The man waited impatiently, wanting a cigarette but knowing better than to have one. The boss wouldn’t approve. He didn’t like the smell, the way it permeated everything and lingered long after the deed was done. The boss called it the odor of idiots which the man first mistook as a reference to the negative health aspects of the habit. He understood differently now.
Still, he wanted that cigarette. He pulled one from the pack and rolled it unlit between his fingers. He rolled until the stench of tobacco bled into this skin, giving him a private stash of the aroma he craved. Then, when he heard the door open, he tucked his crutch in his pocket, out of sight and saved for later.
“You had her.” He declared. The boss was barely in the room. He passed without a word and set his phone on the desk in the corner. The nervous man pressed on. “What are you playing at? This could have been over already.”
“No.” The older man replied, holding his irritation in like air in a punctured tire. He did have her and he let her go, fully consciously. He’d been worried about being discovered so he let her go. And now he regretted it.
“I don’t understand you. You’re wasting time. You know they blew up the house don’t you?”
Yes, he did and only he knew how it would haunt him. Had he stayed a few minutes longer it could have changed everything. He would have been with her when the explosion happened. He would have been the one to find and comfort her, to lay seeds of doubt in her mind. He would be well on his way to being a safe harbor in her life.
He had made a mistake. He would not again.
“Something big is going on. If we don’t move, we could miss our chance.”
He stopped thinking of her and stared at his underling. This was his punishment for operating with such a green crew. They needed coddling, educating. He was sick of drawing diagrams for the people under him. But this was the price he had to pay to get what he wanted.
“We need her to come to us.” He said.
“Risky.” The younger man paced the stone floor, pressing his fingers to his nose and inhaling. “If we just take her then we would be done.”
“The risk is taking her.” He explained in a tired voice. “She must come willingly. She must want this.”
“Will she? Can you be sure?”
“With a little help, I believe so.”
“So we are going to do something. We aren’t going to just sit here?”
“Well I am. You will continue to wait. When I need you, or any of the others, I will arrange a meeting.”
“What if your plan doesn’t work?”
“I’m confident it will.”
“Great. I’m not. What if your plan doesn’t work?”
“Then, my dear sir, you will get your wish. We will take her.”