Chapters 1 – 2
Chapter 1 – Home Invasion
The dog growled, which doesn’t happen very often. Both Roger and Gwen picked up on this and looked at each other. Roger rolled out of bed on one side, and Gwen rolled out of bed on the other. Their hands went into the drawers of bedside tables and came out with guns. The dog stared at the bedroom door, which was open. When the last of their Russian houseguests had left, they had taken to sleeping with the door open again.
In their bare feet Roger and Gwen moved towards the door, where they stopped. They stood still and silent, listening. Yes, downstairs they heard a person moving. Thank you dog; steak for you later.
Gwen got a very hard look on her face, which Roger correctly interpreted as a show-no-mercy mindset. Roger knew she would give the invader a chance. She would spend two or three seconds to evaluate the person, judge the person, and determine the level of threat. Then she would act. If Gwen determined the person was a common burglar, he or she would survive. If Gwen determined the person was something else, if he or she was a serious threat, the person would not survive. It was a simple as that. The Deneuve was in the house, and nothing was going to threaten her or Roger. Nothing. This invasion of the June home would fail.
Roger telegraphed his thoughts across the open doorway, “Stay here, let the person come up the stairs. If we go down the stairs the person has the tactical advantage.” Gwen nodded. She replied, silently, “I take the invader, you protect The Deneuve.” Roger nodded.
Gwen looked at the dog, telling it to go to the far side of the bed. It obeyed. Gwen entered the heavily carpeted hallway and moved away from the top of the stairs, towards the Heppleworth table at the end of the hallway. She crouched at the side of the table, letting it hide her. Both hands cradled her gun in a firm but relaxed grip. Roger stayed where he was, knowing his first move would be down the hallway toward the guest bedroom. Waited in these positions, Gwen’s eyes glowed brightly.
From downstairs came the faint sound of a door creaking open. Then the faint sound of footsteps in the living room. Then silence. A minute passed, and a second minute, and then two more minutes. The dog was quiet and Roger was quiet and Gwen was fiercely quiet. They both knew the person on the first floor was making a fateful decision, to come up the stairs, or not. Roger knew one decision meant life for the person, and the other decision could mean death. What would it be?
Chapter 2 – Another Russian in the Kitchen
There are sixteen wide steps that connect the June’s first floor with the second. Roger and Gwen counted the person’s fateful progress: step one, step two, step three….Gwen took a deep breath….step four, step five….the dog remained quiet….step six….Roger crouched slightly….step seven, step eight, step nine. In three seconds Gwen covered the twenty-five feet between the Heppleworth table and the banister around the staircase. She knew the person was at a disadvantage, standing exposed on the stairs, while she was above and partially hidden by the banister. She came into a shooting stance against the wall, the Glock 40 caliber semi-automatic in both hands, over the top rail of the banister, pointing at the back of the person on the stairs. She hissed very softly, and said, “If you move a single inch I’ll stop your heart from beating.”
As she assumed her position and had the person covered, Roger ran down the hallway in the other direction, quietly opened the door of the guest bedroom, and entered. He crouched, most of his body protected inside the room, with only his gun arm and head exposed, looking down the hallway towards the stairs. Behind him, from inside the room, he heard Catherine Deneuve say, “Roger, does Gwen know about this?”
The person on the stairs did not move an inch. The left hand moved outwards away from the body to the left, and the right hand, holding a gun, moved away from the body to the right. Very quietly Gwen said, “Kneel down.” The person complied. Gwen said, “Put the gun on the step below your feet. If you move in any way I don’t like, I’ll kill you.” Slowly the person leaned backwards and put the gun on the step. “Stand up and come up the stairs. Roger, ok.”
Roger blew a kiss to the world famous woman in the bed, closed the door, and came down the hallway quickly. He focused his Beretta nine on the chest of the person appearing at the top of the staircase, and moved so his line of fire excluded Gwen behind the banister. He stopped and waited. Gwen said, “Hands on the wall, feet back, stop thinking of attack.” She nodded at Roger, who moved close to the person. With his left hand he frisked the person’s entire body. The hair below the ears might belong to a man, but it was fine and silky. Any doubt was removed when Roger’s hand cupped a breast. He didn’t shy away from checking her crotch, because he knew it was done in the line of duty. If Gwen found out he didn’t do a thorough and professional job of frisking, she would give him hell.
Roger stepped back and nodded to his wife, who came around the banister and flipped on the hallway light. When Gwen saw it was a woman, she said to Roger, “Did you enjoy that?” Roger thought it best not to reply with anything that could be construed as enthusiasm. Gwen said, “Let’s not disturb our friend. Let’s take our unwanted guest downstairs.” Roger headed down the stairs first, the unwanted guest second, and Gwen third, keeping her gun in firing position. At the bottom of the stairs Roger moved out of Gwen’s line of fire. The trio moved slowly down the hallway to the kitchen, where Roger turned on the light. The sudden brightness made the two Russian blue cats, sitting on the counter near the pantry, blink.
