Molly licked her lips… she had landed ‘the big one’ this time. Three weeks ago, the long leisurely lunch at “Las Mañanitas had been the prelude to an unexpectedly ‘delicious’ afternoon. She decided she’d handle Peter a bit differently than the other two. The payoff could wait… she deserved to enjoy herself a little.
His suntanned torso glistened with sweat as they headed up the trail behind the ski hills. He said he enjoyed nothing more than a good brisk hike on a clear afternoon. She had to agree. When they reached the entrance to the chairlifts, he suggested they sit off to one side and rest amongst the trees. He took his pack off and brought out two delicate acrylic wine flutes along with a bottle of Pinot Grigio in a thermal pack.
“Wine?” asked Molly, “We still have to get back down…”
“But this is a special occasion…” Peter said as he rummaged around again in his pack and brought out a black velvet pouch. He withdrew a two carat solitaire. “Marry me Molly. Make me the happiest man in the world.”
Caught off guard, she wondered if this could be the real thing. Had she found true love? Looking into his aqua eyes, she said, “Yes Peter, of course I’ll marry you!”
Her bridegroom reached for her, and wrapped in his arms she didn’t see him activate the tiny microphone that had been sewn into the seam of his day pack. She talked on and on about the wedding she wanted, the honeymoon and of course, the ‘Happy Ever After.’ The wine seemed to be loosening her tongue more than she’d ever allowed. He kept pouring more…
“I’ve never been married Molly. You’ve been widowed twice; can you tell me about your husbands?” He wondered if he’d gone too far when he saw the dark look cross her features. Her mouth turned down and her eyes narrowed. “Have another glass Darling, this is a day to be festive.” She drank up…
“My first husband had a heart condition and the second was a drug addict.”
Peter’s eyes glistened. “Why did you marry them?” he asked her.
She needed to be careful; the wine threatened to spill years of pent-up secrets. But she wanted to keep his trust and so she began an edited version of her ‘tormented life.’ Husband Number One’s health deteriorated before her eyes; Number Two had deceived her from the get-go. She had never dreamed he would debase himself as he did.
‘Now we’re getting somewhere,’ thought Peter. He continued to discretely pry details from her, and she kept drinking wine. “How did you stand it my Angel; two terrible marriages. I hope there was some compensation…”
“I suffered greatly; I felt relief when they passed on – especially the second one. But at least I inherited from both, and I have my jewelry.”
Peter knew he’d almost collected enough information to convict her. “Come on Molly, we’ve got to get back.” He needed to carry her almost all the way, but while draped across his shoulder, her incoherent mind verbalized still more details of her life with Lalo.
“He forced me to get the drugs for him. He threatened to hurt me if I didn’t. One night, I accidently left his bottle of “OxyContin” on the bedside table… she shrugged and rolled her eyes: “I guess he took too much.”
“Did you try to revive him?” Peter asked.
“No I could see he was a gonner.” She told her fiancé she’d actually seen Lalo take his last ragged breath. “It was for the best. I put the pills away, and straightened up. Then I called his brother.”
Bingo! Peter lifted Molly into the car, and drove her to his home. Once inside he pried the ring from her finger and got her into the shower. When she’d sobered up, he played the tape of her drunken confession. “I work for Mauricio, and unless you give me everything you own, I’m giving him this tape. The police will lock you up and you’ll never get out.”
Molly recognized the steel in his eyes; she saw the same thing in the mirror each and every morning. She had to think fast. “We’ll go to the bank in the morning.”
“No, no, no… a girl like you has a safe; take me to see it.” Peter whistled when she brought out the large attaché case filled with cash and jewels. There had to be $5,000,000 in there. Much more than he figured on… why get greedy? “I’m going to drive you home, but don’t you ever forget about the tape.
“Thank God,” thought Molly; she was down but not broke. There was still the bank safety deposit box.
She practically jumped from the car… “Never again!” she told him, “Never again will I let this happen!”
Ever cynical, Peter blew her a kiss: “Win some, lose some Sugar.” His Porsche tires spun on the gravel as he raced off. Once home again, he poured a large glass of single malt. He dialed Mauricio’s number. “I´m sorry,” Mr. Panadini… the resemblance was uncanny but the girl is not Monica.
“What about the drug she put in your drink?”
“It didn’t really happen like that; I have to confess I simply drank too much and my imagination got the better of me.” He spent a whole hour convincing the disappointed man that there would be no point in keeping up the chase. He hung up, poured another Scotch, walked to his computer and went on line… ‘Let’s see what we come across this evening?’
Six miles away, Monica-Molly settled into her bed with her HP on her lap. She booted up and typed: ‘Marry-Me-Dot-Com’
Visuals: from Google Images