Billie looked at Johnnie's profile as he gazed out the window of the restaurant. He was so handsome and vibrant that it eternally amazed her that out of all of the girls in Chicago he had chosen her to be his girlfriend. Sometimes the way he looked at her gave her butterflies of excitement that she had never felt with another man. Of course there was no other man like John Dillinger. "Where are you?" Billie asked.
Johnnie looked at her, his brown eyes refocusing on her face. "What's that?" he asked.
"What were you thinking about?" Billie asked.
He leaned back against his chair and smiled. "I'm thinking we should go to the room and have a nice party," he said, "maybe pick up a bottle of wine or some bubbly…"
"Before that," Billie said, "when you were looking out the window."
Johnnie glanced at the window for a moment, then back at her. "Nothing much," he said. "There's a bank in Wisconsin that's supposed to have a big haul. It could be a good score, but the boys are scattered. I'm not sure about the timing…"
"Then wait," Billie said.
He was silent for a moment, but Billie could feel him sizing her up with his dark, intelligent eyes. "No time to wait," he said. "You know that."
"You know I get worried, Johnnie," Billie said, averting her eyes so she didn't have to see the disappointment in his.
"And I told you there's nothing to worry about," Johnnie said. "They can't touch me. Hell, they can't even find me."
"But someday they will," Billie said. Johnnie was silent, so she finally looked back at him and caught that look on his face, the serious one that he usually hid from her. It was the look she could sometimes glimpse out of the corner of her eye when he didn't know she was watching. "I'm just saying that I want to spend as much time with you as I can…"
"And you will, baby, I promise," Johnnie said. "We have our lives to be together." He reached over and touched her hand where it rested on the table. "Come on now, don't get down on me," he said.
"I'm not, Johnnie," Billie said.
"I'm too good," Johnnie said. "You know that, right?"
"Yeah, I know that," Billie said.
"Then there's nothing to worry about," Johnnie said. "This bank in Wisconsin, if we hit it, it'll be aces."
"Sure, Johnnie," Billie said.
"That's right," Johnnie said. "No one's going to stop us, not now and not ever." He tossed some money on the table, and offered Billie his hand, which she grasped before standing. Johnnie pulled her over to him. "You and me, we'll be together always," he said softly. Looking in his eyes so close to hers, her heart beating in tandem with his, Billie wanted to believe it.
* * * * * * * * * *
They stopped at a small liquor store on the way back to the hotel. Billie froze when she saw a cop inside the store. "No worries, remember?" Johnnie said. He took her arm and walked into the store, making no effort to hide from the view of the police officer. Johnnie picked up a bottle of red wine and a bottle of champagne. Billie was relieved to see the cop head to the door.
"Officer," Johnnie called out, and Billie just stared at him stunned, as the cop turned to face them. "You know this area, right?"
"Yeah, sure," the cop said. "Why?"
"My girl and I just moved here, and we're looking for a bank," Johnnie said. "Do you know any good ones nearby?"
Billie felt her heart pounding. Was he out of his mind?
"There's a First National over on Elm," the cop said.
"How's the security?" Johnnie asked. "I keep hearing about these bank robberies…"
"Let's go," Billie said. She didn't like this game; it was way too scary for her.
Johnnie pulled out a wad of bills and handed them and the bottles to Billie. "Pay for these, would you, babe?" he said.
"You shouldn't wave that kind of money around," the cop said.
"Yeah?" Johnnie said. "Why not? Do you think there's a thief in here?"
"You never know," the cop said. "Have a good night." He walked out the door.
Johnnie looked a Billie. She wasn't sure what kind of look was on her face but it probably matched the terror she felt. "Just having a little fun," Johnnie said.
"That wasn't fun," Billie said. She shoved the money and the bottles at him and walked out of store. Once outside she took a few deep breaths and tried to compose herself. She loved Johnnie, but she hated his recklessness. Some day he was going to take it too far and…something bad would happen, something really bad.
A couple of minutes later she heard the door of the shop open. "Why did you just walk out of there?" Johnnie asked.
"Let's go back to the hotel," Billie said.
"I'm not going to hide," Johnnie said.
Billie's anger surged. "Fine," she said. "Why don't you just go to and walk into Melvin Purvis's office? That would certainly be clever, wouldn't it?" She started to walk briskly in the direction of the hotel.
"Hey, slow down now," Johnnie said. "I'm not going to run down the sidewalk with this."
"Oh right," Billie said. "You only do that with a tommy gun."
"I don't run with a gun," Johnnie said. "I stand my ground."
"Yeah, until you wind up dead on it," Billie said. They fell silent. When they got to the hotel he opened the door for her, and she blew inside and up the stairs to their room. In the hotel room Johnnie set the bottles on a table. "You know, that wasn't smart, Johnnie, talking to that cop," Billie said. "What if he had recognized you?"
"I have insurance," Johnnie said, showing her the gun under his coat.
"Great, that's great," Billie said.
Johnnie slipped off his coat and tossed it on a chair. "I'm done with this," he said. "We aren't talking about this anymore."
"Right, because you don't have an answer," Billie said. "You just want to pretend this is an endless game, when you know damn well there is going to be an end…"
"There's always an end," Johnnie said. "What matters is getting there." He opened the champagne bottle and filled the hotel water glasses, then brought them over to her. "Be nice, now," he said.
Billie saw the softness in his eyes, and her anger started to melt away. She accepted a glass from him.
Johnnie raised his glass. "To you," he said, and he took a sip.
Billie sipped the champagne; it was good. She relaxed and let the rest of the anger dissolve away. Johnnie set his gun on the table next to the bottles. Then he stood there for a moment and looked at her. "What?" Billie asked finally.
"I was just thinking how beautiful you look," Johnnie said.
"You don't have to say that," Billie said.
"I sure do," Johnnie said. Billie smiled. Johnnie set down his glass. "Let's have some real fun," he said. He took the glass out of her hand and set it aside. Then he came so close that she could feel the masculine heat of him on her skin. His lips met hers firmly and possessively, and his touch was gentle but urgent. His passion ignited hers, easily and naturally.
"Je t'aime, mon chéri," Billie said.
"Yeah, that's nice," Johnnie said. He kissed her neck, and Billie slid her arms around him and pressed her hands against his back. He's not going anywhere, not ever, she told herself. He's too good; he's too smart. In the moments that followed she tried to make it all true, getting as close to him as she could, so close that he could never be taken from her, so close that she would never be without him again.