“Why are you calling, Agnes?”
There was a bit of static over the connection – and then her voice came back on again.
“Aw don’t be like that Chris. I’m just worried is all. You didn’t tell me what happened with Temi, and the girl herself can be quite the clam.”
“What do you care?”
He thought he heard her catch her breath sharply – but that didn’t sound like something Agnes would do. She didn’t have reason to.
Her next words confirmed his thoughts. “You’re right, I don’t. I just want some gossip. You know, office gist.”
“I’d rather not be fodder for your mouth, thank you. All you need to know is – I’m good, and I should be back at work in a week or so.”
Her sigh drifted down the line. “Okay baby. Take it easy, you hear?”
Irritation set his teeth on edge. “Again – what do you care?”
She was quiet. “Goodnight, Chris.”
The Bold 5 did a small spin as it was tossed on the bedside table. The thrower put both his hands behind his head and slumped on the bed, his thoughts as angry as his emotions.
What does that…that devil want?
He closed his eyes, trying to force himself into a state of calm – but it seemed as elusive as dry outdoors on a stormy day. He was all aware of the humming of the air-conditioner, the freshener-tinged atmosphere of the room, the bar of light streaming underneath the door.
He was too awake.
As if that was not enough, the dry metallic taste of adrenaline was heavy on his tongue. He was angry – but maybe more upset than actually angry.
He didn’t know.
He swore and kicked the bedsheets aside where they tangled with his feet. Sitting up, he held his head and his hands and swore softly. No matter what he did, she was underneath his skin – and it seemed there was nothing he could do about it.
For the moment.
He raised his head. It occurred to him then – that he was in Tinapa. If for nothing else, he had better enjoy it. He stood up and walked to the wardrobe where he had instructed the boy to drop his bag minutes earlier.
He was buttoning a cool blue shirt when he remembered the lady in red he’d seen in the lobby. Like a catchy song you hate but stays in your head nonetheless, his mind fastened itself on that image.
She had been staring. Why?
That wasn’t a mystery he would solve in his room – so after wearing soft shoes and spraying some cologne, he pulled the room card, stepped out and shut the door.
“Bar, please.” He told the elevator attendant who nodded quietly and pushed the button. Chris leaned against the wall and closed his eyes, thinking about Agnes and what…
“We’re here sir.”
The bar smelled of tobacco – yet it wasn’t the type Chris was used too. There was something different about it, but he couldn’t tell what. Meandering towards the long table behind which a light-skinned attractive girl was pouring something in a glass full of ice, he kept looking around for the lady in red.
I should have started from the lobby.
He got to the bar, perched himself on one of the high stools that lined it and was about to speak –
Someone bumped him roughly.
He turned – and then froze.
“Hi Chris,” Temi said.