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.
Despite Tony’s anger at the fact that Terry had outsmarted him and Paolo had failed to prevent him taking the flight, he couldn’t realistically blame his sidekick for that.
Paolo left the office and returned to his flat, checking carefully for a tail. Then later he set out for Essex to deal with Terry’s body. He let himself in and waited for darkness before he set off in Terry’s car up the M11 motorway, past Cambridge, continuing north to the cathedral city of Ely and beyond to the Fens.
This is the land reclaimed from the sea, like the Netherlands.
Paolo was pleased to be doing Tony's bidding so soon after the deed. It meant he would probably be and stay in the clear. He felt safe in the knowledge that his quarry was actually lying in the back of his own car in his garage and nobody was likely to look there.... certainly not Tony, because he was convinced Terry had gone to Heathrow by taxi.
Arriving back later, Paolo had to withstand Tony's wrath. He explained.
"I found the flight check-in, but Terry must've already gone through. But they wouldn't confirm if he had or not. Bastards!"
In the state that Tony was in, Paolo knew it wasn’t smart to question him. He did need to know though which Teminal, which flight, where to, what time. So he asked.
“Oh I don’t fucking know... 3 or 5 to Bar-fucking-bados, lunchtime.” was all Tony could manage.
“OK, OK, I’ll find it.”
“You’d better find him too!” threatened Tony.
“But what if he doesn’t wanna be stopped?” Paolo had demanded.
“Then make him!” Tony sounded apoplectic.
The way he was raging, Paolo almost expected Tony to tell him to kill Terry.
Now that would have been ironic.
After Paolo despatched Terry to enjoy whatever promises were in his promised land, cleaned up any small signs of spilt blood, which, due to his technical skills, were few, and laid Terry neatly in the car boot, he sent Terry’s text to Tony. Paolo smiled at Tony’s predictable repeated attempts to speak to Terry. Then he switched off Terry’s phone and removed the SIM card. Job done.
Then Paolo visited Terry’s home gym for some heavy weights that had pumped their last iron.
Tony called Paolo, almost speechless.
“Terry’s gone fucking AWOL! Get to Heathrow and stop him flying out!”
As he cruised north up the M11 later in the day, Paolo reflected how easy it had been.
No need to break in to Terry’s house, although Livia had the foresight to give him keys and security codes, just in case.
No need for a struggle as he slid the knife into Terry from behind while helping put the luggage into the boot of Terry’s own car, in Terry’s own garage. Plenty of time to clean up any spilt blood and put Terry into the boot of the SUV.
And on time he’d received the call from Tony he’d expected.
Tony would pick up Terry at 09.30, saying that would leave plenty of time to get round London and be at the airport two hours ahead of departure time. Terry agreed, knowing he would be getting there well before that anyway, having made secret arrangements with Paolo. Terry thought Paolo seemed trustworthy, even though he would now need to keep him away from Livia.
At 9.10am, Tony got a text.
'Tony - I got worried about missing flight. Took a taxi. Sorry!'
Tony called Terry immediately... and again... and again.
"Pick - fucking - up!"
Terry's phone went dead. Terry was dead too.
So Livia had been absolutely right. Tony was insisting on taking Terry to catch his flight and, he could imagine it... something would delay him and Terry's opportunity to connect with the cruise in Barbados would be lost.
Terry lost no time in contacting Livia.
"Well here's what you do Terry. Ask Paolo to drive you to Heathrow early and on the way text Tony before he leaves home to collect you. But whatever you do, don't tell Tony that Paolo's involved. Paolo won't say anything to Tony because I think he's rather sweet on me!... And text, don't speak!"
After Terry had dropped off Livia at Southampton, forced by Tony to delay, a long week followed for him. The atmosphere was palpable. Terry's resentment of Tony's bullying and his inner feelings of self-loathing were a strange, bitter cocktail.
Terry's flight to Barbados to pick up the cruise and Livia was scheduled at 1pm from Heathrow on Saturday. On Thursday evening, just before they went home, Tony announced to Terry.
"I'll take you to the airport on Saturday."
"Thanks Tony, that's very kind, but I've got it covered."
"Well now you've got it uncovered. I'm taking you! I insist!"
Hearing about Livia and Terry's impending big trip, Marcia and Sofia were anxious to hear about the other big trip Terry should be going on.
"Think she's bottled it Sofe?" Marcia asked her sister. "Livia hasn't said a word about it for ages. We must meet her urgently to find out what's going on. I still don't trust the bitch!"
"I don't trust anyone; it's best that way. Except you of course!" Sofia lied.
They all met up in London. Livia convinced the others that all was under control.
"Our holiday is the start." she announced cryptically. "You'll see!"
“He’s not going to stage a car breakdown just to stop me catching the plane!” insisted Terry.
“Terry, you must know Tony by now. He is certain to pull some kind of stunt to stop you coming out to Barbados, or anywhere else. He needs you around him for the exercise of his power. Trouble is though, he exercises that power on you! Now, if you don’t want to join me...”
“You know I do,” Terry interrupted.
“Well be warned and have something up your sleeve in case I’m right... and I know I am. I know how Tony thinks.”
On the journey to Southampton for Livia to join the ferry, she told Terry she would meet him at the airport in Barbados. He was still a little edgy about Tony’s disapproval and yet was feeling pissed off that he had agreed to delay his holiday for a week. Livia didn’t make him feel worse, but gave him a warning.
“You know what will happen Terry,” she said. “Tony will insist on taking you to the airport and, you know what... the car will break down and you’ll miss your flight!”
Time would show that Livia had guessed uncannily correctly.
Paolo’s new found confidence took a knock when Livia told him about the holiday she and Terry had planned. That meant she wouldn’t be around for ages and if she was away with Terry, he might just be able to win back her affections.
Disappointment showed on Paolo’s face and he made to suggest that they should ‘complete’ their relationship now. He was in earnest.
“No Paolo, it’s too risky right now. Do I detect a bit of jealousy that Terry will have me to himself for three weeks? Well let’s try and find a way to ensure he doesn’t...”
“Don’t worry about Marcia or Sofia, I have plans!” Livia said cryptically.
She chose not to tell Paolo that she'd been meeting the two women. He didn’t need to know that. Rather, she dismissed them both savagely, describing Marcia as ‘an utter head case and loose cannon’ and Sofia as ‘a vicious, conniving little bitch, who’s cheating on her own sister'.
“I don’t trust either. I think they might be after Tony’s job themselves. They’re dangerous, and won't be around long!”
Paolo realised he was in deep, in many ways, but, compelled to please Livia. He was just a man.
With Livia’s encouraging words still ringing in his ears, Paolo chewed things over with her. She confirmed the others were weak and were continually manipulated by Tony in such a way that none of them fully trusted any one. This, she said, was how Tony had been able to keep control. He also ‘had something on’ each and every one of them, “probably you too Paolo” adding that with Tony gone, everyone would be happy.
“What about Marcia though?” Paolo asked.
“She hates Tony's guts... and as for her sister Sofia, she's really trying to screw him, by screwing him!”