First a sip of champagne, then a rare girlish tilt of the head and in an instant, her naked iris, roseate eyes ambushed mine. Detained them for the duration. Not too long, yet likely just long enough. Was it contemplation as to my purpose of being? Mental telepathy? Thought transference? I never could translate the language of those conspicuous, yet most agreeable eyes.
A little earlier, not long after we had sat at our corner table and the waiter had taken our drinks order, she had insisted the candle be snuffed. “My photophobia demands it” her courteous reasoning. I obliged, killing the flame twixt wetted finger and thumb. She had me light her cigarette. I was keen to ask of her why she had chosen to wear a white silk cocktail gown upon her snowy frame, yet thought better of it. Felt it improper to delve. Notwithstanding, it was charmingly low cut, invitingly filled, both she and it, a heaven-sent, magnetic art form. In that regard, my own straying eyes would have, no doubt, published the daring workings of my desirous mind. Such poor form on my part seemed to bother her not. I guess it was a thing she was used to, the price to pay for blessed beauty bestowed. I would have liked to say it was me who first found she, although in truth the opposite was true. Such was the way of dalliance in times of war. Times when only the losers surrender.
She picked at her food as if to not enjoy, made note of my quizzical glance, “A little over-generous with the calamari, the white bean puree was sufficient in itself. Worry not, my appetite has never been that rife…unlike some!” Her soft gibe aimed at a palpably ashamed me. “Well, The Savoy is exempt from this wretched rationing, no reason not to have my fill. Thankfully, you’ll not find dried egg and that dreadful chicory coffee here.” She smiled. Just a fleeting smile. Sufficient to appease my self-evident guilt.
To the backdrop of the big band playing, appropriately, at least insofar as I was concerned, ‘In the Mood’ we discussed the methodology of assassination. “So, you will help me then?” I nodded in agreement. She continued, “Good, that’s settled then. I am fully aware MI5 briefed you in this matter some time back, and that you have the expertise to covertly gain access his suite here. It is, as you will understand, in both our interests the pseudo human dies…by the way, it would be best you book a room here, you and I as man and wife. That way, you will be my perfect cover, no-one will suspect a thing, plus we can track his movements, find his weak spots, before I make the kill…as such, we remove any chance of failure. In a place, as grand as this, where the walls really do have ears, team work ensures a successful outcome. We can take up residence tomorrow.” Her eye for detail was impressive.
Take up wedded residence we did. At her insistence, we acted out our respective roles as if our marital status were honest. Her lovemaking was clinical, seemingly devoid of passion. I think she found sex a mere professional necessity, pointing out that the chambermaid, from the state of next day’s sheets would be in little doubt as to our bona fide standing in the, albeit unlikely, event she was ever questioned thus. Additionally, she made sure her lipstick stained cigarette ends married those of my own in the ashtray upon the bedside cabinet. “One can never be too careful in such matters” her gambit and prerequisite to further entanglement. Whilst the creature in me did not mind her ‘lay back and think of murder’ approach, the lover, rake perhaps, that part of me was always left wanting her evident eagerness to explore, less mechanics. Maybe just an old-fashioned fake embrace that had perhaps a little meaning, though that was never to be. That she sought such union so often surprised, was contradictory. Her stock phrase, “It helps me think” did little to boost my waning spirit. Surely, she must have known that I was besotted.
War torn London, in June meant sunshine, showers and bomb shelters in equal measure, though whatever conditions prevailed, she wore darkest sunglasses. Upon our picnic in Green Park, aside Piccadilly she had the added protection of a simple straw sunhat and the purest demeanour…the latter, no doubt to signal that any hanky-panky on my part would be unwelcome. We discussed the task in hand in some depth. Her contempt for the one she had christened ‘the pseudo human’ was palpable. I prayed her sheer ferocity in that regard would not end up an Achilles Heel. Regardless, she advised that now we had established his movements about town, his habits and regular haunts, that tonight would be the night he would meet his end.
“You have the copy key to his suite…Good. Pass it me…also, I think it important we stay on a couple more nights after the assassination, rather than depart immediately the task is done and dusted…should we simply disappear the tedious uninformed constabulary might put two and two together…organise it if you would please. Other than that, I’ll join you in our room after dusk”
I was lost in the previous day’s copy of The Times when my Cheshire cat grinning liquidator returned. A grin of affirmation, duly noted. Just a well-placed single bullet apparently. I had the bellboy bring us up a bottle of bubbly…told him it was the occasion of our first anniversary, and… how shall I put it? Suffice to say, after all these years gone my indiscretion in spilling the beans is, I hope, forgivable, she was not backward in coming forward that night. Good Lord no.
Our paths crossed several times thereafter, yet circumstance meant we never revived our carnal pursuits. Such is life for seasoned espionage agents.