Hong Kong - Friday December 27th, 1996
Wanda shrugged. ‘I suppose you think you’re clever. Everyone else thinks I’m dead.’ She stared at Carol curiously. ‘How did you know I was here?’
‘I guessed,’ Carol said. ‘Easy enough for Guy to bribe a local woman to be here when the police checked; but I know what really happened.’
‘I knew you were trouble the first time I met you,’ Wanda said. ‘I warned Guy but he said not to worry, he’d take care of you.’
‘He tried.’ Carol walked into the room. ‘You look as if you’re going somewhere.’
‘Guy’s taking me away. He rang and told me to pack. You’d better sit down, now you’re here.’ She pointed a remote control at the CD player and the music cut off abruptly, leaving a tense silence.
Carol sat, and motioned Connie to do the same. The policewoman perched on the arm of a chair, her gun still in her hand.
Wanda eyed it. ‘Unless you’re going to shoot me, you’d better put that away.’
‘Thanks,’ Connie growled, ‘I feel better holding it.’
‘Oh, suit yourself.’ She studied Carol speculatively. ‘Guy will know what to do with you. And you’d better not get any ideas about him. He belongs to me and I belong to him.’
‘And yet he married another woman.’
Wanda smiled. ‘She didn’t matter. All she was good for was her ships and her cash. She should have shut her stupid mouth and looked the other way. She was lucky to be the second woman in Guy’s life. She had a beautiful, sexy man but she wanted him all to herself.’
‘He should have married you, if he loved you,’ Carol said softly. ‘Surely Guy’s wife would have been a better position for you, better face than a mistress.’
Wanda looked sulky. ‘What do you know about it? He’ll marry me now, if I want him to. He does love me.’
‘But … you’re already married.’
She gave a hysterical laugh. ‘Maybe I’ll let Pat divorce me after all.’
‘Well, Elaine’s dead, so she can’t stand in your way now,’ Carol mused.
Wanda waved this away. ‘Guy never let her get in the way about anything. When she tried to take his money away from him, he stopped her ...’
‘That’ll do, Wanda. I think you’ve said enough, don’t you?’
The three women jumped and looked towards the door. Connie, who had been following the conversation, her eyes turning from one to the other, swung around, her revolver raised.
Wanda got up gladly. ‘Guy! You’ve been ages. Are we going now?’
Connie lowered the gun. She and Carol both rose and faced Guy. He was gazing at Carol, a painful smile distorting his mouth. ‘It’s not what you think. Please believe me.’
Wanda stared at him. ‘What are you saying? Don’t waste time with her, Guy. Let’s go.’
‘Shut up, Wanda.’ Guy crossed the room and took Carol’s hand in his. ‘It was a contract, that’s all, between her mother and myself. I pledged that I’d always look after her.’ His eyes pleaded with her. ‘I was young and stupid; I didn’t think. Alice Lee held me to that contract; she’s a very powerful woman. It’s not the way Wanda tells it. Carol, please believe me.’
He lifted her hand and held it against his cheek, ‘I love you. I’ll find a way, settle with Alice, get free of all this, I promise.’
‘No!’ Wanda said piercingly. ‘You don’t love her. You can’t!’
Guy ignored her. ‘You said it yourself; I never married her and I never will. Don’t let her poison your mind against me. I never said I was a saint but she’d have you believe the worst. I want you, Carol, not Wanda.’ He pressed his lips to her palm.
‘You never married her because you knew she’d always want you if she couldn’t have you,’ Carol told him scathingly. ‘You used her.’
‘Give me a chance to explain. I’ll make you understand.’
‘No, Guy, I’ll never understand you.’ Carol withdrew her hand.
Connie let out an anxious breath.
Wanda pushed past her and confronted Guy. ‘You bastard! Wait until I get finished with you. I’ll tell them every filthy thing you’ve done, everything I did for you.’ She panted between sobs, ‘I’ll tell them what you did to Elaine.’
Guy swung around, an ugly look in his eyes. ‘Don’t forget what I know about you,’ he warned. ‘You keep quiet, and so will I.’
Wanda was unable to control the rage which shook her. She stepped forward and struck him hard across the mouth. Her bracelet cut his lip and a trickle of blood ran down his chin. He dabbed at it mechanically with his handkerchief.
Connie made a hasty movement towards them but Carol stopped her with a look.
‘He had his wife killed, do you hear me?’ Wanda shouted. ‘Marry him and see what he does to you when he’s tired of you, you fucking bitch. He’ll keep me and you’ll always know he’s sleeping with me, wanting me. One day he’ll come back to me and you won’t be able to stop him.’
‘Tell me about Elaine.’ Carol’s calm voice silenced the tirade.
Wanda gulped and opened her mouth. Guy gripped her shoulders then slid his strong hands around her throat. She stared up at him, frightened.
‘You’d better not,’ he said pleasantly. His fingers pressed against her windpipe.
She made a gagging sound and her hands pulled ineffectually at his.
‘That’s enough.’ A deep voice cut across the room. BJ’s eyes sought Carol’s ‘Are you all right?’
She gave him a quizzical look. ‘What took you so long, inspector?’
Connie, with a relieved grin, shoved her gun back into its holster and stepped back. Guy released Wanda and stood very still, his face expressionless.
