As Beth shut the bathroom door behind her, she heard Robert quickly getting dressed. Then his footsteps trailed away and down the stairs.
As she took off her bra, she realised how comfortable she was with Robert seeing her naked. She stepped into the shower and turned it on, the water cool as it came down. It didn’t take long to warm up.
As she lathered her hair in shampoo, she thought about the urgency with which Robert had moved last night, as if he had to make sure she was real, still there. Beth froze where she stood; that must be it. He must have dreamt that she was gone.
She showered quickly after her realisation and wrapped herself in a towel before leaving the bathroom. Dressing quickly, she folded the towel over the radiator and hurried downstairs. She picked up the envelopes by the door. One of them was larger and thicker and the others.
Robert smiled as she entered the kitchen, but the smile quickly turned to a frown. She paused in the doorway as his head tipped to the side, thinking. There seemed to be something he wasn’t quite sure about. He shook his head, as if to banish the thought. When he looked up again, the smile had returned.
“Your hair looks nice,” he said.
Beth held up a few strands so she could see it. It was falling in its natural curls because she hadn’t used her variety of straightening substances on it.
“Thank you,” Beth said as she sat down at the breakfast bar.
Robert placed an omelette in front of her and took the letters from her. He froze in place when he saw the larger one. He sighed and opened it. Taking all the documents out, he flicked through them. Beth only caught glimpses of what the sheets were. There were photographs, a birth certificate, a CV, along with all sorts of other official papers. He slid the contents back into the envelope and opened the others. He smiled to himself as he read one of them.
“What?” Beth asked.
He shook his head. “Someone thought it would be a good idea to try and seduce Aneska.”
Beth choked on a piece of her omelette in surprise. She swallowed and coughed a little bit.
“I’m sorry, what?”
“Safe to say he’s going to be executed.”
“I can imagine.”
“I just hope I’m not dragged into this,” he mumbled, more to himself than to her. “It’s Thorn’s turn anyway.”
“What do you mean?”
He looked up at her, pulled out his reverie.
“Executions are on rotation.”
“Meaning, everyone gets a turn?”
“Not everyone exactly, but yes.”
“Who does then?”
He shook his head. “Doesn’t matter.”
Beth didn’t push it. She continued to eat her breakfast as Robert put the letters down and picked up the larger envelope again. He pulled all the papers out again and Beth saw a stamp on the envelope, saying Private and confidential.