The very next day a package arrived at Tony’s office - a box in which was a pie, resembling a small pork pie. But this pie wasn't pork, but a finger pie, together with a large gold wedding ring sitting on top, attached through the crust to a human finger.
Tony quickly grabbed the ring from the top of the pie, removing it together with its human attachment. The wedding ring was Terry’s wedding ring. There was no mistaking that as it was inscribed with a complex intertwining of Terry and Livia’s names on its inner circumference.
There was a note:
On Day 5, Livia called Tony and announced that she planned to leave the cruise and fly home at the next stop. Tony understood her worries, after all he had the same ones himself, but he'd had enough of her hysteria.
"Stay on the fucking cruise Livia. There's no point in racing home. What could you do?" he asked. After a tour de force performance of grief, Livia agreed. Paolo was impressed.
So, for Livia it would be a great time of relaxation, luxury and intimacy with one or two handsome young men. Life was good... and getting even better!
After five days hearing nothing from or about Terry, Tony came to terms with the fact that his twin would get over whatever was troubling him and would return in due course. Tony remained aware though that he felt a bit exposed without Terry around. He tried to tell himself that was irrational, but without great success.
To ease his frustration, Tony tried again and again in vain to contact Terry.
“He’s being fucking obstinate again.” he told Paolo, who didn't comment.
Eventually, Paolo suggested contacting the police. That prompted a stream of invective from Tony, as Paolo had expected.
Despite only confiding in Paolo, Marcia soon found out about Terry’s disappearance, not through Tony himself, but via Sofia.
Sofia had slid into Tony’s bedroom late Sunday night, unsure of where he’d been the night before. He wasn’t interested in sex, and rebuffed her when she started her petting routine. He apologised and then, by way of explanation, he told her that Terry had gone off and he was worried about him.
Sofia could tell that he was rattled and feeling guilty. She and Marcia laughed about it later. Tony was starting to suffer.
Maybe Livia was starting to deliver!
Apart from Paolo, Tony confided in nobody about his concerns. The other 'associates' couldn't help noticing how moody and depressed he seemed to be, but none of them said anything for fear of his reaction.
Tony heard nothing from Terry. The only person who rang him every day was Livia. She either didn't know or didn't care what time of the day or night she rang. She put on a very convincing front of being extremely worried about Terry. Tony groaned inwardly as he answered her calls. He insisted she should continue on the cruise. He didn't want her around.
After his chat with Paolo, Tony seemed to go into himself, brooding and dwelling on the whats and whys of his relationship with Terry. Paolo judged he was suffering, just what Livia would be wanting.
For five days this continued, with Tony restless, but insisting on Paolo being around, and, it seemed, nobody else. Paolo gave Tony time to self-analyse and question himself, while he, Paolo, gave thoughtful, considered feedback. He was good for Tony during those days... perhaps!
Paolo started to realise that he was now Tony's most trusted ally... and in a very strong position of influence.
Paolo realised that Tony actually relied upon his twin Terry for his own strength and that with Terry not around to 'play to', he was less certain in his top role. 'Uneasy lies the head...' thought Paolo.
"What I don't get Paolo, is why if Terry's got problems he doesn't want to talk them through with me. I'm his real 'other half' after all."
Paolo hesitated, but then replied "You maybe part of the problem, Tony, or all of it for that matter!" This was perhaps a dangerous viewpoint, given Tony's volatility.
But "Perhaps you're right" was Tony's morose response.
"So you're saying Terry's had some kinda mental breakdown then?" asked Tony.
"It looks like it Boss," replied Paolo, adding "but what do I know about such stuff?"
Paolo was surprised that Tony seemed to be confiding in him and asking his advice minutes after dressing him down for arriving late. He thought to himself that maybe it was Tony who was uncharacteristically 'close to the edge'. This could work two ways for Paolo, Tony could become dangerously unpredictable on the one hand or reliant upon Paolo's advice on the other, which would be perfect..
Paolo needed to take care.
Expecting a bollocking for being late, Paolo explained away his delay in getting to the office despite living far closer than Tony.
"I was, er, entertaining," he said rather bashfully.
"So you were more interested in shagging than getting off your arse and coming here to see me?" Tony accused.
"I had to drop her off home on the way..."
"Whatever... you're here now." Tony couldn't care less what Paolo's excuses were; he needed to talk to him now. He showed him Terry’s text.
"What's going on Paolo? What the fuck's going on?"
"Looks like he's flipped." was Paolo's reply.
Paolo waited a while before leaving Terry's house in case Tony was still hanging around somewhere. Paolo had to admit to himself it had been a stupid near miss. The only good thing was he wouldn't now need to take Terry's cases to the refuse dump.
He was expecting Tony's call so wasn't at all fazed when he heard the boss's order to "Get into the office now! Need to talk to you about Terry."
Driving his own car, Paolo was well behind Tony, who had driven straight from Terry's to the East End.
"Where the fuck have you been?
