"Fedeltà" drabbles by Neville Hunt

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The petty pace creeps in

Fedeltà #347

Tomorrow was another day in many ways. For Tony, despite his grief and anger in equal measure, it was business as usual. At 09.30 he arrived at his office. Paolo was already there fiddling with a computer which was connected a mobile phone.

Tony grunted hello and then asked Paolo “What you up to?”

“Trying to see if I can identify where the messages came from, just to get some idea if someone’s out there with a grudge, someone’s got too greedy or maybe an inside job...”

“Let’s talk about that.” said Tony. “And what you said to the cops.”

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Getting Livia’s drift

Fedeltà #346

The conversation later with Livia was warm. Paolo pressed her for details of how Livia might make it ‘worth his while’. Livia chuckled before answering.

“Well one way Paolo I’m sure you can guess, although of course we do have to be very careful for a while, particularly as Tony’s looking for any clues that might point to who might have killed Terry. It should be worth the wait though, unless I’m getting rusty with old age!” She chuckled again and continued.

“The other way is for me to point Tony towards a likely murderer... Get my drift?”

Paolo did.

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All in a day’s work

Fedeltà #345

Livia closed the conversation saying she had to text him her bank details. Paolo would call her again when the transfer had gone through.

With heavy heart on one hand and a hopeful heart on the other, Paolo made the transfer to Livia’s new Cayman Islands Bitcoin account. It was very easy.

‘Just think how much has happened in less than 24 hours,’ thought Paolo, remembering the car dash, the successful ransom demand, the women, the police, riches and now half as rich by sharing... and the promise, he hoped, of sharing Livia’s bed and body too.

What a day!

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Winning fair lady

Fedeltà #344

The hairs on Paolo’s neck stood out. If Livia could have seen, she would have noticed his shudder. He was outfoxed. He quickly computed the situation and came to the conclusion that he had little option but to comply with Livia’s demands. In a way, he rationalised, it was only fair... if you can afford to be fair. Except Paolo had no real option. He should be thankful that she wasn’t demanding it all.

“That’s fine. Send over the bank details and I’ll sort it out tonight.” he offered.

“Thanks Paolo... and I’m going to make it worth your while...”

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Fedeltà #343

Somehow, Paolo was recovering a bit.

“You’re mighty pally with Tony all of a sudden! When did you talk to him?”

“Oh, earlier this afternoon. He’s very upset... about Terry of course, but he was spitting blood about the ransom he was tricked out of. If he finds out whoever did it, that’s another dead man walking!” Livia wasn’t about to sweeten any pill. She wanted her share of the money. Paolo took her last sentence as a threat; it was!

“I thought you and Tony didn’t really get on.” tried Paolo.

“Tony and I are now united in grief!”

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Even Steven

Fedeltà #342

“Why?... What for?” asked Paolo, trying desperately to compose himself and appear businesslike too.

“Silly boy!” laughed Livia, “you know perfectly well what for. For my share of the money. The ransom.”

”Tony didn’t pay any rans...” Paolo started to say.

“Don’t joke with me you naughty boy,” interrupted Livia. “Equal shares... I make that exactly two hundred thousand pounds each, isn’t it Paolo?”

The noise Paolo made at the end of the line prompted Livia to continue.

“I sincerely hope you weren’t planning to cheat me Paolo. You see, Tony told me exactly how much you took him for!”

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Fedeltà #341

When Livia called him back after about fifteen minutes, Paolo didn’t know quite what to expect. He was a little surprised to find her composed and almost businesslike.

“You OK now,” he asked.

“I’m fine now. Sorry about that. Now... I promised to tell you what I’ve done.” she replied.

“We visited the Cayman Islands, so I decided to open a bank account there. After all, a girl might need a hidey-hole now and then. And of course it’s now Paolo, isn’t it?”

Fearing trouble, “Huh?” was all Paolo could manage.

“I’ll text the account details in a moment.”

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“There, there”

Fedeltà #340

Paolo was flabbergasted by Livia’s apparent hypocrisy. How could she be so grief-stricken when she had been the prime catalyst in Terry’s demise? How come she hadn’t thought about the effect of his death on Luka before she had Paolo murder his father?

Livia must have been overwhelmed by guilt and he, Paolo, was her outlet. That started to make sense to him... although he would never understand women.

He allowed Livia to cry without interrupting except the occasional “There, there.”

“Sorry Paolo” Livia managed to get out between sobs. “I’ll have to call you back in a minute.”

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Turning on a sixpence

Fedeltà #339

“I’m only teasing you!” Livia reassured Paolo, speaking in such a delightful way that Paolo realised how much he loved her voice. He dismissed her rather-too-close-for-comfort comments.

What happened next took him completely by surprise.

Livia burst out crying at the other end of the line. These weren’t mock tears to get her way that Paolo had experienced with other women. This seemed like real grief.

“What is it Livia? What’s up” he asked quickly with real concern.

“You know!... I’ve lost my husband, that’s what,” she sobbed, “and Luka’s lost his father. I’m a widow!”

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Fedeltà #338

‘Why did what Livia had said sound ominous?’ thought Paolo, ‘but then am I just getting paranoid?’

He told of the events of the last night in Cambridgeshire, of him crashing down at Tony’s house and then his interview with the police. Of course he avoided mentioning the night visits and his lunch and early evening tête a tête.

He was taken aback when Livia said “Sleeping in the same house as the sisters eh? I hope they controlled themselves! And you too!” She appeared to giggle at the end of the phone.

‘Witch!’ thought Paolo, ‘does she know somehow?’

