Short and mean, that’s how April characterizes herself, and short certainly doesn’t apply to her meanness. She’s been in the covert operations business long before the twists of events changed Zoe’s ordinary life forever. Once they joined forces they were virtually unstoppable. Where does the short blonde woman at Zoe’s side come from, and how could she become the world’s most powerful soldier?
“He took the bait,” I informed Matt by mobile phone, of course over an encrypted line, once I had searched my camper for bugs routinely but thoroughly. “The hook is in deeply and firmly.”
“Of course,” he commented briefly. “Cheb already made contact and is preparing the equipment. Rico and I start tomorrow. Watch yourself.”
Around noon Leo called. I was scouting the closer vicinity on my bike. This kind of movement allowed a much more detailed look around inconspicuously than rushing up the road in a car. When the phone rang, I stopped at the side of the road. “May I invite you tonight for a romantic candlelight dinner?” he asked.
Oh, how nice! “Sure you may. Dress code? I’m afraid I don’t own a little black dress.”
“Completely informal, come as you are. Close to nature. I’d strongly advise not to wear high heels, boat shoes would be better.”
“Do we have the same understanding of close to nature?”
“Me Tarzan, you Jane. No, wear something suitable for the beach. Sand- and seawater-proof. I’ll pick you up at five.”
He disconnected without waiting for my confirmation. So. This invitation was sufficiently unprecise to reduce any fashion-conscious woman to despair. Romantic candlelight, but no stiletto heels and no cocktail dress. Boat shoes! What men considered romantic, bah.
Well, it was easier for me. I had to stick to my role and my very limited choice of clothes, and according to the role there was no budget for shopping.
For city and clubbing I only had the yellow cotton pants, but for dinner nothing but the ultra-short white mini skirt seemed appropriate. I could only choose from the tops—shoulder-free or bare midriff? The latter worked better with the narrow, low-riding mini and turned the gaze away from my tits. No trainers, it had at least to be sandals, and after returning to my camper I had the rest of the afternoon left to repaint my toenails.
A few minutes to five I was ready. My camper didn’t provide a truly large mirror, but my outfit should do. Pink tube top, white mini, trekking sandals, my feet with painted toenails, quite nice, but to match my role sufficiently patched together for an ex-soldier and drop-out not versed in terms of fashion. No display model.
Five o’clock on the dot, he knocked at my door. He wore a clean white shirt with short arms, white jeans and white canvas shoes, his hair was newly washed and done, his face shaven. He didn’t smell like marine diesel, but a bit like after shave. All nice, but truly unexpectedly he conjured up a bouquet of twenty long-stemmed white roses from behind his back.
“Oooh Leo, those are wonderful!” I asked him inside, gave him a long kiss and looked for something like a vase. The only available item was a sky blue five-liter bucket. Oh well.
“We have to go, the sun sets early,” he pressed.
It was only a five minute drive to his wharf. One of his mechanics held the boat ready with the engine running, so that we just had to change. The man couldn’t keep his gaze away when I stepped from the pier into the boat. No wonder, when I lifted my legs the skirt bared truly everything, and my panties—no G-string this time, it would have peeked out above—were rather skimpy. I didn’t care, he couldn’t take anything away from me.
With the boat it took about twenty minutes to reach a lonely spot on the western shore of one of the northerly located Keys. We had to wade through the shallow water for a short distance to reach the beach with its fine sand, so I left the sandals in the boat.
Leo struggled hard carrying a large ice chest and a voluminous picnic basket, which he dropped into the sand with a wink.
First he spread a large crimson blanket on the sand. On it he adjusted the top of a camping table horizontally with some rough wooden wedges. Then the ugly wedges disappeared under a fine white tablecloth. A bit hastily he arranged porcelain plates and silver cutlery for two, placed pre-folded cloth napkins on the plates and two silver candleholders with long crimson candles in glass tubes at two corners on the table.
“I’ve used glass-protected candles,” he explained when he lighted them. Then he added two champagne glasses from the picnic basket and produced a matching bottle from the ice chest.
After a first sip from the good Californian champagne he took a seat on the blanket next to me. The fiery sun had almost reached the horizon, and we enjoyed the natural spectacle in silence.
When only the play of colors in the evening sky was left, he continued to unpack. On silver plates he served a very delicate carpaccio of beef with Balsamico vinegar and freshly shaved Parmesan, followed by a cold gazpacho. For the main course he had brought different samples of cold sushi. Meanwhile we had changed from sparkling wine to a delicious dry Sauvignon Blanc, which accompanied us to the final chocolate cakes.