By Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw
Under cover of darkness, I crawl up the pitched roof to the padlocked attic skylight. With a practiced hand, I slip the hinge pins and raise the polycarbonate bubble, sliding my slender frame through the narrow opening. Hanging onto the inside edge with one hand, I look down in the gloom and see that the attic floor is only a few inches from my feet. I let go… landing on the balls of my feet and bending at the knees to soften the impact.
I kneel in the near pitch-black attic for several moments, my eyes adjusting. My heart rate picks up a bit as the silent litany runs through my head… no motion sensors (cats)… the carpeted areas have pressure pads… contact switch in the study doorway, but not on the picture frame… disarm button for the safe is in lower left desk drawer, behind the jellybeans… remember Veronica… you’re a ghost.
The condo is empty. Still; I do not want to make any unnecessary noise. I quietly make my way to the door, which opens onto a winding stairway, leading down to the second floor. Mindful of the pressure pads, I place my feet on either side of the treads and move slowly down the stairs. Stopping at the bottom, I peer around the corner into the hallway… it is empty. A lamp on a small corner table at the end of the hall provides ample illumination. Hugging the south wall, careful to step only on the bare hardwood floor, I make my way to the study.
Kneeling, with pick in hand, I have the door unlocked in six seconds flat. Bypassing the contact switch set in the lower edge of the doorframe, I enter the dimly-lit study, closing the door behind me. Moving to the large teak/rosewood desk, I slide the bottom-left drawer open and disarm the safe’s alarm. Popping a couple grape jellybeans in my mouth, I turn my attention to Sickert’s Femme de Lettres, hanging on the wall behind the desk. Shining a hooded penlight behind the frame, I ascertain there are no surprises there.
Swinging the frame back on its hinges, I study the black AMSEC wall safe for a few moments. Damn! I silently curse Serena… you said it had a digital electronic lock! Armed with my “little black box”, even the most sophisticated digital locks are embarrassingly easy to open. Fortunately, I came prepared. Sighing, I pull the Littman electronic stethoscope out of my waist pack and set to work on the dial combination.
Six minutes later, the safe door swings open. Pushing aside a sheaf of papers, I reach in and pull out an 8×10 black tri-fold coin portfolio. Setting it on the desk and folding back the cover, I am struck by the warm glow… forty coins… 20 and 40 franc gold Napoleons, minted over the period of Bonaparte’s reign… all uncirculated. And, I might add… all stolen from a very dear friend of mine. Madame de Villiers will be most pleased to have these returned.
I unzip the soft leather jacket and the front of the black bodysuit underneath. Sliding the portfolio into an inside pocket, I zip it back up. Closing the safe, I set things as they were before and exit the study, removing the bypass once the door is closed and locked again.
As I make my way back up the hall, I suddenly realize that a light is coming from the partially opened master bedroom door. I freeze… there was no light on before… I would have noticed it! My heartbeat doubles, but I force myself to remain calm… taking slow, measured breaths… let’s not panic, girl. I stand and wait… nothing… waiting longer… still nothing.
Curiosity has me now. I edge closer to the doorway… slowly…peering around the edge of the door… the room is only partially lit… a small lamp on a side table giving a soft glow to the room…large four poster bed… quilted white comforter… and… a woman sitting on the opposite edge of the bed, facing away from the door… completely naked. I stop. I stare. She remains motionless.
It is dead quiet in the room… I swear that I can hear the woman’s heartbeat. She has medium length reddish-brown hair, fair skin… and a backside I could stare at for hours… the swell of her left breast, partially hidden in shadow… waistline dips in… rounded hips… the cleft of her bum drawing my eye… she belongs in a painting. The woman speaks…
“You’re quite good, you know. But for one thing, you would have gotten out completely undetected.” I stand silent… waiting.
The small crescent-shaped scar and tiny mole below her left shoulder blade brings back the memory of the first time I saw the woman. It was in a conditioning class at Refine Method, over on the Upper Eastside. She had been in front of me on the workout floor, chatting up an older woman. It had been over a year since I had picked a mark at Refine, so I had felt safe in returning there. The woman was breathtakingly beautiful, and I knew then that our paths were destined to cross again.
“Don’t you want to know what your mistake was?” Finding my voice… “Yes… please tell me… what was my mistake?” I ask, moving further into the room.
“Make love to me, and I’ll tell you.” the woman replies, turning to face me, and moving up on the bed. The look on her face is serious, but… for just a second, and then it is gone … a bare sliver of a smile.
I look over at her for several moments, and then begin disrobing… shedding the jacket… unzipping the bodysuit… slipping it off of my shoulders and sliding it down my torso and over my hips… heeling the black Reeboks off… the bodysuit slithers down my legs and I step out of it… clothing a puddle of black fabric at my feet.
I walk around to her side of the bed and stop… naked, save for my “signature” purple Victoria’s Secret cotton bikini panties. The woman motions that I should remove them as well. I slide the panties over my hips, stepping out of them as I climb up on the bed. She lies back on the pillows and I straddle her midsection, the heat from my sex spreading across her firm belly. My desire flames and I lower my mouth to hers, the soft warmth of her lips melding to mine.
Some time later… drained and sated… we lay in the afterglow… bodies shiny with a patina of sweat… the scent of our passions filling the room.
I sit up on one elbow and trace my finger lightly around her swollen nipple… a soft moan escapes her lips. My hand moves down to the rise of her mons…
“So… are you going to tell me my mistake now… lover!”
Serena sits up in bed and laughs, her hazel eyes alive with mischief. “You didn’t make one, Veronica… not a single one. I cheated… I set a motion detector in the hall.” “Why, you…” I start, ready to pounce…
My lover, and partner in crime for the last six months, raises her hands…
“Save that for later, baby girl… we need to blow this scene before the owners come back. Their flight landed twenty minutes ago.”