Robert closed his eyes, trying to imagine a day when the boy, who had followed him around like a puppy in their youth, now a man, would attempt to take his business from him, and by that act, his life too. For now he could relax though, Connor wasn't nearly as clever as he thought he was, the events leading up to that night being a prime example of how impetuous he could still be.
Just a week earlier, Robert had given Connor charge of a very important meeting, involving a supplier from the U.S.A, who was looking to do business with someone in the UK, exporting a new type of ecstasy. Reports on the drugs distribution in the States, had provided excellent results, the lucrative prospects of being the sole provider of such a popular new drug were endless, and Robert wasn't about to let Connor forget it,
"If we loose this deal, Abigail Knight will effectively ...",
"yeah, yeah, yeah,!", interrupted Connor, "we loose a bomb, I get it, Rob!",
"Be sure you do, Connor, be very sure, take Paul and Steve, make sure their armed and use the old factory, no arguments!".
Connor had met with the supplier as planned, and the deal had been running smoothly, Roberts opening bid having been larger than the price set originally, the extra cost would be worth in it the end, Connor had been cool, calm and charming, and things were just about wrapped up, when things went terribly wrong.
The old industrial district, the last business being run on the ground having closed down some fifty years ago, was respected as equal ground, safe haven to anyone needing to escape the authorities for a time, once inside, disappearing was easy, which was exactly the is what two well known dealers and employees of Abigail Knight, were trying to take advantage of.
The men had been on a business trip of there, called by a debt collector who also worked for Abigail Knight, asking if they would collect owed protection monies from a grocery near to where they were. The dealers had gone to the grocery to collect the money, only discovering on their return that their car's broken rear light, was being inspected to two patrol officers.
They had intended to walk the other way, away from the car, hoping to be able to return for it later, when the officers saw them and beckoned to them, they had no way of knowing if the officers had recognised either of them, knew the car to be theirs or simply wanted to ask if they knew who it belonged to, but the men had no choice, they couldn't take the risk of being caught with a boot full of uncut heroine. They ran.
The abandoned industrial area was close by, the two men ran into the maze run down ware houses and equipment sheds, forcing their way through a mesh wire fence, slashed to pieces years ago, and into the grounds of the giant, disused factory. Walking as quickly and quietly, over the mounds of brick and slate rubble, as they could, no idea how far the Police were behind them, they made straight for the long, metal stairway built into the side of the factory, leading from the bottom levels, all the way to top, a short cut from the production line. The men would wait in the office, they could see the entire factory and grounds from there, then if needed, they could still make an escape across the roof, and down the rubble shoot, still attached to the other end of the building, left from a now bankrupt attempt to develop the land, the two dealers reached the door the office, and crashed through.
The scene played out at two completely different speeds, for Connor, it took minutes, for the two dealers who had just burst in, seconds. They raced in, nearly smashing straight into the two 'goons', Connor had brought with him. They grabbed the dealers and forced them to their knees, Connor recognising both immediately, Abigail Knight was trying to screw thing to screw things up! Both dealers had their arms pulled back behind them by Connors men, the supplier was sitting at the desk they had just been having a celebratery drink, looking confused and scared, especially when Connor began hitting the men, screaming,
"WHY DID SHE SEND YOU?!", both men persisting they had had no idea what was going on. Connor continued drilling them, punching them in the face until they could not reply, and his knuckles bled, before giving the nod to the men holding them, two shots later, the men lay dead, blood slowly seeping out from under their lifeless bodies, creating a pool across the dusty office floor.
"Do you," Robert began, after Connor had returned back to the Regent, "have even the slightest idea what you've done?!!", he wasn't shouting, never did, but the tone, the slightest adjustment to its usual cold, emotionless pitch was enough to make even Connor, very, very nervous,
"Look", Connor defended, "the way I see it, we got the deal, yank was to scared to refuse after that! And, we got rid of two major dealers from across the river, whats the problem?!",
"The problem, you idiot, is Abigail Knight will strike back, once she learns that we have secured a major deal with an over seas supplier and she discovers what he's suppling, she will hit back at our dealers selling they stuff!", Robert stood up, turning towards the huge window behind his desk, the whole of the city bathed in light under a low hanging fog.
