Your Loss, part 12


If you are just beginning the story, start  here

“Sir? What flight?”

The woman at the desk was brusque and impatient. The line was getting longer by the minute. She didn’t look at or speak to Petra.

“2 adults to Lisbon.”

She prepared their tickets and stamped them, her eyes boring into Roberts’ eyes as they were slid across the counter with immaculately groomed and sharpened red claws. She seemed to notice Petra for the first time and eyed them both close and tight. Robert took the tickets and dipped his hat, turning to walk away with a hand at Petra’s back. “90 minutes.”

He could feel the shape of a target in the middle of his back as they made their way to the gate. They didn’t stop at a lavatory or a café.  They walked until they reached the gate, then they sat down.

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Your Loss, pt. 11

1940's airport

The beginning of the story

One day in London turned into Petra and Robert replaying the good parts of Niagara Falls. The first two days were spent fasting, and nearly dehydrating, in their hotel room. On the third day Petra and Robert ventured out, finding their way to a restaurant, and then to a racetrack, somewhere Petra could place a bet. It could have been anywhere, but Robert did love the horses. They got his heart racing in a way that nothing else could with the exception of the roulette table. Petra went along with it without much to say. She could live without gambling for once– the entire escapade a gamble, whether they lived or died, together or alone.

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Your Loss, pt. 10

hotel balcony

The beginning of the story

That is the moment when Robert finally kissed her. Not until Petra had said the words that showed she got it, that she understood, did he even get close enough to her to touch. She got it. One thought that kept him awake at night was that he was that kind of fool, misjudging the kind of girl she was, misjudging what she was capable of. At some point in the air on the way to Monaco, he had made a decision. He wanted to be with her. He couldn’t live without her and they would be together one way or another. If it were to be, he would dig out the good part of the girl, the heart of her, the place in her being where she was capable of love. After she said those words, he reached her in two strides, grabbing her shoulders hard and kissing her fiercely, almost violently. The waiting was too much for a man to bear and his arms went around her then, not letting her get her breath.

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Your loss, pt 9


The beginning of the story

Petra and Robert were less than two hours in the air, but it felt like more. Petra had been nearly killed, but it didn’t cause her the personal agony the hours did while flying next to him. Robert was polite. He let her sit by the window. He stood when she needed to walk about the plane. He ordered her a drink. God knew they both needed one. He was insistent that this ‘talk’ they were going to have was not going to be in public. He was not going to be standing in front of the world while she removed the dagger from his gut that she had left there in Niagara Falls.

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Your loss, part 8


The beginning of the story

Robert went through the attacker’s pockets, putting their contents into his own pockets. He did not remove his gloves. Petra did as he told her to do, getting a pair of shoes she could run in and a skirt that did not trip her up. But there was no time and she barely got dressed before he was pulling her out of there. She grabbed her purse and followed him out of the door to the bank of elevators.

“Do you expect anyone you know to still be in the hotel, perhaps in the lobby?”

“No, they leave after the parties. They live in the city. But the workers in the lobby know who I am. They always speak to me.” He took a look at the elevators then kept walking, never letting go of her. He walked with her through a darkened ball room, and to the freight elevator, taking a chance on the one that got him up here. The thing about paying off the help is there is always someone around to pay them more to cross you. The elevator operator took them to the ground floor and gave them a verbal map of how to get through and out of the parking garage to street level. Robert thanked him after paying him some more. Petra was silent.

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Your loss, part 7

night balcony

part 6

Petra didn’t hear an answer, turning her back to the balcony and shimmying down carefully. She liked this dress and didn’t want to snag it. She finally got her second foot down to the floor of the balcony and suddenly there were hands on her neck, then something more deadly. She could not breathe, unable to catch a full breath and feeling as if she would black out.

She frantically tried to get her fingers under the cord, loosening it briefly until it tightened up once more. She struggled and looked down, seeing the end of one of her stockings, realizing that it was a stocking, one of her own very expensive silk stockings. This angered her and helped her to struggle harder. She tried to kick backwards, kicking at his shin behind her and stepping hard on his foot, but without her shoe on she didn’t cause much damage, and he remained silent. other than a soft groan, flinching at the surprise attack back. It gave her a moment to pull away from him, but her attacker still was between her and the room, and she was even closer to the edge of the balcony. When she got a breath, she tried to scream, eliciting only hoarse words.

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Your Loss, pt 6


begin at part 1

Six weeks had passed like days, one night the same as any other, a buffet of excess and hedonism. Sometimes Chicago would cross her mind, but Petra would drink another glass of wine and then set the memory aside. She was the perfect companion for Charles Perkins. She danced when he wanted to dance, ate when he was ready to go in to supper, and she was charming to his friends until it was time for the men and the women to separate, as often happened at their parties.

That was the portion of the evening that bored her the most, and this evening was no different. The women did not talk about things that she was interested in, and she sat with them at poolside, playing with her ring and reclining on the chaise lounge, her legs crossed, one foot swinging to keep herself awake. The alcohol was making her tired, but this was her life, and she was a young woman. That never held her back from a good time.

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Your loss, pt. 5

black gown crop

part 1
part 2
part 3
part 4

Didn’t Charles say that he would always take care of her? Petra opened the expansive closet doors in her suite and surveyed what her husband had filled it up with. Dresses, gowns in several colors, skirts, blouses, an alpaca jacket, a pair of beaded lounge pants, and every ridiculous hat in fashion in both Paris and New York. Below were shoes, not shoes like someone might take on holiday, but shoes that a woman might accumulate over a lifetime. She did not react or squeal or get particularly excited or giddy, because this was her life. He had said she would never be left wanting and he had kept his part of the bargain. Her part was simple in theory–do everything he askd of her. So far she had done so, and without question. He had never had to get rough with her or even order her about. She was a tough girl and a little sadistic, just enough to enjoy what she was doing.

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Your loss, pt. 3


part 1

part 2

Niagara falls was heavenly. The weather was perfect for September and the landscape was lovely, just starting to change to the many hues of Autumn. Petra lay back on the bed. For two days she and Robert put aside the sadness and worries of Chicago. It turned out that Aunt Sadie had a brother from Altoona who didn’t like how long the police were taking to solve her murder. They were treating it like a random burglary gone awry, that Sadie had discovered the burglar and a gun went off in the panic. Unsatisfied, Uncle Max had put out a reward for information leading to the capture and arrest of the murderer. All the details rolled over in her head as she looked through the window at the falls from the bed in a honeymoon suite in their hotel.

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Your Loss


“What do I have to lose?” Petra said, tossing a nickel on the roulette table, red 26.

“Your last nickel,” said a deep voice behind her and higher than her head,by a great distance. She knew the drill, and was used to taking care of herself.She was glib and smart in the way that many college–educated girls know how to be. But it was more than that. She had lost so much, in the United States of America, on the dime of the American Fund for Czechoslovakia, and then a certain Mr. Perkins whom she met after she got to Chicago via Ellis Island, N.Y. and her Aunt Sadie. Mr. Perkins married the young girl of 22 and gave her new hats and shoes to prove his worth. She could live with that for a little while. Only stipulation: she had to do everything he said. She knew that some day she would grow tired of that.

Her shoulders were straight as she watched the wheel go around.

‘Black, 12, 12 black.”

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