BJ walked across the room followed by Bob and Inspector Mitchell. ‘Wanda Langford,’ he said, ‘I’m arresting you for the murder of Patrick Langford on the night of Tuesday the tenth of December.’
Wanda looked instinctively towards Guy as the police warning continued. He said, ‘Don’t say anything without a solicitor present. I’ll arrange it. You’ll be all right, Wanda, I’ll look after you.’
‘You’d better get yourself a solicitor, Guy,’ BJ recommended. ‘We’d like to ask you some questions concerning the deaths of Elaine Langford and Lo Chin.’
BJ came onto the deck of the police launch. ‘He wants to see you.’
Carol followed him down to the cabin. Guy was sitting at the table but he got to his feet as she entered and smiled ruefully. ‘Hello. Sorry you had to be part of all this.’
She sat opposite him. ‘I’m sorry, too.’
Guy glared at BJ. ‘Do you have to stay?’
BJ shrugged. ‘I’m not leaving her alone with you.’
A little smile lit the blue Langford eyes. ‘Jealous, inspector?’
He smiled. ‘Not in the least.’
Guy sat down again and looked at Carol. ‘I have to ask,’ he said. ‘How did you know Wanda was on Lantau?’
‘I never believed she was dead,’ Carol explained. ‘I didn’t think Pat could have killed her. That left only one possibility. She must have come to you for help.’ She gave a half smile. ‘When you wouldn’t take me to Lantau, and BJ said you had a local woman at the bungalow, I didn’t jump to the obvious conclusion.’
‘I see.’ He studied her face. ‘They tell me it’s your evidence that’s made them think I had Elaine killed.’
‘A friend of mine investigated her death. I knew about her will.’
He frowned. ‘An odd coincidence.’
‘As you say. A pity. You should have been working with me, not against me. What a team we’d have made.’ His hand covered hers. ‘I really do love you, you know,’ he said softly.
She bit her lip. ‘Yes, I think you do, in your own way. But I don’t think you’d hesitate to sacrifice me if your life depended on it.’
‘What a low opinion you have of me,’ he said. ‘I fought very hard to keep you safe.’
‘I know.’ Carol looked steadily at him, very aware of his magnetism. ‘I was set up that first day by Alice Lee, when she called the taxi. The driver reported where he was taking me so I’d be a target. You were looking for me, we didn’t meet by accident. I know you saved my life,’ she conceded, ‘and probably against orders.’
His eyes narrowed. ‘I don’t take orders; I give them.’
‘You said, “we were lucky”, when the car missed me. You knew it was a stupid move, to have me killed. It would have focussed police attention on the Langfords even more strongly.’ Carol smiled wryly, ‘You decided to get me on side, lull my suspicions. You wanted me to fall in love with you.’
Guy made a gesture of protest but she said flatly, ‘You knew what I looked like. I’d been described to you. You knew I wasn’t a local, even though I’d put my guide book in my bag and you couldn’t have seen it.’
‘I’m saying nothing.’
‘There’s no need.’ She turned her fingers under his and squeezed his hand. ‘When you insisted on taking me back to the hotel, I knew you were protecting me from someone prepared to kill as many pedestrians as necessary to get rid of me. I wanted to say I’m grateful.’
With a little groan, Guy linked her fingers with his. ‘I don’t want your gratitude,’ he said. ‘I want you. I’ll get out of this, you know; they haven’t got any evidence, nothing a good solicitor won’t have laughed out of court. And, believe me, I’ll try to win you over. I can be very persistent.’
‘Don’t try,’ she said.
‘It’s Wanda, isn’t it?’ He shook his head. ‘They sent her back in a separate launch; I suppose to keep us apart so they could work on her. She’ll back down from her accusations. When she loses control like that, she’ll say anything.’
‘Guy, don’t,’ Carol exclaimed, ‘don’t lie to me. I know what you did. I realised after I saw just how alike you and Pat were.’
‘Ah.’ His smile flickered. ‘Don’t say any more, Carol, I’ll deny it anyway. You see, there’s absolutely no proof. I suppose you’ve told BJ your - theories?’
‘Yes. He’d worked most of it out anyway,’ she admitted. ‘He was there well ahead of me.’
BJ stared at the wall, seemingly not listening, but his mouth twitched appreciatively.
‘It’s true, then?’ Guy asked wonderingly, ‘The rumour about you two?’
Carol didn’t reply. Guy looked into her eyes. ‘I see. So he’s won, has he? Will you give evidence against me?’
‘I probably won’t have to.’
A silence fell between them. After a moment, Carol looked down at their entwined fingers. ‘I have to go.’
He raised her hand and kissed it. ‘You’d never trust me, would you, even if I get out of this?’
She shook her head, tears sparkling on her lashes. ‘You’re not safe, Guy. Your friends are too dangerous, you’ll do absolutely anything to get what you want - power, position, wealth. It’s not worth it.’
‘It is to me.’
‘But not to me.’
He released her hand, ‘Goodbye then, Carol Monk; but don’t bet you won’t find me on your doorstep one day.’
She got up and went quickly out. BJ followed her. She stared across the harbour, blinking rapidly
He touched her shoulder. ‘He got to you.’
‘Of course.’ She smiled reluctantly through her tears. ‘He can be very persuasive - and I do like him.’
‘So do I. I always have. And, if he turns up on your doorstep?’ BJ asked tentatively.
‘He won’t, will he? Not after Wanda gives her evidence.’