Firenze — Away From The Villa

The air was sweet and the high, afternoon sun was warm.  To Emily, walking down the tiny hill, away from the villa, it was as if she’d been ill and this was the first day nanny had let her go out and play.  Dreyfus walked behind her with a good view of the iron gate just in case the two men who’d ran earlier decided to retest their courage.  They hadn’t.  And the gate was open and the car had been turned around on the narrow gravel road and, even though it wasn’t over, it felt like it.  At least the light at the end of the tunnel wasn’t going to be the paramedics, anymore.  Through the gate and Dreyfus opened the passenger door.  Emily got in, half sat down, leaned and reached behind her.  She brought up a bundle of detonators (although she didn’t actually know what they were) and handed them to Dreyfus.  He just as casually took them and put them in his jacket pocket as he got in the backseat beside her.

“This is …” Dreyfus realized he didn’t know the driver’s name.

“I’m the driver, Signora.” He said looking at them through the rear-view.

“Of course you are.”  Emily replied, as he started the car.

Emily curled her arm around Dreyfus’ elbow.  “Did you miss me?”

Dreyfus laughed, “Well, I did have the indestructible Ms. Miller to keep me company.”  He stopped and turned his head to Emily, “The woman has skills.”  He turned his head back and faced forward.  “She does a thing with honey that would make your eyes water,” he said and shook his head slowly.  But before Emily could say anything Dreyfus reached his hand forward and shook the back of the driver’s seat. “Stop.  Stop, here.”

The men at the gate had left their car.  Or there was a car, or … it didn’t matter … the car was there and it was an unexpected opportunity.

“Pass me the Dolce bag.” Dreyfus pointed.  Emily handed it across without a word.  Dreyfus reached in and came out with what looked like a large cake of tofu. 

“I’ll be right back,” he said, got out of the car and matter-of-factly walked over to the black four-door whatever-it-was.  The door was unlocked.  Dreyfus opened it, stopped, took a detonator out of his pocket and stuck it halfway into the cake.  Then he broke the cap at the blue mark, put it under the driver’s seat and closed the door.  A half kilo of high explosive in a confined space would rip the pleasant out of this pleasant little valley and, more importantly — bring the carabinieri.  And they’d be very interested in this turn of events, especially after they discovered three dead Albanians up at the villa.

Dreyfus got back in the car.  “Alright, five minutes.”

The car pulled away, quickly but not with any suspicious speed and less than a minute later, at the village by the river, turned into the traffic on the main highway.  Maybe someone would remember the car, but even if they did …

The road was smooth and Emily, leaning into Dreyfus’ shoulder, let her eyes close and half-close and close again.  And the car motor was steady, soft noise.  And she could feel Dreyfus breathing and he was warm and three days of wary and careful and watching slowly dissolved away and Emily’s eyes were too heavy to … closed again … and maybe … and then she was asleep.  And a few minutes later when the air opened up behind them in a long angry rumble of faraway thunder, she didn’t even move.  And that’s the way they drove back to Florence.  Emily sleeping – deep and dreamless.  Dreyfus motionless watching the Tuscan countryside and ignoring the pins and needles tingling in his shoulder and arm.  And the nameless driver, driving carefully with the traffic and seriously wondering — what kind of a woman would a man kill that many people for.    

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