I had a good view of her as I walked through the car park. I don’t think I have ever wanted someone so badly. She was beautiful; perhaps east European or Russian. Long dark hair framed her sculptured delicate features, high cheekbones and piercing ice-blue eyes. She was dressed casually but what she wore looked expensive. Her clothes clung to a thin, toned, surgically enhanced body. Everything about her said money, success and power.
She looked worried though, scared. She was biting her bottom lip and tightly gripping the steering wheel of her black Mercedes. The engine was running, but she just sat there.
Staring into space.
I had to walk in front of her car to get to mine. As I walked past, I tried to act casual as I looked through her windscreen.
Up close she was breathtaking; fragile.
A tear was running down the side of her face.
Walking through her line of sight, her gaze flicked up to my face, meeting my eyes. I smiled, trying to be unthreatening, cool, although my heart was beating fast. She gave me a brief smile in return before looking away, wiping her tear; for a moment appearing even sadder.
I opened the boot of my car and put in my gym kit. As I closed it, I looked back at her. She was still sat, with the engine running, not going anywhere.
I wavered for a second. She was obviously upset about something; a damsel in distress. I was a romantic at heart and a beautiful woman in tears did something to me. I just had the urge to try and make things better; protect her, shield her from the cruel world.
I walked over to her passenger side window, and knocked gently. Woken again from her thoughts she looked a little surprised, and cautious, as she lowered it.
The smell of her, her perfume momentarily stole my senses, reducing me back to a nervous teenager. I hesitated a split-second as my brain tried to remember what I was doing.
”Are you okay?”
She looked at me, nodding and smiling; a brave lie but her eyes filled with tears and she bit harder into her bottom lip to stop herself from sobbing. Angry at herself for perhaps displaying these emotion to a stranger, she looked to the ceiling of her car and wiped her tears away with the sides of manicured fingers.
She laughed sadly at herself. “Sorry,” she said.
She looked back at me, “I’m a bit of a mess, but I’m okay. Thanks for asking.”
“Are you sure you’re okay?” I asked.
She shook her head, “No” this time, dissolving into tears and looking like a little, lost girl. Burying her head in her hands she sobbed, her shoulders shaking with emotion.
I looked around at the empty car park, feeling slightly embarrassed.
”Hey, it’s okay! You’ll be okay,” I said lamely. I looked again for some help or permission as I opened her car door.
I slid into the leather seat next to her, and hesitantly touched her shoulder.
Gently, I said, “It’ll be okay,” although I knew I had no justification for that statement.
I slid my hand down her back; rubbing in what I hoped would be interpreted as a sympathetic manner.
She was beautiful.
Suddenly and unexpectedly she put her arms around my neck and pulled herself into a tight hug. She sobbed against me, big sobs of anguish, heartbreak.
She felt so warm. Smelt so sexy. My heart pounded and blood flowed to wrong parts of my body.
It was the most amazing experience in my 35 years. In that split-second I knew that I loved her; or at the very least lusted after her more than any woman I had ever met.
I murmured into her hair, “You’ll be alright”, breathing in the shampoo she used; her fragrance burning into my memory.
Slowly she pulled back; wiping her tears, looking embarrassed that she broken down so completely.
”Sorry,” she said, laughing bitterly.
“What is it? What’s wrong,” I asked.
”I don’t even know your name,“ she said.
“Tom. Tom Burdon.”
”Mariana,” she said holding out her hand.
We shook hands.
“Do you go to the gym?” she said pointing out the window to the building behind us.
“I’ve never seen you,” she said, looking intently at my face, trying to place me.
“Just joined. Today.”
She said a silent “oh” before looking out the window again, staring into space. I waited for her to say something.
Slowly, as if confessing for the first time her thoughts, she whispered, “It’s my husband. I want to leave him. I need to leave him. But I’m scared.”
She looked down at her hands, which shook slightly. I noticed for the first time her large diamond engagement ring and golden band.
“I know some good lawyers,” I said.
She chuckled and looked at me as if I was slightly insane, her head tilted to the side.
“Not an option,” she said bitterly.
“Have you heard of Frankie Reeves?” she whispered, biting her lip again with nerves.
I nodded. “The mobster?”
Quietly, as if someone was listening, she whispered shamefully, as if she couldn’t quite believe it herself, “I’m Mrs Reeves.”
I sat there for several minutes, in silence with her, staring into the distance.
I couldn’t suggest any solution to her problem.
Slowly and deliberately she leant across to me again, pulling me close. Her hands gingerly touching both sides of my face.
She kissed me, her tongue briefly parting and bushing my surprised lips.
“That was thank you,” she said, pulling back and smiling with genuine warmth.
“What for?” I said stunned.
“For listening, Tom. The hug. Caring enough to stop and knock on my window.”
She looked at her watch. “Oh shit, I need to get home.”
Regretfully I got out of her car and closed the door.
“I will see you around Tom,” she said, winking. “Thanks.”
She drove off in a hurry, whilst I stood in the car park; smiling.
“Yes, you will.” I said to myself.
I climbed into my car and sat there for a moment, calming my nerves. I took a deep breath.
I picked up my mobile and dialled Frankie’s number from the case file on the seat next to me.
He answered within two rings.
”Mr Reeves? Tom Burden from Millar Associates. I am the detective assigned to your case.”
“Tom. Okay. Thanks for calling… Is my wife having an affair?” he said, getting straight down to business.
“No sir,” I said with conviction.
Not yet, I thought.