"But I thought we were always planning a war anyway?!", Connor was trying to maintain patience with Robert, why did he always have to put him down? He wanted the deal! He wanted more territory, whats his problem?!
"We were planning a take over, when we had the new drug we could use the popularity to move over the river, not in force, but slowly and slyly, using our heads!", Robert closed his eyes, patience, with Connors over zealous attitude, being pushed to the limits,
"But...!", Robert knew what he was going to say before he even said it,
"Because, if we moved in slowly, using new faces, always plenty of new meat being shipped over illegally, as you know, then we could invade and take over before Abigail Knight even noticed anything was wrong. Abigail's good, don't get me wrong, but she didn't grow up in the middle of all this like," he turned to look at Connor, sniffing at him, "some of us, a very lucky meeting in her last year of university, opened the door on her career, we came up the hard way Connor, we took what we needed, rewarded loyalty and punished those who have interfered. Abigail lacks the ability to plan around unpredictability, we live in it!".
Robert stood, contemplating, then turned back to Connor,
"Phone Abigail Knight", he began, "tell her I wish to meet with her, here, in the restaurant tomorrow, tell her you will also be present, lunchtime, say, half past one, now". Connor left, the minute his eyes were diverted from Robert, he rolled them, wrinkling up his face in raging anger, he was going to make Connor sit there and apologise, he was going to make Connor look a fool again!
"Oh keep it up, MATE, just remember the Old Man!", a faint mumble escaping his lips, which curled into a devious smile.
The following afternoon, Robert and Connor arrived downstairs for the meeting, the matrade escorting them to their table, where a beautiful blonde woman, and a huge man were sitting waiting, both rising as they approached,
"Miss Kinight," Robert opened,
"Abi, please", she replied curtiusly, the large man on her right turning in surprise to look at her, this was obviously not a common occurrence,
"Abi then, Robert, and this is my colleague, Connor Bradford", Connor stood up, shaking Abigail's hand and dropping it a little too quickly,
"And this" Abigail motioned to her huge companion, "Is Bruce Macalistor, my 'solicitor", Robert looked the man up and down, tailored suit, matching waist coat, five hundred pound wrist watch, muscles bursting through his clothes, and a strange little notch on his right index finger,
"Assassin", Robert thought to himself, "or a Merc", the indent on the index finger, a dead give away, happens after spending hours at a time waiting for a target, sitting poised, waiting to shoot.
Connor and Bruce remained quiet throughout the meal, eyeing each other cautiously, neither one paying any attention to the matter now being discussed,
"So", Robert said between mouthfuls of soup, "Connor had no idea you had anyone bidding for the property at all, he feared industrial espionage and acted accordingly!", sitting in the middle of a very busy restaurant, modifying the events of the previous day was essential,
"You understand my position, your associate has crippled two very lucrative resources that frankly I am not prepared to just give up on!", Abigail responded, her words and manner eradicating any doubts Robert had on her abilities because of her age,
"Perhaps I can offer some recompense?", Robert asked, feinting concern,
"What did u have in mind?", Bruce and Connor turned away form their meals and each to pay attention, Bruce not liking the way his employer and this man were staring into each others eyes so fixedly.
"As I'm sure your aware by now", Robert turned to sneer at Connor, "We secured a very good deal on new merchandise yesterday, and were to be the sole proprietors of said merchandise. I am offering you a partnership, Miss Knight...Abi", Connors mouth fell open, Bruce grunted, Abigail, however, smiled, very sweetly. Connor sniffed at her,
"No way Rob'll fall for those big blues, love!", he thought, eyes drilling into the side of her head, Abigail was to busy looking at Robert to notice him, he turned back to Robert, and nearly fell off his chair, he was smiling?!!
