A torrid sun; a tropical paradise; a frustrated writer; a cheating wife; a mysterious sultry woman ... the ingredients for a forbidden affair? Or the recipe for murder and the perfect crime?
I pushed myself back from the desk and clasped my fingers behind my head staring at the seven characters I had just centered on the screen. It had been one difficult novel to write, but it was finally finished. My publisher and those who will read Her Cups Runneth Over won't know where truth and fiction begin and end. No, only the two of us will know that.
I turned and gazed for a moment at the object on the dresser. It was a grim reminder of the dear departed Eve Earle. Out of respect and in her memory I had written a brief note to the publisher to be placed at the beginning of the book: "Dedicated to my loving wife, Eve, who did not live to see its completion."
Some might think it callous of me to have woven my story around her suicide. It was my way of letting her go with dignity by "bringing her back" from the dead. How else could I have written it without introducing her evil twin sister into the plot? Why not throw the mysterious Nova into the mix?
Ah, yes ... Nova. My heartbeat quickened at just the thought of her. I had been compelled to keep her character mysterious and in the end she and the hero had ridden off together into the sunset. With her help the secret documents had not landed in enemy hands. She had convinced him that he had killed the wrong Eve. She had switched the hypodermic containing the toxin that would have killed him with another filled with nothing but harmless water.
It would be obvious to those who purchased my novel that the evil Eve's escape was but a prelude to another novel - a sequel. Of course, John and Nova retrieved the documents from his computer. The files that he had been unable to open had been planted there by Nova. They had been stunned in disbelief as the cryptic files gave up their secrets. Anyone wishing to cause harm to our country would have paid untold amounts of money for the contents of those files.
How much would someone pay to know the real truth behind the JFK assassination? What would it be worth to learn that there actually was a crashed UFO hidden away in Area 51? Would National Enquirer shell out big bucks to learn that a certain President's children were actually fathered by a very high ranking official of the Roman Catholic Church?
In the end, however, John and Nova had decided that the world did not need to know the contents of those files. They had decided without guilt or hesitation that there was only thing to do with the information. They agreed that the disc had to be destroyed and the files on his computer deleted.
XXXVIIII walked slowly through the gate door onto the tarmac. The plane was boarding twenty yards from the terminal. As I had done since I'd left my hotel suite, I looked around for just a glimpse of her. I'd peeked inside the lounge. I had checked out drivers and passengers of the vehicles we passed and those that followed the cab. I must have made eye contact with practically every living person I passed inside the terminal.
If Nova knew I was leaving, she made no attempt to contact me. I stopped short of the boarding ladder and scanned the terminal windows and the airport grounds to no avail.
She stood motionless in the shadows of the fuel truck watching him as he boarded the plane. She winced in pain as she shifted her arm in the crude sling. She needed to have the bullet removed soon, but she had to make sure that John boarded that plane. She couldn't rest until the plane had disappeared in the northern sky.
...."Being married to you is giving me a lot of pain, John," she said under her breath. "Lucky for me, you shot the wrong one."
From a different area of shadows, another watched the man, noting that he was alone. She grimaced as the burning pain in her chest reminded her of the mayhem that had taken place in the man's hotel suite. The other bullet wound in her shoulder was almost negligible by comparison.
...."Goodbye, my dear husband," she whispered. "You might as well think I'm dead - for now! "
XXXIXThe first leg of the flight to New York was uneventful but restful and I nearly slept through its entirety. At about one hour before touchdown I awoke and retrieved my laptop from the overhead compartment to review my work. I came across a file I didn't remember. When I tried to open it, I was stymied by a password request.
After several unsuccessful attempts entering possible passwords it dawned upon me that someone else had created the file. Who and why? How had they gained access to my computer?
I reached into my carry on for a pen and a pad of paper. I froze momentarily. There was something in there, something soft and somewhat familiar. I lifted the blue bikini bra from the bag. I held it there for a moment until I noticed a woman in the seat across the aisle from me watching me. I dropped the bra into the bag and winked at her. Red faced she returned her attention to a magazine she had been reading.
"Could it be?" I thought to myself. I typed in the words "blue bikini bra" in the password field and hit the enter key. Mesmerized I watched as the screen came to life. In only a matter of seconds huge chunks of text began scrolling down the screen at high speed.
XLA month has passed since Her Cups Runneth Over was released and it was sitting atop most of the country's Best Seller lists. I was invited to the offices of my publisher to celebrate my novel's success. They were putting on a big party in my honor.
I had gorged myself on the many selections from the buffet tables that had been set up in a large conference room when a young lady asked if I would like some coffee. I looked up at her and paused speechless. She was stunning, absolutely gorgeous!
Jim Sanders the head of publishing and sales said to me, "You must remember Neva. She's the young woman you sent to us for an interview. You gave her a glowing reference."
I looked at him and back to her and uttered, "Neva?"
She handed me a blue napkin and smiled, "How can I ever thank you enough for helping me get this job?" She turned and said, "I'll be right back with your coffee, Mr. Earle."
I watched her as she disappeared into the next room. The hair was different, but no ... it couldn't be I thought. I started to unfold the napkin to place it in my lap. My face must have turned pale as I shoved it into my lap in one abrupt motion. I turned it over in my lap to make sure my imagination wasn't running wild. My heart skipped a beat as I stared down at the blue bikini bottom!
There was a sudden crash from the next room. I tucked the material into my jacket pocket and strode to the doorway to see the woman trying to soak up the coffee that had spilled from a row of cups. She looked up and said, "Oh dear, it looks like my cups runneth over."
As she bent over the table I couldn't help but notice her ample cleavage and nodded. "Indeed," I said. She knelt down to clean up some of the hot liquid that had begun to drip onto the floor. Her knees parted ever so slightly and I was rewarded with a slight glimpse of her charms, charms conveniently uncovered.
In one silent exchange of pleasantries she accepted my offer to join me for a drink or two after the party. We exchanged discreet glances during the rest of party. There was one moment when she walked by that she looked back at me over her shoulder.
(She was before me on the beach wearing only a blue bikini bottom, the top in her hand at her side and she winked in my direction.)
Tall and tan and young and lovelyI was confident that later that evening I would see first hand ... her cups runneth over!
The girl from Ipanema goes walking,
And when she passes, each one she passes goes ahh.