Gwen and Roger faced the woman, and Gwen said, “Strip.”
She didn’t say anything, but immediately began taking off her clothes: black sweater, black tee shirt, fanny pack, clip holster, black sneakers, black cargo pants. Roger was pleased to see that her bra, panties, and socks also were black. For that matter, so was Gwen. Gwen looked at Roger, who had a silly look on his face. When he was playing with her, Gwen found this endearing. In the present circumstances, she did not. She motioned to the woman to cease and desist her stripping. She took the outer clothes and threw them into the hallway.
Gwen looked at Roger and said, “Get her gun from the stairs, I didn’t pick it up. And get the duct tape from the pantry, would you dear?” Gwen took hold of a chair and placed it facing the cabinets, away from the doors and windows. She didn’t know how desperate this person might be, or to what lengths she would go, to get out of the predicament she had gotten herself into. The gun stayed pointed at the woman’s chest; the woman’s very nice chest. Gwen had to give her that. She had screwed up badly getting caught, but she had a great body. Maybe she could use that in some fashion in her next job. If she ever got a next job.
Roger returned with a Walther PPS in his right hand, went into the pantry, and came out with a roll of duct tape in his left. He set the gun down on the counter. Gwen looked at him. He picked up the gun, went back down the hallway, and returned a minute later without the gun. Gwen asked, “Where’s your gun?” Roger stood there in the kitchen, dressed only in a tee shirt. He realized he didn’t have on any pants into which he had tucked his Beretta. He looked around the kitchen, and saw his gun over on the kitchen table. He went and picked it up, then said, “I’ll cover her while you tape her up. Where are you going to put your gun?” Gwen realized she too was wearing nothing but a tee shirt, and didn’t have any pants on into which she could tuck her Glock. She smiled at him, he smiled at her, and they both smiled at their unwanted guest. She smiled back.
Gwen handed Roger her gun, then threw the roll of tape to the woman. “Tape your right arm to the chair,” she said. When this was done, Gwen carefully skirted around behind the chair, took the tape, peeled off a strip, and taped the woman’s left arm to the chair.
Roger said, “That’s going to hurt a little when the tape comes off.” He had noticed the woman’s legs were shaved, but not her arms.
“Who says the tape’s coming off?” Gwen said.
At this moment one of the world’s most famous women entered the kitchen. Catherine Deneuve walked in, looked at Roger half naked, looked at Gwen half naked, and looked at a beautiful stranger strapped into a chair, wearing only underwear. She also noticed that Gwen and Roger were holding guns. She said, “Roman Polanski created a scene like this in Repulsion. I was in it, but it didn’t make the final cut. It’s funny to see it recreated here, of all places, so many years later. Is this a fun deal you have going here, or a serious deal? Fun, I hope. Those were the days, for me.”
Gwen said to Roger, “Watch her, but not too closely,” took Catherine by the arm and gently pulled her down the hallway to the study. They sat down on the sofa, and Gwen said, “Catherine, this is a serious deal. That person is not our friend. I don’t know who she is or what she wants. I am so sorry this has happened while you’re here.”
Catherine looked into Gwen’s eyes. “My dear, I’m sorry you have a serious matter, but I know you and Roger will figure it out. I am going back upstairs to read.” Issuing a twinkling smile, she said, “Do I need to take a gun with me? Let me know if you need my help.” And she rose and headed up the staircase. Halfway up she turned and said to Gwen, who was walking down the hallway to the kitchen, “Gwenny dear, your derrière is to die for, and Roger, la bistouquette est très bonne, non?”
Gwen smiled and waved the Glock in Catherine’s direction. She entered the kitchen and said to Roger, “Now that the two of you have had your intimate bonding time, how about getting us some pants? And get the holsters too, please, dear.”
As Roger left the kitchen, Gwen pulled a second chair away from the table and over to the woman. She sat down, crossed her legs, and let her arm and the Glock dangle towards the floor. “What in God’s name are we going to do with you?” was all she could say. She got up, put the gun on the counter, retrieved the woman’s clothes from the hallway, and went through them. In the fanny pack she found a magazine loaded with fifteen rounds, $800 in twenty dollar bills, and a cell phone. That was it. She sat back down in the chair and waited for her pants.
Roger returned with two pair of underwear, two pair of pants, and two clip-on holsters. Gwen asked, “You couldn’t have put your pants on upstairs?” He just looked at her for a moment, bewildered, and then proceeded to get dressed.
The woman said, “Don’t cover up on my account. May be the last I see of any of that for some time to come, depending on what you do with me.” Her accent was Russian.