This is part 2 of a 15-part series (click here to red the first blog in the series).
Rose stared forlornly at the phone as the screen went black. He’d gone. She was on her own now. Oh shit! Don’t think about it. Just do it! She looked down at her untouched meal – a posh fry-up with bacon, eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes and a few random sprinklings of greenery. It would seem weird if she left without eating anything – had to get rid of the food. No one was looking and her tote bag was sitting on the chair beside her. Acting decisively, she tipped the meal into her bag and returned the empty plate to the table. Hands trembling as she nestled £15 under the cutlery, then stood, turned and marched off. A curt nod to the waiter as she sailed out of the café… and another for Paul. She now realised that the awkward encounter with the ex would’ve been an adequate explanation for her lack of appetite. It’d been completely unnecessary to bag the food – a bit crazy even. That’s not a good start. Oh shit! No, don’t think negatively. Just focus on the task in hand.
During the four-minute walk back to the jewellers, Rose went through the plan step-by-step. His powerful voice chanting instructions inside her head. As she stepped into the shop, everything was exactly as he’d described. Callum, Mark and Nathan surrounded a tall, stunningly-beautiful woman wearing a slender business-suit. Sharp, statuesque, facial features – dark, sorcerous eyes. Jet-black hair matched the suit and contrasted fresh, white skin. Deep, red lips and painted nails shocked like blood on snow. Rose recognised her as the rich Russian who’d visited the store a couple of times recently – always provoking this kind of response from the guys. Natalya was talking to a mesmerised Callum, whilst the others hovered around, hoping she’d turn back to them soon. Nathan was groping his eyes over her curling pout of perfect buttocks. God, it was pathetic! Three men – two in suits, one in security uniform – all fawning haplessly. A young man, a middle-aged man and an old man – they never fucking learn! Natalya drew a phone from her bag, husking away in a low, sexy voice.
‘I know you are very important here, but I’m only talking about one-off job… and I really need man like you: experienced, knows how to take care of things… a proper professional.’ She tightened her fist to emphasise how strong and manly Callum was. ‘And if you qualified to hold the master-key here, then you clearly qualified to provide for my… security needs. What’s your number?’
Callum had waited half-a-long-lifetime to find someone as impressed with his security-clearance-level as he was himself. He was lapping it up… chest puffed with pride as he steadily recited his phone number. Were they really falling for this? Had they never seen a Hollywood heist movie? Natalya even looked like the classic vision of a femme fatale. The world was so ridiculous! But it was good news for Rose. Nathan merely glanced up as she entered. The other two didn’t even seem to notice. No need to say anything. The robber put her head down and stalked to the back of the shop. She held her security card over the sensor and pushed through the door. The staff area was dingy, compared to the glistening gems of the shop-front. Grey corridors, windowless rooms and a musky, stale smell.
Rose took a deep breath and glided into auto-pilot – memorised instructions remotely controlling her movements. Past the staff room… and the lavatory… around the corner… past the workshop area. Taking the stealth up a notch as she padded down the stairs to the basement. She wasn’t supposed to be here. Her whole body flushing with heat, but the sweat she swam through felt cold… refreshing almost. Her heart was thumping against the inside of the chest, as if screaming to be let out. ‘Put on the gloves.’ As she reached into her bag, mushrooms and eggs slimed against her fingers. Oh shit! A moment of panic, fearing the gloves might’ve been contaminated with traceable food-matter. But luckily they’d been compartmentalised and remained clean.
She slid around the corner to confront the security door. Everything was steel and concrete down here, lit by sinister strip lights. Rose drew the penetration device from a pocket in her bag, and held the screen up to her face. The machine looked like a military version of a mobile phone. Her quivering fingers made a couple of taps to activate ‘Pre-loaded Setting 1’ and she held the device over the sensor. The thick bolts clacked as they unlocked and the door chinked. Holy shit! Still couldn’t believe that worked. No one else in the world knew this magical penetration technology existed. She pushed the heavy door open and entered the secure area – a room-sized metal box with a safe in the middle.
Her timing was perfect: it’d been exactly an hour and the safe clicked ajar the moment she set eyes on it. She pulled it open and peered inside. No gleam of treasure – just a single shelf, lined with little, plastic boxes. Rose reached in and swept it all into her bag, along with her lunch. Just like that. She then closed the safe, left the secure area, shut the door and made her way back up the stairs. Jesus! She’d done it. She had three million pounds of jewellery in her bag. Holy fuck! How could it be so easy to steal this much treasure? Management were massively overconfident regarding their ‘state-of-the-art’ security software – always going on about how it was the same technology used by international banks and mega-casinos. Ha!
Walking back through the staff area, the terror clutching her heart was sharpening into an acute thrill of excitement. Fuck! The gloves! She quickly pulled them off before re-entering the shop-front. The men were still arrayed around Natalya, taking turns to have their egos expertly ruffled and stroked. Rose marched purposely towards the door. Just a few more steps…
Her voice wobbled, but she kept her head down and pushed out of the door, onto the street. The sunshine was dazzling. And the relief flooded in… submerging her in a warm bath. She’d done it! Three million pounds! The thrill was dizzying. She’d always loved to steal, but had never stolen anything big. The excitement was buzzing to burst out of her skin. Although what if Callum followed and called her back? There was still plenty that could go wrong. Rose hunched her shoulders and angled across the road. Her car was parked outside the café. That’s how she’d make her escape.