Several months out...


"Raymond", Dembe's voice soft, melodic as he interrupted Red dinning in his hotel suite after the completion of his business meeting. "Your private rooms are being accessed."

Red arched his eyebrows, curious that such a statement from his bodyguard would illicit such a lack of concern. Finished with his dinner, Red rose from the table and poured a scotch.

Dembe handed him the tablet. The computer security program was open on the screen. The program monitored several key locations around the world that were always of interest to Red. He nodded both his thanks and his dismissal to his bodyguard. Stationing himself on the sofa, he crossed a leg and propped the tablet on his calf. Tapping the LED screen of the tablet he expanded the video and took a deep swallow of his drink.

He immediately understood why Dembe had not been alarmed.


His Lizzie. Standing in the doorway of his suite of rooms at the villa. Hair tasseled, blue eyes bright, with a look of determination that Red hadn't seen in ages. The light from the hallway illuminated her nightgown, displaying the outline of her body. The gown was long, white and sheer, made of the finest silk. Satin ribbons tied in girlish bows at each shoulder. The neckline straight, beginning just below the swell of breasts, the bodice tucked into tiny pleats as the fabric grazed the tops of her bare feet. She appeared ethereal, ghost like.

For several minutes she stood still, as if she were afraid of what monster might be waiting in the room, lurking in the shadows waiting to pounce should she actually be brave enough to enter. Red couldn't help but be intrigued as to what would have prompted her appearance in his bedroom, in the middle of what would be her night.

A moment's tinge of guilt at his voyeurism was quickly dismissed. After all, it was his room, wasn't it? It's not as if he had invaded the sanctity of her bedroom. Not that he didn't have the capability of monitoring her every movement. He was just to cognent of the fact that it would be such a deplorable violation of her privacy.

Her hand found the light switch and the rooms were cast in a soft glow. She entered his private study, her eyes taking in the museum quality paintings that hung on the walls. The deep rich leather of the sofa and chair, the desk, clear of any papers or computer, just a beautifully lit tiffany lamp. The rich jeweled colors of the glass cascading into the corner.

His bedroom was adjacent and she moved towards it, footsteps silent on the plush carpet. The bedroom decor was a continuation of the study. Dramatic, richly decorated with dark furniture and burgundy accents. Brocade drapes were pulled opened, allowing the moonlight to pool through the panes of the French door that opened out to a balcony.

Red switched cameras as she moved into his dressing room, his eyes sharply assessing her face, looking for some clue that wouldn't be revealed, wondering if perhaps she was sleep walking. He dismissed the idea, she looked uncertain yet purposeful. She was seeking something. Slowly she turned, taking in the contents of the room.

One wall held shirts, vests, trousers and suit coats, hanging in rows. Neat, orderly and immaculate. The wall opposite, shelves with shoes and his collection of fedoras, belts and ties. Drawers that held his personal wear. A door way led to his bathroom, large and spacious. But it was the wall of cherry cabinetry that she stopped in front of. She waited for what felt like a lifetime to Red until she finally pulled a set of the doors open.

The cabinet inside was lined with shelves. Velvet trays held his personal jewelry, watches, and cufflinks. Half a dozen small, cut glass decanters lined up in a row. A small ornate frame held a picture of an indulgent Red looking down at Lizzie who was smiling up at him. The picture represented everything that he had been striving so hard to accomplish for so long. She removed the picture from the shelf and stared at it for a long moment. Forehead creased into a frown, she returned the picture, pausing to rub her temple.

Red grew more curious as she didn't move away from the mundane contents of the cabinet. Instead she selected one of the decanters, removing the stopper and inhaling. She continued to work her way through the different vials. Selecting, smelling then returning it in the exact order she had taken it until she reached the last one.

She brought the decanter to her face and closed her eyes, nostrils flaring as she breathed its aroma in. "Ce soir, nous vivons" Tonight we live. It was Reds' personal favorite, a custom blend, as they all were, but the cologne he wore most frequently. A mixture of evergreen and citrus. Pausing for long seconds, she inhaled again as if to be certain.

Fingertips were trembling as she placed them on top of the vial and moistened them with the cologne. Eyes still closed, she tilted her head back, exposing the length of her neck and placed her fingertip behind her ear. Slowly, she trailed her hand past the lobe of her ear, down the smooth skin of her neck, touching the pulse that Red could see beating in her throat, stopping only when she reached the crevice between her breasts.

Reds breath exhaled in a sharp hiss. Where he would not allow his mind to betray him, his body quickly did. Whatever he had been expecting when he first saw Lizzie in the doorway, it hadn't been this.

He forgot everything else.

Forgot that she was still lost to him.

Forgot that she might never remember her past.

Forgot for just moment how vulnerable she still was.

Watching her, as she placed HIS scent on her skin, was the most erotic thing he had ever witnessed in his life.

Like the ghost of the woman she once was, she slipped away.

Red sat on the sofa as the last remnants of daylight were chased away and replayed the video. Again. And again. And again.