Morgan looked up from the six o’clock news. “Are you out your fucking mind, Craig!” Her husband didn’t say a word. He just smiled at her.
Friday, 5:25 a.m.
It was a chilly morning. It had rained all night and the air was damp and heavy. Robert Kramer pushed the sleep out his eyes and clicked down on his keys to set off the car alarm.
He turned left and followed the noise. Save for Robert, the hotel’s parking lot was completely empty. And so that was why Robert was surprised to see the man standing there, calmly leaning against the silver door of Robert’s Avis rental car. He had on a black hat and a long black trench coat. He was wearing black leather gloves and in his left hand, he held a gun.
“Good morning, Robert,” the man said.
“Who the f…”
Two shots rang out and, car keys still in hand, Robert was dead before he hit the ground. The man in the black coat pocketed his gun and walked off. Meanwhile, the Avis rental car continued sounding its alarm.
Friday, 5:00 a.m.
Beep. Beep. Beep. Robert picked the travel alarm clock off the desk and chucked it across the hotel room. He sat up in bed and rubbed his head. He swung his legs out from under the blankets and stood up. He swayed a little and grabbed the bedpost for support. He was both hungover and sore. Last night had been lovely.
Five o’clock in California…he made a quick calculation is his head…would be eight in New York. Sally would just be leaving for school. He grabbed his cell phone off the desk, unlocked it and dialed home.
“Good morning, dear,” Robert said to his wife.
“Morning. How did all the meetings go?”
“It’s been a long week. You know the plane was delayed on Monday. I ended up being late for the corporate dinner party. Meetings went all day Tuesday to Thursday. We’re done for the now, but I’ll probably have to fly back out in a week or two.”
“Mom,” Robert could hear in the background. “Who is it? Is it Daddy? Can I talk, can I talk?”
“I’m going to put Sally on.” Robert could hear Annie handing the phone over to his daughter.
“You’re coming home tonight, right?”
“Yep, I’ll be back in time for dinner. I miss you so much…” Robert actually missed his daughter—talking to Sally always made his day. It was his wife that he couldn’t care less about.
Friday, 1:42 a.m.
Craig was holding the phone up to his ear, listening to the ringing as he waited for her to answer. Then the ringing stopped. It didn’t go to voicemail—it just stopped. That meant that she had seen who it was and silenced the phone. He cracked his knuckles and then his neck. He put the car into park and reclined in the seat, cupping his hands behind his head.
Friday, 1:40 a.m.
Morgan was breathing heavily, but Robert was worse for the wear. A cell phone went off, disrupting the rhythmic silence of the heavy breathing.
“Shit,” Morgan said. She rolled over Robert to get out of bed and then had to stand and walk across the hotel room to get to her purse. She was tall and thin, perfectly proportioned.
“Who is it?” Robert asked.
“No one important,” she said, “just my husband.”
“Yeah. Is that a problem?”
“Yeah,” Robert fumbled, “No. I mean, but you didn’t have a wedding ring…”
Morgan climbed back in to bed, aptly shutting Robert up. “I can stay for a little,” she whispered into his ear, “but then I best be heading home.”
Friday, 1:39 a.m.
The man was wearing a black hat and a long black trench coat. His black BMW was parked outside the Intercontinental, in the hotel’s lot. The man had decided to tail his wife for the evening, follow her to the bar, and watch her stumble out with some hothead wearing a navy business suit. He watched the two of them drive back to the hotel in a dinky Toyota Prius rental car. He watched them park the car and stumble into the lobby. The man pulled out his cell phone and he dialed his wife’s number.
Thursday, 10:49 p.m.
Robert glanced across the bar. It felt so good to be free, done with meetings, done with business, a six-hour plane ride away from New York City and his wife. He glanced across the restaurant at the very attractive lady sitting at the bar. She was wearing a white dress, her hair was pulled back and her make-up was a little on the heavy side. He checked her hand—no wedding ring. He double-checked his hand, making sure that he had taken his ring off. And then he stood up, his drink in hand, and made his way over.
Thursday, 9:00 p.m.
The cell phone rang. Morgan checked the caller ID, frowned and answered. “Yes?”
“Don’t talk to me like that,” he said.
There was silence on the line. Finally, Craig spoke up. “Some business came up for the weekend. I’m on my way to the airport.”
“Really?” Morgan couldn’t resist smiling. “And for how long will you be gone?” She loved free weekends.
“Through Sunday,” Craig said. And the conversation was over.
Craig hung up the phone and reclined in his seat, cupping his hands behind his head. He was sitting in his black BMW, just around the corner. From his position, he would be able to see any coming and going at the house.
The garage door opened about an hour later to allow passage for Morgan’s white Mercedes. She turned onto the street and drove off. Craig gave her a few moments head start and then followed. She would be so eager to get to the bar that she wouldn’t pay half a mind to the car following her.
He pressed down on the accelerator and began tailing his wife. It was time to teach the bitch a thing or two about sexual loyalties. It was time to catch her in the act.
Epilogue: Friday Evening
“Mom,” Sally whined, “why isn’t Dad back yet? He said he’d back in time for dinner. Where is he?”
“I don’t know, Sally,” Annie paused, in thought. She had tried calling him a few times now and he hadn’t answered. And that was when the house phone rang.
Sally jumped up. “Can I get it? It’s probably Daddy!”
Annie nodded her head.
Sally grabbed the phone. “Hi, Daddy!”
Her face turned bright red. “Here, Mommy,” she said, holding out the phone. “They want to talk to you. They said it’s about Daddy.”