Criminal Intent

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The South of France

Andrew’s father was delighted when he told him of his decision. They sat down and hammered out a program that would allow him to take a year off and travel around the world visiting his father’s group of hotels, resorts and leisure facilities to get some experience of the business.

He was less happy about the caveat that his son added, that his three friends accompany him on his trip. But, the fact that his son had shown enthusiasm for joining the business at all had swayed his decision to allow him that condition, and they spent the best part of a week deciding where he would visit first and what his father expected from him.

Once they’d agreed, his father made the arrangements, which included flights for his three friends, and a couple of rooms at the resort for them to use for the duration of their stay.

Andrew had negotiated hard, something that his father had been pleased about, even though that he fought him, but they finally agreed that all meals and drinks for their party would be covered whilst at the resort. They would be free to try out all of the facilities, but anything that they spent away from the resort was their responsibility.

Andrew called the others and they arranged to meet up online and video-chat. He began by telling them that his father had agreed to his request and that they were included in the deal that he had struck. They were all excited, as he laid out the ground rules for their trips. None of them could believe that he had managed to persuade his father to pay for their whole trip.

“Listen. He’d have let us travel first-class if I’d insisted upon it, but I didn’t want to take too many liberties. And besides, there may come a time when I need him to step up and help us out.” He said.

Finally, Hannah could hold out no longer.

“Fuck Andrew! Where are we going?” She blurted out.

He smiled.

“Patience Hannah. Well, I’ve agreed that we would go and check out one of our newer resorts on the South coast of France, near to Antibes. I fly out in three days to spend a few days with the management getting to know the resort and the staff. You will follow four days later. I hope your passports are all in order.” He said.

After the initial excitement, he explained that the resort was an exclusive complex set in its grounds with forty acres of land and it’s own private beach ran stretched one-hundred metres either side of the hotel. He sent them all links to the website and told them to check it out.

“It won’t be a free trip entirely though, I told my father that you would check out all of the facilities and we’d report back to him after we leave.”

He knew that point would resonate with the two women, and almost immediately they began to talk between themselves about the selection of spa facilities and beauty treatments that were on offer.

Three days later Andrew boarded his flight to Nice and he was on his way. He was excited about the trip and surprised himself that he was excited about meeting the staff. He had even done some research into the resort and had already identified possible changes that might make the experience better for the customers, and of course, more profitable for the company.

The following day he had never worked so hard, or at least that’s how it felt. He’d hardly had a spare moment to himself as he immersed himself in all aspects of the business. He spent a couple of hours with room service. He worked with a woman called Marie, and he couldn’t fail to notice that she was a very attractive young woman. He’d discovered that she was twenty-five and had a young son. She wasn’t married and could only work mornings because her son was in the nursery. He knew that it wasn’t part of his mission, and that his girlfriend was coming out in six days, and he wasn’t sure whether it was just the uniform that she wore, but he felt strangely attracted to her.

As they cleaned the rooms, he couldn’t stop staring at her. She wore a short pleated black skirt, and a shiny silvery-grey, silk shirt. The top two buttons were unfastened and he could see the gold chain that he knew hung around her neck. She had taken it out and showed him the locket at the end which contained a photograph of her son as a baby. As she worked, stretching and bending he couldn’t help but notice her perky breasts as her shirt stretched tight over them.

He spent the rest of the day working at a desk in the office, it was extremely boring. He’d applied himself though, he promised his father that he’d try hard, and as boring as it was at times, that’s what he did.

At the end of the day, he ate in the hotel bistro and then wandered into one of the three bars that were situated on the ground floor. In the corner, a pianist played, it was a nice relaxed atmosphere. He sat on a bar-stool and rolled his finger around the rim of his glass and stared at the amber liquid surrounding the sole cube of ice.

He sensed someone sit on the stool next to him and out of the corner of his eye he sat a small, elegant clutch-bag appear on the bar-top. He glanced to his right. He saw a beautiful young woman, with long, blonde hair that hung below her shoulders.

She wore a very elegant and guessed expensive, black cocktail dress with a modest neckline, revealing just enough cleavage. As his eyes glanced down her body he saw that her legs were covered in sheer black stockings. Looking at her face once again, he saw that she wore long filigree gold earrings that seemed to draw his attention to her heavily made-up eyes. She also wore a gold necklace and filigree pendant that swivelled down, leading his eyes down to her rather inviting cleavage.

She glanced at him. “Sorry, is this seat taken?” She asked.

He smiled and shook his head.

She smiled and the bar-tender asked her what she wanted to drink. She ordered a glass of red wine, Andrew nodded to the bartender and ordered another whisky and told him to put them on his account. She thanked him, he introduced himself, she shook his hand.

“Juliet.” She said.

The began to chat and he learned that she was married, and her husband was in Nice at a business meeting and had called her to tell her that he’d be late back. As he listened her found himself thinking that her husband was a very lucky man.

As he spoke about himself a member of staff approached him and apologised for the interruption and asked him a couple of questions. This led him to reveal his name and position, and his connection to the ownership of the resort.

“So, this is your hotel?” She asked.

He shrugged. “My father’s, but I’m sure that it will be some time.” He replied.

They spent the next hour chatting and even moved from the bar to a table to be more comfortable. As they talked he couldn’t help staring at her, she was so attractive, and he was at times captivated by her smile.

Whilst they talked her husband returned and she noticed him walk into the bar and waved. He walked over to them and when Andrew looked up he was surprised to see him.

Andrew looked up and saw a shortish man walk towards him. He was well-dressed, his suit looked very expensive, and as Andrew stared he couldn’t take in how old he was, he must be at least sixty. As he approached the table, Juliet stood and they embraced, he kissed her cheek and looked at Andrew suspiciously. Juliet introduced him and his expression changed immediately and he shook his hand.

He sat beside his wife and Andrew ordered another round of drinks as her husband, Clive, asked him about the hotel business. It turned out that Clive had made his money in the entertainment business as a promoter and manager and was staying at the resort before the upcoming film festival along the coast in Cannes.

He stayed with them for another drink and then said goodnight and returned to his room. He lay in bed and couldn’t get Juliet out of his head, he was certain that she had been flirting with him, and he wondered whether she could be a target for them, or ideally, him.

‘Maybe I can start before the guys get here? That would surprise them.’ he thought as he drifted off to sleep.

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