Sunday 8th August 2004
Nadia Henderson hadn’t walked around Glasgow Green since she was a young girl. She’d left the city when she turned eighteen, but she’d returned now, with a new look and a new name. More importantly, Ms. Henderson had a new mission in life. Among other things, she intended to find and kill whoever was responsible for the death of her twin brother, Peter.
“I belong to Glasgow,” she murmured absently. As she walked past Nelson’s Monument her eye was caught by a big, bald man with stubble. He sat alone on a park bench, glaring at the centre pages of his newspaper.
My God, Nadia thought, he looks as angry as I feel.
Nadia stopped after a few more paces along the pathway. She pulled the newspaper from her shoulder bag and opened at the centre pages. As if it could be forgotten, it showed the pictures of her brother Peter, and the gang members who’d died with him in a shoot-out in the Highlands. She looked from the pictures to the man sitting on the bench, and back to the newspaper.
“Either Norrie Simpson isn’t dead,” she mumured, “or you are the brother.” She shook her head in disbelief. “It must be something about twins.” She walked back and joined the man on the bench.
The squint as the man glanced sideways would have disconcerted most people.
“Hello, it is Mr. Simpson isn’t it?” Nadia whispered as she leaned close to him.
Simpson’s right eyebrow rose, and he looked around the immediate area before turning to meet the attractive young woman’s gaze. He didn’t speak.
“I wondered if I could have a word,” Nadia continued. “My name is Martina Crawford.”
Saturday 11th September
“Daddy, Daddy, there’s a lady at the door, with a parcel.” The six-year-old stood beside the window with the long drapes pulled back. “She’s all in black like a superhero.”
“Come away from the window, Katy, and stop making up stories.” Gregor Findlay doted on his daughter, but her two greatest problems were her fertile imagination, and the inability to stay in bed for long once she was awake.
A light tap at the door had Findlay leave the lounge to answer the door. He glanced at his watch.
“Who the hell is it at 8 am on a Saturday?”
“It’s the superhero lady with the parcel,” Katy said, tilting her head to one side. “I told you.”
“What can I do for you?” Findlay asked as he held the door open. He looked the figure up and down. Black leathers and a black helmet with mirrored visor stood before him. In the person’s leather-gloved hand; a padded envelope.
The biker flicked up the visor, revealing blue eyes and long dark lashes. Most of the face was held tight in the padding of the safety helmet. There were no logos or markings on any of the biker’s outfit, or on the gleaming black bike purring in the driveway a few feet away.
“Are you Mr. Gregor Findlay, the MP?” a muffled female voice asked.
“I am, how can I help you?”
“You’ll find out how later, but for now, have this.” She handed over the package, winked at him, and turned on her heel.
Findlay slipped the delivery under his arm and pulled his robe tighter as he watched the bike head down the gravel drive to the main road. A sheet of reflective material sticking over the rear number plate prevented Findlay reading the digits. Strange, he thought.
“Is it a pressie, Daddy?” Katy asked.
“No darling,” he said and patted her head. “It’s a business thing from work. I’ll have to read it in my study. Would you let me have a minute?”
“What shall I do until Mummy gets up?”
“You could make your room tidy to show Mummy.”
“Oh, Daddy, that’s boring.”
Findlay was infuriated by his wife’s habit of leaving him to deal with the child first thing in the morning, particularly over the weekend.
“I’ll tell you what,” he said. “While I go and read this message, would you watch in case any more superheroes are visiting?”
“Is your message a secret?”
“Why do you ask?”
“You’re whispering.” Katy tried to wink like the courier, but both eyes partly closed. She headed to the window and pulled the drape back to observe the driveway.
“Katy,” her father murmured. “How did you know it was a lady when her face was covered?”
“By the way she walked, silly.” She shook her head, and her tangled blonde hair lifted from her shoulders.
Findlay went to his study and used a letter opener to slice through the package. He emptied the contents onto his large desk. There were three photographs and a piece of flimsy black material. He lifted the black item and stretched it out.
“Fucking hell,” he whispered, and his jaw dropped as he stared at the lace panties.
“Are they for Mummy?” a young voice asked from the doorway.
“Sh … shhh,” Findlay whispered, looking up as he crushed the garment into one hand. “It’s a pressie for Mummy, darling. Will you keep it a secret? I think we should keep our superhero lady a secret too.”
“Okay,” Katy said and smiled, but continued to stare at her father.
“Now please let me have a few minutes.”
“Okay, dokey,” the child said and closed the study door as quietly as she’d opened it. The door opened a few inches and a little blonde head squeezed in. “Maybe I’ll get a secret pressie too, for remembering to keep a secret from Mummy.”
“I think you might, darling. Now run along and watch for superheroes.”
The door clicked, and Findlay thrust the panties into the pocket of his robe. He stood and crossed the room to lock his study door. When Findlay returned to his desk, he reached into the left drawer and lifted out a pack of cigarettes and a lighter. He opened the window before lighting up. As he took a long pull, he coughed when he tried to hold down the fumes.
Findlay returned to his desk. He sat, and lifted the envelope from where he’d slammed it down on the photographs. His heart and mind were racing. He chose one image to look closer.
“Oh, fuck, no. Please God, don’t let this be happening.” He stared at the pose of a man in black panties with a tiny black ribbon on the front. The man in the picture wore a matching black bra and a long brunette wig. Findlay stared at the photo of himself from less than a week before. He dropped the photo onto the desk and lifted the next. His hands trembled, and he felt a hot flush before coldness washed over him. The man imagined headlines, the public humiliation, and reactions from his political associates.