"My surgestion is this, I will send sixty percent of my merchandise over the river to you, I will also include two resident 'experts' ", dealers, "to manage the operation, reporting directly to you, you may appoint others to evaluate their work, but I assure you it will not be necessary, I shall keep forty percent of the merchandise and thirty percent of the profits made from your end",
Abigail smiled again, flashing those beautiful blue eyes, "fifteen percent!",
"Twenty three percent and thats my last offer", Robert stated, still smiling at her,
Abigail rose to her feet, Bruce rushing up and knocking the table had as he did, Connor grinned mockingly at him,
"I think we should continue to meet until things are sorted, Robert?", it wasn't a question, more of a request,
"That would be lovely, Abi!", they shook hands, Connor offered his out to Bruce, grinning broadly at the man mountain in front of him, Bruce just glared back, silently daring Connor to try it.
"So, I think the first big question is......What the hell was THAT?!!", Connor exclaimed sarcastically at Robert, in the lift , on their way back to the suite,
"That was me fixing your mess and managing to save my plan, did you take notes?!",
"But you just promised to give sixty percent of the gear, I just worked my arse off securing us!",
"Abigail knows I wouldn't send anyone to work for her, who might compromise the business, she also knows that loosing the men, you ordered dead, would loose her ground eventually, whether it was us, or someone else who moved in, this way she keeps her ground and can keep an eye on our boys",
"Is this a 'get in her pants' thing?!", Robert turned to look Connor right in the eye, his own grey, cold gaze sending Connor back a step,
"Our dealers will be in place by tomorrow afternoon, and will begin preparing for the first shipment, we will send ten percent...",
"Yes, ten. As supply and demand come in to play, we will reduce the quantity going over the river...",
"But won't they get a tad narky when the realise we're shifting more than we're telling em we're gettin?",
"They won't know, a pill can be painted or have its emblem re-carved, no one will know there not buying the usual array of pills, but the effect of the pill remains the same, meaning our customers become hooked on the new pills....."
"Without even knowin they're on em! Rob, mate, your brilliant!",
"When Abigail's customers can't get hold of the new stuff over the river, they will come to us, thats when we make our move on her territory!", Roberts grey eyes twinkled, behind them, his cool mind working on over drive.
"Jesus!", Connor's head went back, he leaned against the cool wall of the lift as he tried to take in the plan, despite his growing dislike of Robert, he could not deny, Robert was smart.
The next night, Roberts dealers in place and only days away from the first shipment, Abigail Knight called him, requesting they meet for dinner to discuss the deal further, Robert agreed, and dressing in his best suit, joined her in the restaurant, the subject of work was covered very quickly and moved onto more personal questions and flirts, Robert found he was unusually pleased to take a break from work with this woman, she had a keen mind and he found her company refreshing.
They talked together well into the early hours of the morning, even the waiting staff now having left for the night. Robert watched her as Abi laughed out loud when he made a joke about Connor, she was stunning, in her late twenties, full of life and a rare gift for harnessing it to suit her needs, the way he had. He had heard stories of some of the things she had ordered done across the river, people she'd had killed as well as other things that quite frankly, did not suit the woman sitting opposite him.
After putting Abigail into her car, out front of the Regent, Robert made his way back up to his suite, the corridors and lift empty, all the residents now in bed, only a few night porters wandering the hotel, he unlocked his door, throwing his key card into a bowl, on a table buy the door. He was walking through the lounge towards his room, when a sound in the dark alerted him to the other person in the room,
"Surprised she didn't come up with you?!", Connor said from across the room, sitting in the dark, on a sofa,
"Now what kind of lady would that make her, Connor?!", Robert removed his cuff links and rolled his sleeves up,
"I'm going to bed", he strolled into his room and shut the door, Connor lent forwards on the sofa, staring out of the dark at the shut door,
"Yeah, you keep on underestimating me, mate, one day!".
Robert was, if possible, quieter than usual over the next couple of days, locking himself in his office for hours at a time, not eating or sleeping. Connor found it all hysterical, he could be heard whispering to the goons,
"He's in love! I'm telling ya!", he laughed, rocking back and forth on a bar stool, "I knew no one was THAT cold!"