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Back home

Fedeltà #337

Arriving home, Paolo decided he must call Livia, he couldn’t avoid it. He nonetheless worried that despite the distance she seemed to see into his soul.

Livia ignored his first attempt. ‘Best not seem too eager’ she thought.

She picked up next attempt and heard a tentative “Livia?” to which she answered, “Oh hello Paolo” in a friendly fashion indicating she was pleased to hear from him. In reality she was pissed off, but she wasn’t going to let that show.

“I’ve read the news Paolo. Tell me what you’ve been doing and I’ll tell what I’ve been doing too...”

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Fedeltà #336

Paolo’s trip home after seeing Sofia went without incident although he was a bit jumpy all the way, looking out for the figure of Franco. Paolo couldn’t help thinking that when it came to a ‘tail’, why would Tony choose Franco, who was very distinctive, built like a brick shithouse and looking like he’d gone 15 rounds with Tyson. He was hardly invisible.

But then maybe Tony wanted his quarry to know he was being tailed. From confidently working alongside Tony as close ‘friend’, he was suddenly getting a bit spooked by him

And the three women were worrying Paolo...

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Fedeltà #335

Livia finished her call to Tony. She now knew she had him on her side, whatever that was worth, and wasn’t under suspicion. She also knew he had stumped up £400,000 for Terry and that knowledge was essential in her dealings with Paolo.

‘By the way,’ she thought, “Why hasn’t bloody Paolo called me? Does he think he’s going it alone, the little shit? Just let him try!”

With that, she lay back in her cabin. Adrian would be dropping by again soon and although she’d done a circuit in the ship’s gym earlier, a little more exercise wouldn’t hurt.

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How huge?

Fedeltà #334

“Tony... why did they do this? What could Terry have done? He wasn’t exactly confrontational was he? Was it money? Did they demand a ransom? Did they make you pay?”

Tony’s guilt trip forced him to reveal something that ordinarily he would not have done. He had to let Livia know that he had done everything he could to save Terry.

“Promise not to tell the cops, but they got a huge ransom from me and still the fuckers killed Terry!”

“How huge is huge?” Livia slipped in.

“Four hundred fucking grand.”

“Wow Tony, you must have loved Terry.”


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Fedeltà #333

“That’s good of you Tony. You must be feeling shit too. Yes, we need to talk. We need to talk about who could have done this terrible thing to my Terry.” Here Livia broke down again sobbing.

“I know it’s the wrong time Liv, but you got any ideas who? Inside job maybe? I can’t think we’ve pissed off anyone recently. Who, who, who Liv?”

Tony never called Livia Liv. She noticed. ‘Yes!’ she thought.

Tony was carrying a lot of guilt. Livia was part of that guilt and he felt uncharacteristically close to her.

Livia didn’t do guilt though!

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A matter of trust

Fedeltà #332

“You don’t trust them? How come? About clothes? Thought you was all friends now!” Tony’s antennae were working overtime. “Or do you think one of them could have something to do with Terry....?” Tony trailed off.

“Or both.” said Livia cryptically.

“In cahoots you mean?” asked Tony, continuing, “Just what do you know Livia?”

Livia planned to stop there. “Nothing... but I’m starting to suspect everyone!”

“What even me?” asked Tony.

“Course not!”

Tony decided “I’ll go round your house myself and get you something black and suitable then I’ll collect you from Southampton with it. We need to talk.”

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Not them!

Fedeltà #331

“Look Tony,” Livia said tearfully, “I’ll see if I can get airlifted somehow so I can get home quickly. I must get back to Luka.”

“Why? What’s the point? It ain’t gonna bring Terry back and Luka don’t need to know yet anyway. Just money down the drain. Take your time and try to get yourself composed, because the cops are sure to want to speak to you the minute you’re back.”

“OK, but can someone go round my house and get me something black to wear?”

“I’ll ask Marcia or Sofia...”

“No, sorry, but I don’t trust them Tony.”

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Widow’s weeds

Fedeltà #330

When she’d calmed down a bit more Livia asked.

“Has Luka been told? Poor boy, he idolised his dad.” That wasn’t strictly true as, influenced by his mother Livia, Luka thought Terry was a bit of a fool and he resented the fact that he was very obviously the ‘junior’ twin.

“No” said Tony, “not yet. They only found the body earlier today.”

“It doesn’t seem fair. Here I am sunning myself on deck while Terry’s lying dead on the slab. But I missed him every day you know.”

“Yeah, I know” said Tony.

“And now I’ll be wearing black.”

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And the Oscar goes to...

Fedeltà #329

Livia kept howling down the phone. Tony, himself trying to come to terms with the situation, was surprisingly sympathetic and tried to calm her. It was probably good for him as it took his mind away from his own grief and self-flagellation. He was convinced that Livia was genuinely devastated. ’Maybe she did love Terry’ he thought.

When she calmed down a little she asked him what had happened.

“Tell me everything Tony, everything”

Tony told everything, except the fact that he actually had paid the ransom.

’Why hasn’t Paolo called to tell me about the body?’ thought Livia.

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Act 1

Fedeltà #328

Livia called Tony’s mobile. It was 8pm in Chigwell, where Tony had locked himself away. She didn't care when it was so long as there was enough time lapse for her to have seen BBC news on the Internet.

“Is it true, is it true? Is Terry dead? Have they found his body?”

Those three questions, followed by Tony’s affirmative grunt and “so they say... but I don’t believe them!” were instantly followed by Livia howling down the phone. Tony, still grieving, with guilt front of mind, was no match for Livia, who played to the gallery. She convinced Tony.