances all have to be right and it’s not as if we’re talking my own child, we’re talking of adoption just to have a child. I ceased wanting it that much. My own – maybe, someone else’s? No.’
There was silence.
‘She made a play, didn’t she?’
‘I’d have to say no, she could have done it differently if she really was. She knows where it is, where she is, where I am, where you are … where Jenny is. She and Robert is not an idea which will work, not at this stage, maybe after five years, a decade. She’s no girl. Jenny is though.’
‘I know, that’s why I don’t mind you with Jenny. Did Sarah get under your guard?’
‘Yes. There was a kiss, she was, as she said, setting out her stall.’
‘I want the truth – would you rather be with her?’
‘No. She’s too much like doing it all again, I’m past that now, even at this age. You count your blessings, I think. I’ve got what I want, I often wonder if you have.’
‘I have. I admit I was thinking of some changes to our life around the time Miles appeared on the scene and they’ve happened anyway – I’m fine with it all. No, that’s wrong – I’m happy enough. But it doesn’t sort out those two, does it?’
‘No.’ He paused. ‘What about Robert and Jenny?’
‘We can’t matchmake.’
‘No, we can’t.’
The patron wanted to see Leyton, also Jane this time. The venue was one of the three ferries they now had.
‘Can’t use your girls for this, they’re too well known. Can’t go over myself and I need someone who knows how to push – you’ve learnt that well. It’s a cocktail party and you’d go out on the balcony, that sort of thing, talk to them, then come back next day. Everyone would have partners there, I want yours with you … dear lady,’ he turned to Jane and attempted a winning smile, ‘but you’re mainly there to check out the opposition, their women, give an assessment. You can do that?’ he asked Jane in that way Leyton knew meant it might be a good idea to accept.
Jane knew it too and accepted. She wanted anyway. In fact, her heart had leapt. So there it was.
It was in the 2006 renovated Cercle-Cité in Luxembourg, with that light and grand staircase, a place you could hold balls but hardly cocktail parties – Leyton and Jane had the general idea when it came to recommended dress – he’d not worn white tie since his wedding.
There were possibly two flies in the ointment – one is that it was known they were the patron’s people and he had enemies. The second was that Leyton himself had enemies on the continent with that fishing unpleasantness some time back.
On the other hand, the patron’s people would be supporting them but both seemed to want the Jennys more – they felt the Jennys were a bit more clever, too clever for any miscreants. One of the key reasons for Sarah not being there was the threat of kidnap or killing. So anyway, here they were on the cold floor, drinks in hand and chatting through their simultaneous translator.
They saw the pair they needed to speak with, Leyton excused himself and ambled over to the far side. The man RobertRobertRobertRobert went with Leyton to one of the inside balconies, as had been mooted, plus the translator, they leant over the balustrade and negotiated.
Among the swirling throng below, he caught sight of Jane and she was with a quite earnest couple, the man and the two women moved towards and under the balcony they were on and Leyton was worried. He’d give this one he was with ten more minutes and then go looking. He looked across again and the man was observing him with great interest. The man began the conversation again.
He saw Jane reappear below and returned to the negotiations more aggressively, so much so that it came to the point of the man accepting … or not.
Finally he nodded and that was that as far as the patron was concerned. What concerned Leyton was that Jane had disappeared a second time and he hadn’t been watching. It was time to go back down to the great hall anyway but of Jane there was no sign. He went over to end of the hall where the ORs were gathered and asked the patron’s man about Mrs. Young.
He’d seen the first disappearance from the floor and knew the pair but the second had puzzled him – it seemed to be no one Mrs. Young would have any call to be with, it didn’t even seem one of the nibs, more like an official of some kind.
‘Then get the hell after them and find her … please! I’ll be at the second bar we saw on the way in.’
‘Can’t find her,’ reported the patron’s man, as if it were an everyday occurrence.
At this moment, a small man of some sort of European extraction appeared at the bar and spoke to Leyton.
‘Mrs. Young is safe and well but for her to remain that way, we need some things.’ The bodyguard had retired to the other end of the bar and was pointing to the back of the official and indicating that this was the one. Leyton nodded.
‘If she’s harmed, you’re dead.’
‘Mr. Young, Mr. Young, we do not do things like this. We need only negotiate these points and all is well.’ He took a list out of his inner pocket and passed it over. Leyton scanned it, realized it was the negotiating points on the balcony before, plus some concerning the fishing fleet.
‘We’ve already concluded the deal on the balcony, the fishing fleet would require all four principals present.’
‘A pity. Most unfortunate. Enjoy your life with the two Jennys.’
He turned and swiftly exited the hallway where they were, the torpedo followed, Leyton went back to the great hall and it was a matter of sheer chance to catch a glimpse of her being hustled from the columned side walkway but his training was not to chase, rather anticipate where’d they go. He pulled out the map of the place from their preparation and thought it might be out to a waiting car the rate they were going.
At the same time, his eyes roamed as he’d been trained to do and was sure two people were on his own trail. He immediately returned to the bar and nearly fell over. Sitting there on a stool was Jane.
Still feeling they were in danger, he took a stool next to her, facing out and asked her to explain. Her silence was eloquent, he looked over and she was staring straight ahead at the back of the bar, he looked about and there was the little extortionist who now saw him and departed but Leyton remained where he was.
Out of the corner of her mouth, she said there were two more. It wasn’t too hard to pick them, they knew they were rumbled and they too went quickly. A stroke of luck was one of the couples they’d spoken with earlier coming to the bar, Leyton insisted on buying their drinks and then spoke low and earnestly to the man, in English, that their lives were in danger and they needed to get to a taxi but not one waiting outside.