CHAPTER 26 Rosie sat in a comfortable chair in the small but pleasant room of the hotel. Rick sat in the chair opposite, she didn't much care for him. Even though he was tall and muscular like a younger Arnold Schwarzenegger. 'Not quite' Rosie thought, he didn't have the looks, the voice or the personality. He'd tried to be polite and helpful but he didn't quite manage it. Perhaps it was her, did she expect too much from everyone. Ever since her training in the special forces, she thought she had lost something of herself, her femininity for one and another was her self-respect. How could she respect herself after what she'd endured, the so called special training was special only to her, or to any female that dared to enter the fraternity of the male dominated profession. Rick was expecting Saint-James and was not surprised by the sudden noise outside in the hallway. He knew the lengths that his employer would go to obtain his objectives. However, Rosie was not, she was disturbed by the abrupt intrusion. A pistol entered the room first, followed by a short, stocky man. A clearly audible gasp came from Rosie as she saw the gun, then relaxed a little when she recognised Ruben as the stumpy 'hat chasing' guy from the Black Rock. "Jesus! you scared the hell out of me!" wheezed Rosie, swallowing hard. "Is my father with you?" "You can come in erm, Dolby, its all clear." Gleefully announced Ruben. Rosie sprang back in alarm, as Saint-James walked through the doorway. "Who the hell's Dolby? Who is he?" "Don't distress yourself Rosie, it's only me." Saint-James laughed nonchalantly, removing his hat and gloves. "What's the disguise for?" Rosie inquired, looking at her farther rather sceptically. Rick left the room to guard the entrance door, Ruben stood by the open doorway. "Sometimes I have to travel incognito Rosie, I don't want to be recognised everywhere I go." A bemused smile spread across his face. "It's pretty good, even I didn't recognise you, my own father." "Less of the chit-chat now, it's getting past midnight. Tell me about Samuel Beckett?" Saint-James sat in the chair that Rick had just vacated. "What did you do, to cause his hospitalisation?" "Well him and his associate, Mr. Calavicci, must have followed me to our rendezvous last night. Sam had a cut on his head, so he must have fallen or something. Anyway, this morning, when he wouldn't welcome my advances, I thought I'd try another tactic. Unfortunately I was a little to rough with him. He banged his head again and opened up the wound on his head. I didn't realise at the time that he was unconscious, otherwise I wouldn't have continued my conquest. I never wanted to hurt him. I only wanted him to love me, like only he could." "I've been planning this for over sixteen years Rosie, I thought you might have succeeded where others had failed. Yen Hsuieh-lung failed, your sister Jessica turned traitor and countless others have mindlessly blundered since." Rosie listened to her father intently. "I need control of that computer, I've succeeded in juggling my finances so far but, my creditors are fast catching up with me. I need to rectify the bad investments I so ludicrously made in my past and foolish youth. Do you understand what I'm trying to tell you? Your thoughtlessness has jeopardised me once again" "I can understand that, but as I've tried to explain I didn't mean to hurt him." "I didn't get to where I am today by employing idiots." Saint-James looked at Ruben and closed his eyes, "Unless they have some usefulness." He looked sternly at Rosie, "And I'm afraid you have outlived yours." Saint-James nodded to Ruben. Ruben pulled out the pistol from its holster, a silencer now attached. Holding the gleaming Magnum down by his side, he advanced towards Rosie and stood beside her, an ugly grin curving the corners of his mouth. Slowly and deliberately he raised the pistol to Rosie's head. Saint-James took a few steps backwards and headed slowly for the door. She could feel the coldness of the metal barrel against her temple. She tried to scream, but no sound came. She had been trained for such a situation but her mind was blank with confusion. Her reasonings couldn't conceive that her own father was doing this. Jessie too, it was her father who had killed her sister, along with incalculable other desperate souls looking to make a quick buck. All she ever wanted was to have a family, to be loved, this was too high a price to pay. She looked Ruben in the eye but he was unwavering, his hand steady. She could see the reflection of her father on the barrel as he moved behind her assassin, she closed her eyes, waiting for the inevitable. As Saint-James walked through the doorway there was a 'piff' as Ruben squeezed the trigger, then a thud as Rosie fell to the ground. Ruben picked up Rosie's purse as he too left the room. The three men left as they had entered, silent and unseen, leaving another lonely, lifeless body on a hotel floor. The three men returned to Saint-James' home. "There's only one thing for it Rick, I'll have to do it myself. First thing in the morning, my final master plan, the ultimate deception. If this doesn't work then I'll let Ruben shoot me himself." Saint-James continued into the study. Ruben released a gust of laughter but soon quietened as Saint-James turned and glowered at him. "First a visit to Samuel Beckett is in order, a problem though. If he's seen you two last evening, he's going to suspect something immediately." Saint-James lifted the lid on a rosewood cigar box, taking out a half-corona, he held it up, sniffing in it's aroma. "That's not a problem," Rick interrupted as he offered Saint-James a light. "My cousin's in the same line of business, for the right price, he'll do my job for awhile." "Are you sure you can trust him Rick?" Saint-James questioned between puffs, surrounding himself in bilious smoke. "Sure I can, I trust him completely, with his own life." Rick gave out a satisfied grin. "Arrange it then, I want to see Beckett tomorrow afternoon, he'll be pleased to find he's got another benefactor." Saint-James turned to Ruben, "and you can take your wife on that long awaited holiday, where was it she wanted to go, again, Las Vegas?" "Phaw, not takin' her there, she'll cost me a flamin' fortune, not to mention the arm and leg." Despondent, he looked at Rick, "it's all right for you grinning, you aint got no wife to spend all yer hard earned greenbacks." "No worries Ruben, if this comes off, I'll take your wife to Las Vegas myself." Saint-James relaxed into an over-sized armchair. "Corinne wouldn't be none too pleased." Rick remarked, grinning again. "Bah, she's always at her mother's these days, best place for her at the moment." Saint-James spat out a leaf of tobacco. "God, if I'd known she was gonna to turn out like her mother, I'd have never married her." "I'll be off then, sir, Saint-James." Ruben walked backwards towards the door. "Yeah, thanks for your services this evening, that's one dumb dame less in the world." Ruben turned and headed for the back door and held a hand up in a feeble wave. "I'll be going up too sir. If you don't mind?" Rick couldn't wait to get away, he couldn't stand the stench of cigars. "Nah, get yourself off to bed," he puffed on his cigar again, "you're starting a training school tomorrow, I will expect you bright and early with your cousin. What's his name again?" "Gus, sir, but whatever you do, don't call him by his full name, Gustaphus, he'd skin yer alive." Rick laughed as he headed for the staircase. "I'll remember that Rick, I would like to keep my bones from rattling awhile longer." He managed a half-gruntled laugh. "Goodnight, sir." Rick climbed the stairs. "Goodnight Rick." Saint-James shifted in his chair. He looked at his half burned cigar, 'I'll finish this, then I'll be off to bed too, a good nights work done.' He thought, 'Now for another phase of the plan, it can't fail this time,' he was in control now, nothing was going to stop him this time, not with Samuel Beckett in his pocket.