In the second picture, the figure wore a wig and bra. The man knelt on a nondescript hotel bed. The panties were hanging from his mouth. Behind him kneeling between his legs, a stunning young blonde smiled in the direction of the hidden camera lens. The woman had a peculiar apparatus strapped around her hips. Her hands were firmly clasped on Findlay’s waist.
Tears rolled down Findlay’s cheeks as he lifted the third photograph.
The difference from the previous photos was, his left hand reached under his body to deal with his obvious arousal. Gregor Findlay dropped the photo and looked inside the envelope. It was empty. The tears continued to flow, and he drew deeply on his cigarette. It was the first he’d smoked in two years. Before the tiny embers reached the filter tip, Findlay sobbed. His career was over.
Tuesday 14th September
Findlay sat on a park bench a few yards from the statue of Horatio Nelson. The distraught politician had arrived a few minutes early, but wandered away and returned to be on time. The muffled female voice on the phone the previous day had given precise instructions, and he was following them. He sat facing his front, his trembling right hand holding a cigarette. It was 8 am.
“Hello Minister,” a cheerful female voice said.
Findlay didn’t speak, but spun around to see a tall, attractive woman in a dark blue jacket and black skirt approaching the bench. He scowled, and turned away, lifting his cigarette to take a long pull.
Martina Crawford came around the bench and sat at the opposite end to the politician, but she turned slightly towards him. She crossed her legs and opened her jacket. Her well-filled blouse and short skirt provided a pleasant if distracting view.
“Now,” Crawford said. “One of the first things I’ll expect of you is obedience, so when I greet you, I expect a response.”
“How much do you want?” Findlay said, staring at the brave sailor’s statue to his front to avoid the woman’s mesmerising blue eyes. The politician drew on his cigarette again.
“It’s not the response I wanted, but it’s a start,” Crawford said. “One thing you have got right is, I do want something.” She paused and leaned forward to look at his beaming face. “How crass of you to think I want your money.”
“Tell me what you want,” he said, staring to his front. “Let’s get this over.”
“Oh my, Mr. Findlay,” she said and laughed. “You have this situation so wrong. Look at me when I’m talking to you.”
Crawford grinned when she saw how Findlay was unable to prevent himself from appraising her. She inclined her head, and her long dark hair fell across her bulging blouse. She caressed her thigh.
Findlay swallowed and turned away. He pulled on his cigarette again.
“Turn and look at me,” she said. Her tone had changed from endearing to demanding.
Findlay turned slowly. His gaze travelled slowly up and down the woman.
“It was you,” he said. “You were the courier.”
“Nothing gets past you,” she said. “Has your little daughter tried winking yet? It’s funny, how children pick up some things.”
“Leave her out of this,” he said, ditching the last portion of his cigarette. He reached into his pocket for the pack and fished out a fresh smoke. He lit up with trembling hands.
“Or you’ll do what?” Crawford leaned toward him with her arm resting on the back of the bench. “One of the ground rules, as you should appreciate, is to do as you’re told. An important rule is never, ever tell me what to do.”
“I’m sorry,” he muttered and turned away as he pulled on his fresh cigarette.
“Now we’re getting somewhere,” Crawford said. “There is an appropriate Americanism. Your arse belongs to me, Minister.”
He spun around again.
“I know,” she said. “In the photos I sent, it looks like your arse belongs to young Cindy, but now it belongs to me.” She gave a short laugh.
“Please,” he said. “Tell me what you want, and let’s get this over.”
“There you go again with the control freak attitude.” She paused until they made eye contact. “Make no mistake. Our relationship will last as long as I see fit. We’re going to take your secret submissive side to a whole new level.”
“I’ll do whatever you ask, but please leave my family out of this.”
“You seem to understand pictures,” she said and smiled. “Let me put you in the picture. I arrived back into this country under an assumed name, so presently, nobody knows I’m here. I’ve been abroad for a few years, and I’ve learned certain skills.”
The poisonous words flowed from the sensuous lips.
“Why would such information be important for you to know?” Crawford said. “In your position as a Member of the Scottish Parliament, I am your worst fucking nightmare.” She paused and smirked. “There are no negatives of those pictures, although there are five other excellent photos in the set. Your DNA is on the bra, and the missing piece of the panties which I have secured. If anything should happen to me, or my associate Cindy, there are several actions which will come into play and destroy your life.”
“I understand,” he said.
“Mistress,” she said.
“What?” he said and his brow furrowed.
“I understand, Mistress,” she said. “You have to call me something, and I think it’s a suitable title. Now you try.”
He swallowed hard, and his eyes closed briefly.
“Come on now,” she said. “We both know you secretly enjoy the idea.”
“I understand … Mistress.”
“Now that wasn’t so hard,” she whispered. “Unlike a certain part of your anatomy.” She reached across and used a strong, slender hand to caress his thigh.
Findlay trembled as he pulled on his cigarette.
“I’ll explain your first mission,” Crawford said. “I don’t expect you to take notes, but I do expect results, and soon.” It took less than five minutes to tell Findlay what was required.
Crawford got up and strolled through the large public park towards the city centre. She was confident of three things. The first was; her choice of target was right. Second; the man would stay on the bench for the twenty minutes she’d suggested. Third; he’d have been looking at her legs and arse as she walked away from their meeting place.
Saturday 18th September
Martina Crawford showed her passport and boarding pass as she made her way out to an early morning shuttle flight to London.
“Thank you, Miss Rowlands,” the attendant said and handed back the documents. “Have a pleasant trip.”
“I’m, sure I will,” Crawford said, smiled and left the desk.