Eliza and I have had a deal: We will only be together when I’m in England. And then only if Christine is not with me. The thing about that, of course, is that it’s not hard to find my way to England. And it’s not hard to send Christine off on a mission or task of some kind somewhere halfway around the world. I could have picked a place to regather my strength anywhere on the planet, but I chose here. Along with not feeling regret, I do not second-guess myself. But…
With everything that…
And with what Christine just…
And with what I have…
Suddenly, a hand tracing the tattooed triangle on my back pulls me out of my contemplation.
“Hey,” she says, kissing me on the shoulder. We just had sex. Again. That’s all we’ve done since I arrived here however many weeks ago and called her to come join me. There is something desperate and frantic about our lovemaking. Always. It’s simply because we’re acutely aware that every time could be our last. That’s true for all lovers anywhere in the world, but we are conscious of it. “What’s in there, just now?” she asks, tapping me on the temple.
“Do you remember the night we met?” I ask.
“Of course. You tried to act like you didn’t see me watching you.”
“Was I successful?”
She shakes her head.
“Shame. I thought I had put one over on you.”
She sniffs a laugh. Then, “What about that night were you thinking on?”
“You told Christine that the hardest part about stealing the Crown Jewels wouldn’t be the actual stealing but figuring out how to do it without anyone knowing it had been done.”
“That’s right,” she says, resting her head on my shoulder and staring out the window with me.
“Putting aside for a moment that I might disagree that that’s the hardest part”—she laughs—“it’s advice I should’ve heeded.”
She lifts her head. “What do you mean?”
“I mean… when Danny, Christine and I stole my father’s diamond—the one that got him and my mother killed—you know the one I mean…” She doesn’t say anything. “It was impulsive. I was angry with my father. I mean, I was always angry with him, but… fok die kak. I don’t know. The whole point was that I wanted him to panic. I wanted him to lose his shit. I just didn’t know that those fokken Russian okes he owed the diamond to were going to…” I trail off.
She turns me around to face her. She’s also still naked.
“Hey. Look, I mean, I don’t know what I don’t know. I wasn’t there. I didn’t know you then, but… what’s done is done, yeah? We can’t none of us change the past. Can we?”
“No, Alec, we can’t. So, I mean, you can dwell on this if you like—it’s very sexy and broody and all that—but I need to tell you something that…” Now she trails off.
“Yeah? That what?” I ask. “What is it?”
“Well, that’s more about the future, if you like.”
She bows her head and looks down toward her toes. I tip her chin and point her eyes back at mine, saying as softly as I can, “Fok does that mean?”
I don’t know why I say it that way. It’s just what comes out. Because suddenly, I have this odd feeling in my chest. It’s that feeling that comes in a crisis just before I breathe into myself and that Hulk fokker emerges.
But there is no crisis here.
There’s no threat.
There’s just me and Eliza.
“It means,” she says, taking a breath, “Alec… I’m pregnant.”
CHAPTER SIX – CHRISTINE
I caught him with a girl once.
Danny, I mean.
We were staying in downtown Reykjavik for a few weeks waiting on new passports to come in from Copenhagen. We had this skinny, blue townhouse with a top-floor terrace, which was my favorite part.
I was… I dunno. Seventeen? Maybe? We’d just finished a job in the Southern Hemisphere and decided, hey, we’ve never been to Iceland, why not lie low there for a little bit?
So that’s what we did.
Alec was gone, mostly. I don’t even know if he was really in Iceland the whole time because he’d disappear for several days, then come back, then leave again.
But Danny was there.
This was during summer break from school and it was relatively warm and I was trying to practice some parkour moves that I’d seen these guys doing in England a few months earlier.
So I was clinging to the side of the severely-pitched roof when Danny came home that night with a woman.
It was about three in the morning. Though the sun was still hanging low on the horizon in what’s called “the white night.”
Which I sorta loved. Both the fact that the sun refused to set and the name for the phenomenon.
It was weird and I wasn’t used to the light, so I had a hard time sleeping those few weeks we were in Reykjavik.