Cash in the bank

…some work in progress from the Cazique of Poyais story…

It had been an odd, but pleasurable experience to see Sam Jenkins in such discomfort and capitulating so quickly to what they wanted. The fear of God had thoroughly been put in him by Noemi’s threats. They didn’t walk away with £300,000 though the had a substantial sum from his safe with promises for the rest to be transferred to an account in Jose’s name at a separate, reputable banking establishment once he had done his best to fleece some of his dumber, richer clients who hadn’t yet heard of Poyais.

Sam had bemoaned his position to the deaf ears of Noemi, Emma and Jose. He termed it as unjustifiably penal. A sentence not befitting the crime. His gripes had continued ad naseum as he collected what cash he had in the Fox Alan’s apartment and on his person. Like a pauper sentenced to transportation for stealing sustenance, he accepted his fate. Though, of course, his was a much kinder fate.

Phase one of their plan was nearly complete and so they contemplated their journey back to Paris as they walked the streets of London. The streets stank in a way that bred contempt for the city, for all cities, which made it that much harder to contemplate the next step. It felt so far away from success. So far away from a life the resembled what they wanted. If what they wanted could be properly defined, it may have resembled the life the twins lead in Belize Town, with more flexibility. The things they cherished were only brought into focus by their journey.

Emma had only pain to draw upon, except for the lifting feeling of being part of something greater than the sum of her body and mind. Any life, including what she was living now, was better than where she had come from and the pain that she had experienced along the way. Each step was in a direction away from that. Where it was didn’t matter so much. It didn’t loop back on itself.

“I can’t wait to be back in Paris,” Emma said as they walked along the streets.

It was an odd notion to Jose and Noemi. Paris was a destination of utility. It hardly differed to London for them except the difficulty in communicating. They didn’t comment on this though and just let the statement hang in the air and then disappear.

“So what do we do about getting the money from Lehuby?” Asked Noemi.

No one spoke for a few paces. There weren’t any great answers to the question coming to mind.

Emma ventured one in any case, “What if we told Lehuby that we were trying to rob MacGregor?”

“That is way too high risk, Emma,” Jose immediately chimed in after stopping himself an looking slightly incredulous. Neither Emma or Noemi took much notice of his exasperation though and continued walking.

“It is high risk,” said Emma as Jose was just catching up, “but frankly there’s no other option if we want that money.

“We could do without it?” Jose ventured.

“Brother, you know that we could, but then MacGregor get’s his cash. Maybe he gets put in prison, but if past experience is anything to go by, I doubt he will. We need to hurt him. It’s the only right thing we can do right now.”

Jose didn’t like the reasoning. He accepted it though. There was no personal gripe with MacGregor per se, but he was exactly the type of man that Jose thought they should scam when he changed his mind all those months ago now in Fulham Palace. Was it worth the high risk and seeing them loose everything they had gained so far? Probably not in his view. If the other two wanted to roll the dice though, he would accept it. He looked up at both of them without a word.

“It’s high risk. Lehuby has self interest though. If Noemi and I go to him and say that Jose is on his way to the French passport office to expose Poyais as a fake nation and that the gig will be up in a matter of days if not hours. We’ll say that he needs to give us the money or we’ll report him. Sure, he may side with MacGregor, but unlikely if his own skin is on the line.”

“You can’t say that I’m at the passport office. It will give up our leverage. If you tell him what we’re about to do, he’ll just skip town with the money. I’m sure he’s already started selling many of those plots and spots on the boats before even sealing the deal.”

“So you’re bought in then now are you?”

“Hey, if we’re going to do it, then we need to do it right and reduce the risk as much as possible.”

“Fine, that makes sense. We tell him that we’re going to expose the scam. If he cooperates and delivers the money, then we tell him he should high tail it out of Paris to safety and we won’t implicate him. If he doesn’t, well, we’ll make sure they know that he was the one selling this fiction to people.”

They continued to wander and contemplate their plan. Everyone was happy, if a bit uneasy with the proposals. It was perhaps just the right amount of edge to keep them on their toes without ruining their nerves.

Noemi strayed from the pack slightly to look at some of the shops they were walking by. Nothing she really wanted to buy. It was just a way to divert her energy to something so removed from the realities of their situation. A distraction to calm her mind and allow the unconscious facilities time to work away. It felt as though it may be a window into the future as well, though she couldn’t quite see herself spending endless days perusing, even if they were immensely wealthy.

As Noemi perused, Emma and Jose continued their walking without many words. They had been so focussed on this endeavour that their young and untested romance felt as it though it may wither on the vine. There were so few chances like this to be alone and even try and explore it that they were both uncertain of what to do. Jose more so, having never been in love or even attempted to explore how he might be so. Knowing that Jose wouldn’t make any move for that very reason, Emma tentatively brushed the back of her hand against his, inviting a touch in return, a word, a glance – something to acknowledge all that remained to be explored between them.

Jose let loose a small smile as he turned his head looking around the street, not meeting Emma’s eyes for more than a few seconds at a time. He didn’t know what to say. She knew what she wanted him to say. That there was time to explore this properly. That this might not be that time, but that he wanted to anyway. It’s what she thought she wanted. It was what he wanted her to say. Some sort of reassurance. Of what? Love, he thought, but he didn’t really know love.

They continued walking along in this way, fleeting glances and brushes of hands against each other acting as their tentative language. Drifting further away from the browsing Noemi, Emma ventured first into the unknown, seeing as she had ventured close to it before, “We don’t need to know it is love now, you know. We can explore. Neither of us are tied back by any obligation. It is far from a perfect time, I know. Shouldn’t we try though?”

Jose was dumbstruck to the extent that Emma worried she had sent him into a freeze.

“It’s new, I know,” she said calmly as if addressing an infirm, “why not spend this time we have, between London and Paris, between rags and riches, to find out what we may have here?”

Stopping in his tracks, he turned to her and gave her a kiss, like that last one that they had shared. Words didn’t mean anything to him at that point. He heard what she said about exploring. It meant nothing to him though as all he knew was that she wanted to be with him.

She smiled and they continued walking, Noemi chasing them up.

They would explore.

They would laugh.

If they survived the coming weeks and had riches at the end of it, they would have to take a closer look at their love, if they could call it that.

In the moment, love was all that shone through.

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