The hypnotic lullaby of the limousine’s engine numbed his mind as he sat quietly with her in the shadowy backseat. Misery crushed his chest, and his mind echoed bitter sentiments, as he thought, “It’s like a tomb in here.”
The distant sound of a police siren forced him to snap to, and his eyes shifted from his focused stare at the black-tinted slide to the city lights passing outside his window. Reflecting for a moment on the city, he scanned the pedestrians out walking that blustery autumn evening. He imagined they had uncomplicated lives. They had not dug their own graves yet, or had they?
She watched him and was curious about what disturbed him. Her eyes moved along his perfect profile, while in her mind, her fingers moved along his strong brow to the tip of his softly chiseled nose. The streetlights reflected in his eyes, and she saw the slight green glow in the warm hazel brown she knew as safety. Feeling his distress increase, she looked away.
He wondered if she noticed his strange behavior, and when her thigh pressed against his, he knew she did. Dare he look at her and allow her to see the menace lingering in his eyes? Pushing the feeling away, he looked at her lap, then down her long, silk-covered legs as she slipped off her shoe and moved her foot to his.
With a feather-light touch, the tips of her toes stroked his ankle and moved up his shin. He watched her movement as if it were not happening to him. When she moved her lips near his neck, he felt her warm breath on his skin. She looked up at him, admiring his lips; their sensuousness enticed her. Then he felt her gently kiss the side of his chin, and his heart skipped a beat, but he held back. Noticing his hesitation, she paused, then sat straight, moved her leg away, and slid her foot back into her shoe.
The traffic was stop-and-go; however, when the limousine stopped at Columbus Circle, the lights immediately changed to green, and they were moving again. She believed they were on their way to a late dinner after having just left the opera. That was what he had told her, yet she would rather have been home making love with him.
Central Park had restricted traffic until morning, yet their limousine moved swiftly past the barricades and quickly disappeared into the shadows of the park drive. For what was about to happen, he wanted no spectators. In his mind, a clock ticked away these last moments with her. He slid his arm around her and pulled her head to his shoulder. Again, he meditated on tormenting thoughts, his mind lost in another world.
The tragic final aria from Mozart’s Don Giovanni plagued his immediate thoughts. Its lyrics and deathly undertones echoed at a maddening pace as the opera built to a climax. Inexhaustibly, his soul burned just as Don Giovanni’s. His guilt towered over him like the statue of the dead commander, condemning him to the everlasting flames of hell for his lack of remorse; however, unlike Don Giovanni, he had been repentant from the beginning. Why he had chosen this opera, this evening, he could not remember. He felt like Mozart’s stupid character: the seducer, the rogue, the pompous ass, the idiot Don Giovanni.
“Such a foolish man, squandering life and love,” he thought, but he knew he was no different as he fought to redirect his thoughts to the present. Holding perfect and true love in his arm, he felt wicked and lost in a living hell. Holding her closer, he reflected on the future, their future. Would there be one for them once the car stopped moving?
As always, she was tranquilizing and seductive. Her loving nature was his only solace as he pondered what the Bureau expected from her. She knew nothing about Vincent Luca or illegal sports gambling, but that theme was the subject of her latest novel. Having gathered her facts during a trip to Las Vegas, she had not done anything illegal, and even chose to do her research where gambling was authorized.
When he had informally noted her innocence in his reports, he knew the Bureau did not believe him. They never believed anyone. His persistence in prolonging his investigation of her by not conclusively reporting her lack of involvement, coupled with his general evasiveness, had convinced the Bureau that there was more behind her current novel than honest curiosity. He knew the reason for his inaction was his fear of losing her, but now losing her was staring him in the face. The decisive moment was here and, as in the past, he still did not know how to tell her who he actually was.
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