It was the end of the third day that Robert left the suite without saying a word, a couple of his men looked at each other as if to say,
"We're we supposed to go too?!", but the question was quickly answered as Robert reappeared, with Abigail Knight beside him, laughing at something he'd said in the hall, her giggling increasing as they passed Connor, her eyes patronizing him as she swept her hair over her shoulder, they went through to Roberts room, Abi's roaring with laughter as soon as the door was closed. Connor sat on the sofa in the suite lounge staring at the door as if willing it to burst into flame, how many years must he suffer being the butt of Roberts jokes, how many years would he have to watch Robert get richer and more powerful, while Connor took what he was given, although Robert had never been ungenerous with money, women, drugs, it wasn't enough, Connor wanted the power Robert commanded, and that, is exactly what he was going to get!
She curled her fingers on his bare chest, running the tips across his smooth skin, gently nuzzling his neck, kissing it gently, she shifted her weight, turning her back on him and pulling the silk sheet higher up her silky, smooth curves. He ran a finger down her spine, she shivered with the sensation, folding a leg back to wrap around his, he reached over and kissed her back, running his lips and tongue up and onto her shoulder, she smiled, her head pressed against the pillow, eyes closed tight. He ran his hand the length of her body, down her waist, over her hip and down her leg, she was so relaxed, even with the man, who's reputation was that of a living nightmare, he was so sensual, every touch sending a million shocks of pleasure through her body, she closed her eyes, and drifted into a deep, happy sleep.
Her body felt warm, her back pressed against his chest, the perfume of her hair sending his sense of smell wild! Robert lay under the cool silk sheets watching Abi's body moving up and down, her gentle breaths the only sound in the room, even in the middle of the city, the traffic outside had stopped hours ago, buses completed their routes, taxis now trying to avoid the drunks trying to hail them and vomit at the same time, and the cars taking, people to and from work, had reached their four hour break, before it all started again at five am.
Robert sat up, perching on the end of his bed, he looked out through the open window, the only real lights left were street lights and the moon, which was shining of the lingering fog. He rubbed his eyes, sipped a glass of water on the bed side table, then opened one of its little draws. Inside was a long, thin, blue wooden box, he removed from the draw and placed it next to himself on the bed, just in front of Abi's sleeping face. He watched her a little while longer, then opened the box.
He took out the long thin plastic tube, like, object and screwed what looked like the nib of a pen onto the bottom, then, he took a tiny, air tight bottle of clear liquid, which he gently shook in his hand, while looking into her beautiful face, he was about to smile at her, when he shook his head, turning his attention back to the bottle, this is what he needs to do.
Robert pierced the skin like film keeping the bottle of liquid, with the syringe's sharp needle, turning the bottle upside down as he pulled the plunger back, filling it with fifty milliletres of the liquid. Robert put the bottle on the table and turned back to Abi, he pushed her hair away from her face, listening to her tiny rasps of breath, completely oblivious to what was about to happen, Robert ran a finger over her ear, clearing it of hair, then very carefully, so not to disturb her, he gently push the needle into the soft tissue behind her right ear.......and pushed the plunder down in one, quick, motion,
She barely moved, her body just going limp, no more shallow rasps, no gently heaving up and down, she lay there, looking quite angelic, very slowly, getting colder and colder. Abigail Knight was dead, Robert picked up the tiny bottle of cyanide, put it back in its box with the syringe, and put it back in his bed side draw, in a few hours Connor and a couple of the boys would get the car, park it round the side of the Regent, where to old disused laundry shoot was, they would send the body down, where the car would meet it, and dispose of it accordingly, he would have lunch, then make his way over the river, and claim his new territory.
"YO!!", Robert sat up with a start, he was confused? Looking around, he took in grey walls, a stone floor, tiny window built into the wall and an old wardrobe, he was in the cell,
"MAN!", he turned to look at the door, Wolf was standing there,
"I thought you were dead!, for an insomniac, you sure are hard to wake up!", Robert rubbed his eyes, his head was filled with the dream, it had seemed so real, he could have been back there,
"What do you want?", he asked,
"Prof says your having breakfast in the guest room, then he wants a word in his office"
Robert sat up, wired from the dream and feeling very dominant, he stood up and walked across the room to the wardrobe,
"Good," he said, coldly, "It's about time I had a little chat with Woods!".