Tony was baffled. What was Terry's problem? Where had he gone? Why had he gone? Is the fucker trying to blame me for his messed up fucking head?
He was Tony, so of course he did try Terry's mobile, which of course Paolo had switched off again. Tony texted a tirade of invective, but nothing would bother Terry now. Tony ranted and lashed out, smashing an expensive vase. Nobody treated him like this!
Paolo had been very smart to realise how, despite his predicament, he could get Tony to leave. Minutes later Tony had left, in a white-hot rage.
Tony couldn't fathom it. What was Terry doing if he wasn't flying out to see Livia. Had he stumbled upon some rift in his brother's marriage? Terry had adored Livia but the impression Tony got was it was Terry who was aggrieved.
When confronted with so much contradictory stuff, the mind goes into overdrive. Tony was confused. His confusion didn't improve much when he heard that he'd got a text. It was from Terry's phone. He opened it quickly.
'Finding things too much had to get away to sort my head out. Don't call I won't answer I need time'
It was like a French farce, except for the knife Paolo had ready. If he needed to use that, it might be farce, but it would also be fatal for someone.
Paolo had the advantage over Tony who would not be expecting an attacker. The younger man should be able to take Tony out, but if he were discovered, he would most certainly have take Tony out for good... and that would upset the plan.
Tony opened Livia's door, glanced around and just muttered "Messy cow!"
Tony then went into Terry's study and discovered his empty suitcases.
"What the fuck...!"
"Terry, Terry... are you here Terry?" Tony shouted loudly enough to wake the dead, and certainly Paolo asleep upstairs in Livia's bedroom. It was a rude awakening and one that set his heart racing like a thoroughbred. This was serious trouble as he heard Tony below checking all the downstairs rooms. Fortunately, Terry opened the inside door into the garage and went in to see if Terry's car was there and if so, to check it out.
That gave Paolo time to quietly slide out of Livia's bed rearrange the covers a bit and secrete himself in her large wardrobe.
Worry? Worry? That was the last thing Livia intended to do. But had she known that Paolo was currently sleeping in her bed, she would have had reason to worry.
Paolo hadn’t thought things through. He should have realised that even in the middle of the night the first thing that Tony would do after Livia’s call was to shoot over the few miles to check out Terry’s house. Livia hadn’t thought the silly boy would sleep the night there, otherwise she would have warned him.
Tony had the keys and codes too. Fortunately for Paolo, Tony didn’t enter quietly.
Tony told the truth, almost.
“Are you sure he ain’t there?” was his first response, “absolutely certain?”
“They told me he wasn’t on the flight.” Livia replied.
“I was gonna drive him to the airport, but twenty minutes earlier he texted to say he was going by taxi instead on account of being worried about missing the plane.” Tony didn’t add that he had planned to make Terry miss the flight anyway. “Which taxis do you use?”
“It could be any.” Livia replied.
Tony, still shocked, was gaining composure.
“Leave it to me. Try not to worry. Continue your cruise.”
Tony struggled to say anything. Had he heard correctly? Terry wasn’t on the plane?
In the airport bar, Livia smiled as she thought of Tony at the other end trying to process this and struggling for words. ‘There’s a turnup for the books’, she thought.
“He’s not here Tony, he’s not here. And he’d texted me to say you were taking him to the airport, so what the fuck have you done with him?” Livia was extremely bold in her language to Tony, given his violent past. But her approach was deliberate; she would be beyond suspicion.
“Well?” she demanded.
At 2am, when Paolo had just fallen asleep in Livia’s bed, Tony was rudely awoken by his phone, from which he was never separated. It was Livia, calling from Barbados.
“Where the fuck is Terry?” she demanded, surprisingly boldly. “I’ve been waiting here for hours, his plane’s come in and yet there’s no sign of him. Have you stopped him coming out? Why? Doesn’t the poor guy deserve a fucking break? A break from you Tony! You can’t control all his life... or maybe you think you can!”
Tony heard little. Her first question was a kick in the guts.
Paolo returned quickly, without speeding, to Terry and Livia’s house. Putting Terry’s car back in the garage, to complete this task he needed to dispose of Terry’s luggage. He took time to empty Terry’s suitcases and put his clothes neatly away. He kept Terry’s mobile and SIM card. He might well need those later.
Paolo decided to remove and dispose of Terry’s empty suitcases the next day. Tonight though, he would sleep there, in Livia’s bed, absorbing her memory and anticipating the time when he would share it with her.
A long day today, but everything had gone to plan.
The Fens are characterised by a network of waterways providing irrigation for its highly productive arable land. Long straight roads run closely parallel to rivers like the Great and Little Ouse, New Bedford River, and straight canals which drain into The Wash. The proximity of the roads to the rivers and the flat openness of the area make it easy to access these waterways.
Nobody would stop or think twice about the SUV driver changing a wheel by the roadside.
Terry’s weighted body, minus eight fingers, slid gently into the river. If discovered, it wouldn’t be for a long time.