Gillian pushed through the crowd, desperate to find him. She checked her watch. Ten minutes to go.
Where is he? She stomped her foot in exasperation. A waiter passed by, so close his jacket brushed her arm; Gillian snatched a glass of white wine from the tray and nodded her thanks. The waiter slightly bowed in acknowledgement. She took a sip, then furtively stole a glance around the room.
If she didn’t find him, their plans would be blown. It wouldn’t just be a blunder. More like a clusterfuck. The could even be asked to leave the firm. A terrible outcome. Jobs like theirs were scarce.
Gillian sipped her wine; as she did, a shadowy figure lurked by the curtain, then slipped away. Gillian placed her glass on a small occasional table and followed the figure. The double doors, shielded by the curtain, opened onto a vast balcony—the length of the city-side of mansion’s upper storey. She gasped as her gaze settled on the view: city lights, the inky black empty space of the ocean just beyond the city’s western suburbs. It was breathtaking.
Focus. She had to focus. She checked her watch. Eight and a half minutes. Where the hell is Jason?
Gillian heard footsteps behind her. She turned, just in time to see the brick before it smashed onto her skull. Everything went black.
When she woke, Gillian was on a wooden chair, her arms and legs restrained. She looked around. Jason was on a chair next to her, in restraints too. But his head was covered with a black cloth.
‘Jason,’ she hissed. ‘Are you awake?’
His head moved. He groaned.
‘Good. Let’s make a plan to get out of here. We must still have time. Can’t have been out for too long.’
‘It’s Monday,’ Jason whispered. ‘We’ve been here for ten hours.’
‘What? How?’ Gillian struggled to understand. She wriggled her arms, trying to free them.
‘Double agent, I think.’
Gillian cast her mind back. The plans, faultless. She and Jason had meticulously followed their orders. They hadn’t put a foot wrong. Until the execution, when Jason went missing. It couldn’t be. Could it? Panic swirled around inside her. She tasted bile in her mouth: acidic, foul, bitter.
‘Jason…?’ she asked. Her voice sounded tinny.
‘Wasn’t me, if that’s what you’re gonna ask.’
Then who, she wondered.
The door flew open, banged against the wall behind it. Two men walked inside.
‘Time’s up, ladies,’ said the one who was covered in tattoos. His T-shirt was sleeveless, exposing upper arms that looked to be the width of Gillian’s thighs. His teeth glinted as he walked closer. ‘Time to die.’ He grinned, showing a mouth full of gold. The second guy walked straight to the bench, where was unwrapping a cloth bag full of tools and toys.
If she could just break a leg of this chair, she could make a getaway. How far she got was another matter. Still, Gillian mused, she’d rather be shot in the back than whatever waited for them in this room. She glanced across to the guy at the bench, who was lovingly caressing a thin-bladed knife as he looked into her eyes.
At that moment, the room exploded with cracks and bangs. Tattoo Guy and Knife Boy were on the floor, with a pool of redness streaming from their bodies. Gillian looked up, saw Mr N holding his Beretta. He quickly put it in the holster and rushed to her. Undoing her restraints, he motioned for her to leave the room.
As she ran through the doors, she heard the gun fire again. Seconds later, he was by her side.
‘Let’s go.’ He didn’t look at her. He said nothing else as they boarded the helicopter.