This theft had mattered more to Sophie than any theft before now, and any that she would ever commit again. She hadn't realized just how important a painting could be. She had stolen them all: Impressionist paintings, Degahs, Monets, Dalis, Rockwalls, Rembrandts... You name it, she had stolen it.
She had been entertaining the idea of stealing this one for six years, and she hadn't done it. She hadn't been able to steal this one. It wasn't right, or fair. She hadn't been able to steal when it would hurt someone who didn't deserve it, and she had rejected the idea whenever t invaded her thoughts.
Until, that is, three days ago.
She had been in the park, wandering, which she did too often now, and as she neared the end of the trail in the woods, she saw him, standing across the lake. She stopped, then ducked off the trail, where she could watch without being seen.
He was just standing there, staring at the water, one hand in his pocket. He looked good. The last six years hadn't changed him much. His hair was a bit thinner, a bit grayer, but he was in his fifties now. He was still lean and strong, and he still stood at his full six feet, two inches. His eyes were clear, and the blue was as piercing as ever. Sophie forced herself to stay where she was, hidden from those cerulean eyes. She told herself it was better like this. It had been too long, and their opportunity had long since passed. He stayed, unmoving, for ten or fifteen minutes, then pulled a single white iris out of his pocket and dropped it into the water. That done, he looked around once more, sighed, and left. When she was sure that he was gone, Sophie went to the spot where he had previously stood, looking down at the iris in the water.
And I don't want the world to see me
'Cause I don't think that they'd understand
But when everything's made to be broken
I just want you to know who I am.
Sophie had forgotten, which was inexcusable. She decided to steal the painting, so that she would never be able to forget. It took her a day to find it and another to prepare.
The actual theft wasn't hard. She waited for the owner to leave, went in, and took the painting.
In hung in her living room, where she could always see it. That way, she couldn't forget how badly she had wanted to burst from her hiding place, screaming Nate's name, and throw herself into his arms. She could never forget all those cons and thefts. She could never forget what it felt like to be part of a team.
With the portrait of Old Man Leverage watching over her, she could never forget the last words she had heard Nathan Ford say.
We made a difference. Remember that.