Hidden Among the Hair Pins

Rory’s Story Cubes Mini-Story #8

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Photo by Jennie Coughlin

Having not been exposed to this stratum of British society since she moved to America, Mai Fisher had to work hard to keep her contempt from showing. The woman beside her, Countess something-or-other, prattled on and on about HRH, as she fingered the enormous emerald at her throat. Mai made all the appropriate noises and assenting sounds, while looking about the room for a way into the host’s private office. God, Mai thought, you could put a crown on a slug and these idiots would curtsey and bow to it.

“Who’s the tall, um, gentleman who came in with you?” Countess Something asked.

Mai glanced at Alexei, who stood in a corner of the room, scowling.

“Him? Oh, bodyguard. The business manager insists.”

“Oh, those Irish business managers of yours can be so, well, Irish. I’ve always thought they treated you like a pawn instead of, well, your appropriate standing. Your, um, bodyguard? Does he stay with you, well, all the time?”

Mai gave Alexei another glance. Ah, these were murky waters, indeed. “I’m sure if he knew you were interested, he could find the time,” she said.

The Countess smoothed her hair, and her hand returned to the emerald. Instead of clutching it, she began to stroke it this time. “Really? Well, I’ll go, um, discuss it with him.”

The Countess homed on Alexei like a laser-guided missile to its target, and Mai watched them chat. It wasn’t long before Alexei stared at Mai, blue eyes flashing like lightning. She gave him a smile over the rim of her champagne glass. That was one way of getting rid of Countess Whatever.

Perfect timing, too. The host emerged from his office and began to move among his guests. With a final glance at Alexei, Mai made her way among the crowd, working from her French twist a lock pick hidden among the hair pins.